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HPE ML10 Gen9 - budget server

porina
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Manufacturer's product page: https://www.hpe.com/uk/en/product-catalog/servers/proliant-servers/pip.overview.hpe-proliant-ml10-gen9-g4400-4gb-r-non-hot-plug-4lff-sata-300w-entry-svr.1008771937.html

 

 

At the time of writing, this server could be purchased new and delivered in UK for £144 after cashback (US$150 without tax). So what does that buy you, and how does it differ from something not calling itself a server?

 

Basic specs are basic:

CPU: Pentium G4400 - Skylake generation, dual core 3.3 GHz, 3MB cache

Ram: 4GB DDR4 ECC in a single stick

Chipset: C236 - so will support Skylake 1151 Xeons

GPU: Intel HD Graphics 510

Storage: none

PSU: 300W

 

Case is a low budget micro-ATX tower. On the front of the case you get two USB2 ports and a power button. Round the back are 4 USB3 sockets, ethernet, and two display port connectors. Yes, DP, as I found out to my pain as I only have one monitor that supports it and it isn't easy to reach the cable.

 

insidefront.jpg

 

Gently lifting 3 tabs allows you to slide off the front panel, revealing an unused fan cutout. There isn't really room inside or out for a standard thickness fan. If the drive bay wasn't fitted, you could put one inside. The little thing sticking out of one of the fan holes goes back to a header on the mobo labelled ambient sensor, so presumably is a temperature sensor of some sort.

 

Onto the motherboard...

 

mobotop.jpg

 

At the top, between the CPU and PSU we can see 4 ram slots. There's a 4 pin fan header for the rear exhaust fan. It runs at full speed on boot and sounds like it is trying to take off, but after some seconds it is reduced to an inaudible level. Next is an internal USB socket. I will need this as I will later run this with Unraid, so you can put in a USB stick with the OS and not have to worry about someone removing it from the exterior. Right of that is what appears to be the front panel connector. This could be a pain point for me, as I intend to rehouse the mobo. The connector is smaller pitch than consumer mobos, plus I'd still have to work out what wire goes where. And to the right is what I hope is a standard 24-pin ATX power connector. It just obscured by the fan, but there's a 4-pin power connector going to the CPU socket. You're not going to run very high power CPUs in this.

 

ram.jpg

 

The ram isn't too exciting. To add another stick would cost around £70 for genuine HP, or half that for compatible Crucial.

 

satacon2.jpg

 

Moving over a bit, we see the 6 SATA connectors. 5 are ordinary ones, and the 5th labelled ODD has a 2nd connector next to it. I have confirmed a standard SATA cable will connect to half of that, and presumably the other half is a mini power connector. The system comes with 4 SATA cables, all of which are really short at 7" or 18cm. Someone must have worked out how little they need to reach the 4 bays inside the case, and gave you that and no more. Additional drives can be added but HP want you to buy a kit to add that capability.

 

On that note, the PSU is also quite minimal. Apart from the mobo connections, you get 4 SATA power connectors and that's it. It is bronze rated and claims to deliver up to 300W.

 

Back to the previous image, you can also see the connector and cable going to the front USB port. Again, this is not the common consumer mobo layout and is a tighter pitch.

 

insideslots2.jpg

 

Moving down to the other corner are the 4 expansion slots. These are 8x, 16x, 4x, 4x physical slots, although if you look up the HP documentation they're actually 8x, 8x, 4x, 1x.

 

You can also see the CPU heatsink and fan. The heatsink is very similar to the Intel stock coolers, but instead of the plastic push pins they're screwed in place. The fan is also replaced with a conventional shaped 80mm model. This is quiet although not completely silent in use. The level is low enough that you wouldn't really notice it in a work environment, although you might if it was really silent. This is even running AIDA64 stress test, or Prime95. It never went above 40C in testing. The Pentium isn't powerful enough to be a problem, but you might consider something better if you upgrade it.

 

Although I haven't taken a full mobo shot, the mounting hole spacing seems consistent with micro-ATX.

 

I'd also mention at this point, HPE really like their torx screws. They seem to be T15 and can also take a flat screwdriver, although with the latter you have no control. There's also a bag of extra screws supplied for fitting drives.

 

insideslots.jpg

 

The expansion slot area is shrouded. To uncover it, you have to remove the top screw from the inside before reaching the others outside. An interesting security feature. Note only the top one is a removable blanking plate. The other 3 slots have those horrible ones you have to rip out.

