Lenovo TS140 Server and Storage I/O Review

March 31, 2014 – 9:37 pm
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Lenovo TS140 Server and Storage I/O Review

This is a review that looks at my recent hands on experiences in using a TS140 (Model MT-M 70A4 – 001RUS) pedestal (aka tower) server that the Lenovo folks sent to me to use for a month or so. The TS140 is one of the servers that Lenovo had prior to its acquisition of IBM x86 server business that you can read about here.

The Lenovo TS140 Experience

Lets start with the overall experience which was very easy and good. This includes going from initial answering some questions to get the process moving, agreeing to keep the equipment safe, secure, insured as well as not damaging anything (this was not a tear down and rip it apart into pieces trial).

Part of the process also involved answering some configuration related questions and shortly there after a large box from Lenovo arrived. Turns out it was a box (server hardware) inside of a Lenovo box, that was inside a slightly larger unmarked shipping box (see larger box in the background).

TS140 Evaluation Arrives

TS140 shipment undergoing initial security screen scan and sniff (all was ok)

TS140 with Windows 2012
TS140 with Keyboard and Mouse (Monitor not included)

One of the reasons I have a photo of the TS140 on a desk is that I initially put it in an office environment as Lenovo claimed it would be quiet enough to do so. I was not surprised and indeed the TS140 is quiet enough to be used where you would normally find a workstation or mini-tower. By being so quiet the TS140 is a good fit for environments that need a small or starter server that has to go into an office environment as opposed to a server or networking room. For those who are into mounting servers, there is the option for placing the TS140 on its side into a cabinet or rack.

Windows 2012 on TS140
TS140 with Windows Server 2012 Essentials

TS140 as tested

TS140 Selfie of whats inside
TS140 "Selfie" with 4 x 4GB DDR3 DIMM (16GB) and PCIe slots (empty)

16GB RAM (4 x 4GB DDR3 UDIMM, larger DIMMs are supported)
Windows Server 2012 Essentials
Intel Xeon E3-1225 v3 @3.2 Ghz quad (C226 chipset and TPM 1.2) vPRO/VT/EP capable
Intel GbE 1217-LM Network connection
280 watt power supply
Keyboard and mouse (no monitor)
Two 7.2K SATA HDDs (WD) configured as RAID 1 (100GB Lun)
Slot 1 PCIe G3 x16
Slot 2 PCIe G2 x1
Slot 3 PCIe G2 x16 (x4 electrical signal)
Slot 4 PCI (legacy)
Onboard 6GB SATA RAID 0/1/10/5
Onboard SATSA 3.0 (6Gbps) connectors (0-4), USB 3.0 and USB 2.0

Read more about what I did with the Lenovo TS140 in part II of my review along with what I liked, did not like and general comments here.

Ok, nuff said (for now)


Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
twitter @storageio

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  1. 8 Responses to “Lenovo TS140 Server and Storage I/O Review”

  2. Update 4/5/14: As of yesterday I can confirm that at least with my new TS140s (just arrived) with no factory RAID 1 enabled the ability to recognize and use internal SATA drives and install VMware 5.5.x. This is different than the system I tested which had a two drive RAID 1 with Windows Server 2012 that for what ever reason prevented being able to recognize internal drives for other uses. Thus I convert the provisional “A” to an actual “A” for the TS140 for use with VMware (and other things), not to mention it (TS140) is playing nicely with my other servers ;)

    By greg schulz on Apr 5, 2014

  3. where to get a raid monitor for windows 8.1=

    By tatoosh on Jun 5, 2014

  4. @Tatoosh what kind of “raid monitor” are you looking for?

    By Greg Schulz on Jun 5, 2014

  5. Hi,
    This machine is currently available from a couple of popular online vendors for $219 barebones with the i3 and 4GB ram.

    This seems like a steal for a desktop machine? For the cost of OS, HDD, and a mid-range graphics adapter could I have a machine that would not be a power hog, run at a noise level that is acceptable in my home, perform basic office suite tasks, run games like Diablo 3 at some useable performance level, and drive a 4k monitor for word processing and spreadsheets?

    Thank you for any comments.

    By Pulltab on Nov 18, 2014

  6. If you can get one with i3 and 4GB ram delivered for $219 new, I would get one, then add your own HDD, OSS, more RAM or other options to meet your needs…

    By Greg Schulz on Nov 18, 2014

  7. Heya Greg, nice article. The TS140 is a nice little server. I have recently sold one to a client for his dental office. It is sitting on a shelf right behind his head. The thing is very quiet like you said. I have one 500GB drive, and 2x 1TB drives for data in a RAID 1 configuration. I installed CentOS 7 on it and it runs great.

    I recently ran into a problem where the RAID for the data drives does not mount properly at boot. I have to manually disassemble the RAID using mdadm and then manually assemble it properly. I’m still trying to figure out what the issue is, but I suspect the drives are not spinning up in time for the boot process. I set a delay in the BIOS, but that still is not solving it.

    Since it is linux, we do not have to reboot often. But it is still a hassle, and freaks me out a little each time it happens. Because the RAID is only the data drive, the system still boots up and I can SSH into it remotely to fix the RAID, but it’s annoying.

    Other than that, it is a great little system perfect for my client’s needs and cost effective.

    I installed 2x 8GB sticks of RAM for a total of 32GB. I may upgrade the HDDs to SSD eventually, but the performance is great as it is.

    By Justin on Aug 19, 2016

  8. Hello Justin, no worries and thank you for the comments.
    Concur that the TS140 are a price performer, e.g. you can find cheaper systems with fewer capabilities, you can find faster and more expansive for higher costs, however, these systems provide excellent value.

    Are you using the built-in RAID, or a RAID card if so which one?
    Also, have you checked to see if your BIOS and firmware for the motherboard needs updating, same with drive and or RAID card?

    I have been putting as much RAM into mine as possible, that’s my main concern with them is limited to 32GB, however, they are so cost effective, get a few more and create a cluster if needed ;)…

    When you get the chance, the TS140 performs very well with SSD (6Gb/12Gb SAS, 6Gb SATA, PCIe NVMe have run them all). If you have an available PCIe slot, check out the PCIe NVMe SSDs such as the Intel 750 which you can get on Amazon and elsewhere at good prices (e.g. close to $300 USD for 400GB).
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0153P9SEK/ref=as_li_qf_sp_as in_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=unlimitedio- 20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B0153P9SEK &linkId=d94000ca7d32f9be8dd01faff81c7f39

    Also if you need more storage space and capacity in the TS140 and are not using one or both of the media bay slots (e.g. the 5.25″ space where CD/DVD go), there are some good 6Gb and 12Gb SAS/SATA 4 drive (with hot-swap capability) enclosures from Supermicro:

    There are some others from Startech that I use in TS140s as well as other systems, as well as some from other vendors:

    If you need some external expansion, check these options out:
    4 Drive external SAS/SATA

    8 Drive external SAS/SATA

    Good luck with your system and stay in touch, hope all is well, cheers gs

    By Greg Schulz on Aug 20, 2016

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