Supermicro A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT review: EPYC power, but poorly presented

Server Factory delivers a powerful Supermicro AMD EPYC server but slips up on support

Supermicro A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT
Price
£6,554 exc VAT (as reviewed)
  • Good value
  • Support for EPYC 7002/7003 CPUs
  • Huge memory capacity
  • PCI-e 4 NVMe SSD bays
  • Greatly improved remote management
  • No on-board RAID
  • Messy internal cabling
  • Supplied only partially configured

Supermicro offers one of the largest choices of rack servers on the planet, and its A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT brings the latest generation of AMD EPYC power to enterprise applications such as virtualization, cloud computing and all-Flash storage. Only available as a completely assembled system, our review system was kitted out and supplied to us by UK-based reseller Server Factory.

Founded over 10 year ago, Server Factory specializes in Supermicro products and offers a large portfolio of server, storage, HPC and cloud solutions. Working with a wide range of global customers, it claims to provide high-level support and a fast, low-cost service for complete systems and components.

The 1114S-WN10RT packs a lot into its modest 1U height; it supports a single core-heavy AMD EPYC 7002 CPU and is certified for all models up to a 280W TDP. Once a BIOS upgrade is available, you can also opt for one of the new high-performance EPYC 7003 ‘Milan’ models

Supermicro A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT review: Storage

Businesses with a need for fast storage will find a lot to like here as the server has room up front for ten high-performance PCI-e 4 NVMe SSDs. Server Factory added a little variation here with the last two bays cabled up to support lower-cost SATA SSDs.

More storage options are available, too. The Supermicro H12SSW-NTR motherboard has two SATA DOM (disk on module) slots and Server Factory supplied Windows Server 2019 for us on a 128GB module. You also have a couple of on-board 22110 M.2 NVMe/SATA SSD slots - although as with all AMD EPYC motherboards, no embedded RAID is provided so you can’t protect your OS with a mirrored array.

Supermicro A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT open

Value looks good as along with a couple of 960GB Intel SATA SSDs, the price includes two 960GB Kioxia PCI-e 4 NVMe SSDs. Kioxia makes some big performance claims so we checked these out by running Iometer on one of them.

Although below the top quoted speed, a sequential read rate of 6,650MB/sec is certainly nothing to sniff, at while a write rate of 1,398MB/sec is bang on the money. Dropping to 4KB block sizes saw Iometer report random read rates of 498,500 IOPS – again below the quoted speeds - but our random write rate of 85,880 IOPS was over 71% higher than Kioxia’s claim.

Supermicro A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT review: Design and expansion

At first glance, the server presents a tidy interior but closer inspection of the NVMe interface and motherboard power cables on the right-hand side raised concerns. Four of the eight embedded dual-port NVMe sockets are right next to the motherboard’s main power connectors and none of these cables had been cleanly routed and secured, making it impossible to close the lid without squashing them.

We were also a bit peeved to find the 180-day evaluation period of the OS had already expired and that Server Factory hadn’t installed the drivers for the AMD chipset, network ports or graphics controller. It was easy enough to rearm the OS and load the drivers but we would have been more impressed if the server had been prepped properly and ready for action out of the box as we had requested. 

Cabling complaints aside, the rest of the server provides easy access to all components for upgrades. The system was supplied with a hefty 32-core EPYC 7502P CPU partnered by a generous 128GB of 3,200MHz DDR4 memory and there’s room for a lot more, as the server’s 16 DIMM slots allow this to be boosted to a massive 4TB. 

Supermicro A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT cabling

The system offers dual embedded 10GBase-T network ports and expansion looks good: the single riser has two full-height PCI-e 4 slots on one side and a low-profile slot on the other. These high-bandwidth slots add extra versatility as they can support 50GbE and 100GbE network adapters. 

Supermicro A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT review: Cooling, power and management

The EPYC 7502P may have a high 180W TDP but the server’s cooling arrangements work very efficiently. The six dual-rotor fan modules behind the drive backplane rarely went above 5,200 rpm, resulting in commendably low noise levels. Power is also well-served, and the system was fitted with dual 750W hot-swap 80+ Platinum PSUs.

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Remote management and monitoring see major changes thanks to Supermicro’s latest integrated IPMI 2.0 controller, which proudly shows off a completely revamped web console. This is a vast improvement over the older version. Its home page opens with a new dashboard that presents a detailed overview of the server’s status, a power consumption graph, one click access to remote control, a list of recent log events and a floating toolbar with remote power controls.

A ribbon menu across the top provides quick access to storage views, detailed lists of all hardware components, remote firmware update tools and all sensor readings. The new component view is much easier to access and uses a similar layout to Dell’s iDRAC9, where each one has its own tab across the top with colour-coded icons for visual warning of detected issues.

Access security is tight - you can enforce LDAP, Active Directory or Radius authentication and apply account lockout counters to failed login attempts. Another bonus is full OS remote control and virtual media services are included as standard – Dell and HPE expect you to cough up for a license to activate these features on their servers. 

Supermicro A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT software

Supermicro A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT review: Verdict

An important part of our review process is evaluating customer support and we felt that Server Factory could have done a more professional job of preparing the server and making sure it was dressed to impress. 

That said, the hardware itself isn’t unworthy of your time; the A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT does deliver a powerful AMD EPYC package for the price, teams it up with fast all-Flash storage and offers plenty of room to expand.

Supermicro A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT specifications 

System

1U Supermicro A+ Server 1114S-WN10RT

Motherboard

Supermicro H12SSW-NTR

CPU

32-core 2.5GHz AMD EPYC 7502P

Memory

128GB 3,200MHz DDR4 ECC RDIMM (max 4TB)

Storage bays

10 x SFF hot-swap NVMe4/SATA3 drive bays

Other storage

2 x SuperDOM, 2 x PCIe4 M.2 NVMe/SATA

RAID

None 

Storage included

128GB SuperDOM, 2 x 960GB Kioxia CM6 NVMe4 SSDs, 2 x 960GB Intel D3-S4510 SATA SSDs

Network

2 x 10Gbase-T

Expansion

3 x PCI-E 4 slots

Power

2 x 750W hot-plug PSUs

Management

Aspeed AST2500 RMC with Gigabit, Supermicro SuperDoctor5

Warranty

3yrs RTB

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