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Lenovo ThinkServer TS140 70A4001LUX - Revised 2015-02-03
on January 20, 2014
- Intel Xeon processor E3-1225 4 core, 3.2GHz, NO Hyper-Threading
- 5X SATA III Ports on M.B.
- 6X USB 3.0 Ports
- 2X Display Ports
- 4X DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB RAM
- 4X PCIe 2.0 slots + 1X PCI slot on M.B.
- Upgraded Intel P4600 Graphics on Xeon E3-1225 v3 CPU
- Onboard Realtec HD Audio Card supporting Surround Sound
- Remote Access with Intel 9000 chip.
- Hardware support for RAID
- Cables for 6X 15-pin SATA connections.
- Extra 3.5" Drive bay with Cooling Fan in 2nd. 5.25" Drive Bay.
- Half-Height CD/DVD O.D. 5.25" has 3.5" HDD bay included.
- 2X Case Cooling Fans (80mm.), 1X CPU Cooling Fan(80mm.), 1X 5.25" Drive Bay Cooling Fan (20mm.?) - Lots of Cooling.
- ONLY 5-SATA III ports on the MotherBoard. If they would have put on
6-SATA III ports, You could keep the O.D. and install 4-HDD's/SSD's
for a nice RAID + 1 OS drive. There was a spot to put the SATA III
port on the board, it would have just cost a little more.
- HDD Drive Caddy's are flimsy plastic.
- Only 2X 3.5" Drive Bays included.
UPDATE (2014-11-25): New Versions have Total of 4 - 3.5" Drive Bays.
- Only 1X SATA III Connector Cable included with box - Not enough for the Drive Bays.
I have set up several of the i3-4130 version 70A4000HUX model of these TS140 servers so I already had the setup procedure and driver package ready to go. I have also set up several of the 70A4001LUX with Xeon processors. These are the best value for the money when they go on sale. I set up this box with the following in a couple hours:
- 12GB (3X4GB modules) pc3-12800 ddr3-1600 ECC UDIMM's
- LG Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Reader/Writer O.D. replacing the Half Height O.D.
Update (2015-02-03): Installing the Blu-Ray burner eliminates one 3.5" drive bay that is under the half-height DVD Optical Drive.
- ICY Dock Duoswap 2.5"/3.5" dual drive bays in 2nd. 5.25" bay.
UPDATE(2014-12-11): It isn't really necessary to put in the ICY Dock Duoswap bay
unless you want to access the SSD/HDD from the front. You can put
the SSD in a 2.5" to 3.5" caddy in back of the 3.5" bay.
Update (2015-02-11): I have experienced 100% failure of ICY Dock Duoswap drive bays purchased after 2014-08-01. The drive bays fail when placed under continuous load (transferring 1+TB of data to/from a drive in the bay). If you have a OS drive in the 2.5" bay, the server will shutdown and you can loose any data being transferred at that time. Because of this, I do not recommend any new purchases of this ICY Dock Duoswap Drive bay. I also have found no other acceptable alternative that will allow either 2 - 3.5" drives or, 1 - 3.5" drive + 1 - 2.5" drive in a single bay.
- Sabrent 75-in-1 Multi-Card reader/writer in 3.5" exterior bay.
- 4X Seagate 4TB HDD's
- Crucial M500 480GB SATA III SSD for O.S. and Programs
- Intel i350-T2 Gigabit PCIe Dual Port Ethernet Adapter Card
- Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 Dual TV Tuner PCIe Card
UPDATE (2015-01-25): I do not recommend these Hauppauge internal tuners anymore.
Unless you already have one that works in a PCIe 2.0 slot (model
#88061) they are a lot of hassle. It is much easier to install
an external network tuner like the SiliconDust HDHR-3US, HDHR-4US, or HDHR Prime tuner in your
network and connect to the server through Ethernet rather than running RJ-36 Coax cable to the
card on the server.
When using Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit OS I get the following WEI scores:
Graphics: 6.7 (with the P4600 CPU Graphics)
Gaming Graphics: 6.7
Primary Hardisk: 7.9
cpubenchmark.net has information about the relative performance and cost of the CPU's.
