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Pricing, Warranty, And Support Comparison

Three Xeon E5 Server Systems From Intel, Tyan, And Supermicro
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I recently read that the average selling price for a Supermicro system was around $1700. These barebones systems are all in the ballpark of that figure, and hitting a typical price range was a major consideration when framing this round-up. We've already covered the hardware and software side of each submission, so let's take a look at how pricing factors in.

Pricing Comparison
Supermicro 6027R-N3RF4+
$1515
Tyan GN70-K7053 (S7053 + KGN70M1)
$1700
Intel "Grizzly Pass" R2208GZ4GC$1900


Of course, you can add additional components to affect that price (such as Intel's management board). Intel, Supermicro, and Tyan all have options to customize their platforms, so your take-home cost is going to vary. These systems to represent a good basis for comparison, though. Price-wise, Supermicro and Tyan both managed to duck in under our expected $1800 price point, with Supermicro coming in significantly below that price target. Intel's system turned out to sell for a bit more, which makes sense given its highly-customized platform.

Service, warranty coverage, and support are also important points to consider, particularly when it comes to buying servers. When you purchase a machine from HP, Dell, IBM, Oracle/ Sun, or Fujitsu, you can specify anything from mail-in service to 24x7 support with a guaranteed on-site response time (for instance, 24x7 four-hour service). In the world of barebones servers, though, you'll typically have a reseller to assume the role of support provider. So, if you buy from a VAR that handles integration of the parts you pick, that company also arranges service. Your interactions are through the integrator, rather than the company manufacturing the system's motherboard or chassis.

Here's a quick reference of warranty coverage:

Warranty Comparison
Value-Added Reseller Warranties May Differ
Supermicro 6027R-N3RF4+
One-year warranty from Supermicro, 8x5 standard support hours (upgraded coverage available), advance RMA available, pre-paid service available, extended warranty available from Supermicro
Tyan GN70-K7053 (S7053 + KGN70M1)
Three-year warranty from Tyan/ MiTAC, 8x5 standard support hours (upgraded coverage available)
Intel R2208GZ4GC
Three-year limited warranty, extended warranty available from Intel


Update, 12/8/2012: It was recently brought to our attention that Supermicro now sells it standard complete systems with three-year parts and labor warranty coverage, along with one year of cross-shipment and 24-hour tech support.

Typically, start-up VARs and systems integrators are the interface point to the OEM when something goes awry. Once these partners become large enough, they typically receive a larger discount, allowing them to purchase spare parts instead of having to get an RMA from the manufacturer when a component goes out. So, you'd generally get your warranty work from a VAR, and not the manufacturer.

If you're the one buying the components and building servers, either as an SMB or end-user, this becomes a major consideration, since there is no reseller on which to fall back. Advanced RMA becomes especially useful, since it typically cuts the time it takes to get a replacement by days. This service is becoming more popular on desktop motherboards, and Western Digital has offered it for years.

Both the Supermicro and Tyan platforms can be beefed up with additional functionality to hit Intel's price point. However, both companies submitted their products for the round-up in accordance with what was requested.

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  • 6 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , May 30, 2012 4:53 AM
    the charts are looking strange. they need to be reduced in size a bit....
  • 0 Hide
    EzioAs , May 30, 2012 5:55 AM
    Quote:
    the charts are looking strange. they need to be reduced in size a bit....


    I agree. Just reduce it a little bit but don't make it too hard to see
  • 0 Hide
    dogman_1234 , May 30, 2012 6:47 AM
    Cool. Now, can we compare these to Opteron systems?
  • 4 Hide
    TheBigTroll , May 30, 2012 11:06 AM
    no comparison needed. intel usually wins
  • 4 Hide
    willard , May 30, 2012 2:08 PM
    TheBigTrollno comparison needed. intel usually wins

    Usually? The E5s absolutely crush AMD's best offerings. AMD's top of the line server chips are about equal in performance to Intel's last generation of chips, which are now more than two years old. It's even more lopsided than Sandy Bridge vs. Bulldozer.
  • 2 Hide
    Malovane , May 30, 2012 2:09 PM
    dogman_1234Cool. Now, can we compare these to Opteron systems?


    As an AMD fan, I wish we could. But while Magny-Cours was competitive with the last gen Xeons, AMD doesn't really have anything that stacks up against the E5. In pretty much every workload, E5 dominates the 62xx or the 61xx series by 30-50%. The E5 is even price competitive at this point.

    We'll just have to see how Piledriver does.

  • 0 Hide
    jaquith , May 30, 2012 2:51 PM
    Hmm...in comparison my vote is the Dell PowerEdge R720 http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/poweredge-r720/pd?oc=bectj3&model_id=poweredge-r720 it's better across the board i.e. no comparison. None of this 'testing' is applicable to these servers.
  • 3 Hide
    lilcinw , May 30, 2012 6:04 PM
    Finally we have some F@H benches!! Thank you!

