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Lenovo ThinkServer


talldave
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In my build list I forgot the Blu-Ray Burner so it is as follows:

 

- Lenova TS140                                                     $235 New on Amazon (price has since gone up and is also more expensive on Newegg)

- ICY Dock                                                              $33 New on Newegg

- Win 7 64-bit Pro OS                                             $79  OEM at Royal Discount Software

- 2X Seagate 4TB HDD                                          $278 ($139 x 2) New on Newegg

- 1X HGST 4TB HDD                                              $139 New on Newegg

- Samsung 840 128GB SSD                                   $89 New on Newegg

- 4X8GB G-Skil Ripjaw pc3-12800 UDIMM              $240 New on Newegg

- Sabrent 64-in-1 card reader                                 $10 New on Newegg

- Hauppage WinTV 2240 PCIe Dual Tuner card     $57 Used on eBay

- Intel i350-T2 Dual gigabit ethernet PCIe card       $94 New on eBay

- Logitech K400 Refurb Wireless Keyboard            $14 Refurbished on Newegg

- Orick 7 port USB 3.0 powered Hub                        $12 New on Newegg

- 3X 18" SATA III Cables with 90 degree end           $9 New on Newegg

- 1X 24" SATA III Cable, straight ends locking         $5 New on Newegg

- 3X 3' Cat 6 flat ethernet cables                             $4 New on Newegg

- ASUS 16X Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Burner                      $44 New on Newegg (with MIR)

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-Total Build                                                              $1342

 

I was trying to keep things below $1000 but I wanted to see if I could get a high bandwidth system and got a little carried away putting all the features in.   I didn't really need the Intel i350-T2 card, the 7-port USB 3.0 hub, the extra 16GB DIMM, or even the Sabrent 64-in-1 card reader.   I could also really live without the ASUS Blu-Ray Burner but I have no other Blu-Ray reader so this was a reasonable purchase for a media center.

 

The only thing that could be improved on this system are a CPU upgrade and a really high end video card.  With the performance I am seeing now, I don't need either one.   This one will keep me busy learning for quite a while.  I have to figure out the remote access capabilities built in to this server which are not well documented. 

 

Also, I have to get a handle on integration of the 3X ethernet ports to maximize bandwidth I/O.    I have run a few tests where I send data streams from 3 separate workstations/servers to different internal HDD"s on this TS140 server through a central unmanaged switch.   The total bandwidth rate is more than 1.5Gbps but not close to the 3Gbps that I was hoping for.  According to Windows Network Center, I have 3 gigabit ethernet connections but only 2 of them are receiving/transmitting data at any one time.   When I test each connection, they all work fine and each of them will send/transmit data if I make them work individually.   Maybe I need to load the drivers for the i350-T4 quad ethernet port card to get all 3 of these ports to work simultaneously.  It could also be that the port management is working properly and there is a hardware restriction somewhere....   More fun anyway. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I purchased a TS140 70A4001LUX (the one with the Xeon E3-1255) last week for $327 on Amazon.  It was an outstanding deal.  It arrived yesterday and I can confirm that it will hold not three but five 3.5" HDDs!  This was a nice surprise.  The DVD-ROM is slim and the cage in which it is mounted has screw holes for a drive.  The 5.25" bay has holes for a drive and the 3.5" bay will accomodate one.  Couple those with the 2 existing internal bays and you've just eliminated one of the disadvantages the TS130 had compared to the Microserver. 

At the present I haven't ordered my drives yet, but once I do I may start a build thread.  This server is such a bargain that it may need it's own section in the forums.

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FE29IWK/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Edited by Griff
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I purchased a TS140 70A4001LUX (the one with the Xeon E3-1255) last week for $327 on Amazon.  It was an outstanding deal.  It arrived yesterday and I can confirm that it will hold not three but five 3.5" HDDs!  This was a nice surprise.  The DVD-ROM is slim and the cage in which it is mounted has screw holes for a drive.  The 5.25" bay has holes for a drive and the 3.5" bay will accomodate one.  Couple those with the 2 existing internal bays and you've just eliminated one of the disadvantages the TS130 had compared to the Microserver. 

