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Nov 06 2018

Ultra-Compact, Silent, Efficient: FUJITSU Server PRIMERGY TX1320 M4

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For several years, neutral observers and potential buyers alike have patiently listened to ICT vendors' ever-evolving stories about future use cases like IoT, Industry 4.0 or smart cities. But captivating as they are, such stories tend to drown out more measured reports about the constant innovation of brick-and-mortar products such as mono-socket servers for small data centers and SMB environments. Our three-part mini-series takes a closer look at Fujitsu's latest offerings in this category of 'everyday gear' and their state-of-the-art capabilities. In part 2, we inspect the FUJITSU Server PRIMERGY TX1320 M4, our most compact tower system, which was launched today together with two cousins, the PRIMERGY TX1330 M4 and the PRIMERGY RX1330 M4.

So what's new about this latest-edition PRIMERGY TX1320? On the outside, not a lot; even our own developers have a hard time distinguishing the new system from its predecessor based on looks alone. That's because the server's most compelling trait – its small size – has been a key selling point since the product line was first introduced some three years ago. In fact, when comparing the data sheets you'll find that at 98 x 399 x 340 mm (3.9 x 15.7 x 13.4 inches), the dimensions of the floor-stand variant remain unchanged, as does its weight of up to 10 kilograms (22 lbs.). The reason we came up with such a slender and ultra-compact design was that we wanted to build a server that could be deployed to even the most confined workspaces, such as offices, showrooms or the proverbial garage that may serve as a birthplace for the next massively successful tech company. And since the server has been outstandingly popular, we have retained the aesthetic, ultra-compact design and in fact, we have managed to add further improvements and enhancements under the hood.

Faster Processors, More RAM
One of the key refinements delivered with every new product generation is a processor upgrade, and the PRIMERGY TX1320 M4 delivers on this front: Like its cousins, it can be fitted with a freshly introduced hexa-core design from Intel's Xeon® E-2100 family of processors, which in turn debuted earlier this year. Designed to replace the Xeon® E-1200 series, the new processors generally offer a further boost in maximum clock speeds (up to 3.8.GHz in regular and 4.7 GHz in turbo mode), support DDR4 DIMMs that allow for faster data transfers between CPU and RAM, boost bandwidth and throughput for compute-intensive workloads by offering up to 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes, and incorporate Intel's AVX-512 instruction set, which means that every CPU can execute twice as many floating-point operations per clock cycle as its precursor. 

According to Intel, the new Xeons deliver significantly better performance when looking at how much work a processor can perform in a given unit of time, basically the rate at which a system can complete its defined tasks. The benchmarks used are part of the SPEC CPU2017 benchmark suite, namely the SPECrate® 2017 Integer and SPECrate® 2017 Floating Point benchmarks which measure the throughput or work per unit of time. In general, the integer workload maps to the performance of business applications such as those found in the typical data center, whereas the floating point workload maps to scientific calculations and compute workloads, which are usually more common in an R&D environment. The base scores represent the use of standard compiler options when running the test, and are hence more representative of standard applications whose code has not been recompiled specifically for benchmarking alone.

Between these two benchmarks, it is hence possible to get a fair idea of whether a new processor actually delivers on the performance front. And it is here that the Intel's Xeon® E-2100 processor family shows its capabilities. Per Intel's test results, the new processors deliver huge performance gains when tested, with 48% better performance in the SPECrate® 2017 Floating Point base (estimated), and 39% with SPECrate® 2017 Integer base (Estimated). In short, the new processors will enable the server to perform across multiple classes of workloads.

FUJITSU is also testing the TX1320 M4 against these very same benchmarks to set new records. Currently, the TX1320's bigger cousin, the TX1330, which has the same compute and memory architecture, holds the benchmark records for mono-socket platforms, but the TX1320 may come out ahead as results are further refined. The TX1320 M4 also holds the current benchmark record in terms of the SPECjbb®2015 benchmark, which has been developed to measure performance based on the latest Java application features. The TX1320 M4 is ranked first here with its SPECjbb 2015-Composite (max-jOPS) score of 27,083 and with a SPECjbb 2015-Composite(critical-jOPS) with a score of 13, 426. The server's compute is particularly energy-efficient. The TX1320 M4 is #1 in terms of SPECpower_ssj2008 with a score of 9,281. SPECPower is particularly useful for measuring the power and performance characteristics of server-class computer equipment.1

Aside from these substantial performance advantages, the new Xeon® E series provide hardware-based security functions, such as integrated malware protection, as well as management features, including remote monitoring and repair options. On top of that, many models from the new processor family are equipped with integrated Intel P630 UHD GPUs, which means they can support IoT and VDI setups. For less demanding scenarios, we also offer configurations with Intel® Core™ i3, Pentium® and Celeron® processors as more affordable alternatives.

Because the Xeon® E series supports higher data transfer rates, the PRIMERGY TX1320 M4 also comes with new, ECC-enabled DDR4 memory modules that can deliver up to 2,666 MT/s (previously 2,400 MT/s). Its four slots that can be filled with DIMMs of varying size (4, 8 or 16 GB); RAM capacities start at 4 GB and max out at 64.

