Broadberry CyberServe Xeon E-108S review: Great performance for the price

Well suited to busy SMEs, the CyberServe Xeon E-108S delivers a powerful 6-core Xeon E server package at a pleasing price

IT Pro Recommended
Price
£1,487
  • No restrictions on drive choices; Good expansion potential; Great choice of ports
  • Remote management lags behind rivals

SMEs that want a rack server that's ready for some serious workloads will love Broadberry's CyberServe Xeon E-108S. Not only is it powered by a speedy 6-core 3.3GHz Intel Xeon E-2136 CPU but the price includes a generous 32GB of DDR4 memory, plus a full set of 8 SFF hot-swap drive bays.

Broadberry gets you out of the starting blocks with a pair of fast booting 240GB Intel S4510 SATA SSDs for your OS, leaving six hot-swap bays available with the drive carriers included. A key value proposition of Broadberry's servers is you can save a pile of cash by installing your own choice of drives or SSDs without invalidating the warranty.

All drive bays are handled by the Intel C246 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 Windows GUI utility which supports Windows Server 2019.

At the heart of the CyberServe is a Supermicro X11SCH-LN4F motherboard which adds even more storage goodness with a pair of embedded M.2 SSD slots. If you want to dedicate all your front bays to data storage, these can be used as a mirrored repository for the OS, plus they support high-performance NVMe SSDs and Intel Optane memory.

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Internally, the server is tidy with all cables secured and neatly tucked out of the way of maintenance and upgrade maneuvers. The 32GB of memory is supplied on two 16GB sticks so with two spare DIMM slots, there's room to double this and Supermicro has stated it will have a future BIOS upgrade available to boost memory support to 128GB.

Port permutations are tops - the server sports quad Gigabit and there's room to expand as it also has a spare PCI-Express slot. This could be used for a 10-Gigabit network card or you can step up to 12Gb/sec SAS storage with an 8-port LSI MegaRAID 9361 card for an extra 495.

All cooling is handled by three dual-rotor fans positioned in front of the motherboard and noise levels are reasonably low with the SPLnFFT app on our iPad recording sound levels of 44dB at one metre in front. A single 330W fixed PSU provides the juice and the 80W TDP rated CPU was measured pulling 40W in idle, rising to 120W under extreme load.

The server's embedded IPMI remote management chip gets its own dedicated Gigabit port and offers a simple web console with plenty of data on critical components. It isn't as feature-rich as Dell's iDRAC9 or Lenovo's XClarity but you can remotely control power, monitor sensor readings for CPUs, memory, fans and voltages, and add SMTP server details for receiving email alerts when sensor thresholds are breached.

It also comes as standard with full OS remote control and virtual media services -- features for which the blue-chips charge extra. The remote console option offers Java plug-in and HTML5 versions, both of which worked fine with Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome

There's more, too; the free SuperDoctor 5 software uses the local Windows SNMP service to monitor the server and presents a cheery web interface packed with colourful graphs and dials. Multiple Supermicro servers can now be managed from the new SSM (Supermicro server manager) utility which provides features such as status details, alerting and tools for remote firmware upgrades.

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SMEs prepared to pay that little bit extra for more processing power will find the CyberServe E-108S a good choice. Remote management tools are comparatively basic but this server delivers a lot for your money and unlike the blue-chips, Broadberry doesn't dictate what storage devices you can use.

Verdict

SMEs prepared to pay that little bit extra for more processing power will find the CyberServe E-108S a good choice. Remote management tools are comparatively basic but this server delivers a lot for your money and unlike the blue-chips, Broadberry doesn’t dictate what storage devices you can use.

1U rack chassis Supermicro X11SCH-LN4F motherboard 3.3GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E-2136 32GB 2,667MHz DDR4 ECC (max 64GB) Intel C246 Intel RSTe, supports RAID0, 1, 10, 5 2 x 240GB Intel S4510 SATA SFF SSDs (max 8) 2 x M.2 NVMe SSD slots (2280/22110) 1 x PCI-E 3 4 x Gigabit 330W fixed PSU Supermicro IPMI/iKVM with Gigabit 3 years advanced replacement warranty Power 40W idle, 120W peak

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