Supermicro X9SCA Workstation/Server Mainboard

The word mčtis was also the ordinary Greek word for a quality that combined wisdom and cunning, our good friend Mitty

A over a year now Supermicro’s X8SAX Mainboard has been one of the most successful mainboards to fire out of Supermicro’s San Jose headquarters.  It has surpassed all expectations as a reliable workhorse never faltering.  Here we have heavily used it within many successful articles especially on the launch of the new professional workstation graphic cards from both AMD and Nvidia.   Time has marched on now and the advent of the release of Intel’s® C204 PCH Chipset with the new Intel® Xeon® E3-1200 family saw the dawning of the inheritor the Supermicro X9SCA.  A formidable adversary and the mainboard planners at Supermicro have taken into account all due consideration of the needs of the many, in both current upgrades paths for now and the future and usability of some previous generation PCI cards.

A week ago saw the successful launch of our article covering the new SPECapc for 3ds Max™ 2011 to which the Supermicro X9SCA was heavily featured throughout.  In came the responses for an article of the mainboard in full, what can it do, how fast is the system I/O all the relevant questions good VARS’s and S.I’s. would ask before up taking a new mainboard of this quality.  These are all very relevant questions especially in today’s market when meticulous stability is the fundamental requirement of any system, whether in DCC, CAD, HPC or finally a server board.  So we have your attention now as this article has had many thinking on new modes of system configurations and upgrade paths as the mainboard really has got the complete remit.

Fundamentally this a board that will suit many pockets and allow many to build firm long term reusable in house solutions. This is a mainboard that has massive optional upgrade paths allowing so many choices to be made even after it reaches its end of life on what it first set out to complete.

The professional workstation market is now completely dominated by Windows 64-bit and the expanse of memory that can be used by a uni-processor system using Intel’s Intel® C204 PCH Chipset has reached a huge total of 32GB.  Therefore we see a leap forward of 8GB of memory and for some this is a monstrous amount.   Though, on reflection and looking at what todays DCC and CAD viewsets can generate off the GPU, onto Disc I/O thereafter becoming CPU rendered we do require these amounts of memory to maintain the system at peak optimal performance. 

With the aid of Supermicro’s public relations department we now look at the official line

This new generation of UP server solutions delivers increased throughput, and higher performance-per-watt and performance-per-dollar compared to its predecessors by delivering up to 25% performance improvement, 2x the memory footprint (32 GB total), 20 PCI-E 2.0 lanes, and two SATA 6 Gb/s ports (SATA 3.0).

“Our advanced SuperServer® architecture and broad selection of products optimized for the new generation UP Intel® Xeon® server processors deliver greater performance and lower power consumption with reduced TCO for customers,” said Charles Liang, President and CEO of Supermicro“We believe that these latest 4 / 2-Core UP server solutions will help IT managers seeking higher performance and efficiency to realize better results with fewer resources to optimize their operations.”

“End users are demanding server solutions with increased performance, ECC memory support, and decreased power consumption,” said Boyd Davis, VP and GM of Intel Data Centre Group Marketing“Supermicro and Intel are enabling customers to realize improvements across all of these categories with Supermicro’s server solutions based on the new Intel® Xeon® processor E3 family.”

This announcement comprises eight new SuperServer® models, and eight new server boards including mainstream X9SCL(-F), performance X9SCM(-F), quad LAN X9SCi-LN4(-F), and full-featured X9SCA(-F).

The SuperServers® consist of the following optimized configurations:

  • Storage and cloud computing optimized 5017C-MTF with X9SCL-F server board and high-performance Gold Level power SuperChassis 813MTQ-350CB
  • SMB optimized 5017C-MTRF server with X9SCL-F server board and Gold Level high-efficiency redundant power SuperChassis 813MTQ-R400CB
  • High-performance, low-TCO mainstream 1017C-TF with X9SCL-F server board and cost-effective Gold Level high-efficiency power SuperChassis 111LT-330CB chassis
  • Value optimized server 5017C-TF with X9SCM-F server board and Gold Level power SuperChassis 811TQ-350B
  • Low-power, appliance optimized high-efficiency 5017C-LF with X9SCL-F server board and short-depth SuperChassis 510L-200B
  • Entry-level, compact all-purpose 5017C-MF with X9SCL-F server board and space efficient SuperChassis 512F-350CB
  • Performance 5037C-T mid-tower server with X9SCA server board and whisper-quiet 21dB SuperChassis 732i-500B
  • Value 5037C-i mini-tower server with X9SCL server board and 25dB whisper-quiet SuperChassis 731i-300B

Detailed product information on this launch is available at http://www.supermicro.com/products/nfo/xeon_x9.cfm

Therefore once more to reiterate, so much to choose from with Supermicro bringing to the fore its stance on maintaining higher performance-per-watt and performance-per-dollar not least forgetting its continued contributions in lower carbon footprints and Supermicro’s strict “green” policy.

With the introduction completed we now move forward to some pictures of the mainboard in the flesh and the actual system build.

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