Here are some processor benchmarks for comparison:
AMD Turion II 2.2GHz -Dual Core -1405 score -(HP Proliant N54L G7 Microserver)
i5-2520M 2.5GHz -Dual Core -3549 score -(HP Elitebook 8460p Laptop PC)
i3-4130 3.4GHz -Dual Core -4801 score
Xeon E3-1225 v3 3.2GHz -Quad Core -6998 score
i5-4570 3.2GHz -Quad Core -7073 score
The cpumark score is important if you are trying to stream high quality videos. According to plex.tv forums, a cpumark score of 1500, or higher, is needed to stream a single 720p video without hangups. A cpumark score of 2000, or higher, is needed to stream a single 1080p video without hangups. The i3-4130 can effectively stream 2 - 1080p videos simultaneously and the Xeon E3-1225v3 can effectively stream 3 - 1080p videos simultaneously without hangups. You would have to go to the i7-4770 CPU or the AMD FX-8350 CPU (will not work on the LGA 1150 M.B. of a Lenovo TS-140) to get better streaming capability. The AMD Turion II processor in the HP Proliant N54L struggles to stream one 720p video. I own one of those and have built others for clients. They are a nice compact data server but, they are outdated and very difficult to upgrade.
I ran some Transcoding tests comparing the i3-4130 CPU to the Xeon E3-1225 v3 CPU version using the freeware program Handbrake to transcode ISO files into .m4v files. Using the same iso file and the same transcoding parameters, I got the following transcoding rates:
AMD Turion II - <1frames/second
i5-2520M - 9frames/second
i3-4130 - 29frames/second
E3-1225 v3 - 59frames/second
The Xeon with its quad core was twice as fast at transcoding as the dual core i3-4130. The HP Proliant Microserver N54L can take literally days to transcode a full length movie iso file.
Update (2015-02-03) - Handbrake ver 0.10.0.6534 has a new transcoding profile [H.264(Intel QSV)] optimized for Intel multi-core processors. I have transcoded .iso files with that profile using the high quality profile with quality settings at 15 and achieve frame rates in excess of 425 frames/second. I didn't see any significant difference in the transcoding speed between the i3-4130 and the Xeon E3-1225 v3. A 120 minute video will transcode in under 15 minutes where it would take several hours using the H.264 settings. The price for using the new settings is the completed .m4v files size is 25%-50% larger than completed file size when transcoding with the H.264 profile at very slow speed. Also, CPU utilization goes up considerably (amount depends on file and CPU) when streaming videos.
This is a great setup for a Media Server, HTPC, DVR, Data Server, or moderate Gaming PC. You would have to add in a high end Graphics card to make this perform any better for 3D graphics simulations or high end gaming but those take too much power for the 280 Watt power supply. There are PCIe 2.0 slots for the card if you need it. I put in a Radeon Saphire 6450 card just to check out the performance and the Graphics & Gaming Graphics scores dropped down to 4.9 on the WEI.
The Power supply is only 280 watts so you would have to upgrade that in order to meet the demands of a high end Graphics Card. Be sure to look at the graphic card specification sheet for the power supply capacity rating needed to run the card at full load. A 280 watt PS is insufficient for even moderate graphics cards. Lenovo does have a 480 watt P.S. in their parts list but there appears to be some difficulty in getting that OEM P.S. from them. Bigger P.S. are available many places. The power supply in the TS-140 has custom pin out configurations so it would be somewhat difficult to swap out a aftermarket power supply.
Update (2015-02-03):If you are considering this as a gaming PC, be aware that the BIOS does not support overclocking or any changes at all to CPU or RAM voltages. Also, there are no adjustments for CAS Latency on the RAM and there are a limited number of RAM profiles in the stock BIOS firmware. Along with the lower capacity PSU, this precludes a lot of the tweaking that many gamers do to increase performance of their systems. The Xeon E3-1225 v3 does not support hyper-threading which also limits the graphical performance for many modern high end games. That is the reason I state this computer is probably limited to moderate gaming applications. Gaming is not my area of interest or expertise. Go to sites like Tom's hardware guide or Anandtech to get more in-depth evaluations of CPU's, Motherboards, CPU coolers, and more technical evaluations for high-end gaming.
