Home Enterprise SuperMicro IoT SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A Review

SuperMicro IoT SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A Review

by Charles P. Jefferies
SuperMicro IoT SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A Nvidia T4

The SYS-210SE-31A is SuperMicro’s latest entry in the increasingly popular edge server segment. Intriguingly, this 2-unit, 430mm short-depth server offers three hot-swappable nodes, each with a single CPU and eight DIMM slots. It also features PCIe Gen4 x16 expansion slots, toolless serviceability, and operating temperature ranges up to 55 degrees C. For highly versatile, scalable performance, this SuperMicro server is an attractive choice.

The SYS-210SE-31A is SuperMicro’s latest entry in the increasingly popular edge server segment. Intriguingly, this 2-unit, 430mm short-depth server offers three hot-swappable nodes, each with a single CPU and eight DIMM slots. It also features PCIe Gen4 x16 expansion slots, toolless serviceability, and operating temperature ranges up to 55 degrees C. For highly versatile, scalable performance, this SuperMicro server is an attractive choice.

SuperMicro IoT SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A

SuperMicro IoT SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A Specifications

The demand for computing resources and networking away from datacenters led to the rise of the edge server segment. We recently reviewed the Lenovo ThinkEdge SE450, which is even shorter than the SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A at just 300mm or 360mm. But that server tops out with a single CPU whereas the SuperMicro SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A supports three CPU nodes. Each node supports the following:

  • One third-generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor (“Ice Lake”) up to 32C/64T and 205W, with options for 270W chips with special configuration.
  • Four fan modules.
  • Eight DIMM slots; the memory ceiling is 2TB using 256GB 3DS DIMMS.
  • Two M.2 2280/22110 PCIe Gen4 slots.
  • Two PCIe Gen4 x16 full-height/half-length and one PCIe Gen4 x16 half-height/half-length.
  • One GbE for IMPI 2.0 and a KVM dongle.

This server offers limited in-node storage, two M.2 slots on each node; its 5G/IoT focus can’t get any more apparent than that. But the PCIe expansion is highly notable, there are two Gen4 x16 slots available. There is no shortage of storage, networking expansion, graphics, and programmable acceleration cards that can be added in, so its versatility is pretty robust considering the physical node size. Connectivity beyond the single GbE on each node depends on your expansion cards however.

SuperMicro IoT SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A rear

The SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A’s full specifications are below. Its ability to operate in up to 45 degrees C environments, with short stints up to 55 degrees C, is especially notable coming from standard rackmount servers. Edge servers are designed to be used outside the enterprise data center where environmental conditions may not be tightly controlled. SuperMicro also offers an air filter for high dust environments.

Processor (per Node)
CPU
  • Single Socket P+ (LGA-4189)
  • 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors
  • Support CPU TDP 85-205W

Please contact SuperMicro Technical Support for supporting conditions of high-power (TDP >205W) processors.

