Supermicro SuperServer 6014H-32
Posted on: 02/26/2006 06:00 AM

Even though I haven't been reviewing hardware at the rate I did when I was younger, I still love to analyze a system like the SuperServer 6014H-32B. This job lets you put on your engineer's cap and pick out flaws that pop out at you or subtle design decisions that you possibly would have implemented differently. Let's take a look at the exterior and under the hood of the 6014H-32B.

Starting at the front right of the 6014H-32B, we see diminutive power and reset buttons flanked by several LEDs. These LEDS include: 1) Overheat/Fan Fail - When it blinks, this indicates the system has experienced a fan failure. When it stays lit, this indicates that the system has reached the temperature warning threshold specified in the BIOS. 2) NIC2 - Blinks to indicate activity on the second port on the dual port gigabit controller. 3) NIC1 - Blinks to indicate activity on the first port on the dual port gigabit controller. 4) Hard Drive - This indicates IDE channel activity which extends to SAS or SATA drives and the cdrom. 5) Power - Last but not least, we have a power LED folks.

Once we move beyond the LEDs, we find a very slim floppy drive and a dainty CDROM not unlike the one that's in your laptop. The only other feature of note on the front would be the four hot-swappable drive bays. They seem to be sturdy enough and I haven't encountered any problems with them to this point.

As we move around to the rear of the unit we find what we would expect. From right to left we have an external SAS port, a VGA port which outputs video from the quite adequate ATI Rage XL and the two ethernet ports. As we transition over to the picture of the rear left of the unit, we pick right up with a serial port, two USB 2.0 ports and of course our legacy PS/2 ports.

Unfortunately the power supply on the 6014H-32B is not of the redundant variety, which hurts this units standing from a fault tolerance perspective. That said, it does ship with a 500 watt unit that should be capable of any hardware that you would install or connect to this server.

The first picture is just a standard overhead shot of the unit to show the standard layout. The only thing worth noting is the location of the two blowers in the deadspace between the motherboard and the backplane/drive cages. It is a very clean layout which makes the machine very easy to work on.

The two low-profile copper heatsinks are very well made and should be more than capable of pulling heat away from any processors you'd like to install. The two 10cm blowers play a major role in keeping the system cool as they blow through the fins on the heatsinks effectively removing the heat from the system at the grill to the left of the eight DIMM slots. When the blowers are operating at full speed (which is the default setting), the system is quite loud. To the uninitiated, I'm sure it would be a shock to the system. I can assure you that it is no more loud than any other system that I've worked with intended for the datacenter. The heatsink on the northbridge is adequate given the fact that no one would be crazy enough to run this machine beyond intended specifications.

If you're looking for a server that will need to accomodate several expansion cards, you're probably not going to be looking at 1U units anyways. That said, the SuperServer 6014H-32B can handle one PCI-X (133MHz or 100MHz) card or two PCI-E (x8) cards if the proper riser card is used (the CSE-RR1U-EL and CSE-RR1U-ELP as per Supermicro's website).

The motherboard in the unit (the X6DHR-3G2) also has two mini-PCI slots available for expansions modules like a Zero-Channel RAID card (which work VERY well I might add) or an Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) card which could add additional management functionality to your server (additional hardware monitoring, event log information, remote management, etc).

Now that everyone has digested all of the information about the innards of the 6014H-32B, we should take a look at the BIOS and see what we'll be able to configure and tweak prior to installing an operating system on this unit.

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