Setup Notes and Platform Analysis

Our review sample of the Supermicro SM-E100-12T-H came with all necessary components pre-installed - we only had to load up the OS to start our evaluation process. Prior to that, we took some time to look into the BIOS interface. It must be noted that the processor used in the system is vPro-enabled, and the Intel Management Engine BIOS Extensions can be used to set up AMT for remote management. As is typical for systems targeting the embedded market, the main BIOS interface is a vanilla one. It does provide plenty of configuration options. The video below presents the entire gamut of available options.

The block diagram below presents the overall high-speed I/O distribution.

The key takeaway from the block diagram is the extensive support for embedded applications, while also sporting an aggressive outlook in terms of bandwidth allocation. Two separate x1 lanes are allocated to each Intel I225-IT controller for the dual 2.5 GbE LAN ports. There are plenty of serial and digital I/O ports connected to the SMBUS and eSPI pins o the SoC. Hardware TPM is available on board, and a SIM slot is also integrated - particularly useful for cases where the system gets deployed with 4G / 5G connectivity. The USB ports in the front panel are all Gen 2 (10Gbps), and there are plenty of USB 2.0 ports for hooking up legacy equipment.

In today's review, we compare the Supermicro SYS-E100-12T-H and a host of other systems based on processors with TDPs ranging from 15W to 35W. The systems do not target the same market segments, but a few key aspects lie in common, making the comparisons relevant.

Comparative PC Configurations
Aspect Supermicro SM-E100-12T-H
CPU Intel Core i7-1185GRE
Tiger Lake 4C/8T, 1.8 - 4.4 GHz
Intel 10nm SuperFin, 12MB L2, 15W
Intel Core i7-1185GRE
Tiger Lake 4C/8T, 1.8 - 4.4 GHz
Intel 10nm SuperFin, 12MB L2, 15W
GPU Intel Iris Xe Graphics
(96EU @ 1.35 GHz)
Intel Iris Xe Graphics
(96EU @ 1.35 GHz)
22-22-22-52 @ 3200 MHz
2x32 GB
Innodisk M4SE-BGS2OC0M-A DDR4-3200 SODIMM
22-22-22-52 @ 3200 MHz
2x32 GB
Storage Innodisk M.2 (S80) 3TE7 DEM28-B56DK1EW1QF
(256 GB; M.2 2280 SATA III;)
(64L 3D TLC; InnoDisk ID301 Controller)
Innodisk M.2 (S80) 3TE7 DEM28-B56DK1EW1QF
(256 GB; M.2 2280 SATA III;)
(64L 3D TLC; InnoDisk ID301 Controller)
Wi-Fi 2x 2.5 GbE RJ-45 (Intel I225-IT) 2x 2.5 GbE RJ-45 (Intel I225-IT)
Price (in USD, when built) (Street Pricing on June 6th, 2022)
US $1216 (Barebones)
US $1866 (as configured, no OS)
(Street Pricing on June 6th, 2022)
US $1216 (Barebones)
US $1866 (as configured, no OS)

The NUC11 Elk Bay / Fort Beach combination and the ASRock Industrial NUC BOX-1165G7 are included because they utilize Tiger Lake Core i7 processors operating with the same number of cores and cache size, albeit at a higher TDP. The Tiger Canyon NUC11TNKi5 is included as a Tiger Lake representative with the same number of cores, albeit with lesser amount of cache and a higher TDP. The ASUS PN50 is a representation of AMD's offering in this domain, though not targeting the same niche. The OnLogic HX500 and the Intel NUC8i5BEB (Akasa Turing) are included for their fanless nature. Both systems are passively cooled, but have a larger physical footprint to accommodate the higher TDP of the processors used in them. The next few sections will deal with comparative benchmarks for the above systems.

Introduction and Product Impressions System Performance: UL and BAPCo Benchmarks
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  • thestryker - Wednesday, June 8, 2022 - link

    I believe they resolved all of these issues with the third revision of the V. It looks like the IT was released later and is a bit different so it seems like a fairly safe bet this one should be okay.
  • rachana - Friday, July 29, 2022 - link

  • abufrejoval - Thursday, June 9, 2022 - link

    Got an Intel NUC variant with the i7-1165G7 (as well as G8/G10 predecessors).

    Biggest advantage of recent NUCs is the ability to tune PL1/2/TAU and fan parameters freely.

    PL2 is set to 67 Watts by default and results in a howler, so I spent some time to find propper settings all around, that would a) give me the highest short-term peak power possible for interactive stuff b) never raise the fan to the point where it's 'noticeable'. 50/28 Watts and 10 seconds of TAU have the fan stay below 3200rpm and work for me.

    The system runs as a mini server 24/7 in my home-lab, so I've always looked for fully passive, but getting that beyond Atoms has been very tough if not impossible, e.g. Akasa never made a chassis to match my Tiger Canyon. But with those fan settings I can manage, even if it means the CPU will occasionally hit 100°C.

    The 96EU Tiger Lake iGPU seems designed to top out at 16 Watts: it won't ever use more but it gets priority over CPU cores, which will have to make do with what's left over. If indeed SuperMicro fixes PL1/2 at 15 Watts, that will not make for a smooth experience. I've just tried that on my NUC and the stuttering is awful. Game engines most likely won't be able to compensate the fight over power budget allocations. Atom iGPUs up to Jasper Lake likewise seem fixed at 5 Watts.

    But then dissipating 15 Watts at high ambients might still is a challenge so to stay with the form factor they may have had no choice. On max power the TigerLake mobile SoCs will happily burn 80 Watts for quite a while and that would require a truely massive chassis.

    AFAIK ECC DRAM support simply isn't available on any Tiger Lake silicon, not just fused off like usual, so there is nothing SuperMicro could do to support it.

    ECC support on AMD APU seems rather bad, too. Pro-variants of AM4 APUs have it, but I've yet to find any board with a soldered -H or -U APU that supports ECC DRAM for ease of mind in a microserver setup. I'd love to know if the required 'pins' on the BGA are even available.
  • kgardas - Thursday, June 9, 2022 - link

    Your "AFAIK ECC DRAM support..." is wrong here. There are plethora of lines of TGL, but one is for embedded devices. You can distinct them by seeing 'G7E' and 'GRE' suffexes in name. Now, while G7E is with zero ECC RAM support, 'GRE' is where live becomes interesting as this line supports In-Band ECC. This In-Band ECC is just an Intel way how to support ECC with non-ECC RAM sticks. Part of RAM size is dedicated for ECC bits and SoC's memory controller make that working.
    And now, the review is about unit with i7-1185GRE -- so you know why have I asked about the feature.
  • fazalmajid - Thursday, June 9, 2022 - link

    Every manufacturer should adopt the locking power barrel connector.
  • bansheexyz - Thursday, June 9, 2022 - link

    I always wondered why mini-itx didn't evolve into something more like this, where the case itself is part of the spec and acts as a giant heatsink. If you're going to have a fan, an internal PSU, and a video card, then just get an ATX board? Instead, the only way to get this small and thin is to pay a $700 premium for custom everything.

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