 

That's the hardware, what about the BIOS? This relatively closely resembles a consumer PC, and is not at all like the one on the Microserver Gen8 I have. In the ML10 Gen9, you can press delete to enter the bios and there aren't any settings in there to excite an enthusiast. What is lacking is any of the more advanced server stuff. The Microserver Gen8 for example, has iLO management as well as various provisioning assists. As a home user, I found those server features to get in the way, so it is nice not to see that on the ML10 Gen9. Conversely, while researching if I should buy this unit, I saw the more serious server buyers cry about the lack of those features, saying without them, this is no server at all. In my case, it is a server in the sense it takes ECC ram and I would hope it makes it more stable for my file storage needs.

 

The unit doesn't come with a drive at all. I found an old SSD I had lying around and it happened to have a Win10 install on it. After detecting the different hardware it booted fine and relatively quickly. More drivers were updated and... it was just like any other Win10 system at this point. The CPU wasn't particularly powerful, and the ram isn't exactly generous, but it worked. In theory, you could add a GTX 1050 and small SSD for a total spend of around £300 (main unit only, no OS) and have a basic gaming capable machine if you were so inclined.

TV Gaming system: Asus B560M-A, i7-11700k, Scythe Fuma 2, Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200@2133 4x16GB, MSI 3070 Gaming Trio X, EVGA Supernova G2L 850W, InWin 303, Samsung 980 Pro 2TB, LG OLED55B9PLA 4k120 G-Sync Compatible
Streaming system: Asus X299 TUF mark 2, i9-7920X, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance LPX RGB 3000 8x8GB, Gigabyte 2070, Corsair HX1000i, GameMax Abyss, Samsung 970 Evo 500GB, Crucial BX500 1TB, Acer Predator 24" 1440p1444 G-Sync + LG UW 1440p60
Gaming laptop: Lenovo Legion, 5800H, DDR4 3200C22 2x8GB, RTX 3070, SK Hynix 512 GB + Crucial P1 TB SSD, 165 Hz IPS 1080p G-Sync Compatible

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Additional: I've tried taking the case apart further and made more observations.

 

The main lower HD bay is removable and you need to if you want to put the screws in the back.

The ambient sensor is a 2N3904 transistor used as a temperature sensor on the air intake at the front.

The front panel connector goes to the power switch, and the two status LEDs are bicolour. I'll need to work out how to re-terminate it, and it'll probably be easiest if I cut the existing cable into two. The part with LEDs and switches remains with the case for whatever mobo I may put inside in future. The part with the connector going to mobo I'd add some pins on so I could connect regular case spacing connectors.

I've compared the wiring colours on the PSU against ATX standard, and they match up. So I'm pretty sure it is a standard PSU and can use a better one for server as I will need a load more SATA power connectors.

TV Gaming system: Asus B560M-A, i7-11700k, Scythe Fuma 2, Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200@2133 4x16GB, MSI 3070 Gaming Trio X, EVGA Supernova G2L 850W, InWin 303, Samsung 980 Pro 2TB, LG OLED55B9PLA 4k120 G-Sync Compatible
Streaming system: Asus X299 TUF mark 2, i9-7920X, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance LPX RGB 3000 8x8GB, Gigabyte 2070, Corsair HX1000i, GameMax Abyss, Samsung 970 Evo 500GB, Crucial BX500 1TB, Acer Predator 24" 1440p1444 G-Sync + LG UW 1440p60
Gaming laptop: Lenovo Legion, 5800H, DDR4 3200C22 2x8GB, RTX 3070, SK Hynix 512 GB + Crucial P1 TB SSD, 165 Hz IPS 1080p G-Sync Compatible

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More testing done:

 

It will run off a standard ATX PSU.

With the PSU replaced with a 150W PicoPSU and a SSD, USB keyboard & mouse connected, and system fan swapped with a 92mm Noctua, it was taking 8W from mains when idle at desktop.

Power consumption goes to 26W with Aida64 stress test set to FPU+cache.

The system wont boot without a system fan connected. It shows an error and endlessly reboots.

The USB/front panel connectors are 2mm pitch, compared to 2.54mm (0.1") more commonly found on consumer equipment. I made a crude adapter just for the power pins, and that works as expected if I short across it to simulate a power switch.

I tried two GPUs (9600GT, and something else even older) and system wouldn't boot with either. The CPU fan can be heard to make a pulsing noise.