At the present I haven't ordered my drives yet, but once I do I may start a build thread.  This server is such a bargain that it may need it's own section in the forums.

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FE29IWK/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Looks nice. How about a review with pics when you get it set up?

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Where I work, I just recommended to buy these servers for running ESXi 5.5

We bought 3x TS130 and 1x TS140 (all with E3-1225 Xeon CPU & 4GB of RAM)

I put all 4 pieces of 4GB into one TS130,

and we purchased 12 pieces of 8GB ECC Kingston RAM for the other 3 Servers (32GB each).

 

We needed to purchase an Intel NIC card for ESXi.

 

ESXi 5.5 runs very smooth on these.  As a matter of fact, they run it so well, I ended up buying a TS130 & a TS140 from Amazon.com for my personal use

 

TS130 spec is: Xeon E3-1225 v2 with 4GB

TS140 spec is: Xeon E3-1225 v3 with 4GB

 

I would recommend the TS140 over TS130 for 5 reasons

 

#1 - I got my TS140 for $316.03 vs $329.99 for TS130

#2 - TS140 supports RAID 0/1/5/10 while TS130 only supports RAID 0/1  (though it makes no difference at my setup, because I'm running Intel SSD single drive)

#3 - TS140 does have more PCIe expansion slots (so if you upgrade the power supply, you can use these to mine your lite coins and doge coins)

#4 - TS140 has PCIe Gen3

#5 - TS140 has an extra Display Port, with slightly more advanced integrated display chipset.

 

Other than that, the two CPU performs about the same (E3-1225v2 vs E3-1225v3 really utilizes about the same power, and performs about the same under ESXi, under Debian Wheezy 7, under Ubuntu, under CentOS, under Windoze 7, they are similar in all aspects.  Of course, I haven't put the video into test, because the nature of my job really requires very minimum use of video.

 

the 280W power supply is extremely quiet.  These computers work well as a low end server, as a mid-end workstation, as a high-end desktop.

please beware, these servers bought from Amazon, at these prices, do not come with hard drive caddies.  So SSD works just fine, but regular hard drives will need caddies to fix properly.  My micky mouse way is to place the anti-static bag under the hard drive, you can mount the hard drives to the 3.5" bay.  But they won't be very easy for hot swap.  And one other thing is, the RAID is only supported under Windoze.  Strongly suggest a proper RAID card if you want to do anything serious with these.33dkvm8.png

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In my build list I forgot the Blu-Ray Burner so it is as follows:

 

- Lenova TS140                                                     $235 New on Amazon (price has since gone up and is also more expensive on Newegg)

- ICY Dock                                                              $33 New on Newegg

- Win 7 64-bit Pro OS                                             $79  OEM at Royal Discount Software

- 2X Seagate 4TB HDD                                          $278 ($139 x 2) New on Newegg

- 1X HGST 4TB HDD                                              $139 New on Newegg

- Samsung 840 128GB SSD                                   $89 New on Newegg

- 4X8GB G-Skil Ripjaw pc3-12800 UDIMM              $240 New on Newegg

- Sabrent 64-in-1 card reader                                 $10 New on Newegg

- Hauppage WinTV 2240 PCIe Dual Tuner card     $57 Used on eBay

- Intel i350-T2 Dual gigabit ethernet PCIe card       $94 New on eBay

- Logitech K400 Refurb Wireless Keyboard            $14 Refurbished on Newegg

- Orick 7 port USB 3.0 powered Hub                        $12 New on Newegg

- 3X 18" SATA III Cables with 90 degree end           $9 New on Newegg

- 1X 24" SATA III Cable, straight ends locking         $5 New on Newegg

- 3X 3' Cat 6 flat ethernet cables                             $4 New on Newegg

- ASUS 16X Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Burner                      $44 New on Newegg (with MIR)

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-Total Build                                                              $1342

 

I was trying to keep things below $1000 but I wanted to see if I could get a high bandwidth system and got a little carried away putting all the features in.   I didn't really need the Intel i350-T2 card, the 7-port USB 3.0 hub, the extra 16GB DIMM, or even the Sabrent 64-in-1 card reader.   I could also really live without the ASUS Blu-Ray Burner but I have no other Blu-Ray reader so this was a reasonable purchase for a media center.

