Superguide: Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T - THE Ultimate Home Virtualization Lab

Posted by Paul Braren on Sep 20 2015 (updated on Apr 26 2016) in
  • Virtualization
  • ESXi
  • Backup
  • HomeServer
  • Superguides
  • Productivity
  • Efficiency
  • TinkerTry's tagline:

    TinkerTry IT @ home Efficient virtualization, storage, backup, and more...

    I tend to go pretty deep in my articles for nearly 5 years now, ever since I created my original self-built Core i7 beast aptly named vZilla in 2011. It worked well, but using a consumer motherboard had both benefits (cost) and drawbacks (Realtek NICs), and it's stuck at 32GB of RAM max, which really puts a limit on what can be run concurrently.


    Every year since, I've been seeking the best single server I could recommend for the majority of folks that are serious about running a home virtualization lab 24x7. And this year, I've finally found it.

    I knew the moment I first read about the Xeon-D 1500 SoC (System on a Chip) that an octacore Xeon CPU (worth about $850) paired with a tiny, efficient, and VERY capable motherboard, was exactly what I've been waiting for. It even has two 1Gbe and two 10GbE interfaces! What clinched the deal for me was that mere mortals could now obtain up to 128GB of RAM, easily, and reasonably affordably, using four sub-$300 Samsung 32GB DDR4 DIMMs. As for me? I'm at 64GB now, and 128GB eventually.

    This powerful yet efficient server forms the basis for the next few years of articles here at TinkerTry. A solid foundation for tinkering with all the latest storage technologies (M.2, NVMe) and software out there, with room to grow.

    You don't have to order the Windows 10 preload bundle, but you'll miss out on the free shipping and the unique extras.

    While TinkerTry does earn a small commission from every visitor that comes from this site to a link to the Wiredzone site, turns out their prices for things like 32GB DIMMs are usually lower than Amazon and Newegg anyway.

    Here's the parts list, Q&A, or just place your order.

    If you're also interested in reading the full story, in chronological order, let me guide you with the must-read articles you should get started with:

    1. Intel Xeon D-1500 crams incredible virtualization lab specs into tiny mITX size, codename Broadwell-DE
      Mar 09 2015 - I can still remember the first time I read about this motherboard announcement.

    2. Supermicro SuperServer mini-tower ordered with 64GB of memory for $1900, the ultimate home virtualization lab?
      Jun 23 2015 - I put down my cash, and cross my fingers.

    3. What fits in any home virtualization lab, has 8 Xeon cores, 6 drives, 128 GB memory, and 3 4K outputs from a Windows 10 VM? Your new Supermicro SuperServer Workstation!
      Jul 15 2015 - Read along as I struggle to contain my enthusiasm.

    4. TinkerTry Supermicro SuperServer Workstation bundle now available - Windows 10 with triple 4K GPU can run as an ESXi VM!
      Aug 01 2015 - Perhaps THE very first Windows 10 Workstation available!

    It wasn't hard to come up with a Windows 10 build procedure that Wiredzone now uses to create your Superserver, and you may want to check out this closely related article, My experience with the Samsung 850 EVO 2TB SSD, and how it fits into my hybrid home lab strategy, where I mention that I upgraded my SuperServer to VMware vSphere 6.0, booting my Windows 10 SSD as whole-hog fully functional VM workstation!

    Now that you're familiar with the journey, here's a search for ALL the Supermicro SuperServer related articles:

    Complete list of SuperServer articles

    In chronological order, newest on top.
    The first list is just the titles.
    The second list down below is the same set of articles, but with larger preview images added.


    how-to-install-windows-driver-for-higher-vga-resolutions-on-supermicro-superserver
    1. How to enable higher Windows VGA resolutions on both your monitor and your Supermicro Remote Console
      Mar 23 2016
    upgrading-supermicro-superserver-5028d-tn4t-from-10b-or-10c-to-11
    1. Upgrade Supermicro Xeon D-1540/1541 from BIOS 1.0b/1.0c to 1.1 for identical features, including SR-IOV for 10GbE!
      Mar 12 2016
    supermicro-superserver-ikvm-moving-from-java-to-html5
    1. Supermicro's beloved iKVM Console Redirection is dumping problem-ridden Java for HTML5, yay!
      Mar 08 2016
    superserver-combined-cpu-and-m2-cooling-fan
    1. CPU and chassis fan replacements can reduce Supermicro SYS-5028D-TN4T mini-tower noise and increase M.2 SSD cooling
      Mar 04 2016
    triple-superserver-cluster-pernixdata-giveaway-at-vmworld-2015
    1. Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T mini-tower available in 1U version featured in 3 node PernixData $10K give-away
      Feb 14 2016

