Gigabyte R272-Z30 Server Review

February 3, 2023 0 By Lorena Mejia

At 2U, the Gigabyte R272-Z30 server features 12x 3.5-inch storage bays up front, with room for two more in back (SHOP HERE). There is already a revision on this system, which takes it from just supporting 1st and 2nd generation AMD EPYC series processors in rev.100 to now supporting 3rd generation EPYCs, in rev.A00. including those 3rd gen CPUs featuring AMD 3D v-Cache technology, MILAN X. This is a single socket platform and this system will max out at 4TB of memory. At least for 2nd or 3rd gen processors… 

The Gigabyte R272-Z30 server is a 2nd generation AMD system as indicated by the numeral “2” on the end of the name. Directly out of the factory it supports 1st and 2nd (rev.100 and rev.A00) or 2nd and 3rd generation CPUs (rev.A00 and rev.B00). When this platform was first released it only supported 1st (NAPLES) and 2nd generation (ROME) processors. And now it supports 3rd generation (MILAN) CPUs, which is kind of impressive as most of the platforms we have seen either support 1st and second-generation CPUs, or 2nd and 3rd gen CPUs.

Not the entire EPYC family at least not without some other adjustments to the motherboard. We have been assured by Gigabyte that all of these 2ndgeneration motherboards can also support not only MILAN but MILAN X CPUs too as long as it has the latest BIOS. For a quick refresher in the most basic differences between Intel and AMD—AMD EPYCs have a System on a Chip design with the chipset loaded into the CPU architecture. Intel Xeon Scalable processors have the chipset scattered around the board. Let’s leave it at that for now as this is an EPYC system. 

The front 12 storage bays can be outfitted with SAS or SATA hot-swappable storage devices with 4x powered by onboard SATA ports and the other 8x connected via the optional SAS HBA. More on that a bit later. There are actually two other very similar chassis configurations in this family the Z31 with 24x 2.5-inch SAS/SATA storage bays and the Z32 with 24x 2.5-inch NVMe SSD bays.

A small control panel on the left includes a reset button, non-Maskable interrupt button, on/Off button, and System ID button. Below those a few LEDs for HDD status, System status, and LAN1 and LAN2 status. The right server ear has a few USB ports for connecting a crash cart for system diagnostics and status. 

On the back of the Gigabyte R272-Z30 server, there are Dual redundant 800W Platinum Plus PSUs on the left, right next to a 2.5-inch drive cage that can support 2x SAS or SATA drives and can be used to support the operating system. Next to those a VGA port and a serial port. That removable panel at the bottom of the chassis is for an optional OCP 2.0 mezzanine card with the rear ID button and LED squeezed in between 2x USB 3.0 ports with a dedicated management port stacked on top. GbE LAN ports 1 and 2 are next with another USB 3.0 port and the cover panels for PCIe slots 1-7.

The Gigabyte management Console provides a user-friendly graphical user interface for management and maintenance of a single server and comes pre-installed on the system. Right out of the box, you get real-time health monitoring and management with support for IPMI 2.0, automatic event recording and monitor and control Broadcom MegaRAID controllers to manage your storage more effectively. Gigabyte also has Gigabyte Server Management, or GSM, which is designed to manage multiple servers or clusters of servers over the Internet, simultaneously. This one actually leverages the Gigabyte Management Console but provides additional functionality and a suite of other software programs and resources like GSM Command line Interface, the GSM Agent, which you will need on each server to retrieve any kind of useful information, plus a GSM mobile application and a plugin to interface with VMware vCenter.  

After we remove the cover, you can see the single processor socket with 8x DIMM slots to either side. Memory supported on this system includes Registered and Load-reduced DIMM modules. At full capacity using 256GB 3DS RDIMM or LRDIMM memory modules in all slots will result in a little over 4TB of memory.

Standard RDIMM or LRDIMM memory modules will provide half that at up to 2TB of memory. Keep in mind there are 3x generations of AMD EPYC supported on this system and those figures we just provided are specifically for 3rd Gen AMD EPYCs and the latest revision A00. Memory speeds of up to 3200MHz are supported using the 3rd gen processors or up to 2933Mhz using 2nd generation CPUs. 

We’re going to add an abbreviated refresher on EPYC CPUs. 1st gen CPUs have 32 cores max. and a top memory count of 2TB. 2nd gen CPUs can support up to 4TB of memory and a top core count of up to 64 cores. Lastly 3rd Gen EPYCs can also have 8-64 cores and a top memory capacity of up to 4TB. All have improved computational performance from one generation to the aside from the core counts and memory support we just went through. The architecture in general also went from Zen 1 to Zen 2 and now this latest manifestation Zen 3. Zen 3 made improvement to the chiplet design of the cores for better core to core communications while reducing latency. But enough of that. The Gigabyte R272-Z30 server is designed for general networking applications like, use as a virtual server, file access VIA VPN, general storage, and use as a shared Internet connection—to name a few. Your basic bread and butter server applications…  

The first rev.100, only supported 1st and second generation EPYCs and as a result somewhat less performance, or in other words about 2TB of memory using the 1st gen processors but 4TB using 2nd gen. Even with support for 4TB of memory, 2nd gen processors have been bested by a 19% performance gain with the 3rd generation chiplet changes among other things. We should mention that both ROME 2nd and MILAN 3rd gen, respectively, have 256GB of L3 cache but both are kicked out the door by Milan X. 

Milan X EPYCs is available in 4 different SKUs and feature 3D v-Cache technology and 768GB of L3 cache or 3 times the cache on the standard MILAN CPUs.

The default storage configuration includes 4x SATA drives with 8x SAS drives assuming you go with the optional SAS host Bus Adapter. Those 2x 2.5-inch drives in back can also be supported natively by default.

Four large hot-swap fans just behind the SAS/SATA backplane provide cooling for the single CPU, memory modules and whatever else you decide to install in those PCIe slots. Not to mention, the optional M.2 drives that you can pop in those x4 PCIe 3.0 slots on the mother board dedicated for just that task.

Those M.2 drives can be used to support the Operating system in a RAID ensuring your system boots and runs even if one of them goes south, like permanently. Of course, you could also use the two 2.5-inch drive in back for the OS too but with NVMe M.2 drives, this system will boot much faster than what those SAS or if you choose SATA drives will do.

Along with the 2x 1GbE LAN ports on the back, there is also the optional OCP card offering additional network ports and connection speeds. That is assuming you don’t load a network card into one of the 6x PCIe slots.

We will mention that most of the slots are PCIe 4.0 offering twice the speed compared to PCIe 3.0. PCIe 4.0 also provides excellent throughput for I/O and NVMe storage devices but no need to really worry about NVMe unless you’re interested in the close sibling to this unit the R272-Z32 with 24x NVMe drives.

The Gigabyte R272-Z30 server fits in nicely with the rest of Gigabyte’s expanding catalogue of rack servers. It offers reliability and adaptability for a wide range of common networking applications. We’re also quite grateful for the fairly limited alphanumeric naming convention. Seven or eight characters seems reasonable. If you’re in the market for an enterprise networking server from Gigabyte or even a GPU server or high-performance computing server designed for AI and AI training or even crypto Currency mining, contact us today or visit our website!