 

The only thing that could be improved on this system are a CPU upgrade and a really high end video card.  With the performance I am seeing now, I don't need either one.   This one will keep me busy learning for quite a while.  I have to figure out the remote access capabilities built in to this server which are not well documented. 

 

Also, I have to get a handle on integration of the 3X ethernet ports to maximize bandwidth I/O.    I have run a few tests where I send data streams from 3 separate workstations/servers to different internal HDD"s on this TS140 server through a central unmanaged switch.   The total bandwidth rate is more than 1.5Gbps but not close to the 3Gbps that I was hoping for.  According to Windows Network Center, I have 3 gigabit ethernet connections but only 2 of them are receiving/transmitting data at any one time.   When I test each connection, they all work fine and each of them will send/transmit data if I make them work individually.   Maybe I need to load the drivers for the i350-T4 quad ethernet port card to get all 3 of these ports to work simultaneously.  It could also be that the port management is working properly and there is a hardware restriction somewhere....   More fun anyway. 

May I purchase your 4GB ECC RAM module? :P

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May I purchase your 4GB ECC RAM module? :P

I also purchased one of the TS140's with the Xeon E3-1225 chipsets.  I put the 4GB modules from the other servers into that for a total of 12GB.  I found that the Windows 7 WEI was actually higher with the Lenovo factory ECC DIMM's (I have both Hynix & Samsung chips in the box) than with either 16GB or 32GB G-Skill Ripjaw X non-ECC DIMM's.  The WEI score for the G-Skill DIMM's is 7.4 and the WEI score for the factory DIMM's is 7.7.

 

There is no capability in the BIOS to adjust the DIMM speed, voltage, or latency.  I will probably just add another 4GB or 8GB module to fill the remaining slot on my board.

 

A few other observations about these TS140's...

I really like these boxes.  They have a lot of features that I just can't get with the G7 N54L.

 

If you are setting up a media server/HTPC with them, they make a fantastic box.  Albeit one that is in a bigger profile than the microserver.  My application makes this size difference immaterial so I really appreciate being able to access the M.B. and other internals quickly compared to the N54L microserver. 

 

I tried to save money by buying used parts.  I purchased a used Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual Tuner Kit which doesn't work in this box.  It turned out that Hauppauge has three generations (88021, 88041, and 88061) of which only the latest (88061) works in a PCIe 2.0 slot on the M.B..  I ended up buying a kit new to ensure that I got one that works.   The new card installed and operated perfectly in this box.

 

I have purchased and tried other Intel PCIe gigabit ethernet adapter cards.  Lenovo recommends the i350-T2 (2-port) and i350-T4 (4-port) cards.  I got a i350-T2 which worked perfectly (it was new).  I tried a couple PCIe cards that were Dell branded including one that was a Del i350-T4.  Those cards would not work at all.  The BIOS would not post and I got audible error messages indicating adapter card problems (3-1 beeps).   I recommend staying away from the Dell branded cards since they do not seem to work in the Lenovo TS140. 

 

I also tried a Intel Pro/1000 PCIe card which did not work in the TS140.  It was a PCIe 1.0 card which is supposed to work with PCIe 2.0 (backward compatible). It didn't work in any of the 3 TS140's that I put it in but did work in another server that had PCIe 1.0 slots.  I believe that any cards going into these boxes will have to be PCIe 2.0 or they will not work.   I have not tried out the PCI slot on the M.B. yet to see if anything will work in that.

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I purchased a TS140 70A4001LUX (the one with the Xeon E3-1255) last week for $327 on Amazon.  It was an outstanding deal.  It arrived yesterday and I can confirm that it will hold not three but five 3.5" HDDs!  This was a nice surprise.  The DVD-ROM is slim and the cage in which it is mounted has screw holes for a drive.  The 5.25" bay has holes for a drive and the 3.5" bay will accomodate one.  Couple those with the 2 existing internal bays and you've just eliminated one of the disadvantages the TS130 had compared to the Microserver. 

