1. Silverstone's CS280 M-ITX NAS Chassis reviewed here!
    Dismiss Notice

NFC S4 Mini #083 - Safety Orange

Discussion in 'Build Logs' started by rokabeka, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. rokabeka

    rokabeka network packet manipulator
    Thread Starter Silver Supporter

    #1 rokabeka, Aug 3, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2017
    Hello,

    I will try to assemble a pretty powerful and probably hard-to-cool machine with an NFC S4 Mini. The challenge is not really the PCI-E card because that will be 'only' a NIC. It is the CPU itself. I would like to try some CPUs from 65W to 135W.
    Materials as of now:
    * mobo: Asrock Rack EPC612D4I because it has 4 channels
    * PSU: HDPlex 250W, the 'classic' one used in many S4 Mini builds. Have a HP 240W brick for this.
    * CPU: E5-2650L v4 (engineering sample, for cheap, from ebay)
    * CPU cooler: Dynatron t318 heatsink with a rosewill 120x15 slim fan
    * memory: 4x8G Kingston KVR21SE15D8/8HA from the supported list
    * NIC: 2x Intel XL710-QDA2

    The case is a 'Just Orange' version with Blaze plastidip shots. Gives it a unique texture and a hint of a nuclear reactor orange color.

    This will not be a lightning-fast project because the main goal is to have the fastest available virtual router for us. It means changing CPU, cooling and probably the NIC, too, so all the components will be tested and tuned on a bench and will be installed into the case only when the config is close to the final.
    As the S4 Mini offers plenty of space for PCI-E card maybe I will try to use 2 cards (x8) through bifurcation (to get closer to the theoretical maximum of 64Gbps) if the NIC has other bottlenecks or the 4x10G mode will be preferred.

    No pictures yet :)
     
    Biowarejak, Soul_Est and Josh | NFC like this.
  2. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia aka James
    Kimera Industries

    Welcome to the forum!

    That'll be easy. Keeping it cool and quiet is the tough part ;)
     
  3. rokabeka

    rokabeka network packet manipulator
    Thread Starter Silver Supporter

    ohyeah :) S4 Mini deserves to be visible all the time. It also means it has to be quiet because it will run a lot right next to me in my cubicle.
    The blower on the heatsink will be controlled and planning to do some other enhancements if the cooling will not be sufficient. No tests done yet so I am only hoping that my dynatron combo will work.
     
  4. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia aka James
    Kimera Industries

    #4 Aibohphobia, Aug 3, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2016
    With the 65W TDP chip you have specced now it shouldn't be too difficult. Quietly cooling a 135W CPU in the S4 Mini will be a challenge though.

    Out of curiosity though, why is a box like this sitting on your desk and not in a rack in a network closet somewhere?
     
  5. |||

    ||| King of Cable Management
    Moderator

    I'd recommend checking out the cooling solution @vluft used in his build.
     
  6. rokabeka

    rokabeka network packet manipulator
    Thread Starter Silver Supporter

    sure. this build will be a demo machine. to emphasize single socket performance we can do. I am hoping to impress the audience with a small build like this. no other reasons to make it standalone mini-server. apart from the fact that I love mini itx form :)

    thank you. his choice of fan might be lower in noise and better in cooling. I was thinking about the scythe slim fan but this Akasa sounds promising, too.
     
    Aibohphobia and Phuncz like this.
  7. Phuncz

    Phuncz Spatial Philosopher
    Moderator Gold Supporter

    Don't forget to actively cool the 10G cards if you go that route, they tend to need a little fresh air.
     
  8. rokabeka

    rokabeka network packet manipulator
    Thread Starter Silver Supporter

    yep, thank you. there are two versions of this 2x40G card (hehehe :D) one has larger heatsinks on it, even the QSFP slot has some. I have chosen that one. will be easily and silently cooled.
     
  9. vluft

    vluft programmer-at-arms
    Silver Supporter

    yup, the one concern I'd have with the Akasa is it's scraping the top of my ram as is, and aren't sodimms a little taller? might be an issue.

    The scythe was my backup choice but yeah the Akasa claims at least fairly significantly higher static pressure and should run quieter. Can confirm for me at least that it's not obnoxiously loud though you do get a little bit of noise with the side panel on right above it. (not unpleasant, to my ear, but might bother you if such things do.)
     