As an FYI - The M.B. slots are PCIe 3.0 and 2.0 (Depending on which slot you are accessing). I had difficulty in using cards I previously used in these TS140 boxes. None of the PCIe 1.0 cards worked in these boxes even though PCIe 2.0 is supposed to be backward compatible with PCIe 1.0. If you are planning on putting a Hauppauge TV Tuner card in this box, be sure that it is a model 88061 to work. The 88041 or 88021 do not work with PCIe 2.0.
Similarly, the Ethernet Adapter cards are also picky. Lenovo only recommends the Intel i350-T2 or i350-T4 cards. I tried a Intel PRO/1000 gigabit 4-port adapter card that was PCIe 1.0 and it would not even post the BIOS. Other reviewers have been able to make the PRO/1000 work in the TS-140 by loading the correct drivers. So far, none of the drivers I found worked for me. I tried a DELL i350-T4 and that one also failed. There is a procedure to jumper the card and erase the Firmware to allow that card to be used in the Lenovo TS-140. Unless you are very hardware savvy and comfortable with this type of procedure, I recommend that you use only Intel Branded or Lenovo branded Ethernet Adapter Cards to avoid the hassles.
Update (2015-02-03): I have had great success with Chinese manufactured i350-T4 ethernet cards available from an alternative auction site. Those cards come with Intel branded Driver Installation CD's and behave exactly like the cards that have Intel printed on the card. Price on those cards as of this update is less than US$70 with free shipping.
I have little experience in these TS140's with other card mfg. like SYBA. I installed the following card and had some problems with Jumbo Frames (MTU9000 is not supported). Depending on your application, this may, or may not, work. The price differential between these cards and the i350-T4 cards from China is too little to make it worth the hassle of using another card.
If you are planning on adding RAM, take into account the following parameters:
- ECC is OK. Buffering/Registered is NOT. ECC + Buffered/Registered RAM will NOT work in these servers. I tried a couple brands and they would not even post the BIOS. Lenovo sends Hynix or Samsung ECC UDIMM's with the machines.
- The TS140's BIOS is NOT adjustable for RAM frequency or CL. If you install RAM that is outside std. parameters, it will default to something that is probably slower than you expect and you cannot change it.
Example: Lenovo set parameters are A. PC3-12800 CL 11 Voltage 1.5 volts or B. PC3-10600 CL 9 Voltage 1.5 volts
If you put in RAM that is PC3-12800 DDR3-1600MHz CL 9, 1.5 volts, it will default to PC3-10600 DDR3-1333MHz which is slower... even though the RAM is higher performance than specified.
- Non-ECC is OK. Just do not buy Buffered/Registered RAM.
- I have used Hynix, Samsung, Crucial, and G-Skill modules in the TS140 server with good success.
- Crucial's ECC server memory modules are a decent price here at Amazon
- The Lenovo Forums for the TS-140 now indicate that there are Kingston
Memory kits that work.
- SuperTalent has ECC UDIMMS that some people have stated work in the
Update (2015-02-03): Syba HyperDuo 4-port PCIe Card
I installed this card in a TS-140 to get more SATA III ports for internal Memory Storage. My results were mixed in that I had difficulty installing the card, even after pre-installing the latest drivers from the SybaUSA website. Also, I was not able to access the card BIOS after installation. I also had problems accessing the server BIOS after installing this card to prevent the server from booting from the eSATA ports. Only one of the eSATA ports can be used with port multiplication at a time (read all the reviews of the card to get that information). Installing the card also significantly increases the boot time. The card does work to provide more SATA ports along with eSATA ports. So far, I have not found a better card than this at reasonable cost.
If you are interested in using these as real servers that run VM's on different platforms other than the Windows server family, there is a growing amount of information on sites like homeservershow.com or smallnetbuilder.com but the Lenovo website forum is still lacking. Lenovo.com has a growing # of driver sets for many OS's. Check there frequently for updates. The installation CD's that come with the TS-140 have been updated. The last date I saw on a server shipped in November 2014 was from May 2014. The websites have drivers that are newer than that. Lenovo does not send out notices of updates so you have to check for them yourself (HP sends out notices of what updates are available to registered users).
If you are looking to build a modest server or high end HTPC, I think this is an excellent deal. The features are better than the HP Proliant G7, G8, or even the 300 series servers and beat the heck out of the Lenovo PC offerings which are much higher priced.