Intel Core i7 Skull Canyon NUC6i7KYK spec comparison with all current Xeon D-1500 Supermicro SuperServers suited for home labs

Posted by Paul Braren on Aug 8 2016 (updated on Nov 30 2016) in
  • Virtualization
  • ESXi
  • HomeLab
  • HomeServer
  • Storage
  • The contents of this article are a work-in-progress and subject to change, testing and data collection (dB, watts, basic benchmarks) are still underway. On Nov 20 2016, a new sound and watt-use comparison video was added below.


    Below, you'll find that I've pulled technical information from a variety of product pages and spec sheets, then created a nicely detailed table for side-by-side comparisons. This is followed by detailed specifications that highlight each of these systems' speeds, feeds, and capabilities.

    Intel-Xeon-D-SuperServer-SYS-E200-8D-and-SYS-E300-8D-and-SYS-5028D-TN4T-and-SYS-5018D-FN4T-with-Intel-NUC6i7KYK.JPG
    Left-to-right, top-to-bottom: Supermicro SYS-5028D-TN4T, Intel NUC6i7KYK, Supermicro SYS-E300-8D, SYS-E200-8D, SYS-5018D-FN4T.

    Observations

    Keep in mind I've had very limited hands-on time with these mostly-loaner systems. These are just observations that anybody can make once all the specs and capabilities are seen side-by-side in the table below. These initial impressions may be changed considerably between now and mid-October, when I'll be left with only my one mini tower, and a second system that this head-to-head comparison will help me decide upon.

    Comparing the NUC6i7KYK and the Xeon D systems seems a little odd since they're very different animals, but I keep getting tweets and comments requesting that I compare the NUC with the tiny new Supermicro entrants in to this micro-server space. This article should help folks compare and contrast, and will be improved in the coming weeks as I get more (temporary) hands-on time with these systems. Notice the grey shading that highlights where the NUC excels.

    Core i7 mobile Intel NUC6i7KYK

    If it's a multi-purpose tiny Windows 10 workstation device used for occasional light gaming and virtualization, get a NUC NUC6i7KYK! With a huge NUC community following, this latest version finally shows off just how fast two "gum-stick" M.2 NVMe SSDs can be, and will likely give you countless hours of fun coupled with amazing versatility. Features future-proofing USB Type C for Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1, Bluetooth 4.2, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580. The ESXi installation process is now well documented, thanks to the likes of none-other than William Lam and so very many enthusiastic helpers.

    Xeon D-1500 Supermicro SuperServers

    If you're looking for a turn-key powerful and efficient server with up to 128GB of fast DDR4 RAM, where a GPU is often not needed or wanted, then the Xeon D platform is where it's at right now. Great for your VMware, Hyper-V, Linux, or firewall and NAS needs, Supermicro recently pulled out all the stops with two new NUC-like form factors that makes Xeon D more obtainable than ever. You can see for yourself in the base price row below.

    The tiniest and mighty new SuperServer is the SYS-E200-8D with 2 1GbE, 2 10GbE, and room for a M.2 and a 2.5" drive! The original SYS-5028D-TN4T Mini Tower is still hands-down the quietest and most versatile in the Xeon D-1500 family, at a price.

    CPU Capacity

    TinkerTry-CPU-capacity-detailed-SYS-5028D-TN4T
    VMware's "CPU Capacity," is calculated by simply multiplying the base clock GHz by the number of compute cores. Shown using ESXi Embedded Host Client on ESXi 6.0U2.

    The sweet spot for price for performance would seem to be the long-sought-after the Xeon D-1567. Don't miss taking and take a close look at the table below "Dollars per CPU Capacity" row, where I take the cost, and divide by the CPU Capacity, as shown by VMware ESXi 6.0U2, seen below.

    Intel NUC6i7KYK / Supermicro Xeon D spec comparison table

    I've created a table that helps you easily compare the speeds and feeds of the all current Xeon D-1500 Supermicro SuperServer systems that are suited for home use, and the Intel NUC6i7KYK.

    I temporarily had a sample of each compact SuperServer Xeon D form-factor to test through mid-October 2016, and was able to validate most of the manufacturers stated specs. I was also able to add specs like dB output and watt burn, both under load and at idle. Watch for changes to the updated on date right below this article's title.

