Supermicro's Super Quiet Technology
Posted on: 01/27/2005 06:00 AM

As I said in my introduction, we're often quite hung up on aesthetics. As such, I'm sure you're all anxious to get to the pictures of the latest Supermicro beast to grace my test bench.

Supermicro was kind enough to send me the black version of the SC743S1-645 Chassis. A couple of the guys who regularly hang out with us in #2cpu on irc.freenode.net said they felt the case was a little on the... ugly side. To be honest, I think it's dead sexy. I have an immense appreciation for anything put together at a high level of build quality and that's what Supermicro did with this chassis.

As you look at the front of the chassis, the first thing you'll notice are the buttons and LEDS across the top. Power and Reset reside at the top left and then you'll find five LEDs: Power LED, Hard drive Activity LED, 2x Network Activity LEDs, System Overheat / Fan Fail LED, Power Fail LED. Some might call the LEDS excessive but to be honest I really like the information presented. In our business you can never have too much information. There are two external 5.25" Bays available for those of you wanting to install a couple of optical drives. It's pretty easy to accomplish. You just open the left-side panel, flip a blue plastic switch and push forward. An entire drive carriage (of sorts) will pop out. Then you can remove the two metal tabs screwed to either side of this carriage to install on your optical drive.

The most drool-worthy feature to talk about when looking at the front of this workstation is the hot-swappable SCSI drive bays. How would you like to install eight SCSI drives in your system? The SuperWorkstation 7044A-82 lets you do it with ease. Each drive cage has its own activity LED which shines through to the front of the drive cage door. Very slick.

On the rear of the 7044A-82, you'll see another two hot-swappable fan mounts. They're on the outside of the chassis entirely! These mounts will accept 80mm fans and will assist in the venting of hot air from the rear of the case. As you see once we look inside, these rear exhaust fans will certainly be put to use. Supermicro didn't supply any, but you'll probably want to populate at least one of these two mounts with a fan.

Once you remove the side panel from the system, you'll really see the emphasis that Supermicro has placed on cooling in these Super Quiet-driven systems. You'll see the hard plastic shrowd covering the processors and memory. The processors are cooled by two monstrous copper sinks which are screwed to the sockets. Now simply adding this shrowd doesn't solve your cooling problems on its own. There have to be quality fans at the front of this shrowd to facilitate the steady flow of cool air over the components which can then be exhausted at the rear of the system. Supermicro accomplishes this with four 80mm, 5,000 rpm, hot-swappable fans. The actual speed of the fans is controlled by the Fan Control Modes which were discussed on the previous page.

The last photo gives you a shot of the expansion slots that are available on the X6DA8-G2, which is the motherboard powering the 7044A-82. The first question that the majority of you are probably going to ask is: "Is this board SLI capable?" The answer is yes! Both PCIe slots on the board are x16. It just so happens that one is running in x16 mode and the other is running in x4 mode. Supermicro has requested that I look at SLI performance in the 7044A-82 in a future article. Those of you who are interested, will just have to come back.

Now let's move on to the last component of Super Quiet technology that we need to talk about : Demand-Based Switching.