TV Gaming system: Asus B560M-A, i7-11700k, Scythe Fuma 2, Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200@2133 4x16GB, MSI 3070 Gaming Trio X, EVGA Supernova G2L 850W, InWin 303, Samsung 980 Pro 2TB, LG OLED55B9PLA 4k120 G-Sync Compatible
Streaming system: Asus X299 TUF mark 2, i9-7920X, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance LPX RGB 3000 8x8GB, Gigabyte 2070, Corsair HX1000i, GameMax Abyss, Samsung 970 Evo 500GB, Crucial BX500 1TB, Acer Predator 24" 1440p1444 G-Sync + LG UW 1440p60
Gaming laptop: Lenovo Legion, 5800H, DDR4 3200C22 2x8GB, RTX 3070, SK Hynix 512 GB + Crucial P1 TB SSD, 165 Hz IPS 1080p G-Sync Compatible

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  • 4 months later...

@porina did you by any chance take a look at how the cpu heat sink is attached to the board/case? I have an ML10  Gen9 and I'd love to switch the internals over to a new case and a new PSU as I've outgrown the old one. I read somewhere that there might be issues getting the board moved to a standard micro-ATX compatible case. 

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25 minutes ago, trasmis said:

@porina did you by any chance take a look at how the cpu heat sink is attached to the board/case? I have an ML10  Gen9 and I'd love to switch the internals over to a new case and a new PSU as I've outgrown the old one. I read somewhere that there might be issues getting the board moved to a standard micro-ATX compatible case. 

I didn't look further as the supplied heatsink is sufficient for the low end processor it comes with. From memory, I think it screws into the same backplate that holds the CPU socket, but I can't be 100% sure.

 

The only problem I had with moving it to another case is that the connectors on it were a different pitch than that found on consumer motherboards, so you either need to make your own adapter, or cut and re-use the old case wiring.

TV Gaming system: Asus B560M-A, i7-11700k, Scythe Fuma 2, Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200@2133 4x16GB, MSI 3070 Gaming Trio X, EVGA Supernova G2L 850W, InWin 303, Samsung 980 Pro 2TB, LG OLED55B9PLA 4k120 G-Sync Compatible
Streaming system: Asus X299 TUF mark 2, i9-7920X, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance LPX RGB 3000 8x8GB, Gigabyte 2070, Corsair HX1000i, GameMax Abyss, Samsung 970 Evo 500GB, Crucial BX500 1TB, Acer Predator 24" 1440p1444 G-Sync + LG UW 1440p60
Gaming laptop: Lenovo Legion, 5800H, DDR4 3200C22 2x8GB, RTX 3070, SK Hynix 512 GB + Crucial P1 TB SSD, 165 Hz IPS 1080p G-Sync Compatible

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20 hours ago, porina said:

I didn't look further as the supplied heatsink is sufficient for the low end processor it comes with. From memory, I think it screws into the same backplate that holds the CPU socket, but I can't be 100% sure.

 

The only problem I had with moving it to another case is that the connectors on it were a different pitch than that found on consumer motherboards, so you either need to make your own adapter, or cut and re-use the old case wiring.

 

Thanks! if I don't want to cut and re-use old case wiring, how much of a hack is it to make a standard atx connector (e.g. corsair rm series) fit? Any photos?

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2 hours ago, trasmis said:

Thanks! if I don't want to cut and re-use old case wiring, how much of a hack is it to make a standard atx connector (e.g. corsair rm series) fit? Any photos?

You can buy the connectors of the right size off ebay or elsewhere. They're 2mm pitch instead of the usual 0.1inch. Then you can either use that to fit on the wires in the new case, or make an adapter to go between them. I really can't be bothered to make it up, so I just have the one-off I did just for the power switch, and use LED lighting in the new case to show when it is on.

 

Edit: re-reading the question, I think there is a misunderstanding here. When I say the connectors are different, I meant for things like the power switch, and power/HD LEDs. The ATX power connectors are standard.

