Intel Mini-ITX Atom 8-core Hardware Build Recipe Available Here



  • I recently built my pfSense router server and found all the information on this forum I needed, but not in one place.  So I am putting the recipe here for future builders as a reference:

    • Motherboard: Supermicro A1SRi-2758f

    • RAM: Kingston ValueRAM 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L PC3-12800 ECC CL11 1.35V SODIMM KVR16LSE11/8.

      • It is best to run 2 sticks of SODIMM to get interleave memory access through both channels.  If you want less RAM, get 2 sticks of 4GB SODIMMs.  Or, if you forgo interleaving, get just 1 stick of 8GB SODIMM so you can upgrade later without throwing away 2 sticks of 4GB SODIMMs.
    • Case: M350 Universal Mini-ITX enclosure

    • This case is very small and well built.  Keep in mind though it doesn't have room for any expansion card to utilize the PCIE slot.

    • Case Accessories: M350 HDD/Fan bracket and one or more 40mm fans.

      • If you have one drive installed, you can install 2 more fans on another bracket and 1 fan on the front of the case for a total of 3 fans.  You may need a fan splitter cable.  I think there are only 2 fan headers on the motherboard.  The M350 comes with 1 bracket so you will only need one more.  The CPU runs at about 70 degrees C without any fan at about 15% CPU utilization.  A fan or two will help a lot in lowering the temp.
    • Power Supply: 150w AC-DC Power Adapter, 12v 12.5A with 4-pin connector

      I hope this is helpful for other folks who are looking to build one of these 8-core monsters!  :)



  • i am about to build my new pfsense box using similar hardware except i got the inwin BQS656.dd120bl case since it came with a external 120watt power adapter.



  • There's something wrong with your build, or your climate, if you're at 70C.  You really don't need multiple fans.  In some installs you won't need any at all.



  • The 40mm fans are on their way to me.  I have the box in a closet that is kind a hot without any air circulation.  I have a 120mm fan on top of it now blowing down, and it runs at 32 degrees C at low CPU utilization.  I will have a better idea how it runs with 1, 2, or 3 fans when I receive my fans later this week.  I think I will really only need 2 fans at most.



  • Two fans came in tonight.  Installed them just now.  The 8 cores are running at between 27 to 29 degrees C with 2% of CPU utilization.  Even with the fan speed set to Standard (slowest) through IPMI, the fans are noisy.  The box is in a closet so it is okay for me.



  • Here are a few pictures with a picoPSU.  I will have the 4-pin power brick and wires tonight :D



  • Nice pics Sir Loin. What's the front USB for?

    I really wish Supermicro offered this mitx board with a 2358 CPU. Even if they did it would be overkill for my needs but at 7w TDP cooling wouldn't be an issue.



  • @Jason:

    There's something wrong with your build, or your climate, if you're at 70C.  You really don't need multiple fans.  In some installs you won't need any at all.

    It's the climate. I've got two of these motherboards (in different cases, one of them is the 1U Rack case from Supermicro itself) and they both run at 70C temperature. None of these boxes operate in air conditioned server rooms.
    Throwing a fan on top of them reduces temperature drastically.



  • Got the new power brick that Jason recommends last night.  Now I have 3 fans installed, too.  I added a couple Low-Noise-Adapter (L.N.A) from my other Noctua  NF-F12 fans and now they run very quiet in the closet and at about 32 degrees C at about 3% CPU utilization.  Pretty good.  I have a couple more pictures to post later with the new power brick and fans.  :D



  • @Jailer:

    Nice pics Sir Loin. What's the front USB for?

    The front USB can be used for your USB memory stick boot drive or a USB wifi stick.  The case comes with a USB extension cable that you can plug into the motherboard.  Unfortunately this is USB 2.0 only (on the case) and there isn't a USB 2.0 header on this Supermicro motherboard, so it is left unconnected on my setup.



  • Thank you for sharing! Nice pictures.

    My MSI Z97I AC with a dual core Intel Pentium G3460 is running at 45°C-47°C at 3% CPU usage with just the stock Intel cooler and one intake fan provided with the case. Since I have just 2 fan headers on the mobo I am not using the include case outtake fan.

    I will add some extra (LED) fans for some "extra coolness" 8)  in the near feature. ;)

    (Case is not in a closet but "on display" in my computer room)



  • Here are a few more pictures with the new power setup.

    The complete setup.  The new 4-pin power supply and a 4-pin extension cable.  I added one Y-cable and two low noise cable from my Nortura fans.  Also you can see the cable that draws power from the motherboard to the SSD.  picoPSU is no longer needed.

    From the side, you can see the 4-pin extension cable connected to the 4-pin connector on the motherboard.  You can also see the fan Y-cables.

