Supermicro Hyper A+ Server 2125HS-TNR Review

April 12, 2024 0 By Lorena Mejia

The 2U Supermicro Hyper A+ server 2125HS-TNR (SHOP HERE) has AMD EPYC processors, in this case 4th generation AMD EPYC 9004 series processors for some seriously crazy core counts of up to 96 cores—each! With that many cores available, this platform is a great option for virtualized workloads, but it’s also designed for software-defined storage, AI inference and machine learning, cloud computing and general use as an enterprise server!

With both of those processors installed, this system can support up to 6TB of DDR5 memory modules. Storage options are also flexible on that front panel with support for SAS, SATA or NVMe drive types. Front drive support will affect your storage options. With up to 160 PCIe 5.0 lanes there are still some limitations. In addition, you also get what AMD is calling Bonus lanes. Yes, 1X2 PCIe 3.0 bonus lanes. They don’t really play up those extra lanes though.

The 9004 series CPUs offer a chiplet design just like AMD’s other EPYC CPUs. The 9004 series CPUs have strung 12x Zen 4, 8x core dies together up for up to 96 cores in total. These do continue AMD’s travel through Italy, this time stopping in Genoa. AMD’s next generation Infinity Fabric connects those next generation Zen 4 cores together for 2x the speed of the previous generation. In comparison, Intel uses their QuickPath Interconnect or QPI. Aside from some definite performance strides of AMD’s EPYC 9004 series CPUs, we think AMD is killing it on the naming side of things too. Infinity Fabric sounds like the next Marvel movie for Ant Man or Dr. Strange. These processors also provide the highest memory bandwidth too, with 12x memory channels per CPU! The I/O performance is a little misleading because AMD is comparing to Intel Ice Lake CPUs, which is the 3rd generation Intel Scalable processor. Sapphire Rapids is the newest 4th generation CPU.

Intel has an Acceleration feature for their 4th gen processor, which is something AMD has not yet integrated into their silicon. For certain applications, this gives Intel a tri-fold improvement in performance per watt over just the previous Ice Lake or 3rd generation series processors. 3rd gen intel Xeon Scalable processors support 40 cores max, DDR4 memory and PCIe 4.0. For AI and Machine learning the 4th gen Sapphire Rapids CPUs are boasting 10x the performance. Also new is support for up to 60 cores each, PCIe 5.0, and DDR5 memory so there are reasons AMD chose to compare their 4th gen processors to the 3rd gen Intel Xeons instead of Sapphire Rapids. 

What is it with this fascination with Italy? Even Intel is going on a European vacation! Their center GPU Max Series, “Ponte Vecchio”. That lovely architectural landmark is located where? Florence. Italy. Remember, when we did the map charting AMD’s CPU path through Italy starting with Naples, then Rome, Milan and now Genoa. We thought it was kind of strange they skipped Florence, we think we know why now. 

On the left ear of the Supermicro Hyper A+ server 2125HS-TNR there is a control panel. It includes the Power on button, a unit ID button plus a few status LEDs below those for power, HDDs, NIC 1, NIC 2, A Power FAIL LED and a universal information LED. The other server ear features Supermicro branding. 24x hybrid drive bays in between.

On the back of the system, there are dual Power Supply Units (PSUs) on the lower left. Redundancy is based on how the system is configured with several options including 1200W, 1600W, 2000W, and 2600W options. 1600W is standard equipment.

Beside that an RJ45 port to access the ASPEED AST2600 baseboard management controller, and two USB ports. Next a VGA port and a slot for an Advanced I/O module or AIOM card as Supermicro likes to call them but can also be used to support an OCP 3.0 mezzanine card. As there are no integrated NICs on the back of the system, all network communications are handled via the AIOM or a network card inserted in one of those PCIe slots. Several PCIe slots above. 

This is where it gets interesting. CPU 1 is in charge of those slots on the right and CPU 2 gets all of the other slots located above the PSUs and the OCP 3.0 Mezzanine card slot. Honestly, the whole numbering convention for the slots works, but the options are a little confusing and have a lot to do with how the storage is configured.

There are 3x risers that can be used for expansion cards. For SATA or SAS drives you can have 4 PCIe 5.0 x16 slots, that would be slots 1, 3, 5, and 7, or 8 PCIe 5.0 x8 slots with slots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, basically all of them. If you install a full set of NVMe drives up front, only slots 3 and 4 will be available for a x16 slot and a x8 slot. The good thing is there are NVMe ports littering the system board to connect all of those NVMe drives from the backplane. 

That x16 mezzanine card slot on the system board takes one of Supermicro’s AIOM units or an OCP 3.0 card. If you hate acronyms, that would be an Open Compute Project 3.0 card. The benefit is adding more network interface controller ports or NIC ports without taking up those PCIe slots. Clearly there is an argument for that, given PCIe availability depending on the configuration. 

That mLAN port or management LAN port on the back of the system can be used for remote management of the system. It supports the intelligent Platform Management Interface 2.0 protocol for virtual media over LAN and KVM-over-LAN support. Supermicro does provide some software options for managing this system like SuperDoctor 5.0 and Watchdog. A few more include Supermicro Server Manager (SSM), Supermicro Update Manager (SUM), and Supermicro Power Manager (SPM). The Supermicro Server Manager is more for datacenter deployments. It offers a one-too-many web-based console used to monitor, manage, and get alerts. Supermicro offers various software bundles or licensing levels, like Standard, which requires no license, and then there’s Basic, Advanced, and Enterprise, that last of which offers 3rd-party vendor support. All of these bundles include SuperDoctor 5 (SD5), which is a one-to-one application targeting a single appliance but still includes monitoring, control, and management functions. 

With both processors installed, the Supermicro Hyper A+ server 2125HS-TNR will support up to 6TB memory using all 24x memory module slots and outfitted with 256GB Registered memory modules in all slots. That would be DDR5 memory modules. DDR5 offers a performance upgrade compared to DDR4 memory of up to 1.6x the throughput with memory speeds of up to 4800MT/s. DDR5 will also be a bit more that DDR4 memory modules of the same capacity but only DDR5 is supported. With 12x memory channel architecture, it’s recommended that all slots are populated for best performance. 

This is probably where some of those bonus PCIe 3.0 slots come into play because there are two PCIe 3.0 x4 slots on the system board. Those can be used to support the operating system with dual NVMe M.2 drives in mirror mode. Those are for boot only. There is no mention of GPUs in the datasheet, user manual, or the landing page. With support for AI inference and Machine Learning, this system is crying out for that option, which is probably something they just haven’t completed testing on. The full-width full-length slots are there. Not to mention perhaps one of those GRAID Supreme RAID SR-1010 cards for support of NVME RAID options with PCIe 5.0 compatibility.

Dual 4th gen Intel Xeon Scalable processors, 24x hybrid storage bays up front. Several PCIe Gen 5 expansion slots depending on that storage configuration and up to 6TB of DDR5 memory. The Supermicro Hyper A+ server 2125HS-TNR is a flexible platform that can be configured to support a number of different workloads. If you’re looking, try IT Creations. We have this server, and others, in stock and can configure it to your specifications!