Installed Xeon E3-1230V2 in Gen8 HP Microserver

Gen8 HP Microserver

Thanks to a homeservershow forum member keeping track of prices  I ordered the HP Gen8 Microserver 1610T … of course, nobody wants to run VMWare on a Celeron so obviously the first thing to try is installing a Xeon processor.

Update April 12, 2020. The 8th Gen HP Microserver is outdated. If you have one it probably still runs great. But if making a new purchase you may want to consider the newer 10th Gen HP Microservers.

Or the shorter tower server for small businesses:

If you want to build your own Microserver, I have two builds for you to check out: Supermicro X10SDV – Datacenter in a Box and AMD EPYC Home Server Build.

Original post below in case you’re still interested in this mod:

Installing the Xeon E3-1230 V2 in the Microserver

Gen8 HP Microserver Motherboard

The HP Microserver’s CPU is passively cooled and the heatsink is rated for a max TDP of 35W, and there’s no port on the motherboard that I could find for an extra CPU fan.

The obvious option is the Xeon E3-1220L V2 at 17W, but it’s expensive and hard to find and only has 2 cores.

Xeon E3-1230v2 in the Microserver

I already have a Xeon E3-1230 V2 (69W), and for most people this is a better option because it’s readily available and affordable.  I figure worse case I could disable two of the four cores to bring it down to 35W.

I’ve never applied thermal paste, so I’m not sure if that’s the right amount, but that’s how much I did.

First Boot…

Hey, it worked!

I thought it wise to at least go into the BIOS and disable 3.7GHz Turbo, so the max we’ll hit is 3.3GHz. (Update: I later learned that disabling Turbo isn’t necessary. The CPU will only go into Turbo when a single core is being utilized so TDP would be low anyway).

Boot screen

VMware ESXi booted just fine (I used the version provided by HP).  Now I’ve got hyper-threading and VT-d (Direct Path I/O) on a Gen8 Microserver!

VMWare Screenshot

And the temperature is doing just fine…

Temperature at idle

gen8_microserver_xeon_e3_cpu_load_testCPU Load Test

10 minutes full load using “stress” on a VM.  All four cores clocking in at 3.292GHz.  You can see the temperatures bumped up but still within specifications.  Fan was still running at 51%.  Temperature inside my house is currently 84F so if it can survive a full load in this heat I’m not concerned about it running into problems. 

Temperature at full load

Compatible Processors

(added July 28, 2013)

Here’s a list of processors I think would be good candidates.  I’ve excluded the Core i5 series because they don’t support ECC.

The stock processor does not differ from the i3 except for clock speed and hyper-threading, so I don’t think it’s worth the money to upgrade to an i3.

The main reasons to upgrade to a Xeon is the AES instruction set, VT-d, or more cores and a faster clock speed.  I think the best value is the Xeon E3-1230 V2.

Xeon E3-1220 v23.169W4NYYYShould
Xeon E3-1220L v22.317W2YYYYShould
Xeon E3-1230 v23.369W4YYYYVerified
Xeon E3-1265 v22.545W4YYYYShould*
Core i3-3250T335W2YNNNShould
Core i3-3220T335W2YNNNShould
Celeron G1610T2.335W2NYYNYes
Pentium G2020T2.335W2NYYNYes

*Processors ending in a 5 have integrated HD graphics, I’m not sure if this will cause problems.