 

Edit 2: the mobo in new case linked below

 

 

TV Gaming system: Asus B560M-A, i7-11700k, Scythe Fuma 2, Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200@2133 4x16GB, MSI 3070 Gaming Trio X, EVGA Supernova G2L 850W, InWin 303, Samsung 980 Pro 2TB, LG OLED55B9PLA 4k120 G-Sync Compatible
Streaming system: Asus X299 TUF mark 2, i9-7920X, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance LPX RGB 3000 8x8GB, Gigabyte 2070, Corsair HX1000i, GameMax Abyss, Samsung 970 Evo 500GB, Crucial BX500 1TB, Acer Predator 24" 1440p1444 G-Sync + LG UW 1440p60
Gaming laptop: Lenovo Legion, 5800H, DDR4 3200C22 2x8GB, RTX 3070, SK Hynix 512 GB + Crucial P1 TB SSD, 165 Hz IPS 1080p G-Sync Compatible

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That's exactly what I'm planning to do. Even got the same case (R5 but without the plexiglass). Now I just need to get a new PSU and then I'll give my ml10 gen9 and a whole bunch of disks a new home to live in. Cheers!

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Case transplant is complete. Your beta is spot on. Only (expected) issue was power switch and front facing usb connections but for a server, workarounds will do. Thanks again.

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Hi,

 

how did you find the fan noise on the ml10 gen9, mine seems to be excessively loud and I don't seem to be able to reduce it.

 

Thanks

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18 minutes ago, michaelggratton said:

@porina sorry just re read and realised you swapped out the system Fan, was this a straight swap?

From memory the fan header is standard PWM (4 pin) so I just replaced it with the Noctua I happen to have spare. Also you have to have a system fan connected otherwise the server wont boot. I don't know if that can be turned off elsewhere.

TV Gaming system: Asus B560M-A, i7-11700k, Scythe Fuma 2, Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200@2133 4x16GB, MSI 3070 Gaming Trio X, EVGA Supernova G2L 850W, InWin 303, Samsung 980 Pro 2TB, LG OLED55B9PLA 4k120 G-Sync Compatible
Streaming system: Asus X299 TUF mark 2, i9-7920X, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance LPX RGB 3000 8x8GB, Gigabyte 2070, Corsair HX1000i, GameMax Abyss, Samsung 970 Evo 500GB, Crucial BX500 1TB, Acer Predator 24" 1440p1444 G-Sync + LG UW 1440p60
Gaming laptop: Lenovo Legion, 5800H, DDR4 3200C22 2x8GB, RTX 3070, SK Hynix 512 GB + Crucial P1 TB SSD, 165 Hz IPS 1080p G-Sync Compatible

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  • 2 weeks later...

@porinaI know you breifly touched on it but i wanted to clarify, Can you mount a fan in the front if your remove the hard drive cages? What size fan is it? Thanks!

Main Rig: http://linustechtips.com/main/topic/58641-the-i7-950s-gots-to-go-updated-104/ | CPU: Intel i7-4930K | GPU: 2x EVGA Geforce GTX Titan SC SLI| MB: EVGA X79 Dark | RAM: 16GB HyperX Beast 2400mhz | SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 256gb | HDD: 2x Western Digital Raptors 74gb | EX-H34B Hot Swap Rack | Case: Lian Li PC-D600 | Cooling: H100i | Power Supply: Corsair HX1050 |

 

Pfsense Build (Repurposed for plex) https://linustechtips.com/main/topic/715459-pfsense-build/

 

 

 

 

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25 minutes ago, ltguy said:

@porinaI know you breifly touched on it but i wanted to clarify, Can you mount a fan in the front if your remove the hard drive cages? What size fan is it? Thanks!

I'll have to have another look as I don't recall any more than I wrote already in this thread. In my opinion extra cooling isn't needed unless you're thinking of adding a LOT of extra heat into the case.

TV Gaming system: Asus B560M-A, i7-11700k, Scythe Fuma 2, Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200@2133 4x16GB, MSI 3070 Gaming Trio X, EVGA Supernova G2L 850W, InWin 303, Samsung 980 Pro 2TB, LG OLED55B9PLA 4k120 G-Sync Compatible
Streaming system: Asus X299 TUF mark 2, i9-7920X, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance LPX RGB 3000 8x8GB, Gigabyte 2070, Corsair HX1000i, GameMax Abyss, Samsung 970 Evo 500GB, Crucial BX500 1TB, Acer Predator 24" 1440p1444 G-Sync + LG UW 1440p60
Gaming laptop: Lenovo Legion, 5800H, DDR4 3200C22 2x8GB, RTX 3070, SK Hynix 512 GB + Crucial P1 TB SSD, 165 Hz IPS 1080p G-Sync Compatible

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  • 2 weeks later...