    I need to find a very short SATA cable.  Not sure if one exists.

    The third fan installed, configured to blow outward.  The top two fans are configured to blow down and into the case.

    4-pin power connector installed on the back of the case.  Had to cut the center part of the hole off.



  • BTW, I had this error from the VGA output:

    Igb3: Could not setup receive structures
    

    I needed to do this below to get the system to work.  It is from https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Tuning_and_Troubleshooting_Network_Cards

    Intel igb(4) and em(4) Cards

    Certain intel igb cards, especially multi-port cards, can very easily exhaust mbufs and cause kernel panics, especially on amd64. The following tweak will prevent this from being an issue:
    In /boot/loader.conf.local - Add the following (or create the file if it does not exist):

    kern.ipc.nmbclusters="1000000"
    

    That will increase the amount of network memory buffers, allowing the driver enough headroom for its optimal operation.

    To avoid this, only enable WAN and LAN during setup, then go to the shell to create the file (if it isn't there already) and edit it.  I went to the shell (use VGA out or IPMI) and downloaded nano editor (I don't use VI, which is built in already).

    pkg_add -r ftp://ftp-archive.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD-Archive/ports/i386/packages-8.1-release/Latest/nano.tbz  
    
    

    pkg is not part of pfsense.  Follow the steps in this link to bootstrap pkg on pfsense:

    https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Installing_FreeBSD_Packages



  • @Sir:

    BTW, I had this error from the VGA output:

    Igb3: Could not setup receive structures
    

    I needed to do this below to get the system to work.  It is from https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Tuning_and_Troubleshooting_Network_Cards

    I really don't see what triggers this at certain people.
    I've got the very same motherboard using gigabit internet and dual WAN on two of the ports, using VLANs on the others, and my MBUFs are only at 14%. No tweak needed.
    I start fearing that this is gonna hit me unexpectedly one day, so I'm trying to understand what's the logic behind.



  • @Sir Loin: Do you have a wattage meter available to you to measure how much power your setup draws from the wall? Thank you for sharing your build!



  • Yes, I do have a Killawatt.  I can plug it in to see what kind of wattage it is pulling.  It should be less than 20W.



  • here is mine in a inwin BQ656.DD120 case that comes with an external powersupply for $64
    i added a noctua 40mm cpu cooler to keep my board running at 31C




  • @Fredster:

    @Sir Loin: Do you have a wattage meter available to you to measure how much power your setup draws from the wall? Thank you for sharing your build!

    I plugged in my Killawatt yesterday when I installed a new, shorter SATA cable.  It is about 16 to 20 Watts during boot up, and about 21-22 watts at about 3% CPU utilization.  The only thing drawing power besides the motherboard and the RAM is a Samsung 850 Evo 250GB SSD.  This SSD draws on average 4 Watts and 50 mWatts during idle.  I only did a quick look last night.  I will check again to night.

    For shorter SATA cables, I found two that work. 
    6-inch: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009GUKTQK
    4-inch: http://www.amazon.com/Pack-Double-Locking-SATA-III-Cables/dp/B00KRSM3JG/ (this is a 5-pack)

    I would rather have the 4-inch one, but I only needed one, so I got the 6-inch cable instead.  Beats having a 10-inch, 12-inch, or 18-inch SATA cable in the case blocking air flow.

    The absolute shortest SATA cable I can find is this:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Power-SATA-Data-Cable-for-XBOX-One-Disk-Drive-DG-6M1S-/221778473401

    It works if you connect to port 5 or 6, but not port 0.



  • Checked again tonight.

    • 2% CPU

    • CPU cores at 31C to 34C

    • Killawatt shows 17.7W to 18.0W



  • i added a noctua 92mm case fan that's near dead silent to my case and now all 8 cores runs at 25-28c which is perfect.



  • scuzy, how did you install the fan onto the case?  Do you have pictures you can show us?  Thanks.



  • i'll take a picture tonight. But basically i tapped 4 holes on the grill with a dremel and screwed the fan onto the grill :)



  • Nice system !, how will it perform on a 500/500 fiber connection ? ( vpn , std fire-walling)





  • @Scuzy, @Sir Loin: Have you done some iperf tests on the systems?



  • Would like to know how it performances with packages such as snort and clamav turned on. Thanks a bunch ;)



  • i have snort, squid, clamav running on mine and it's never gone past 2-3% but my network is small about 40 devices for home use.



  • I love this thread. I've been on the fence for this mobo combo and jumping to PFSense for a long time. I've got 1Gb Century Link and no one has tested anything even remotely close to those speeds yet.  I'm only looking to Route/FW…maybe something else in the future for testing/learning, but I need a reliable 1Gb machine for huge fast transfers.  Anyone confidently able to say this will handle those speeds?

