HP MicroServer Gen8 – A short Overview
HP launched the MicroServer Gen8 at their Discover conference in Las Vegas. For me as a MicroServer N40L homelab user, I was very excited about the new features.
Here the new design for the Gen8 MicroServer which looks quite sexy.
I will point out the main features, MicroServer user like me have looked for:
- Intel processors (Celeron G1610T & Pentium G2020T)
- HP iLO 4 (incl. HP Agentless Management, HP Active Health System, HP Intelligent Provisioning and HP iLO Mobile App)
- Dual Port LAN HP 332i Adapter
- Supports 16GB Memory (officially)
- USB 3.0
My thoughts on the new features:
Previous versions of the MicroServer uses AMD Turion II Neo N40L/N54L processor which have a frequency of 1.5/2.2GHz. The Gen8 version comes with optional Pentium G2020T or Celeron G1610T Intel processors. The main differences between these two are only frequency (2.5GHz for the Pentium, 2.3GHz for the Celeron) and L3 Cache (3MB Pentium, 2MB Celeron). If you are using the MicroServer for your homelab as ESXi servers the AMD processors will quickly reach it’s limit. With the Intel processors and the higher frequency VMs on this servers should run a little bit smoother. But consider this, the MicroServer Gen8 as all other MicroServers before are not officially supported by VMware. There is a CPU comparison at cpubenchmark.net which achieves a benchmark score of 2528 for the G2020T, compared to the N54L at only 1345. This score is also a slight better than the i3-3217U which is used for the Intel NUC. Because the CPUs uses LGA1155 it’s maybe possible to replace it with different processors. The chipset which is used for the MicroServer is a C204.
HP iLO 4
It’s the first MicroServer you don’t have to buy a separate IPMI hardware card and with iLO 4 you got a lot of powerful features. To use the whole potential of the iLO 4 you have to buy an iLO 4 Advanced key. Only with the Advanced key you got features like virtual Media and Remote KVM.
Dual Port LAN HP 332i Adapter
This is one of my top new features of the Gen8, a second onboard NIC port. Previous version had the NC107i which is based on the Broadcom BCM5723 chipset but unfortunately it does not support Jumbo frames. The new 332i adapter is based on Broadcom BCM5720 which comes with 2 1Gbit Ports and support for Jumbo Frames. This adapter is also supported by the VMware HCL as you can see here. The 332T is similar to the 332i and the only different is that the 332T is a standalone card.
Supports 16GB memory
Everybody knows that the old Microserver only supports officially 8GB of RAM. If you use specific memory vendor and version you can go up to 16GB RAM. Some configuration shows sometimes 8GB sometimes 16GB. With the new version 16GB is officially supported.
With a starting price of $449 (~360€) for the Celeron/2GB Memory/250GB or $529 (~400€) for the Pentium/2GB Memory/250GB it is 1.5-2 times more expensive than the previous versions, but you will get great stuff for your money. From a power consumption perspective both processors have a TDP of 35W which is twice the watts compared to an Intel NUC with an TDP of 17W, so only real world test will show us how much power they really need.