    2. First Look - SR-IOV support in Intel Xeon D-1541
      Feb 11 2016

    3. Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T mini-tower now ready for business as the first Intel Xeon D-1500 in the VMware HCL (Compatibility Guide)
      Feb 10 2016

    4. First look at the new Intel Xeon D-1541 Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T
      Feb 07 2016

    5. TinkerTravels - 5 Technical Presentations these next 4 months
      Feb 03 2016

    6. You can boot from a Samsung 950 PRO NVMe M.2 SSD in a PCIe slot - tested with Supermicro 5028D-TN4T & Lycom DT-120 M.2 to PCIe adapter
      Jan 27 2016

    7. How cool is that Hypercube Lego Server, featuring the powerful Xeon D-1540 on tiny and familiar Supermicro X10SDV-F motherboard
      Jan 19 2016

    8. Longest email thread ever about Xeon D-1540, VMware, NVMe, VSAN, backup dedupe, and so much more...
      Jan 15 2016

    9. Recommended BIOS Settings for Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T
      Jan 15 2016

    10. Benchmark Optimized BIOS Settings for Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T
      Jan 13 2016

    11. Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T X10SDV-TLN4F Xeon D-1540 motherboard is compatible with VMware ESXi 5.5 and ESXi 6.0
      Dec 23 2015

    12. Intel Xeon D-1540 gets 5% speed bump as D-1541 with SR-IOV in a Supermicro SuperServer Feb. 2016, comparison with Core i7 6700K (Skylake), should I wait?
      Dec 15 2015

    13. Register by Dec 22 to win Veeam's year-end $10K home lab global giveaway, your chance to get a free Supermicro SuperServer Bundle?
      Dec 14 2015

    14. TinkerTry'd SuperServer featured at Virtualization Review "The Quest for the Right Virtual Home Lab Server"
      Dec 02 2015

    15. Copying about 50GB from a Samsung 950 PRO NVMe SSD back to itself is slower than copying to another 950 PRO over 10GbE
      Nov 18 2015

    16. How does copying over 200GB from one Samsung 950 PRO NVMe SSD to another in under 3 minutes sound? (42 copies of a 4.4GB Linux distro)
      Nov 17 2015

    17. Samsung 950 PRO NVMe SSD boots in 6.6 seconds using Windows 10 Fall Update 1511 with a Supermicro SuperServer
      Nov 14 2015

    18. World's fastest consumer SSD - Samsung 950 PRO M.2 NVMe benchmark results
      Nov 07 2015

    19. How to install Samsung 950 PRO M.2 SSD in a PCIe slot - tested with Supermicro 5028D-TN4T & Lycom DT-120 M.2 to PCIe adapter
      Nov 05 2015

    20. How to boot Windows 10 from NVMe based PCIe storage, featuring Samsung 950 PRO M.2 SSD in a Supermicro SYS-5028D-TN4T
      Nov 05 2015

    21. How to download and install the Intel Xeon D-1540 10GbE X552/X557 driver/VIB for VMware ESXi 6 on Supermicro 5028D-TN4T/X10SDV-TLN4F
      Nov 02 2015

    22. New TinkerTry Supermicro SuperServer Bundle 2 and Bundle 3 - lower cost of entry for your VERY upgradable virtualization home lab, now shipping from US & Europe!
      Oct 30 2015

    23. Order a TinkerTry Supermicro SuperServer Bundle - powerful and efficient virtualization home lab solutions
      Oct 30 2015

    24. Intel Xeon D-1540 10GbE X552/X557 driver/VIB for VMware ESXi 6 on Supermicro 5028D-TN4T/X10SDV-TLN4F now available?
      Oct 30 2015

    25. Upgrade your VMware ESXi 6.0 to Update 1a the easy way
      Oct 29 2015

    26. World's Fastest Consumer SSD - Samsung 950 PRO NVMe M.2 SSD 256GB/512GB available for pre-order now, arriving Oct. 30
      Oct 22 2015

    27. First look at Infinio Accelerator with SuperServer cluster shared Synology iSCSI datastore
      Oct 22 2015

    28. Intel SSD 750 Series NVMe PCIe installation in Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T, the easy way
      Oct 14 2015

    29. Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T VSAN dream is alive! Home lab video overview features Intel SSDs and Samsung M.2 SSDs
      Oct 10 2015

    30. Digi AnywhereUSB/2 reliably attaches my keyboard and mouse to a Windows 10 VMware VM that is also my primary workstation
      Oct 02 2015

    31. Intel 750 Series NVMe PCIe SSD supported by ESXi 6.x out-of-the-box, install Intel's VIB for full speed
      Sep 29 2015

    32. Superguide: SuperServer home virtualization lab storage tiers, platinum through bronze, how many efficient drives fit inside this tiny chassis?
      Sep 25 2015

