review - The Perfect HTPC/NAS => Supermicro X10SBA-(L) BayTrail

Discussion in 'Mainboards / CPU / RAM' started by gibman, February 25, 2014.

  1. gibman
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    gibman Retired Team Member

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    http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/celeron/X10/X10SBA-L.cfm

    I just bought this puppy for around 150 eur in germany
    Originally I was looking for a dedicated server NAS/TVserver setup - a board that had lots of SATA ports and low watt footprint.

    For this purpose I found this board:
    http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/celeron/X10/X10SBA.cfm

    Ironically the seller sent me the wrong board.
    They sent me the X10SBA-L -- the "L" version. It only has 2 sata ports.
    Sending it back to germany would cost too much.
    So I decided to keep the motherboard and instead use it as a thin HTPC singleseat client.

    So I installed the mini itx board into this 37eur htpc case :
    http://www.lc-power.de/index.php?id=195
    It even features a pico-like PSU + 75w powerbrick .. and it works fine with this supermicro motherboard.
    The entire setup is passive and currently sitting between the wall and the back of the TV.
    Totally invisible. WAF=100%

    NOTE:
    The motherboard is featuring the intel J1900 baytrail chipset.
    Drivers are only available for win8 and currently not win7.
    I am running 8.1 pro 64bit.

    So if win8 is a showstopper, read no further.

    Also the motherboard is capable of using 16 gb of RAM even though the manual states 8gb.

    I have never tried an intel based htpc setup before. But man I am impressed.
    The watt-o-meter says around 9-10 watt.
    Booting the system from scratch with a SSD drive and 4gb RAM is very very fast.
    ofc. during normal operation I use standby/resume cycles.

    All my htpcs have always been ATI based with their nice vector adaptive deinterlacing etc.
    But the image that the Intel HD graphics produces on my full HD panasonic plasma TV is stunning.
    I tried all kinds of material. No problem. 1080p HD sports and movies, 720p etc.
    you name it.

    I saw no deinterlacing problems.
    24hz and 23hz works.

    I am using the lav video decoder with the QuickSync HW acceleration option enabled.
    The only thing I havent tried is blueray material. Have no drive.

    Navigation inside MP is very snappy, I can't even tell this is an atom based PC.



    Highly recommended.

    Also for you NAS lovers out there I can tell u that a quick read/write test over a gigabit LAN allows for transfer rates of about 120mb/sec.

    This was tested from a laptop with a SSD drive and on the supermicro setup with a SSD drive as well.
    So the CPU is more than able to cope with these transfer rates.
    Perfect for NAS.

    I have already ordered the "big brother" of this motherboard, the one that has 6 sata ports which I will use for a tvserver/NAS setup.
    Also both boards have a pci-express slot, so I am able to install a nice tuner using this interface as I am not too fund of usb based tuners.

    /gibman
     
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  3. gibman
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    gibman Retired Team Member

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    A small follow up:

    I am still very satisfied with the "X10SBA-L" as a multiseat client.

    A few weeks ago I received the fully featured "X10SBA" board which I am using as a NAS/web/mail server - it has 6 sata ports.
    I slapped 2x4 gb into it, one SSD drive + 4 semi old sata HD's (500gb, 250gb, 2tb, 3tb)

    The board reports an idle usage of around 15w using one single SSD drive + 8gb RAM.
    Next I stuffed in those 4 above mentioned discs.

    It doesn't seem like it supports stagged HD spin up, where it spins up one disc at a time.
    So during spin up the wattometer measures around 100w, but this is only for a few seconds.
    then it settles for around 45w.

    When all discs have spun down (idle) watt usage settles to around 17-18w
    I guess each disc does eat a few mili watts each, after all they have a PCB board that needs some juice, even when idle.

    The board is powered by this mini PSU which has a wide input range (16-24v DC):
    Z3-ATX-200 200W
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/pro...C-ATX-power-supply-with/211500_729581097.html
    Also using an older common IBM laptop power brick which states: 16v 4.5a (72watt)

    The board even has a 4 pin fan header which can be controlled from speedfan.
    I use this to cool down my HDs when above 45 celsius.

    For this to work in speedfan, goto advanced tab, chip: winbond W83627DHG-P at $A30 on ISA -> change PWM 1 mode to manual
    make sure to "click remember it" checkbox.

    Now in the "speeds" tab you should select "sys", and deselect the others. The "sys" one is the speed controller that you can use.
    Now associate this with the temp. that u want to control.

    EDIT: speedfan with SMART access (HD temp monitoring) prevents the discs from spinning down. This is a known issue with SMART related software like this. so I start speedfan with /NOSMARTSCAN - and as a consequence I cant retrieve HD temps no more. :(

    Also, I did fail in making the harddrives spin down on the 4 marvell based sata controller ports. (2 of the 6 ports are intel based.)
    This is when using the marvell drivers. Once I just use stock windows8 sata AHCI drivers that comes with windows then HD spin down works.

    next step is to try and throw in some tuner card(s) and install tvserver.

    but so far pleased :)

    more info later :)

    /gibman
     
    Last edited: March 14, 2014
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  4. M K

    M K New Member

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  5. gibman
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    gibman Retired Team Member

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  6. M K

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    It's the "AES New Instructions" field under "Intel® Data Protection Technology" section which is marked as "No". Wonder if motherboard of similar quality will ever be available with Atom E3845 CPU.
     
  7. ground

    ground New Member

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    Hi, gibman!

    Thanks for your review. I just received X10SBA, and no matter what I do I can't get any video output. I have an Apple Cinema Display from 2008 with DVI. I tried to connect it via HDMI and VGA adapters with no luck — the screen remains black, nothing happens. There is no alert signal on boot, all led indicators are fine according to manual. CMOS reset doesn't help.

    Do you have any idea what's going on? Should I just return the board?

    ground
     
  8. gibman
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    gibman Retired Team Member

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    I have had no issues like this.
    The is an onboard PC speaker that should give out a small audible beep almost immediately when started.

    You can either try another PSU or some other RAM modules (1.35v modules I think it is).

    If this doesn't work, then something is bad.

    /gibman
     
  9. ground

    ground New Member

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    You say beep? I hear a very subtle sound, more like a click. The same sound when I turning the power off (long press on power button). It sounds like it's not even coming from the onboard speaker. Do you refer to that kind of signal, or rather standard mb beep signal? If so, apparently my mb has some issues booting. It's not the RAM for sure, maybe PSU, will check.
     
  10. gibman
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    gibman Retired Team Member

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    Its a MB signal.

    /gibman
     
  11. winterescape
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    winterescape MP Donator

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    Thanks for the info, this ASRock J1900 board is now showing up on the egg for $70 USD and I was considering getting one to try as a HTPC. I was somewhat concerned about the GPU performance for a HTPC as it appears to only have 4EU. It does have quick sync, as you mentioned, which appears to make a big difference.

    A few links and some info I posted on another site / thread...
    J1900 specs

    J1900 has quick sync

    The Passmark score (2046) looks fine

    however the GPU for Bay trail looks lite, might be that quick sync makes all the difference...
    4EU VS like Sandy Bridge that had 6 EU but lacked Quick Sync in the low end parts, or Haswell that also lacks quick sync in the low end parts but has 10EU
     
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