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Tyan Transport GT20 (B2865) Review


More Than Expected...


by Josh Walrath


            Tyan has always been known as a server board company and while they have dabbled in the desktop from time to time with competitive products, their primary focus is on the high-end, high-margin server market.  Being in such a market may be profitable when times are good, but if the server makers decide to go with cheaper parts from Asus or MSI, then things could get grim rather quickly.  To help widen Tyan’s product base, they decided to do full server solutions ranging from 1U rackmounts to full pedestals and HPC’s in a breadbox.

This rather unassuming box houses a very impressive little barebones unit that provides a tremendous amount of value.

            The product I am reviewing today is the most inexpensive model available, the Transport GT20 (B2865).  This solution is a highly integrated design for Tyan based on the Tomcat K8E motherboard.  As an aside, I was sent the K8E a little more than a year ago, and it has been the basis for many reviews, but I never did a full review on it.  I shall be covering those aspects in this review as well.

Tyan designed the packaging to be as sturdy as possible, so it is a box within a box that houses the GT20.

            The GT20 can handle one Opteron 100 series of processor, or any standard 939 Athlon 64.  For reliability and support reasons, going with an Opteron 100 series is probably a good idea, especially if the product will be running 24/7/365.  The extra tests and binning that goes into the Opteron chips insures that they will most likely last longer, and provide fewer possible problems than stock Athlon 64’s.

The second box opens up to reveal the rails, accessories box, and copper cooler.  Nice and firm packing keeps all of the contents safe during shipping.

            One rather large fly in the ointment is that this particular combination cannot handle buffered DIMMS.  This means that buffered/ECC memory out there will not work on this product.  Only unbuffered/ECC DIMMS will work with this system, and these particular DIMMS are comparatively hard to find.  So while AMD and Tyan have made the cost of getting into an Opteron system much lower by using mass produced 939 motherboards, the main disadvantage is the lack of inexpensive ECC memory support.

After removing the accessories, we finally get our first look at the Tyan Transport GT20.  Again, I have no complaints whatsoever about the quality of the packaging.

            It is quite obvious that Tyan is looking to provide competition for SuperMicro in this lucrative business.  The particular series of SuperMicro barebones that Tyan is competing with is the AS1010S, of which the Tyan GT20 is by far the more feature packed.


Next: The Tomcat K8E Motherboard


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