Power10 Entry Machines: The Power S1014
July 18, 2022 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The Power10 entry and midrange machines are going to be with us for a long time, and so we are going to take our time and go through the different models, in their natural family groupings, and do a deep dive into the machines so you can make better decisions about where to go with your future system. This week, we start at the bottom of the line with the Power S1014, which will be the workhorse machine for many IBM i shops and which will probably be the highest volume box in the Power10 lineup over the next three or four years.
Right now, we have gathered up a lot of technical specs on the machines and talked to IBM about market positioning and use case scenarios. In the long run, we will get our hands on prices for configured machines and do the usual price/performance analysis, but this is not possible now because the IBM configurators are not even set up yet with the new Power10 machines.
Let’s get going with the feeds and speeds and slots and watts of the Power S1014.
Like its Power S814 and Power S914 predecessors, by definition the Power S1014 server, revealed in announcement letter LG22-0032, is intentionally geared down in terms of compute, memory, and storage to meet a much lower price point than the two-socket servers that are next in the Power Systems entry server – what IBM calls “scale out” even though most Power Systems shops do not actually cluster these machines together for scale – lineup. Which is why we still call them entry servers, like the AS/400 9404-B10 from June 1988. This is the Mark I AS/400 against which all others are measured, with a RAMP-C relative performance of 1.0 and a CPW rating of 2.9. The base machine cost $19,000 with 4 MB of memory and a pair of 315 MB disk drives; the machine could expand memory to 8 MB and disk to 945 MB. OS/400 1.0 cost $5,500 for this box. There was only one core, of course, on the entire CPU. (Weird, isn’t it?)
The Power S1014 is an unimaginably high performance and expansive system by comparison to that AS/400 B10, which is what three and a half decades of hardware innovation will do. Here is how the Power S1014 single-socket, 4U rack and tower machine stacks up against the Power S0914 launched four years ago:
You will note that IBM is no longer suppling six-core Power chips as options on these single-socket entry servers, and that is absolutely intentional and, we think, has to do with the fact that these are dual-chip module (DCM) CPU complexes and no chiplet works well comprised out of an odd number of components (which would be three cores to a half). With the Power9 chips used in the Power S914, the six-core variation had six literal cores out of the dozen on the die lit up. So that balances out architecturally, particularly on a single die.
On the Power S1014, the machine has eight OpenCAPI Memory Interfaces (OMI), which support differential signaling (like other kinds of I/O used for NUMA links) and which can have up to eight memory slots across the Power10 socket. That is half of what the other bigger Power10 machines can do, slotwise, but with four or eight Power10 cores on that single socket, the 128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB of total differential DIMM (DDIMM) main memory running at 3.2 GHz today is plenty. And in November, when 128 GB memory features are available, the Power S1014 will support up to 1 TB of memory, like the Power S914 ahead of it did. Using those 3.2 GHz DDIMMs, the Power S1014 has a maximum of 204 GB/sec of memory bandwidth in its socket, a 20 percent increase in memory bandwidth in that single socket compared to the one at the heart of the Power S914 machine. To get to 1 TB of capacity, the 128 GB memory features run at only 2.67 GHz, which means the bandwidth across that single Power 1014 socket tops out at 170.5 GB/sec, the same as in the Power S914.
In terms of I/O bandwidth, the Power S1014 has a total of 32 lanes running at the PCI-Express 5.0 speed of 32 Gb/sec per lane; these can be configured as 64 lanes running at the PCI-Express 4.0 speed of 16 Gb/sec. Either way, the aggregate I/O bandwidth on the Power S1014 is 52.4 percent higher, and IBM is carving that I/O bandwidth on the Power S1014 into two slots running at either PCI-Express 4.0 x16 speeds or PCI-Express 5.0 x8 speeds, plus three additional PCI-Express 5.0 slots running at x8 speed and one PCI-Express 4.0 slot running at x8 speed. That comes out to a total of 1 Tb/sec of aggregate I/O bandwidth.
The PCI-Express 5.0 controllers on the Power10 chip fan out to a PCI-Express I/O switch, which carves up the I/O like this:
Here is a different block diagram that we came across that shows it a little bit better:
For storage, IBM is offering only sixteen NVM-Express U.2 modules, which come in capacities of 800 GB, 1.6 TB, 3.2 TB, or 6.4 TB and top out at 102.4 TB across all those modules. The Power S1014 does not support hard disk drives or flash SSDs, both of which attach to regular SAS or SATA controllers. For local backup, there is an internal RDX disk cartridge option, which ranges in size between 320 GB and 2 TB. The Power S1014 supports external PCI-Express I/O expansion drawers as well as external SAS storage expansion drawers, so if you have already invested in these, you can carry them over to the new Power S1014 system.
The Power S1014 has two different processor options: A four-core variant, and an eight-core variant. As with prior Power S814 and Power S914 machines, the four-core variant is put into the OS/400 and IBM i P05 software tier, which is good, but the system memory is capped at a low of only 64 GB. This memory limit seems a bit ridiculous given how much more performance is inherent in the four Power10 cores on this four-core feature, which run from a base, all-core speed of 3 GHz to a turbo speed of 3.9 GHz, depending on the core count activated and how hard the features on the cores are working as they run applications. The eight-core Power10 processor option in the Power S1014 puts it into the P10 software tier.
Here is what the Power S1014 looks like in tower and rack configurations:
In terms of performance, the four-core processor feature on the Power S1014 is rated at 106,300 CPWs and the eight-core feature is rated at 205,300 CPWs. A single core, which is what a lot of customers might need, is rated at around 26,575 CPWs, which is 9,164X the performance of that AS/400 9404-B10 system from 1988. That single core performance is a little more than 2X the performance of the Power9 core in the Power S914 machine, and about 2.84X that of the single Power8 core in the Power S814 machine. These are all performance estimates based on using all eight threads on all of the Power processors – what is called SMT8 mode and what significantly adds to throughput for the system on database and transaction processing workloads.