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Intel vs Supermicro vs ASRock


dalem
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I am looking for everyones experience with the above mentioned brands for server boards.  I have always used Intel server motherboards.  I have noticed that many of you in HSS forum use ASRock.  I know many of the members of the FreeNAS forums rave about the Supermicro board.
After doing some searching on NewEgg and other resellers.  I have found that the most complaints are against Supermicro.  I am willing to try a ASRock or Supermicro.  Though I am leaning more toward Intel (since i know them) or ASRock.

This is the Intel board I was going to buy for my Plex server build.  I will be using an E3-1241 V3 cpu with it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121782

 

Thanks, 

Dale

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SuperMicro has a lot of complaints against them because they're  a higher end, enterprise manufacturer.  They don't specialize in consumer electronics. 

Also, their support, while helpful usually, is very terse and to the point.  Though, I've never had to RMA. 

But I would highly recommend their hardware. Without a second thought. 

 

I've also used ASRock and ASRock RACK (different divisions of the same company), and their support has been fantastic. 

 

I haven't actually used Intel boards, so I really can't comment on those. But I've had good experiences with the others. 

 

 

Aside from that, it really depends on what you're looking for:

  • generation CPU are you looking at (or have already)
  • generation of RAM (DDR3 vs DDR4)
  • Type of RAM (ECC, non-ECC)
  • amount of RAM
  • Number of network adapters
  • Additional features, such as M.2, NVMe support, etc
  • "out of band management" (eg, managing the server from the network, without having to hook up a monitor, keyboard or the like)
  • form factor (ATX, uATX/MicroATX, Mini-ITX, SSE-CEB, etc) 
  • How many drives you want to hook up (with or without a controller card)
  • And the most important question: What do you plan on doing with the system? 

 

These all make a huge difference in what you plan on looking for, and what manufacturer you plan on using. 

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I have used Intel server boards for years. Rock solid, but very limited in configuration. I have used a good number of SuperMicro and have had good luck with them as well. Lately when I have had the opportunity to BYOS, I have use ASRock Rack boards. Good features and support. I have also had good luck with desktop boards from ASRock. Make sure you check both websites ASRock and ASRock Rack.

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SuperMicro has a lot of complaints against them because they're  a higher end, enterprise manufacturer.  They don't specialize in consumer electronics. 

Also, their support, while helpful usually, is very terse and to the point.  Though, I've never had to RMA. 

But I would highly recommend their hardware. Without a second thought. 

 

I've also used ASRock and ASRock RACK (different divisions of the same company), and their support has been fantastic. 

 

I haven't actually used Intel boards, so I really can't comment on those. But I've had good experiences with the others. 

 

 

Aside from that, it really depends on what you're looking for:

  • generation CPU are you looking at (or have already)
  • generation of RAM (DDR3 vs DDR4)
  • Type of RAM (ECC, non-ECC)
  • amount of RAM
  • Number of network adapters
  • Additional features, such as M.2, NVMe support, etc
  • "out of band management" (eg, managing the server from the network, without having to hook up a monitor, keyboard or the like)
  • form factor (ATX, uATX/MicroATX, Mini-ITX, SSE-CEB, etc) 
  • How many drives you want to hook up (with or without a controller card)
  • And the most important question: What do you plan on doing with the system? 

 

These all make a huge difference in what you plan on looking for, and what manufacturer you plan on using. 

 

I know what you mean.  I have read reviews of NAS units when they came out on the market.  People were complaining about how bad they were.  Then you find out they had 5 standard desktop drives.  When use desktop drives in a raid.  Your success may vary.  So I can see people complaining about board when they are use to consumer grade.

 

I am building a Plex server on Debian.  It will be a E3-1241 V3 3.5 ghz with 16 gb ECC.  I will be using 4 or 5 2 TB WD Red's.  Depends on if I want to use Raid 5 or 6.  I am leaning toward 6 because of the size of the drives.  I need to browse the forum and see what raid card everyone is using.  I would use motherboard raid.  Except I am using Plex and it will be transcoding video.  I don't want the server transcoding and calculating parity.

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I have used Intel server boards for years. Rock solid, but very limited in configuration. I have used a good number of SuperMicro and have had good luck with them as well. Lately when I have had the opportunity to BYOS, I have use ASRock Rack boards. Good features and support. I have also had good luck with desktop boards from ASRock. Make sure you check both websites ASRock and ASRock Rack.

That is why I decided to look at other manufacturers.  I have looked at the SuperMicro boards other members have suggested.  They look like very decent boards.  

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I own one SuperMicro board and for a server platform, I will never go anywhere else.  The monitoring software alone is worth the difference in price.  I understand the comment about support being curt and to the point.  These are not consumer electronic parts.

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I am building a Plex server on Debian.  It will be a E3-1241 V3 3.5 ghz with 16 gb ECC.  I will be using 4 or 5 2 TB WD Red's.  Depends on if I want to use Raid 5 or 6.  I am leaning toward 6 because of the size of the drives.  I need to browse the forum and see what raid card everyone is using.  I would use motherboard raid.  Except I am using Plex and it will be transcoding video.  I don't want the server transcoding and calculating parity.

 

 

Well, a majority of the people are are Windows guys, and we can recommend stuff for Windows a lot more readily.  (eg, grab StableBit DrivePool and StableBit Scanner, and an HBA card)

 

However, if you are going to use Debian, then I have a few recommendations: 

 

Grab an LSI based card.  If you want cheap and/or don't mind flashing the card, grab an IBM ServeRAID M1015 card.  It's LSI based, supports up to 8 drives without anything extra (SAS Expanders, which are very nice), and can be found for sub-$100. 

LSI cards are enterprise grade cards and absolutely fantastic.  You won't find better controllers, IMO. 

 

But grab an HBA card, not a RAID card.  

 

The reason: ZFS. 

ZFS allows for integrity checking, various RAID type configurations, Re-slivering/scrubbing, and a number of other advanced features.  

 

Because of this, it is VERY popular in the linux home server community (for good reason). 

 

 

 

 

As for the motherboard, I personally use a SuperMicro X10SAT, and it is fantastic. 

But for MicroATX, I'd recommend something like the SuperMicro X10SLL+-F or the ASRock RACK E3C222D4U

For full ATX, I'd recommend the SuperMicro X10SAT, or the ASRock RACK E3C224-V4L

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Well, a majority of the people are are Windows guys, and we can recommend stuff for Windows a lot more readily.  (eg, grab StableBit DrivePool and StableBit Scanner, and an HBA card)

 

However, if you are going to use Debian, then I have a few recommendations: 

 

Grab an LSI based card.  If you want cheap and/or don't mind flashing the card, grab an IBM ServeRAID M1015 card.  It's LSI based, supports up to 8 drives without anything extra (SAS Expanders, which are very nice), and can be found for sub-$100. 

LSI cards are enterprise grade cards and absolutely fantastic.  You won't find better controllers, IMO. 

 

But grab an HBA card, not a RAID card.  

 

The reason: ZFS. 

ZFS allows for integrity checking, various RAID type configurations, Re-slivering/scrubbing, and a number of other advanced features.  

 

Because of this, it is VERY popular in the linux home server community (for good reason). 

 

 

 

 

As for the motherboard, I personally use a SuperMicro X10SAT, and it is fantastic. 

But for MicroATX, I'd recommend something like the SuperMicro X10SLL+-F or the ASRock RACK E3C222D4U

For full ATX, I'd recommend the SuperMicro X10SAT, or the ASRock RACK E3C224-V4L

Thank you very much.  I have read about ZFS in the FreeNAS forums.  Sounds like a good filesystem.

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