Boston 3000GP - AMD Shanghai Server

This system from Boston is the first we've seen to feature AMD's Shanghai processor. Does it deliver on its power saving promise?

Considering the sheer number of internal components general internal design is extremely good. The motherboard power connectors are right next to the power supply outputs so there is virtually no cable related clutter to mar this perfect symmetry. The pair of SATA cables and the disk backplane power connectors are also carefully concealed and key components are laid out carefully down the length of each board to maximise air flow. Each motherboard gets three dual rotor fans and we found noise levels to be surprisingly low.

Even full remote management is provided as each server it fitted with Supermicro's SIMSO+ board which incorporates a Raritan chip for KVM over IP services and slots into a mini-PCI slot on the motherboard. It has the extra header backplate wired up which blocks the second PCI-e expansion slot but presents a dedicated management network port. The board provides a tidy web interface offering plenty of data about all motherboard sensors and full server remote control as standard. For general remote and local server monitoring you can also use the SuperO Doctor III and IPMI View 2 utilities, which provide plenty of information on critical system components.

In our power tests our inline meter reported the server drawing 44W in standby mode. With one server powered up and running in idle this rose to 188W and with both servers fired up consumption increased to 335W. Using SiSoft Sandra to pummel the processors we recorded a draw of 290W for one server and 533W with all sixteen cores under maximum load.

We compared these results with a Dell PowerEdge T605 we reviewed with dual 2.3GHz Barcelona Opterons, which was measured drawing 21W in standby, 247W in idle and 326W under maximum load. Shanghai is more power efficient than Barcelona and doubling these figures shows it clearly delivers on AMD's promises.

Not only is the 3000GP the first production server to market with the new Shanghai Opteron processors but it delivers a remarkable specification in the process. Packing twin motherboards and sixteen processor cores into a 1U rack server is no mean achievement and yet it's easy on the utility supply, comes with a complete remote server management package and is good value as well.

Verdict

Four of the very latest quad-core Opteron processors, dual motherboards, a low power consumption, full remote server management and all in a 1U rack chassis - what more do you want?

Chassis: 1U Supermicro

PSU: 980W cold-swap power supply;

Motherboards: 2 x Supermicro H8DMT+ motherboards with

Processsor: 2 x 2.6GHz AMD Opteron 2382;

Graphics: nVIDIA MCP55V Pro chipset;

Memory: 8GB 667MHz DDR2 expandable to 128GB;

Storage: 2 x 1TB WD1000FYPS GreenPower SATA hard disks in hot-swap carriers

Connectivity: nVidia 4-port SATA controller; supports RAID0, 1, 10, 5, JBODs; 2 x Gigabit; SIMSO+ card;

Software: Supermicro SuperO Doctor III, IPMI View 2 software bundled

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