    33. Samsung announces 950 PRO V-NAND NVMe M.2 SSD, 512GB 2.5 GB/s version arrives in October, 1TB next year
      Sep 22 2015

    34. First look - Intel 750 Series NVMe PCIe SSD in a Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T
      Sep 25 2015

    35. Home Server Show Meetup 2015 - My experience and my Superserver presentation
      Sep 12 2015

    36. Detailed assembly and configuration instructions for Supermicro SuperServer Workstation Windows 10 Pro bundle
      Aug 19 2015

    37. TinkerTry Supermicro SuperServer Workstation bundle now available - Windows 10 with triple 4K GPU can run as an ESXi VM!
      Aug 01 2015 - Perhaps THE very first Windows 10 Workstation available!

    38. "The 5th Annual Home Server Show Meetup" in Indianapolis Sep 12 2015 - TinkerTry'll be there!
      JUL 29 2015

    39. My experience with the Samsung 850 EVO 2TB SSD, and how it fits into my hybrid home lab strategy
      JUL 28 2015

    40. How to locate your triple monitor 4K PC 20 feet away for less noise and more joy
      JUL 23 2015

    41. What fits in any home virtualization lab, has 8 Xeon cores, 6 drives, 128GB memory, and 3 4K outputs from a Windows 10 VM? Your new Supermicro SuperServer Workstation!
      JUL 15 2015

    42. Deep dive inside video of the Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T including component installation
      JUL 02 2015

    43. Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T Photo Gallery
      JUL 01 2015

    44. Installing Windows on the Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T
      JUL 01 2015

    45. Intel Xeon D-1500 SoC 10GbE X552/X557-AT 10GBASE-T VIB for ESXi 6.0 support?
      JUN 30 2015

    46. Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T accessories and aspirations
      JUN 29 2015

    47. Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T first impressions
      JUN 26 2015

    48. TinkerTry's Xeon D-1540 fueled ESXi 6.0 home lab build begins LIVE!
      JUN 25 2015

    49. Supermicro SuperServer mini-tower ordered with 64GB of memory for $1900, the ultimate home virtualization lab?
      JUN 23 2015

    50. Intel Xeon D-1500 crams incredible virtualization lab specs into tiny mITX size, codename Broadwell-DE
      MAR 09 2015

    51. Nice little USB flash drive choice for that ESXi in your home lab
      JAN 31 2015

    52. Superguide: Home virtualization server enthusiasts' colorful variety of ESXi whiteboxes
      JAN 05 2014



    Partial list of SuperServer articles - with image previews

    In chronological order, newest on top:


    superserver-bundle2-and-bundle3-now-available

    superservers

    intel-x552-x557-10gbe-vmware-vib-has-arrived-oct-30-2015

    upgrade-sphere-6-to-6-u1a

    samsung-950-pro-m-2-nvme-preorders

    first-look-infinio-accelerator-with-superserver-cluster-shared-synology-iscsi-datastore

    intel-750-nvme-unboxing-and-easy-install-in-supermicro-superserver-5028d-tn4t

    video-overview-3-node-superserver-vsan-with-ssd-and-m2-storage

    digi-anywhereusb2-usb-connect-over-ip-to-vm

    intel-nvme-esxi-6-driver-install

    tinkertry-superserver-home-lab-storage-configuration

    samsung-950-pro-m-2-nvme-announced

    first-look-intel-750-nvme-storage-speeds-on-superserver

    hssmeetup2015-superserver-presentation

    superserver-assemble-configure-install-windows-10

    ordersuperserver

    meetup2015

    mysamsung2tbssd

    locate-your-4k-pc-20-feet-away

    superserverworkstation

    superserver-5028d-tn4t-video

    superserverpics

    superserver-windows-10-build

    vmware-doesnt-support-supermicro-x552-x557-10gbe-yet

    superserver-enhancements

    superserver-first-impressions

    superserver-live

    mini-tower-superserver

    intel-xeon-d-announced

    B00LLER2CS

    superguide-home-virtualization-server-enthusiasts-colorful-variety-of-esxi-whiteboxes

    See also

    STH-review-screenshot

    BOTTOM LINE:
    With four port Ethernet (two 10Gbase-T and two 1Gbase-T), solid storage m.2 PCIe x4 and 6x SATA III, a fast and low power CPU (Intel Xeon D-1540) and 128GB of RAM, the Supermicro X10SDV-TLN4F is a must get platform. For those still using Intel Xeon L5520 or L5620 generation processors, one can get more performance in less than half of the power and space footprint which is astounding. For those that always wanted more than the Xeon E3 line could offer in terms of their limited RAM capacity (practical 32GB limit) and core count (4C/ 8T max), this is the answer.