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Supermicro AOC-S40G-iQ2 Review: A Low-Power 40GbE NIC

By: Chris Ramseyer | Network Adapters in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Dec 5, 2014 6:06 pm
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: Supermicro

Supermicro AOC-S40G-iQ2




Here we get our first look at the Supermicro AOC-S40G-iQ2 40GbE NIC. The card uses passive cooling for the low-power Intel controller.




Most of the surface mount components are on the top side of the drive, but a few are on the bottom side. A reference guide (top left) shows the different settings for the DIP switches, but we will discuss that in greater detail later on.




The -iQ2 model has two QSFP+ ports. I wouldn't be surprised if Supermicro released a single QSFP+ model, and even a model based on the X710 chipset for 10GbE, but both are unconfirmed at this time. The ports on the unit we're testing today support both QSFP+ optical MPO, or CR4 (direct attached copper).


Four openings on the half height backplate allow air to move past the card and exit the system case.




The NIC controller is cooled by a passive heat sink. Currently, we don't have any recommended fair flow numbers, but the card stays relatively cool compared to other 40GbE solutions and Infiniband cards we've tested, even under load.


The card interfaces with the server through a PCIe 3.0 eight-lane connector. It's also backward compatible with PCIe 2.0 for legacy installations.




This is the Intel XL710 chip. The package covers the inner wiring, but the main silicon is exposed, and comes in direct contact with the heat-sink-like second generation Pentium III processors. The die size is about the same size as Coppermine Pentium III processors as well.




Supermicro used DIP switches on the AOC-S40G-iQ2 to give users control of SMBUS, and to enable or disable the thermal reading. This is a feature we didn't find on Intel's Converged Ethernet adapter based on the same XL710 chip.




This chart was sent to us by Supermicro, and it details the DIP switch settings. For our testing, we used SMBUS ARP mode, and left the thermal reading enabled; these are the default settings.

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