With these compute and memory advances, plus its intrinsic design features, the TX1320 M4 is clearly an energy efficient platform, well-suited to performance across many appropriately-sized, standard and small-scale virtualized workloads. These can span file/print, mail or collaboration services, small-scale authentication and directory services, or lightweight industry-specific or CRM and ERP applications.

Workload-Optimized Configuration
The processor and memory refreshes are in fact significant. We also kept our promise from 20 months ago that we would further enhance the set of storage and RAID configuration options. The resulting changes further reduce response times and latencies, so that the system may run customer-facing (e.g., web) applications without causing unnecessary delays. At the same time, the set of base units to choose from remains clear-cut and straightforward, so as to avoid confusion – customers still get to pick between two small form factor (SFF) models and one large form factor (LFF) edition. Here's what the revised setups look like:

  • The 'performance edition' is available with sets of four or eight hot-pluggable, 2.5-inch high-speed drives. Specifically, customers can opt for a more 'conservative' storage configuration equipped with SATA or SAS HDDs that spin at up to 15k RPM and allow for transfer speeds of 6 and 12 Gb/s, respectively. Alternatively, they may choose an 'advanced' configuration whose four or eight slots are either filled with a straight set of 6Gb/s SATA SSDs or an even more powerful mix of SATA and NVMe SSDs for applications that require higher low-latency storage performance than standard workloads. Like before, storage capacities start at 960 GB in the smallest four-SSD configuration; the maximum layout, however, now has room for up to 61.4 TB of data thanks to the integration of large-capacity SSDs. – What's more, the 'performance edition' also provides a high degree of reliability, as it comes with a hot-plug, 450-watt Platinum standard PSU with 94% power efficiency and can support an optional second unit for redundancy. Alternatively, a cost-optimized Fujitsu Battery Unit can be used instead of the second hot-plug PSU. Functioning like a modular UPS, it provides an expanded time of operation in case of a power failure.
  • The second line of SFF models is identical except for the fact that it supports a single Gold standard 250-watt power supply with 90% efficiency. Conversion kits are available to convert base units from the standard PSU to the hot-plug model.
  • The LFF edition contains up to two easily replaceable non-hot-plug HDDs, with total capacities ranging from 600 GB to 12 TB. Like the second line of SFF models, this edition features Gold standard 250-watt power supplies.
  • Finally, all models regardless of form factor may optionally be equipped with ultra-slim ODDs plus RDX backup drives.

Given this considerably large selection of setups, every user should be able to find a configuration that fits their individual needs, be it as capacity-optimized data reservoir or as a platform for I/O-heavy applications.

Expanding the Legacy
To further round out the offering, the PRIMERGY TX1320 M4 is further packed with a number of fresh components, such as a new chipset with more expansion options and better connectivity (up to 20% more PCIe lanes), two M.2 devices (1x SATA; 1x NVMe/SATA) or mirrored dual micro SDs as additional boot options (specifically for VMware ESXi), two upgraded USB 3.1 Gen2 ports at the backplane, and most notably our fifth-generation Integrated Remote Management Controller iRMC S5, which adds multiple features that have long been in high demand, such as remote management via HTTPS connections and a modern user interface that supports administration on the go. All models now support Fujitsu's innovative Cool-safe® Advanced Thermal Design, or Cool-safe® ATD, which ensures that servers can operate within a temperature range of 10 to 35 °C (50 and 95 °F); depending on the individual configuration, select models may be exposed to even more 'compute-adverse' environments where highs reach up to 45 °C (113 °F). In other words, the PRIMERGY TX1320 M4 won't have to be placed in a special server room with extra cooling and proper ventilation – it will work just as tirelessly in regular office environments and through long, hot periods of summer like the one we've witnessed this year.

Conclusion
Its small size notwithstanding, the PRIMERGY TX1320 M4 bears all the characteristics that are required to lift it above the crowd of entry-level systems and instead turn it into an advanced server: In terms of performance, configurability, efficiency, and price/performance ratio, it easily beats most competitors in its class, including cheaper no-name offerings. Add to that the unbeatable advantage of a small size that allows for near-anywhere deployment, and you get a system that every company with restricted floor space will soon come to like. If you're not convinced, just check out the videoflash below. Or better still, attend the presentation at this year's Fujitsu Forum in Munich on November 7 and 8.

[1] Competitive SPEC® benchmark SPECjbb®2015 and SPECpower_ssj2008 results stated in this article are as of 25th and 24th Oct 2018, to be published on 8th and 7th Nov 2018 respectively. For the latest SPEC® benchmark results, visit the result pages for the different benchmarks on www.spec.org or www.fujitsu.com/fts/products/computing/servers/primergy/benchmarks/

Nitin Sitaram

 

About the Author:

Nitin Sitaram

Specialist Marketing Manager, Product Data Center Server, Global Marketing

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