Supermicro X8SIL-F/X8SIL Small Office/ Home Office Server

Overall Score

Since this is our first Workstation/Server review, the results we gathered will be used as our testing baseline. For CPU comparisons, we ran certain tests on an i7 920 setup. This will help give you a visual reference of the processor performance. The specifications of the X8SIL-F systeme are listed below.

  • Xeon L3426 @ 1.86GHz
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM(Dual Channel)
  • Integrated Matrox G200e graphics
  • Supermicro X8SIL-F motherboard with IPMI
  • Seagate 500GB 7200.12 HDD x4 in RAID 0
  • 8800GT

The i7 920 system consisted of the following:

  • Core i7 920 @ 2.66GHz
  • 6GB DDR3 RAM(Triple Channel)
  • Foxconn Blood RAGE
  • 2 OCZ Vertex SSDs in RAID 0
  • 8800GT

The two systems were tested in CPU intensive benchmarks only. The 8800GT was used so that the Supermicro system would run PCMark Vantage properly, along with our Photoshop test suite. In these tests it is important to note that the Lynnfield based Xeon L3426 runs at a stock speed of 1.86GHz and has a TDP rating of 45W. The i7 920 has a stock speed of 2.66GHz and a TDP of 130W. Both chips are quad core and both support Hyper Threading. The Lynnfield Xeon and i7 920 have 8MB of L3 Cache. Please keep in mind that the CPU comparison is for a visual reference of performance. We understand that the i7 920 is a more powerful chip and are in no way expecting the Xeon L3426 to be competitve with it.

Here’s a quick CPUz of the Xeon L3426. At idle it runs with .904V without any of the power save features enabled, such as SpeedStep.

The X8SIL-F motherboard is based on Intel’s Ibex Peak chipset which supports s1156 Xeon CPU’s. Ibex Peak is similar to P55 in that both us DMI in place of QPI for communication to the processor. Our test unit has support for up to 16GB of Unbuffered DIMM or 32GB of Registered DIMM modules that operate at 1.5V. The X8SIL-F is also a mATX form factor motherboard. A complete list of motherboard specifications can be found here.

Our first set of tests consist of HDTach and HDTune. These two tests are used to compare HDD speeds relative to burst, read and write performance as well as CPU utilization.

HDTach and HD Tune show typical performance numbers for the kind of setup being used. We will be using these numbers as our baseline for similar reviews. You can also compare how your system performs against the Supermicro SOHO.

 

Ipex Peak motherboards support dual channel memory. Everest’s Cache and Memory Benchmark test gives us a look at the performance of dual channel DDR3 memory on these new server/workstation motherboards.

Cinebench is another baseline benchmark. As you can see in the OpenGL Benchmark, this SOHO was not built for graphics. The 1 CPU and x CPU rendering tests are what you would expect from the Xeon L3426. Comparing the L3426 to the Core i7 920 results shows you the advantage the faster chip has. The lower powered Xeon does fair very well and is above acceptable in this situation.

For our CPU comparisons section of this review we used specific results from PCMark Vantage, which are listed in the graph, Photoshop CS4 and a list of filters on a large file picture, and a 1.67GB file of 340 photos for the WinRAR CPU test.

Looking at the results, you must keep in mind that we are pitting a Xeon L3426 Lynnfield processor running at 1.86GHz against a much quicker i7 920 on an X58 platform with access to triple channel memory bandwidth. While the memory bandwidth isn’t significant, it does allow for increases in performance under certain circumstances.

It is obvious that the i7 920 maintains a considerable lead across the board, but the Xeon chip does extremely well considering the two different platforms. What is ultimately going to seperate the two is that Supermicro builds high quality hardware that is meant to perform in the most extreme conditions. The quality of their products is meant to outlast regular desktop hardware. Supermicro has a history of excellent product quality and stability. Another factor to consider is that we are looking at a 45W quad core CPU performing near the performance of a 130W monster chip.

Supermicro uses only the highest quality components in it the developement of its hardware. All of their products undergo extreme environmental and computational testing to insure quality and reliability.

To futher divide a desktop system from what a SOHO is, we’ll take a look at a unique remote management environment that comes standard with the X8SIL-F motherboard from Supermicro.

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