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Broadberry CyberServe Xeon SP1-208S review

Businesses that want Xeon Scalable processing but are afraid to ask the price can rest easy with Broadberry's CyberServe Xeon SP1-208S. Powered by an 8-core 2.1GHz Xeon Silver 4110, this innovative 2U rack server offers heaps of expansion and storage potential and yet has a price tag that's on the right side of two grand.

The only compromise in the search for value is its Supermicro X11SPL-F motherboard is the single-socket variety. That said, the server's spacious interior doesn't hamper cooling so it's only restricted to 165W TDP CPUs, allowing it to handle the vast majority of Xeon Scalable models including all Bronzes and Silvers plus most Golds.

The price includes a healthy 32GB of DDR4 RDIMM memory and the server's eight DIMM slots allow this to be boosted to 256GB. If you can afford 128GB 3DS LRDIMMs, you can go right up to 1TB. One thing to remember with the Silver 4110 CPU is it restricts memory speeds to 2,400MHz.

Broadberry gets you started with mirrored fast booting 480GB Intel S4500 SSDs for the OS, leaving six hot-swap bays available with the drive carriers included. All drive bays are handled by the Intel C621 chipset which incorporates Intel's rapid storage technology enterprise (RSTe) RAID controller.

Stripes, mirrors and RAID5 arrays are available and they can all be managed via Intel's handy Windows utility. This provides a status view of all arrays and includes alerting facilities that can send emails if errors are detected.

A valuable feature of the CyberServe is Broadberry allows you to add your own choice of drives without invalidating the warranty. We tested this by plugging in three off-the-shelf 10TB Seagate SATA drives while the server was running and they popped up in the RSTe utility ready for some RAID5 action.

The motherboard has an embedded M.2 SATA SSD slot supporting 80mm and 110mm card lengths - although we'd prefer to have two of these for OS deployment so we could mirror them. It also provides dual embedded Gigabit network ports and there's plenty of room to expand as it presents seven free PCI-Express slots.

Power redundancy is present and correct as the price includes dual hot-plug 740W PSUs. With a TDP of only 85W, the Xeon Silver showed its frugality in our power tests with the server drawing 88W in idle and peaking at a mere 105W under extreme load.

The CyberServe can't match the blue chips for remote management features but its embedded IPMI chip does have a dedicated network port and its web console offers plenty of useful data about critical components. We could power the server up and down or reset it remotely, view sensor data for the CPUs, memory, fans and voltages and link their readings to email alerts.

Usefully, you get full KVM remote control and virtual media services as standard -- all the blue chips require an optional upgrade to activate these features. Furthermore, the iKVM remote console has been updated to HTML5 so we had no problems running it from Microsoft Edge.

Supermicro's free SuperDoctor 5 software uses the local Windows SNMP agent to monitor the server. It presents a cheerful web console with coloured graphs and speedo dials for fans, temperatures and voltages plus a detailed hardware inventory, options to issue email alerts and remote power controls.

Broadberry's CyberServe Xeon SP1-208S may only have a single CPU socket but it's a big rack server with a Xeon Silver lining. It's an affordable option for SMBs with plenty of room to grow and has the added bonus of allowing them to keep costs down by choosing their own storage devices.

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