Where to start; three words say it all – extremely beyond belief. We saw the gold standard being set by the X8SAX mainboard with its no frills superb upgrade path and once more we are left with the same scenario. The Supermicro X9SCA is a mainboard that packs a punch with all that you need. Flexibility of choice, the need for speed and exceptional unquestionable performance.
Let’s start with a few basic’s sometimes heavily overlooked. Many will have noted the slight pull out lever on the PCI Express rail has gone, simple but effective to the S.I. who places multiple cards in and out of a system to check out complete compatibility with the graphic cards. As stated, it’s simple but on some mainboards with with very large professional cards (now becoming the norm) an important feature which helps in the speed up process whilst switching things around.
Hidden away in the Bios are the basic set-ups required to get you up and running. No fancy timings or values that might rattle many a monocell rushing to the manual; just a straight forward working bios that allows one to be up and running within minutes. This has been an area that Supermicro has excelled in for many years. For those who wish to tweak then there are some additional options to raise the stakes and overclock the board and CPU. Today this is radically important as speed and time is of the essence to all, therefore the less we have to worry about a confusing bios the better. Some may argue no, others applaud. A debate for another day, though for now this is excellent as it will mean even the most basic end user can be up and completely functional within a very short time frame. It has to be reiterated time is money and the least hindrances in downtime means more uptime and functionality whether in the server room manipulating those all-important transactions, or completing a monstrous render/redraw output.
The results, as noted from our first outing of the X9SCA in the new SPECapc for 3ds MAX 2011™ benchmark this is quite an achieving mainboard. Fast and stable are the key principles to which every end-user wants.
Within page 6 of the article and the Intel 510 series SSD at 25% capacity we ran quickly the AS SSD test to see what sort of drop in performance would be within the disc. Surprising enough after 8 days of very heavy usage and no implementation of the SSD toolbox we found the drive to be performing at near peak performance from the initial bare test completed 8 days pervious. So proof of concept within this important part of the system show how well the current Intel SSD’s actually do perform. A point to be seriously considered.
The rendered outputs from POVRAY are exceptional quick and for a single socket Xeon to pump out a time of 3minutes 31 seconds within this stretching test is very good indeed. Further going to show just how well the whole system I/O has performed. Within the PCMark 7 Professional we saw a massive leap up in performance overall which is quite astounding as it near doubled over our first findings. Within Ray-Trace Rendering of the CPU Cinebench tests near exact scoring. Again, we must reiterate on how well and how much work both Supermicro and Intel have put into this new range of exceptional mainboards. From our recent article covering the new the Intel Xeon E3-1280 and the Intel® Server Board S1200BLT we noted yet once more identical results from the CPU showing a score of 85.64GFLOPS and within the hardware support for cryptography in AES256 produce identical results of 2.38GB/s in standard cryptographic bandwidth and the AES256 test increased that to 5.27GB/s. It goes to show how well each company has liaised in the basic building block foundation of the mainboard functionality.
Moving on to the actual SPEC results, these have been very quick indeed with AMD’s FirePro V7900. On its first outing we saw some very good scores and today the pace has increased in many areas. The main point of note is that of both SPECapc for both Maya 2009 and SolidWorks 2007. These do stretch the system fully therefore correct implementation of components is of a paramount importance. Times have increased within both benchmarks which means the drivers from AMD are improving, but the full actual system I/O of C204 PCH Chipset with the aid of the E – Series Intel® Xeon are faster than was to be expected, especially as this is a completely ECC aided system. In most instances we should see an approximate 5 – 8% decrease in performance over Non ECC components, the tables have been turned by those clever people at both Intel and Supermicro. Most system builders look to a single socket Xeon based system with its reliability of ECC memory for complete security, the cost differences in today’s markets between Non ECC and ECC is minimal so why cut corners without any impedance of overall performance. A win – win for all parties concerned. Supermicro and Intel have most certainly done their sums right at these levels.
What more can be said; than yet another exceptional outing from the stables of Supermicro and their new X9SCA mainboard. Supermicro has ultimately shown how that they have advanced their train of thought on how influential this chipset is going to be within the professional arena. The results shown within have unequivocally shown that this is a mainboard to be seriously looked at by many system builders wishing to peruse their sales of excellence. It was stipulated before that this is the Gold Standard – the bar has now been raised to yet another championship level.
Page 1 – X9SCA Introduction
Page 2 – Features and Description
Page 3 – System Set-Up and Software Used
Page 4 – SiSoftware Sandra 2011 Part 1 – System Tests
Page 5 – SiSoftware Sandra 2011 Part II – Memory Tests
Page 6 – Mainboard Hard Disc Tests
Page 7 – System I/O Tests PCMark 7 Professional and POV Ray 3.7 RC3
Page 8 – Professional Graphic Card Tests
Page 9 – SPECviewperf® and SPECapc™ Tests
Page 10 – Conclusions and Award