  10. |||

    ||| King of Cable Management
    Moderator

    I was thinking that, too, but LTT is doing a build with precisely this board and heatsink.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It looks like the SO-DIMMs are no higher than the top of the fins, especially from the second image. They are using the Noctua NF-A9x14 fan for their build, which only covers the heat sink.
     
    Phuncz likes this.
  11. vluft

    vluft programmer-at-arms
    Silver Supporter

    Ahh, that works out, heh. And yeah, I just checked the specs and for DDR4 should be 30mm height for both. Wonder if somebody makes 32gb sodimms yet so you could shove 128gb on that board... (well, technically, people do make 64gb and 128gb rdimms which might even work on the x99e-itx [unsupported of course] but last I checked the 64gb are still $750 and the 128gb I don't even wanna think even once Samsung gets those going properly.)
     
  12. Phuncz

    Phuncz Spatial Philosopher
    Moderator Gold Supporter

    Are you going with QSFP or copper ? I haven't seen a copper one, that's why I ask. I'm curious for the end result, keep us up to date !
     
  13. rokabeka

    rokabeka network packet manipulator
    Thread Starter Silver Supporter

    the connector itself is QSFP. There are both copper and optical cables available. For the tests I have copper. QSFP-QSFP and QSFP-4xSFP breakout cables, too. I promise to post pictures within couple of days.

    the whole setup is being built in my old realan e-i7 case just to keep the components together.
     
    Phuncz likes this.
  14. BirdofPrey

    BirdofPrey Standards Guru
    Silver Supporter

    What, exactly, are you doing that can properly utilize use such a high speed network?
    Or are you just doing it because
     
  15. rokabeka

    rokabeka network packet manipulator
    Thread Starter Silver Supporter

    this will probably a bit boring for some but here are the details:
    we have been developing a flexible x86-based virtual router platform. it is based on DPDK with many modifications and extensions designed by us. we made it hypervisor agnostic (at least virtualbox/qemu/kvm/xen are fine, no amazon cloud or azure tested yet) but runs in native mode, too. performance degradation in virtualized mode is negligable compared to native (even in case of multi-socket). with all the features added to the virtual router (subscriber handling, lots of protocols, etc) it is CPU-bound. of course. just doing a simple rx, swapping dst and src addresses and sending packet out is not a problem, a few cores can utilize 40G full duplex. but in case of serious packet manipulation or services you do not only use L3 cache but need to go to the RAM.
    The enhancements we made are affecting memory management and portability. And the demo is about to show them within the company. a regular 2x10G card is simply not enough, on 12-14(-16) cores we need something bigger.
    Please ping me in private if you still have questions. I do not want to kill this thread with such boring and non-hw related writeups :)
     
    EdZ and Phuncz like this.
  16. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia aka James
    Kimera Industries

    So what you mean to say is I can ask you for help when I'm having issues with my wireless router right?
     
    Biowarejak, iFreilicht and Phuncz like this.
  17. rokabeka

    rokabeka network packet manipulator
    Thread Starter Silver Supporter

    not at all :D for that I am googling, too.
    asking questions when you're having performance issues with a home-grown firmware on your wifi router is closer. or rather having performance issues regarding packet processing on x86.
     
    Phuncz likes this.
  18. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia aka James
    Kimera Industries

    lol

    But seriously, I don't mind this kind of thing. I think it's cool to see people with deep technical expertise in things like that. It's especially neat to see how SFF contributes to your otherwise unrelated field.
     
    Chann3l and Phuncz like this.
  19. rokabeka

    rokabeka network packet manipulator
    Thread Starter Silver Supporter

    thank you.
    I could already visualize a demo with many standalone sff boxes on a table with optical cables between them. it is more appealing than having a lab with server racks. based on the plans of this single box there was already a co-worker asking for one for himself. small size is obviously a serious advantage when you have a small desk and there is no way you can (or want) to have a regular desktop machine. not to mention that NFC S4 Mini is the size of 'take your server home' in this case, so almost the same way as packing a notebook you can pack this, too. special needs - special build.
     
  20. Phuncz

    Phuncz Spatial Philosopher
    Moderator Gold Supporter

    Just be sure to brief the people at the demos of the hardware inside, many people not deep into hardware still think a PC's size is more or less equal to its performance.