So, you’ve decided to buy a Supermicro X10 board...

So, you’ve decided to buy a Supermicro X10 board...

Despite the common recommendation “Buy a Supermicro X10 motherboard”, there isn’t a central location on these forums where one can quickly determine which model is the most appropriate for their server.

The objective of this post is to provide information about these motherboards, both for future purchases and troubleshooting, should some of them present unusual issues.

I will not consider non-server boards, such as the Supermicro X10SAE. In practice, these provide no advantage in a server and should exclusively be used in workstations. I also won’t look at proprietary form factor boards and boards for legacy applications.

At least for now, I will only present Haswell motherboards based on the LGA1150 socket, not Haswell-EP motherboards based on socket LGA2011-3.

The full comparison is presented below, for prospective purchasers and for troubleshooting. For discussion, please use the forum thread linked below:’ve-decided-to-buy-a-supermicro-x10-motherboard….25951/#post-163708

Common features
All motherboards considered below have the following baseline features:

· microATX format
· BMC with IPMI, integrated video adapter and remote viewing capabilities, over a dedicated GbE port
· Internal USB 3.0 type A port, plus an additional port available from a standard USB 3.0 header
· Dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet Controllers
· Six SATA ports
· Available PCI-e connectivity exposed via PCI-e slots

Chipset versions
Supermicro uses all three C22x family PCH chips on their motherboards. Their distinguishing features are listed below:

· Two SATA 6Gb/s ports
· Two USB 3.0 ports

· Four SATA 6Gb/s ports
· Four USB 3.0 ports

· All six SATA ports support 6Gb/s
· Six USB 3.0 ports (two of which go unused, so four in practice)

Motherboard families
Supermicro has three different PCBs, on which their X10 LGA1150 server boards are based:

PCB type A
This PCB is the one used for the X10SLL+-F, X10SLM+-F, X10SLM+-LN4F and X10SLH-F. These motherboards have two matched Intel i210AT GbE controllers.

The X10SLL+-F uses a C222 PCH, with associated features.
The X10SLM+-F uses a C224 PCH. The extra two USB 3.0 ports replace two USB 2.0 ports on the back panel.
The X10SLM+-LN4F is an X10SLM+-F that exchanges a PCI-e slot for two extra Intel i210ATs, for a total of four. All 16 PCI-e 3.0 lanes are exposed via the x16 slot. The two remaining PCI-e 2.0 lanes are exposed via the x8 slot.
The X10SLH-F uses a C226 PCH for a full complement of SATA 6Gb/s ports, but is otherwise identical to the X10SLM+-F.

PCB type B
This PCB is used for the X10SLL-F and X10SLM-F, as well as the X10SLL-F’s cut-down versions, the X10SLL-SF and X10SLL-S.

These motherboards have an Intel i210AT GbE controller plus an Intel i217LM PHY that uses the PCH’s integrated GbE controller. The i217LM has fewer features than the i210AT, but performance should be comparable.

The X10SLL-F is the cheapest recommended motherboard for FreeNAS and uses the C222 chipset.
The X10SLM-F uses the C224 chipset for additional SATA 6Gb/s connectivity, as well as an additional USB 3.0 header.

It should be noted that these boards do not include Micron RAM in their QVL, and as such, are a more risky choice than PCB type A and C boards, for use with Crucial/Micron RAM. More information on this topic can be found in the Supermicro X10 RAM sticky.

There are also cut-down versions of the X10SLL-F, namely the X10SLL-SF and the X10SLL-S. These are not recommended due to the fact that they only have two DIMM slots, limiting RAM to 16GB. Additional cost-downs include the removal of two SATA 3Gb/s ports (leaving two 6Gb/s and two 3Gb/s ports), removal of the serial port on the back panel, removal of the USB 3.0 ports (including the type A internal port) plus two USB 2.0 ports on the back panel, fewer fan headers (according to Supermicro’s images – the text on their website claims the same five fan headers) and the removal of one PCI-e slot.

Additionally, the X10SLL-SF does not have a dedicated GbE controller for IPMI – IPMI traffic must go through the Intel i210AT controller.
The X10SLL-S uses the cheaper AST1200 BMC, meaning that it does not have IPMI. A basic video adapter is still present, like on other boards.

PCB type C
The only motherboard that uses this PCB is the X10SL7-F. This PCB seems to have the same basic power distribution as the Type A PCB, which could explain why it supports the same RAM as the type A boards.

The X10SL7-F is best described as being an X10SLL+-F, with an onboard LSI SAS 2308 SAS2 controller, at least feature-wise. The LSI SAS 2308 uses 8 PCI-e 3.0 lanes, meaning that only one PCI-e 3.0 x8 slot is present (physical size is 16x), in addition to the PCI-e 2.0 x4 slot (physical size is 8x).
To offset the additional cost of the SAS controller, the C222 PCH is employed. In most cases, the reduced cost of the board with integrated controller (when compared to HBA cards which include it or the LSI SAS 2008) offsets the minor differences to the higher-end PCH chips. The SAS controller should require about as much power (~10W) as a dedicated SAS2 HBA.

-O vs -B model numbers

Many people get confused with these model numbers when they can only find an X10SL7-F-O, instead of an X10SL7-F, or an X10SLM+-F-B instead of an X10SLM+-F.
All model numbers are exactly as printed in their respective sections. For real products, they get either an -O or a -B appended to them, for retail or bulk packaging, respectively.
An example:
A Supermicro X10SL7-F-O is a retail-packaged X10SL7-F motherboard.
A Supermicro X10SL7-F-B is a bulk-packaged X10SL7-F motherboard.

What's the difference between them? With retail packaging, you get a box, with proper packaging materials. With bulk packaging, you get something along the lines of an antistatic bag, a bit of protective foam and some cardboard to wrap it all up.

Final remarks
I would like to thank our Great Leader DrKK for suggesting this guide.
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  1. Changelog as of 2016-10-04

    Update 2014-12-25 - Clarified X10SLM+-LN4F PCI-e lane distribution. Special thanks to marbus90...