    Thanks,

    Bryan



  • @tssrshot:

    I love this thread. I've been on the fence for this mobo combo and jumping to PFSense for a long time. I've got 1Gb Century Link and no one has tested anything even remotely close to those speeds yet.  I'm only looking to Route/FW…maybe something else in the future for testing/learning, but I need a reliable 1Gb machine for huge fast transfers.  Anyone confidently able to say this will handle those speeds?

    Thanks,

    Bryan

    As others where reporting that they where getting with an lower end Alix APU board WAN speed around
    600 - 650 MBit/s so the C2758 would be sufficient enough for a 1 GBit/s ISP link.

    To be sure I would go with an Intel Xeon E3-1231v3 / 4 cpu cores / 3,4 GHz
    and an Intel I210-T1 server network adapter.



  • 3GHz Core2Duo machines with Intel NICs should top out around 1.2-1.4Gbps.  Power draw for my Lenovo M58p is 38W idle and 50-60W under heavy load.  This was a $80 refurb box from NewEgg, plus $80 for a PCIe Intel Pro/1000 dual-port NIC refurb.



  • @tssrshot:

    I love this thread. I've been on the fence for this mobo combo and jumping to PFSense for a long time. I've got 1Gb Century Link and no one has tested anything even remotely close to those speeds yet.  I'm only looking to Route/FW…maybe something else in the future for testing/learning, but I need a reliable 1Gb machine for huge fast transfers.  Anyone confidently able to say this will handle those speeds?

    Thanks,

    Bryan

    Check www.servethehome.com

    Theyve got a TON of reviews and benchmarks on these boards.

    http://www.servethehome.com/supermicro-a1sri-2758f-review-rangeley/

    They pretty much sold me on the C2750 Avoton for my FreeNAS server as well on the C2558 Rangeley for my pfSense build



  • Thanks for the parts list! I ordered the 4 core 2558 for my home :)



  • @Justin0:

    Thanks for the parts list! I ordered the 4 core 2558 for my home :)

    You are welcome.  Glad the information was useful to you.  Do post here to let us know your experience of your build.



  • Thanks for this interesting post. I am not clear about the power supply. You posted a link to a power brick "150w AC-DC Power Adapter, 12v 12.5A with 4-pin connector".  Is there a picopsu needed along with this external power brick?



  • The Supermicro A1SRi-2xx8 motherboards have a direct 12V power input on the motherboard which looks just like the 4-pin connector on top left of this picture:

    Check out in the manual PDF, it's the plug labelled J1.

    It needs a cable which ends in a plug like this:

    According to the manual:
    Do not use the 4-pin DC power J1 when the 24-pin ATX Power JPW1 is connected to the power supply. Do not plug in both J1 and JPW1 at the same time.

    So, instead a pico psu, you can use straight a 12V power source to feed the motherboard by using a direct cable. Depending on what case or cables you have, such a cable can be soldered with ease to fit your need.
    I just took a cable like this:

    Cut off the female part and soldered to the DC-in jack on the case (de-soldered the case's original pico-psu-style DC adaptation).
    Be sure to check the pinout of the plug in the manual, it's on page 39 of the PDF, chapter 2-6, to respect +/- polarity.



  • Robi is correct.  For this particular motherboard series from Supermicro, you either need a picoPSU for the 20-pin connector, or a power supply with a 4-pin connector, BUT NOT BOTH.  Links to both items are on the first post of this thread in the Power Supply section.  Post here if you have more questions.



  • Mostly this is pointed and related to the case you are using, as I see it right, correct me please if I am wrong with this.
    As an exaple:

    • The original Supermicro mini ITX cases comes with a power button that is able to be sorted with the cable shown below
      in the post of @robi and then for sure you must be using the 4-pin connector in the upper left corner.
    • But if you get an ordinary mini ITX case like the M350 from mini-itx.com you should be or must be using the
      24-pin connector with something like the PICO psu.


  • No, this part list does not include any case from Supermicro.  The only case in this part list is the M350 case, which is not a Supermicro case.  With this M350 case and this motherboard you can use EITHER the 4-pin power supply OR the 20-pin picoPSU,  BUT NOT BOTH at the same time.



  • @Sir:

    No, this part list does not include any case from Supermicro.  The only case in this part list is the M350 case, which is not a Supermicro case.  With this M350 case and this motherboard you can use EITHER the 4-pin power supply OR the 20-pin picoPSU,  BUT NOT BOTH at the same time.

    • 1 from me, oki doki I understand this now.


  • @robi - Is your Speedtest signature reflect the performance of the Supermicro A1SRi-2758f motherboard on a Gigabit broadband?

    For those with tree fans installed, just how loud is the unit?

    For normal desktop installation in a typical home environment, is one fan sufficient if standard firewall functions?


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