Cores Up to 32C/64T; Up to 48MB Cache
System Memory (per Node)
Memory
  • Memory Capacity: 8 DIMM slots
  • Memory Type: 3200MHz ECC DDR4 RDIMM/LRDIMM
Memory Voltage 1.2V
Error Detection ECC
On-Board Devices (per Node)
Chipset Intel® C621A
Network Connectivity 1x 1GbE BaseT port(s)
IPMI
  • Support for Intelligent Platform Management Interface v.2.0
  • IPMI 2.0 with virtual media over LAN and KVM-over-LAN support
Input/Output (per Node)
LAN 1 RJ45 GbE LAN port (Shared NIC
Video 1 VGA port(s)
Serial Port 1 COM Port(s) (1 COM)
Others 1 KVM dongle (output VGA x1, COM x1, USB 2.0 x2 through KVM cable)
Management
Software
  • SuperDoctor® 5
  • IPMI 2.0
Power Configurations
  • ACPI Power Management
  • Power-on mode for AC power recovery
PC Health Monitoring
CPU Monitors for CPU Cores, Chipset Voltages, Memory
FAN
  • Fans with tachometer monitoring
  • Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) fan connectors
  • Status monitor for speed control
Temperature
  • CPU thermal trip support, PEPI
  • Monitoring for CPU and chassis environment
Chassis
Form Factor 2U Rackmount
Model CSE-SE201-R2K07P
Note
  • 16.9” (430mm) chassis depth
  • Front access IO design, and tool less serviceability
  • Three front hot-swappable nodes with single CPU socket and 8 DIMM design
Dimensions and Weight
Height 3.5″ (88mm)
Width 17.7″ (449mm)
Depth 16.9″ (430mm)
Package 9.5″ (H) x 29.5″ (W) x 23.2″ (D)
Weight
  • Net Weight: 55.1 lbs (25 kg)
  • Gross Weight: 70.6 lbs (32 kg)
Available Color Silver
Front Panel
Buttons
  • Power On/Off
  • UID button
LEDs
  • HDD activity
  • LAN1 activity
  • LAN2 activity
  • Power status
  • System information
Expansion (per Node)
PCI-Express (PCI-E)
  • Slot 1: PCI-E 4.0 x16 LP
  • Slot 2: PCI-E 4.0 x16 FHHL
  • Slot 3: PCI-E 4.0 x16 FHHL
Drive Bays / Storage (per Node)
Drive Bays N/A
M.2
  • 2 M.2 NVMe
  • M-Key, 2280/22110
System Cooling
Fans 12 heavy-duty fans with optimal fan speed control (4 fans per node)
Air Shroud 1 Air Shroud(s)
Power Supply 2000W Redundant AC 100-240V Power Supply
Dimension (W x H x L) 73.5 x 40 x 265 mm
AC Input
  • 1000W: 100-127Vac / 9A-12A / 50-60Hz
  • 1800W: 200-220Vac / 9.8A-10A / 50-60Hz
  • 2000W: 220-240Vac / 10A-11A / 50-60Hz
+12V
  • Max: 83A / Min: 0A (100Vac-127Vac)
  • Max: 150A / Min: 0A (200Vac-220Vac)
  • Max: 166A / Min: 0A (220Vac-240Vac)
Operating Environment
Environmental Spec.
  • Operating Temperature:
    • 0°C ~ 55°C (32°F ~ 131°F)
  • Non-operating Temperature:
    • -40°C to 70°C (-40°F to 158°F)
  • Operating Relative Humidity:
    • 8% to 90% (non-condensing)
  • Non-operating Relative Humidity:
    • 5% to 95% (non-condensing)

SuperMicro IoT SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A Build and Design

A short 430mm (16.9 inches) depth primarily makes the SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A a visual standout. It otherwise has standard 2U rackmount measurements, 88mm (3.5 inches) wide and 449mm (17.7 inches) long.

Everything is serviceable from the front panel. The 1+1 2000-watt redundant power supplies are bottom left. The three nodes look plain – as noted, each has just one GbE for IMPI and a KVM dongle. Add-in cards determine each node’s purpose and functionality. Each node also has its own LED indicators.

There are no features on the server’s sides, and the rear has just the fan exhaust outlets for the nodes.

Here’s one of the nodes. The board is based on the Intel C621A chipset. The CPU is topped by a large heatsink; four fans at the back of the unit handle heat exhaust. The eight DDR4-3200 DIMM slots offer good expansion and support Intel Persistent Memory 200 series. The M.2 2280/22110 adapter slots are far left; they support PCIe 4.0 x4.

Conclusion

The SuperMicro IoT SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A goes after a targeted edge use case. While common use cases for gear like this get bandied about like 5G and IoT, and we have no doubt this unit will excel there, the edge is much broader these days.

AI at the edge is rapidly expanding, especially in retail, where edge inferencing is absolutely critical. Supporting self-checkout, customer intent, loss prevention and even deciding where to dispatch limited staff resources are all functions of increasing importance.

This box could also be paired with a PCIe storage card and high-speed NIC to make it a viable data logging box for autonomous vehicles or a flexible SDS platform. With a traditional virtualized deployment, high-quality networking, and storage array, you could also make this into an HA 3-node cluster at the edge. You could even make a pretty strong use case for this particular build in certain military use cases.

The point is, that the edge use cases are extremely varied, so boxes like the SuperMicro IoT SuperServer SYS-210SE-31A must either excel at one single task or be flexible enough to handle many tasks. This system is actually really good at the latter, allowing varied configurations that can be edge GPU-centric, or more traditional storage and I/O, or some combination of those things.

Being flexible in such a small footprint with three nodes is very difficult, SuperMicro has done very well from an engineering standpoint. Typically we’d have performance data in a review, but this situation is a little different, given the specialization of this configuration. We are however working with a few partners that are interested in showing off what a system like this can do at the edge, so stay tuned for more!

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