    TinkerTry-Intel-NUC-and-Supermicro-Xeon-D-specs-compared-2016-Nov-01-0933am
    Updated Nov 01 2016.

    Supermicro Xeon Processor D performance

    Xeon D Intel ARK comparison 1518/1528/1541/1567

    Windows Server 2016 installed on Samsung SM951 M.2 NVMe SSD in each Supermicro SuperServer system at default cooling profile. All CPUs remained at no greater than 71°C. Camtasia 9 was used to render 4K MP4 from an 11 minute 4K 30fps MOV file from iOS 10.1/iPhone 7 Plus Camera app, at default settings. No GPU card was added to the system, with default Microsoft Basic Display Adapter driver. Surprisingly, adding a GPU to later tests didn't affect Camtasia 9 render times. But what this also means is that using an ESXi VM as a remote render farm is very much an option for me. Moving those largish video files from M.2 NVMe (local SuperServer Workstation) to remote M.2 NVMe (2nd Xeon D in cluster) at 10GbE speeds shouldn't bee too shaby either.

    4K-video-render-stressing-Xeon-D-cores-by-TinkerTry
    For this 4K video render test, shorter times are better.
    4K-video-render-complete-system-at-idle
    System at idle.

    Stress Test Video

    Hours before flying to VMworld 2016 US, I recorded this informal testbed video using VMware ESXi 6.0U2 loaded on each system, with a VM running over iSCSI. Each VM was Windows Server 2016, with the maximum number of vCPUs assigned to the VM, depending upon the number of physical CPUs of the system it was running on, times two, since hyperthreading was left on. Each VM then ran Prime 95, so you can hear the fan RPMs increase, see the watt burn rise, and see the noise levels go up, waiting around 5 minutes for things to max out. You'll also see a spectral display of the noise, showing peaks at different Hz, varying greatly among the 5 systems:

    Video Index - click to jump to the right spot in the video:

    1. 0:00 Intel NUC6i7KYK
    2. 2:49 Supermicro SYS-5028D-TN4T
    3. 3:57 Supermicro SYS-E200-8D
    4. 5:33 Supermicro SYS-E300-8D
    5. 6:21 Supermicro SYS-5018D-FN4T

    Video

    Measuring max watts & noise of Intel NUC6i7KYK /Supermicro SYS-5028D-TN4T/E200-8D/E300-8D/5018D-FN4T

    Intel NUC6i7KYK / Supermicro Xeon D relative sizes

    TinkerTry-Intel-NUC-and-Supermicro-Xeon-D-specs-compared-2016-08-20
    Images resized to approximate identical scale.

    Intel NUC6i7KYK / Supermicro Xeon D detailed specifications

    In ascending order of compute power.


    Supermicro Mini-1U SuperServer

    SYS-E300-8D

    Supermicro-SuperServer-E300-8D-with-X10SDV-TP8F-rescaled
    • Xeon D-1518 2.2-2.2GHz, 4 cores/8 threads, 35 watt TDP, $234 CPU SoC on Intel ARK
    • CSE-E300 chassis, 10"W x 8.9"D x 1.7"H (254mm W x 226mm D x 43mm H)
    • Flex ATX X10SDV-TP8F motherboard, 9"W x 7.5"D (221mm W x 191mm D)
    • up to 128GB of 2400 MHz RDIMM memory (4x32GB DDR4)
    • 84 watt FSP power supply, FSP084-DIBAN2 (100-240V in, 12.0v/7.0A out)
    • 6 MB L3 cache
    • 2 10GbE SFP+ ports, 6 1GbE RJ45 LAN ports (see specs, pics shows optional quad PCIe NIC)
    • 1 PCI-E 3.0 x16
    • 0 Mini PCI-E 2.0 x1
    • 1 M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slot (2nd M.2 if using optional $20 adapter in PCIe slot)
    • 0 Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1 connection, via 1 type C connector
    • 1 2.5" drive bay for 9.5mm HDD/SSD
    • 0 3.5" drive bays
    • 0 onboard WiFi

