Tyan Transport CX GC68AB8036 B8036G68AE12HR Server Review

May 12, 2022 1 By Lorena Mejia

The 1U Tyan Transport CX GC68AB8036 B8036G68AE12HR is one of Tyan’s Cloud servers. This server can support either a single AMD EPYC 7002 (ROME) or 7003 (MILAN) series processor and up to 4TB of memory with a choice of all NVMe or SATA storage up front. It’s designed to support enterprise applications, virtualization, software defined storage, and use as a storage server for data center deployments. 

There are two other systems, aside from this one, which share the same GC68AB8036 chassis. One with 12x 2.5-inch bays including 10x SAS/SATA and 2x NVMe, and a third version with 4x 3.5-inch SAS/SATA drive bays and 4x 2.5-inch slim NVMe drives in the upper portion. The specific configuration we will be looking at today is the B8036G68AE12HR. This one has a few less character but the main difference between them, is the storage. This server supports 12x NVMe U.2 storage bays up front. At 1U, all up front storage bays are 2.5-inch with support for two M.2 drives specifically for the operating system.

The drive trays on the Tyan Transport CX GC68AB8036 B8036G68AE12HR do not need tools and easily open with just the push of a button for easy install and removal. Along with the 12x storage bays on the front of the system, there’s really not much to see. A single USB 3.0 port on the left and a power ON/Off button on the right with a system ID button beside that. Both buttons have some pretty standard LEDs and the drive trays have LEDs too for status and activity. 

It has a simple layout on the back too. Dual redundant 1+1 850W Plus Platinum PSUs on the far left with a dedicated management LAN port above two USB 3.0 ports. Next, a VGA port above a serial port with 2x 1Gb Ethernet ports beside that. The OCP card mezzanine slot area has a knock out if you plan to install the card, and above that 2x PCIe slot brackets. Lastly, the system ID light and button, just below those.

That Management port provides access to the Aspeed AST2500 Baseboard management controller which is compatible with IPMI 2.0 Through that module you can boot remotely, monitor the health status and set the fan speeds, power setting, and interact with other third-party hardware and software utilities. 

Inside the chassis, the layout is orderly and not overly compact with only that single processor. In this case we have a 2nd generation 7502P AMD EPYC CPU. The “P” on the end means it is specifically designed to be used in a single socket system. It does offer benefits over comparable Intel processors which top out at 28 cores, at least for the second generation but only 40 cores maximum with 3rd generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors, and only at the Platinum level. 

The 7502P offers more cores and a significantly larger cache. It supports almost 2-3 times as many PCIe lanes compared to Intel, depending on the generation, and PCIe 4.0 instead of PCIe 3.0. All of the AMD EPYC processors can be used in a single-socket system but with a “P” you pay less than other AMD offerings, and significantly less than the 28 core Intel 8280 Platinum CPU.  Between the motherboard and HDD backplane, there is a row of 6x fans on the Transport CX GC68AB8036. The middle fan is a different SKU adding an extra blast of fresh air over the CPU. 

Both ROME 7002 (Launched in August 2019) and Milan 7003 processors (launched in March 2021) will support up to 64 cores, which is still 2x more cores compared to the 7001 Naples CPUs at a max of 32 cores. Still very impressive at all levels. The 7002 series processors support AMD ZEN2 architecture while the 7003 has Zen 3 architecture but there are several other differences as well. The 7003 has a raw performance gain in throughput of 19% compared to the 7002 series. In addition to increased performance, there’s also improvements in security, and memory, plus improved connectivity with AMD’s Infinity Fabric bridging the cores. 

Reduced latency is achieved with better inner-core connectivity in the processor itself, with each of the 8x chiplets now supporting 8 cores. The 7002 series only had 4 chiplets with 16 cores per chiplet. Peak power increased from 240W in general, on Gen2, to 280W on Gen3 with slight increases in the Base and Turbo frequency. 

To either side of the processor socket are 8x memory module slots for a total of 16x slots. With the CPU supporting 8x memory channels, 2x memory modules can be placed in each memory channel. At full capacity, a little over 4TB of memory can be installed using 256GB standard LRDIMMs or 3DS LRDIMM or RDIMM memory modules. Standard non-3DS RDIMM modules will only provide up to 2TB max. In either case, memory speeds of up to 3200MT/s are supported for maximum memory bandwidth with either 1x or 2x modules per channel. 

The backplane on the Tyan Transport CX B8036G68AE12HR can support SAS at 12Gb/s, SATA at 6Gb/s or NVMe storage devices. The bank of 6x SFF-8654 connectors on the system board connect to the storage backplane via Slim-SAS 8i connector cables. Each cable provides for 2x of the 12x up front NVMe drives, which are supported natively on this system. Slim-SAS 8i is somewhat new providing support for the SAS 4.0 protocol and data transfer speeds of 24Gb/s for SAS or 16GT/second for each PCIe channel. 1GigaTransfer was equal to 64Gb/s so 16GT/s is equal to 1,064 Gb/s. For this system, one cable connects 2x NVMe U.2 drives, to the PCIe bus and in turn the CPU, which supports 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes. 

Two x4 PCie 4.0 slots on the system board can be outfitted with NVMe M.2 drives to support the OS. There’s even an SD card slot for the hypervisor or to support a simple operating system but nothing write intensive as that would wear it out pretty quickly. That’s where those M.2 drives come into play.

At the back of the chassis the butterfly riser has 2x x16 PCIe 4.0 slots that can be used for high-performance I/O cards. In case you plan on using those PCIe slots for other things, you can install an OCP version 2.0 card in the PCIe Gen3 x16 mezzanine slot for more network connections and bandwidth links. There are a bunch of options there too. 

While Tyan’s alphanumeric naming convention may be somewhat hard to remember, there’s no denying they have an impressive range of platforms to meet all performance and budget levels. If you’re interested in the Tyan Transport CX GC68AB8036 B8036G68AE12HR Server, or any other system, contact us today!