Did you ever get to check that fan @porina? :)

Also, are the holes for mounting the CPU cooler standard socket 1151 spacing?

 

I've already ordered, but I'd like to be sure :)

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  • 2 months later...

I just picked up an ML10 gen 9 for $138 and I wanted to do a case transplant. I dont care about loosing the front USB ports as its for a FreeNas server so I just need 2 ports on the back. My questions are as follows:

 

1) I powered on the machine without the FPUSB header plugged so I assume its not no required from HP for the MB to work properly?

2) I assume I would need to transplant the intel ambient sensor as well?

3) Is the motherboard a standard size or do I need to select a special case to accommodate? I saw a fractal mentioned in the thread above.

4) The most important thing I need to know is how to handle the FP LED CONN that powers the Front LEDs and power switch, is there a converter I can buy that converts a traditional pc case Power/Led connector to the mini one on this mothertboard? I'd rather not cut anything tthat would void the warranty as its 2 years. IF there is such a converter, can someone please post a link to it? IF not, how are the pins wired?

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4 hours ago, bent98 said:

 

1, I assume it isn't needed also, as I'm not using it

2, dunno, but I transplanted it anyway

3, It appears to be micro-ATX

4, I reversed engineered it at the time but dunno where my notes are. The bigger problem is the pin spacing is different than we're used to. It uses 2mm pitch, instead of 1/10" (2.5mm). You can buy raw connectors and make your own adapter. It should be simple for anyone with basic electronics skills. Then just follow the original wires to work out what goes where. I cheated a bit and only made an adapter for the power switch, and fitted LED strips inside the case to show when it was on.

TV Gaming system: Asus B560M-A, i7-11700k, Scythe Fuma 2, Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200@2133 4x16GB, MSI 3070 Gaming Trio X, EVGA Supernova G2L 850W, InWin 303, Samsung 980 Pro 2TB, LG OLED55B9PLA 4k120 G-Sync Compatible
Streaming system: Asus X299 TUF mark 2, i9-7920X, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance LPX RGB 3000 8x8GB, Gigabyte 2070, Corsair HX1000i, GameMax Abyss, Samsung 970 Evo 500GB, Crucial BX500 1TB, Acer Predator 24" 1440p1444 G-Sync + LG UW 1440p60
Gaming laptop: Lenovo Legion, 5800H, DDR4 3200C22 2x8GB, RTX 3070, SK Hynix 512 GB + Crucial P1 TB SSD, 165 Hz IPS 1080p G-Sync Compatible

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Anyone else out there care to share additional details about converting the FPLEFCONN connector to a traditional PC style connector?

 

Also, anyone know how to flash BIOS other than installing windows? It doesn't support ILO so you cant do it via SPP. Is there a boot disk out there that can accomplish this?

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2 hours ago, bent98 said:

Anyone else out there care to share additional details about converting the FPLEFCONN connector to a traditional PC style connector?

It'll have to be a DIY approach. You'd need a connector like this one to go in the mobo, some ribbon cable to suit it, and pins like these to take the standard case cables we're used to. Look at the existing cable to work out what goes where. Note unlike consumer PCs, the LEDs are 3 wire ones capable of showing two different colours. Unless you mod your case to have similar, you have to pick one to display, or parallel them to show on separate LEDs.

 

2 hours ago, bent98 said:

Also, anyone know how to flash BIOS other than installing windows? It doesn't support ILO so you cant do it via SPP. Is there a boot disk out there that can accomplish this?

Got a link? I haven't looked at this.

TV Gaming system: Asus B560M-A, i7-11700k, Scythe Fuma 2, Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 3200@2133 4x16GB, MSI 3070 Gaming Trio X, EVGA Supernova G2L 850W, InWin 303, Samsung 980 Pro 2TB, LG OLED55B9PLA 4k120 G-Sync Compatible
Streaming system: Asus X299 TUF mark 2, i9-7920X, Noctua D15, Corsair Vengeance LPX RGB 3000 8x8GB, Gigabyte 2070, Corsair HX1000i, GameMax Abyss, Samsung 970 Evo 500GB, Crucial BX500 1TB, Acer Predator 24" 1440p1444 G-Sync + LG UW 1440p60
Gaming laptop: Lenovo Legion, 5800H, DDR4 3200C22 2x8GB, RTX 3070, SK Hynix 512 GB + Crucial P1 TB SSD, 165 Hz IPS 1080p G-Sync Compatible

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