    Intel Mini PC

    NUC Kit NUC6i7KYK

    Intel-NUC6i7KYK-front-and-back-with-motherboard-pic-from-TinkerTry
    • Core i7-6770HQ 2.6-3.5GHz, 4 cores/8 threads, $434 CPU on Intel ARK
    • Intel design chassis, 8.5"W x 4.6"D x 0.9"H (226mm W x 116mm D x 23mm H)
    • Intel design motherboard
    • up to 32GB of 2133 MHz memory (2x16GB SODIMM)
    • 120 watt power supply
    • 6 MB L3 SmartCache
    • 1 Intel I219-LM 1GbE RJ45 LAN ports
    • 0 PCI-E 3.0 x16
    • 1 Mini PCI-E 2.0 x1
    • 2 M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slots
    • 1 Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1 connection, via 1 type C connector
    • 1 USB 3.1 (10Gbps)
    • 0 2.5" drives
    • 0 3.5" drive bays
    • 1 onboard WiFi

    Supermicro SuperServer Mini-1U

    SYS-E200-8D

    Supermicro-SuperServer-E200-8D-with-X10SDV-6C-TLN4F-rescaled
    • Xeon D-1528 1.9-2.2GHz, 6 cores/12 threads, 35 watt TDP, $389 CPU SoC on Intel ARK
    • CSE-101F chassis, 7.6"W x 5.59"D x 1.7"H (193mm W x 142mm D x 43mm H)
    • Mini-ITX X10SDV-6C-TLN4F motherboard, 6.7"W x 6.7"D (170mm W x 170mm D)
    • up to 128GB of 2400 MHz RDIMM memory (4x32GB DDR4)
    • 60 watt Seasonic power supply, SSA-0601HE-12 (100-240V in, 12.0v/5.0A out)
    • 9 MB L3 cache
    • 2 I-350 10GbE and 2 X552 GbE RJ45 LAN ports
    • 1 M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slot (2nd M.2 if using optional $20 adapter in PCIe slot)
    • 0 Mini PCI-E 2.0 x1
    • 1 M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slot
    • 0 Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1 connection, via 1 type C connector
    • 1 2.5" drive bay for 9.5mm HDD/SSD
    • 0 3.5" drive bays
    • 0 onboard WiFi

    Supermicro SuperServer 1U Rack Mount

    SYS-5018D-FN4T

    Supermicro-SYS-5018D-FN4T-with-X10SDV-8C-TLN4F-scaled
    • Xeon D-1541 2.1-2.7GHz, 8 cores/16 threads, 45 watt TDP, $581 CPU SoC on Intel ARK
    • CSE-505-203B chassis, 17.2"W x 9.8"D x 1.7"H (437mm W x 249mm D x 43mm H)
    • Mini-ITX X10SDV-8C-TLN4F motherboard, 6.7"W x 6.7"D (170mm W x 170mm D)
    • up to 128GB of 2400 MHz RDIMM memory (4x32GB DDR4)
    • 12 MB L3 cache
    • 2 I-350 10GbE and 2 X552 GbE RJ45 LAN ports
    • 1 PCI-E 3.0 x16 available
    • 0 Mini PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot
    • 1 M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slot (2nd M.2 if using optional $20 adapter in PCIe slot)
    • 0 Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1 connection, via 1 type C connector
    • 200 watt power supply (Bronze)
    • 2 2.5" drive bays for HDD/SSDs with optional adapters
    • 0 onboard WiFi

    Supermicro SuperServer Mini Tower

    SYS-5028D-TN4T

    Supermicro-SYS-5028D-TN4T-with-X10SDV-TLN4F-rescaled
    • Xeon D-1541 2.1-2.7GHz, 8 cores/16 threads, 45 watt TDP, $581 CPU SoC on Intel ARK
    • CSE-721TQ-250B chassis, 8.3"W x 11"D x 9.5"H (210mm W x 279mm D x 240mm H)
    • Mini-ITX X10SDV-TLN4F motherboard, 6.7"W x 6.7"D (170mm W x 170mm D)
    • up to 128GB of 2400 MHz RDIMM memory (4x32GB DDR4)
    • 12 MB L3 cache
    • 2 I-350 10GbE and 2 X552 GbE RJ45 LAN ports
    • 1 PCI-E 3.0 x16 available
    • 0 Mini PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot
    • 1 M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slot (2nd M.2 if using optional $20 adapter in PCIe slot)
    • 0 Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.1 connection, via 1 type C connector
    • 250 watt power supply (Bronze)
    • 2 2.5" drive bays for HDD/SSDs
    • 4 3.5" drive bays that fit 2.5" drives w/ adapter
    • 0 onboard WiFi

    See also at TinkerTry


    See also