The main supporting features of this motherboard are its two mini-SAS connectors and one mini-SATA connector, which give storage and RAID options right out of the box. The two 10GBase-T LAN connections also supply basic network connectivity and provide the option to install faster network cards into the PCIe busses.
Looking at the front of the Supermicro AS-2042G-6RF server, we see the two redundant 1400-watt power supplies on the left. The bottom rows house six hard drive bays, and at the top, we have a DVD drive, two USB ports, a DB9 COM Port, status LEDs, and a power button.
The status LEDs include the following LED indicators: a power LED, a hard drive activity LED, two network activity LEDs, a system overheat LED, and a power fail LED.
The back of the server is nice and clean and features plenty of air vents for good airflow. There are the standard PS2 keyboard/mouse ports and two USB ports with a dedicated LAN port supporting IPMI right above those. Next, we have a serial port and VGA port, followed by two LAN ports.
At the front of the server, we have two redundant 1400W high-efficiency power supply with PMBus. These simply unlock and slide out if needed. It is nice to have the PSUs at the front of the server; in case they ever need to be replaced, you would have easy access to them.
These are 80 Plus Gold Certified power supplies.
The hard drive bays simply unlock and slide out. They also have status LEDs at the front to show drive access and status.
These six bays are 3.5-inch SAS/SATA hot-swap drive trays. SAS or enterprise SATA HDDs only are recommended.
To remove the top lid of the server, simply press in the two buttons and push towards the back, and the lid will come right off. No other screws need to be removed. When installed in a rack, pulling the server out and removing the top lid is simple to gain access to the inside of the server.
Here we get our first look at the insides of the Supermicro AS-2042G-6RF server. Right off the bat, the first thing you notice is the huge area for CPUs and RAM. There is not much space left on the motherboard when you add four CPUs and the RAM slots to go along with them.
Covering all of those CPUs is a plastic air shroud that channels air from the bank of fans at the front of the server.
Here we get a close look at the bank of fans that keep this server cool. There are a total of six 80mm 6500 RPM fans, which can move a serious amount of air.
The fans are easy to replace if needed. Simply push the lever on the left side and lift up. There are no wires or anything that the fans might hang on when lifting out. It is very clean inside this area.
On the far left side of the motherboard, we can see the chipset area. This area has heat sinks with fans to keep the AMD SR5690/SR5670/SP5100 chipsets cool.
At the top, we can see six SATA2.0 3Gb/s ports on the right and eight Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) ports, controlled by an integrated LSI 2008 SAS2 controller, on the left.
Each CPU has eight RAM slots attached to it. The H8QG6/i(+)-F supports up to 1TB of Registered ECC or 256GB Unbuffered ECC/non-ECC DDR3 1600/1333/1066MHz SDRAM in 32 DIMM slots. Populating DIMMs in groups of four, one per channel (4 or 8 DIMMs/CPU) of the same DIMM speed and size per CPU will improve memory performance.
After we take off the plastic air shroud, we now have access to four CPU sockets and 32 RAM slots. Let's get started on installing everything.
The first step in installing a CPU is to lift the retaining bar up and away. Then, flip the CPU retaining bracket off to the side. After, remove the plastic socket protection cover.
As you can see, 1944-pin Socket G34 sockets are rather large.
The next step is to place the CPU in the socket while keeping in mind the guide slots on each end of the CPU. Then, flip the CPU retaining bracket over and lock it down with the retaining bar.
The CPU air coolers we will be using are Supermicro passive coolers. These are part number SNK-P0043P, and we will need four of them.
Each cooler has an arrow that points in the direction of the airflow. For this server, the arrow should point to the back of the server.
Here see the first heat sink installed. Two screws hold down each one, so installing these is rather simple.
After we have all of the CPUs installed, it's time to turn our attention to installing the RAM. We have 32 RAM sticks to install in this machine.
Here is where we ran into the first issue. The main 24-pin power connector is very close to three of the RAM slots. The retaining clamps could not fold out of the way to install a RAM stick.
The simple fix to this is to remove the 24-pin power connector, install the RAM sticks, and then reinstall the power connector.
Here we have all 32 RAM sticks installed with the CPUs and heat sinks.
The last step is to place the plastic air shroud over the CPUs and RAM. We did have a slight problem getting the air shroud to lock into place. The heat sink closest to the side, the bottom heat sink in this picture, has very little clearance between it and the side of the case. Several indents block the air shroud from locking into place. To get by this, use a screwdriver to spread open the side of the case so the shroud will slip into place.
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