Saving Power

Efficiency is very important in many scenarios, so let's start by checking out idle power consumption. Most of our servers have a different form factor. Some (X-Gene, Atom c2750 in HP Moonshot) are micro-servers sharing a common PSU and some are based upon a motherboard that has a lot of storage interfaces (the C2750 server, the SYS-5028D-TN4T).  Our Xeon E5 was running inside a heavy 2U rackserver, so we did not include those power readings.  

But with some smart measurements, some deductions and a large grain of salt we can get somewhere. We ask our readers to take some time to analyze the measurements below. 

Idle Power Consumption
(*) Calculated as if the Xeon E3 was run in an "m300-ish" board.
(**) See our comments

The server based upon the ASUS P9D-MH is the most feature rich board in our comparison. The C2750 measurements show how much difference a certain board can make - the Asrock C2750D4I which targets the storage market needs 31 W, and by comparison the m300 micro server inside the HP Moonshot needs only 11 W. The last measurement does not include the losses of the PSUs, but it still shows how much difference, even in idle, the board makes. 

The board inside the supermicro SYS-5028D-TN4T - the Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F - is a bit more compact than the Asus P9D-MH, and is very similar to the ASRock C2750D4I. But inside SYS-5028D-TN4T we also find a storage backplane and a large fan in the back. So we disabled several components to find out what their impact wass. 

  1. 0.5 Watt for the large fan in the back of chassis
  2. 0.5 Watt for the fan on top of the heatsink
  3. ​0.5 Watt for the storage backplane
  4. 3.5 Watt for 10 Gbit Ethernet PHY

In order to make the Supermicro similar to the C2750DI, we disable the large fan, we removed the storage backplane and disable the 10 Gb Ethernet PHY in BIOS. The result was that the idle power lowered from 31W to 27W. The only difference was that the Asrock C2750D4I uses a large passive heatsink and the Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F uses a small fan. We found out that the fan uses about 0.5 Watt, so we have reason to believe that the Xeon D consumes slightly less or similar at idle than the Atom C2750. 

For those who have missed our review of the X-Gene 1, remember that the software ecosystem for ARM is not ready yet (ACPI and PCIe support) and that the Ubuntu running on top of the X-Gene was not the vanilla Ubuntu 14.04 but a customized/patched one. Also the X-Gene 1 is baked with an older 40 nm process.

ElasticSearch Web Infrastructure Power consumption
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  • AkulaClass - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Nice stuff. Realy good to see them bringing power consumption down pr. Performance.
  • WorldWithoutMadness - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Nice way to confuse people. Codename Yosemite
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Who would this confuse? Apple fans because of the OS witht he same codename?

    LOL. Believe me they don't know, or care... Most of them aren't even aware of what a "server" chip is, or even what a "server" is used for.
  • IanHagen - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Rails developer checking in to remind you that a great chunk of the Rails community develop using OS X to deploy on Linux and hence is aware of "server chips". Even though you said that "most" Apple users don't know what a server chip is and that's accurate, the same could be said about Windows or even Linux common users. Stop patronizing.

    All being said, I agree with you. Who could possibly confound the Xeon D's codename coincides with OS X's 10.10 name?
  • WinterCharm - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    First of all, your implication that apple fans don't know jack shit about servers is a broad generalization, and a stupid one at that.

    Second of all, anyone who knows enough to even consider buying a Xeon and a motherboard that supports it and the ECC memory, probably knows enough to not get confused. And plenty of mac users know what server chips are and what they're used for.

    Nice trolling though.
  • adithyay328 - Tuesday, August 25, 2015 - link

    That's not entirely true, but I will agree that people a lot of the people who use Apples( No discrimination intended) only continue to use Apple due to their lack of tech knowledge( like knowing Android is the king :) . And, yes, they probably won;t know what servers even are.
  • jeffsci - Monday, June 29, 2015 - link

    Geographic code names are the norm in the computing industry (I think because they cannot be copyrighted) and they end up being reused. For example, Intel Seattle is/was a motherboard and AMD Seattle is/was an ARM64 processor. See etc. if you would like to look for more examples :-)
  • RaiderJ - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Any places in the US that the motherboard is available for purchase? Quick checks looks like it's mostly sold out or otherwise unavailable?
  • ats - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Availability comes and goes. Xeon D has been a big hit in the large scale deployment markets and they've been soaking up a lot of demand for it, both bare and combined on motherboards like the supermicro offerings severely limiting retail availability. But it is available in retail but quantities are limited. Quite a number of people over at servethehome have gotten their hands on them. If you want one, you'll likely have to keep checking the major sites like newegg, amazon, et al for them to come back in stock. Retail boards are generally in the $800-1000 range atm (basically going for full list but then again bare motherboards with 10gbe tend to go for 600+ so its still a good buy and simple new 10gbe cards tend to go for $300-500).
  • ToTTenTranz - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    How come they call this a SoC if there's no integrated module to drive even a simple display, and they apparently need a discrete PCIe graphics card for that D-SUB output?

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