Supermicro SYS-E302-12E Fanless Industrial PC Review: Elkhart Lake for IoT Applications

Passively-cooled systems find application in a wide variety of industrial use-cases including automation, IoT gateways, medical systems, surveillance, and digital signage. In addition to avoiding moving parts, systems meant for industrial use need to be built to operate 24×7 in challenging environmental conditions.

Supermicro has systems targeting this market under the Embedded / IoT category in a variety of form-factors. Scenarios with minimal I/O requirements can use the compact chassis with support for 3.5″ SBCs. The company also provides passively-cooled chassis configurations for industrial mini-ITX boards.

The Supermicro SYS-E302-12E based on the Intel Atom x6425E embedded SoC is the company’s highest performing system in the Elkhart Lake lineup. It is optimized for industrial automation, digital signage / data visualization, and IoT applications. The review below takes a detailed look at the features and performance profile of the system, along with an evaluation of the thermal solution.

Introduction and Product Impressions

Supermicro’s SYS-E302-12E is based on the Super A3SEV-4C-LN4 mini-ITX board. The board is available for purchase with an integrated heatsink. Supermicro also offers the SYS-E302-12E barebones system based on this board by removing the heatsink and mounting the board inside the CSE-E302iL2 passively-cooled chassis.

Intel’s Tremont microarchitecture for low-cost processors has been available in the market for a few years now in Jasper Lake-based systems meant for use as entry-level PCs. Processors meant for the embedded market (such as the Elkhart Lake SoCs) make it to end customers much later than their consumer counterparts – they have a long life-cycle, and lengthy qualification cycles too. Even though Elkhart Lake-based consumer systems are already trickling into the market, the ones based on embedded SKUs such as the Atom x6425E are becoming widely available only now.

The SYS-E302-12E is marketed as an IoT SuperServer, but it doesn’t have a separate BMC and also does not support ECC memory. However, the embedded SKU officially supports in-band ECC. We have already evaluated the impacts of in-band ECC on performance in our Raptor Lake-P review. Unfortunately, the BIOS version currently available for the SYS-E302-12E doesn’t have the option to toggle in-band ECC, but Supermicro confirmed that an upcoming release would enable that option.

Supermicro has equipped the SYS-E302-12E with a wide range of I/O interfaces – four RS232 COM ports, four gigabit LAN ports, six USB 2.0 ports, and two USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports. There are three display outputs, and there is space available inside the chassis to install a 2.5″ SATA drive also.

In addition to the main unit, Supermicro supplies a lockable 150W (12V @ 12.5A) adapter, AC power cord, 2.5″ drive caddy, appropriate screws, and cable ties in the package.

Our review sample included 2x 16 GB DDR4-2666 SODIMMs as well as a 256 GB InnoDisk M.2 SATA drive. The full specifications of the review sample are provided in the table below.

Supermicro SYS-E302-12E Specifications
(as tested)
Processor Intel Atom x6425E
Elkhart Lake 4C/4T, 2.0 – 3.0 GHz
Intel 10, 1.5 MB L2, 12 W
Memory Innodisk M4SI-AGS1O50K-C DDR4-2666 SODIMM
19-19-19-43 @ 2666 MHz
2×16 GB
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics for 10th Gen Intel Processors
(32EU @ 500 MHz)
Disk Drive(s) Innodisk M.2 (S80) 3TE7 DEM28-B56DK1EW1QF
(256 GB; M.2 2280 SATA III;)
(64L 3D TLC; InnoDisk ID301 Controller)
Networking 1x GbE RJ-45 (Intel I210-IT)
3x GbE RJ-45 (Intel EC1000S MAC + Marvell Alaska 88E1512 PHY)
Audio Realtek ALC888S Audio Codec On-board (Optional Audio Jack, N/A in Review System)
Audio Bitstreaming Support over HDMI Ports
Video 1x HDMI 2.0b
1x DisplayPort 1.4
1x VGA (via eDP from SoC)
Miscellaneous I/O Ports 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (Rear)
2x USB 2.0 Type-A (Rear)
4x USB 2.0 (Front)
4x RS-232 COM (Front)
Operating System Windows 11 Enterprise (22000.1335)
Pricing (Street Pricing on March 9th, 2022)
US $894 (Barebones)
US $1315 (as configured, no OS)
Full Specifications Supermicro SuperServer SYS-E302-12E Specifications

The system is available for purchase from WiredZone for $894 by manufacturer drop-ship. Supermicro is still in the process of expanding retail availability.

The SYS-E302-12E is a bit of a unique system compared to the embedded / industrial PCs we have reviewed earlier. For starters, it is one of the first systems to officially support in-band ECC. The wealth of network ports and other communication options is not matched by any other low-power fanless system we have covered earlier. The chassis also appears to be a massive overdesign for a 12W TDP SoC – keen observers might have noticed that it is the same one that successfully handled a 60W TDP Xeon-D in the SuperServer E302-9D. We can expect the thermal performance to be top-notch and allow the system to operate in a wide temperature range.

The top view of the motherboard integrated in the system is show above. The heatsink shown is replaced by a solid metal block that tightly interfaces with the chassis top using a thermal pad. The M.2 SATA port and SODIMMs are easily accessible, but the x8 PCIe slot is not usable in the system (the space meant for the PCIe add-in card is instead allocated to the 2.5″ drive tray).

Original Article