At the present I haven't ordered my drives yet, but once I do I may start a build thread.  This server is such a bargain that it may need it's own section in the forums.

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FE29IWK/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Dang!

I missed that.  I bought one of these at $388 and thought it was a good price.   Now, they are up to $399.   Kind of like the stock market, I'm either too early, or too late.   Never "Just Right".

 

The 70A4001LUX has a 3.5" fan cooled drive bay in the 5.25" bay below the OD bay.   You might be able to put 2X HDD's in that bay with the correct adapter and caddy's. That would account for 4 HDD's.  The only way to get 5 HDD's is to put the 5th in the 3.5" bay.  If you did that, you would either have to use one of the 5 HDD's as the OS drive and take out the O.D. to get enough SATA ports or, add a SATA controller card which would allow you to have the O.D. drive and hang a SSD somewhere for the OS. 

 

The 70A4000HUX with the Intel i3-4130 has a full height O.D. drive (the 70A4001LUX has a low profile O.D. drive) and the second 5.25" bay is empty with no 3.5" drive bay. 

 

I put the ICY Dock Duoswap bays in two of the TS140's that I built because I think they are a reliable, sturdy build and provide a space for the 2.5" SSD OS drives as well as a 3.5" HDD which I can use for Backups to swap out.  I like to have my drives secured and not just "taped down" somewhere.  I also like the ability to pop out the OS or backup drive without opening up the case. 

 

I could have put a 3.5" HDD in the 3.5" bay but I wanted the card reader for media cards.  This lets me transfer music to cards for music players and cell phones.  I also can deal with DSLR and Camera cards to get the images for further processing.   I was making a media server/HTPC and those are useful tools for that.  For my use as a media server where the drives are 4TB HDD's in raid 0 configuration, I was willing to sacrifice one internal drive.  With all the USB 3.0 ports and external HDD's I have, I can do high speed backups if I want.

 

I have a N54L that I use for a data backup server now.  That one is set up with 2X3TB raid 1 arrays and a backup SSD of my OS SSD (for a total of 6 internal drives) so I do have redundancy of my critical data and OS.  I also have external drives to do backups of the raid 1 arrays. Once I got used to the processing speed and power of these TS140's, the N54L just doesn't hold up for my media processing applications.   It does do a really fine job for me as a data backup server in the configuration that I have.

 

A final observation.   The TS140 is quieter than the N54L even though it has 2 case fans and a CPU cooler fan where the Proliant N54L only has one case fan.   The N54L is not obtrusively loud to me by any means.  The TS140 is just noticeably quieter.   This may be an important decision factor for someone.  I have read reviews of the N54L where the reviewer said that it was very loud.

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  • 2 months later...

For those that may be following this thread we created a sub-forum for the Lenovo ThinkServers.

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These look like nice boxes.

 

You are right, they don't compete with the N54L --but really, I'd consider the N54L two generations behind (even if it is a G7, due to its processor) - the Microserver Gen8 is the appropriate comparison.  I think each have their advantages.

 

The Lenovo  will have better cooling characteristics (larger case generally results in this)

The Lenovo has more expansion slot options

The Lenovo supports more RAM

The Lenovo has more USB3 ports, including one on the front

The Lenovo has a beefier power supply and could handle more of a processor upgrade

 

On the other hand:

The Gen8's iLO is probably the best lights-out management of any server in its class, as it is standardized across the ProLiant Gen8 line.  The Thinkserver has IPMI, but it probably isn't quite as full-featured.

The Gen8 has a dual-gig NIC standard, if you plan on teaming (counterpoint: not too difficult to buy a 2-port Intel NIC for the Thinkserver)

The Gen8 has an HP-supported caching hardware RAID controller option, though it is an aftermarket purchase.  The RAID-5 option on the ThinkServer is still software RAID and (from what I've read) requires an advance license key to unlock this in the controller; to achieve parity, you'd be looking at purchasing an Adaptec or other aftermarket RAID controller.

 

The Lenovo is a better unit if you want a workstation option, with better video, and onboard audio, though that usually falls outside the scope of a server.

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