Quattro 1264-T

Intel's Xeon E5-2600 lineup was released last Tuesday and as expected, several manufacturers have released products based on these processors. Today we are looking at Boston's offerings, which is one of the largest resellers and partners of SuperMicro (see our article on SuperMicro's Xeon E5 solutions). This means Boston does not design or manufacture the motherboards they use - they buy barebones from SuperMicro and then configure the system according to their customers' wishes. This business model is similar to iBUYPOWER's and CyberpowerPC's, for example.

The benefit of this business model is that you can concentrate pretty much all your capital on customer relations. You don't have to worry about R&D and manufacturing, as you are basically just a reseller who also assembles the system. Customers are mainly paying for your knowledge about the market and their needs. In turn, you lose total control over what you sell and are at the mercy of other companies. It's harder to be innovative when everyone has access to the parts you use. However, at least in the consumer market, products from e.g. iBUYPOWER are generally cheaper than what equivalents from Dell, HP, ASUS etc. cost, so that's definitely an advantage.

Please note that the configurations below are just options among the hundreds of different configurations that Boston offers, as all systems are built to order.

Specifications of Boston's Xeon E5 Reference Lineup
Model Quattro 1264-T Value Series 380 G8 Venom 2000-7T
Form Factor 2U Twin^2 2U Rackmount Midi-Tower
Motherboard 4x SuperMicro X9DRT-HIBFF SuperMicro X9DRi-LN4F+ SuperMicro X9DAi
Chipset Intel C602 Intel C602 Intel C602
Processors Eight Intel Xeon E5-2670 (8/16, 2.6/3.3GHz, 20MB L3) Two Intel Xeon E5-2670 (8/16, 2.6/3.3GHz, 20MB L3) Two Intel Xeon E5-2670 (8/16, 2.6/3.3GHz, 20MB L3)
Graphics N/A N/A nVidia Quadro 4000 (256 CUDA cores @475MHz; 2GB GDDR5 @2.8GHz effective)
Storage 12x 2TB 7200rpm SAS (Toshiba) 4x 2TB SATA (WD RE4-GP)

128GB Crucial M4

2x 1TB 7200rpm (Hitachi) in RAID 1

Memory 128GB DDR3-1600 ECC Registered 32GB DDR3-1600 ECC Registered 32GB DDR3-1600
Expansion Slots

4x PCIe 3.0 x16

4x PCIe 3.0 x16

1x PCIe 3.0 x8

1x PCIe 3.0 x4

3x PCIe 3.0 x16

2x PCIe 3.0 x8

1x PCIe 3.0 x4

Network 4x Intel i350 (2x GigE LAN each) Intel i350 (4x GigE ports) Intel i350 (2x GigE ports)

2x SATA 6Gb/s

5x SATA 3Gb/s

2x SATA 6Gb/s

8x SATA 3Gb/s (four used by the hard drives)

2x SATA 6Gb/s (one used by the SSD)

8x SATA 3Gb/s (two used by the hard drives)

Other I/O

4x Mellanox Connect-X3 FDR Infiniband (one port each)

4x USB 2.0

4x LSI 2008 SAS2 HBA

9x USB 2.0

4x USB 3.0

7x USB 2.0

2x FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394a)

Power Supply 1620W 920W 865W
Operating System Windows 2008 R2 Standard x64 Windows 2008 R2 Standard x64 Windows 7 Professional x64
Price ~£20,000 (~$31,363) ~£4000 (~$6,273) ~£5,000 (~$7,841)

The Quattro 1264-T is definitely one of the most interesting offerings from Boston. It's based on SuperMicro's 2U Twin^2 solution, which integrates four dual-socket motherboards inside a compact 2U chassis. This means you can have up to eight CPUs in one system, and up to 64 cores when using octo-core Xeon E5 CPUs. That works out to be 1,344 cores when utilizing a standard 42U rack cabinet. We used SuperMicro's 2U Twin (two motherboards in 2U chassis) in our Xeon E5-2600 review, so head there if you want to take a deeper look at the Twin design. The advantage of Twin^2 is its density. It provides an enormous amount of processing power in a relatively small form factor, and hence is the most suitable for workloads that demand a lot CPU power (such as HPC workloads).

The Value Series 380 G8 is a more traditional dual-socket server in 2U form factor. It offers more space for expansion when compared to the Quattro due to looser board design. The Quattro supports only 128GB of RAM per CPU, while Value Series supports up to 384GB per CPU. Thus Value Series is better for memory-hungry usage, such as virtualization and database applications. 


Venom 2000-7T

Venom 2000-7T is Boston's answer to high-end workstation users. Since it's not aimed for server use, it comes with nVidia Quadro 4000 graphics, making it ideal for media creation and other GPU-intensive workloads. There is also Crucial M4 SSD (see our review) included along with USB 3.0 ports to increase I/O performance. The operating system also changes, to standard Windows 7.

Boston appears to have a price advantage over OEMs like Dell and HP as Dell charges over $10,000 for PowerEdge R720xd with specs similar to Value Series. Dell also offers PowerEdge C6220, a solution similar to Quattro, but unfortunately Dell has not revealed its pricing yet. 

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  • chuckula - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    They have an interesting mixture of configurations and the prices are very reasonable for what you are getting. I'm assuming that the 1264-T is actually 4 separate servers that are each dual-socket as opposed to having a shared image for all 64 cores?
  • alpha754293 - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    yea...they're four separate systems, although I think that there might be a view that can kind of "distribute" it's own installation over PXE, but are treated as slave installations, I think.
  • mfenn - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    Kristian, you might want to check Dell's website. Any of the Rx20 servers are E5.
  • mfenn - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    Also, HP has G8's on their website as well.
  • Kristian Vättö - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    Thanks, I've added some comparison with Dell. It's possible that I was only looking at workstations as they are not SNB-EP based yet.
  • dgingeri - Monday, March 12, 2012 - link

    That's nice and all, but Dell just also released their R620 (1U, dual Xeon E5) and R720 (2U, dual Xeon E5) systems as well. Those look pretty interesting to me.
  • The12pAc - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    Dude, I'm lickin' my chops cause our ESXi 2950's are up for replacement in Q3! I saw the E5 release drop here first and IMMEIDIATELY when to Dell's page, followed by 1.5 hours of drooling...
  • alent1234 - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    their servers are better. little things like iLO, sensors everywhere, management software, etc

    i can push the power button on a HP server remotely via my iphone from anywhere with a vpn connection

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