    Having said that I would suggest you include expected PPD for the given TPF since that is what folders look at when deciding on hardware. Or you could just devote 48 hours from each machine to generate actual results for F@H and donate those points to your F@H team (yes Tom's has a team [40051] and visibility is our biggest problem).
  • 1 Hide
    dogman_1234 , May 30, 2012 6:46 PM
    lilcinwFinally we have some F@H benches!! Thank you!Having said that I would suggest you include expected PPD for the given TPF since that is what folders look at when deciding on hardware. Or you could just devote 48 hours from each machine to generate actual results for F@H and donate those points to your F@H team (yes Tom's has a team [40051] and visibility is our biggest problem).

    The issue is that other tech sites promote their teams. We do not have a promotive site. Even while mentioning F@H, some people do not agree with it or will never want to participate. It is a mentality. However, it is a choice!
  • 2 Hide
    lilcinw , May 30, 2012 6:58 PM
    I don't expect promotion at this point, just basic recognition would be appreciated.
  • 1 Hide
    Luscious , May 30, 2012 9:05 PM
    I've seen a few 2U 4-node blade servers from Asus and Supermicro running dual-socket E5's - just the thought of populating a single 42U rack with those things makes the mind boggle (168 processors, 1344 cores, 2688 threads, 42TB of total RAM and 1008TB of storage).

    F@H on such a monster? Do the math and you'll see that just after one year of 24/7 operation you would rack up over 3 billion points, putting you in the top 10 for teams and no.1 spot for single user.

    That's assuming, of course, that you've forked out $20k for your monthly power bill to run that fully-stocked 42U rack and paid $240k to your utility company for the entire year. Then there's the cost of the hardware itself - around $26k for each 2U server, or around a cool $600,000.

    SPEND MONEY FAST
  • 0 Hide
    utomo88 , May 31, 2012 12:43 AM
    We need somebody to design new server which is powerful and can handle a lot of memory and harddisk and affordable price.
    all powerful server are expensive now.
    I believe market for cheap but powerful server are big, and no one is working on this area.
    I know the profit is not big, but by big quantity it mean big money too :) 
  • 0 Hide
    bit_user , May 31, 2012 2:45 AM
    Would be cool to test both a E5 Xeon and a Sandybridge-E of the same clock speed, in the same C602 motherboard (Supermicro's X9SRA), to see if DDIO has any performance impact on 3D and GPGPU benchmarks.
  • 0 Hide
    bit_user , May 31, 2012 8:11 AM
    Also, how about posting measuring the scaling from 1x 4core E5 Xeon -> 1x 8core E5 Xeon -> 2x 4core E5 Xeon?

    The point is that memory is directly connected to 1 CPU only. Adding a 2nd CPU doubles aggregate bandwidth, but could actually hurt performance, if the software isn't written to carefully to localize data and manage affinity between threads & CPUs.
  • 0 Hide
    _zxzxzx_ , May 31, 2012 2:44 PM
    Would be nice to see how these compare to the AMD systems.
  • 0 Hide
    saturn85 , June 2, 2012 6:22 PM
    nice folding@home benchmark.
    great work.
  • 0 Hide
    centosfan , June 4, 2012 10:14 PM
    Why don't you include HP DL series and the Dell R series. Those two companies have about 70% market share on the 2U Inter server market. I don't understand why you would exclude them. Most companies wouldn't buy anything but a Dell, HP or and IBM.
  • 1 Hide
    pjkenned , June 5, 2012 7:41 PM
    centosfanWhy don't you include HP DL series and the Dell R series. Those two companies have about 70% market share on the 2U Inter server market. I don't understand why you would exclude them. Most companies wouldn't buy anything but a Dell, HP or and IBM.


    That is something that we are looking at. This was more of a look at what is out there for barebones kits. I totally agree that these types of comparisons would be great.
  • 0 Hide
    DVFinn , June 19, 2012 8:15 PM
    I've been using Supermicro bare bones servers for a few years now and I love them. When it comes to performance per dollar there's no way to compare these systems with off the shelf dell or HP offerings. I've specced them out 20 ways and the bottom line is I can build nearly 2x the horsepower at significantly lower cost vs. a fully configured server from one of the big vendors. My newest SQL servers are 8xSSD Raid10 data sets and simple sata mirrors for the OS. 128GB RAM, dual, quad-core Xeons, adaptec 6805 controllers. About $5k each for the full build, and their chassis are so easy to work in the whole build takes less than 30 minutes before I'm loading the OS.
  • 0 Hide
    razor512 , August 24, 2012 11:14 AM
    utomo88We need somebody to design new server which is powerful and can handle a lot of memory and harddisk and affordable price.all powerful server are expensive now. I believe market for cheap but powerful server are big, and no one is working on this area.I know the profit is not big, but by big quantity it mean big money too


    That is already done (but as more of a work around) build a standard PC.
    Many high end gaming motherboards work well in a server environment, and can easily handle a high traffic website.
    Most web hosting does not need a super powerful server (which is why virtualization is so popular). If you are running a relatively small business and are not doing anything that is hugely CPU bound (eg, rendering) then you can save a bit of money with a decent desktop PC.