Benchmarking A 10-Core Tyan/IBM POWER Server For ~$300 USD

Written by Lauri Kasanen in Computers on 21 March 2019 at 12:00 PM EDT. Page 2 of 8. 106 Comments.

BMC-side, everything worked well. I first reset the admin password from the petitboot console, and set a fixed IP for the BMC interface. After that I could log in to the MegaRAC BMC web console. Anyone familiar with VPS hosting will be right at home. Extensive sensors, logs, and control over many details of the server.

Talos II POWER9 vs. AMD / Intel HEDT Benchmarks

I don't have a connected wattmeter, just a regular one, but luckily the BMC offers several sensors. The data center monitoring interface reports on the entire unit's power usage, and it's quite accurate too, matching what my wattmeter says almost exactly. With this, we're going to have nice performance-per-watt numbers too. When the system is off, the BMC pulls 8 W.

The fans on this unit are extremely powerful, five 15k RPM fans rated at 54.48 W each, with pretty massive airflow numbers too. 131.7 CFM, 4.54 inch H2O pressure. Sadly, they're also extremely loud, with the official rating being 68 dB. Being in the same room pretty much requires hearing protection; not an issue in the data center, but very much an issue for personal use. Others with these units have replaced the fans with quieter and larger ones, and one Twitter user (@octaforge) even created a custom watercooling block (picture shown with permission).

I decided to go with the quieter fans approach. I got one Noctua AF-14 PPC 3000 PWM for the cpu, and three SilentiumPC Mistral 80 v2 fans for the chassis. The Noctua has airflow and pressure ratings rivaling the stock fans, but using much less power and being only 40 dB loud. The Mistrals are normal but quiet case fans, 21 dB, 35 CFM. It's an open question whether that's enough, I guess we'll see soon. Mounting the 14 cm Noctua will require some hack solution, perhaps cable ties and some string for starters.

Firing her up, the sound is no longer deafening, and being in the same room is now possible without protection. The power usage has greatly dropped, but idle temps are up slightly. There's a chance it'll throttle itself, I guess we'll see with the results. Too bad there's no third-party manufacturers making POWER-compatible coolers, I'd happily put in a very large heatsink with a commensurate fan or three. @octaforge reports that the POWER9 coolers sold by Raptor are fully compatible, but coming in at 75$ for a 2U fanless heatsink and 110$ for a 3U heatsink+fan is quite a lot.

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