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

Let's walk through the BIOS on the SuperServer 6014H-32.

The BIOS on this unit is not going to throw any curveballs at you. Most of the options are quite standard and will be familiar to anyone who's been using server-class hardware over the last several years. The main BIOS page shows you what devices are active on your IDE channels and allows you to toggle a variety of settings pertaining to Serial ATA. The "BIOS Date" field could also be helpful if you were on the phone with technical support and needed to let them know the age of your current system BIOS.

On the advanced chipset menu, pictured at the top right, there are a variety of memory-related options that you can toggle. Most notably would be the settings that pertain to ECC (Error Checking and Correction). If you're purchasing a server such as this to host a production application, chances are that you are going to utilize the ECC functionality. This very website is hosted on a 1U server that utilizes ECC memory.

As we move over to the Processor menu, you'll see that it does list your current processor speed and let you enable or disable Hyper-Threading. As we've discovered in past articles, Hyper-Threading will not always guarantee a boost in performance. As such, you should always verify whether or not Hyper-Threading enhances or decreases the performance of your application before putting it in production.

The Hardware Monitor menu is more for information purposes than anything else. It shows you current temperatures and fan rotational speeds. Here you can choose between two fan speed control modes. The default mode has the blowers going at full speed and the "3-pin (Server)" mode slows the blowers down by approximately 800-1,000 rpm. Since a server like this will ultimately end up in a datacenter, no one should think about enabling the slower fan-speed mode.

Last, but certainly not least, we have a BIOS event viewer which can be helpful when troubleshooting hardware-specific problems with your system. You can enable ECC event logging so that in the event of a parity error, it will be logged for viewing.

Since one of the main benefits of this system is the addition of SAS technology (Serial Attached SCSI). As a result, I thought it would be a good idea to include some shots of the Adaptec SAS controller's BIOS.

The first screenshot just shows the main screen you'll be presented with after hitting "CTRL+A" after the system completes POST and displays the drive detection screen. The second screenshot shows the configuration options that are available for the Adaptec SAS controller. The majority of them are cosmetic in nature so don't expect to spend a lot of time in this menu.

As we move over to the Array Configuration Screen, we should probably reitterate what forms of RAID this controller actually supports. The model number is the AIC9410 and it's an 8-port controller that supports RAID 0, 1 and JBOD. At this price point you won't get RAID 5 functionality but you can add a hotspare to your array, which is an excellent feature. If you choose, you can always add the SAS Zero Channel RAID miniPCI card to this system that would extend the RAID functionality to include RAID levels 5, 10, and 50.

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