D-Link DXE-820T Dual Port 10Gbase NIC Adapter Review

Introduction


Among our recent upgrade to 10 Gbit networking here in the eTeknix review section wasn’t just the awesome 12-port smart switch that we saw a little while ago, D-Link also supplied me with a DXE-820T dual-port 10 Gbit Ethernet Network card to be able to connect with the switch in full speed. After all, what good does a 10 Gbps switch do when my test rig doesn’t have the same kind of performance.

The D-Link DXE-820T is a dual-port 10 GBASE-T RJ-45 PCI Express high-performance adapter designed for the high-speed PCI Express bus architecture. This adapter offers the increased bandwidth needed in modern environments as well as being a reliable and functional PCI network card. It has been specifically designed to allow throughput at rates up to 40 Gbps, thus eliminating the bottleneck that exists with current 32 and 64-bit PCI bus architectures.

The DXE-820T requires a PCI-E v2 x8 or x16 slot for enough bandwidth, but you don’t need to provide any extra power connectors or other things besides your network cables, naturally. The card is capable of a transmitting distance of up to 100m with Cat 6A or higher in 10 GBASE-T mode and up to 100m with Cat 5 type cables in Gigabit mode. This makes the placement of the switch a lot easier.

The DXE-820T features TCP, UDP, and IP checksum offloading functionality, which transfers the checksum processing tasks from the computer’s own CPU and onto the network card itself. The DXE-820T’s ability to handle the checksum processing means that the CPU’s processing power can be used for other tasks while still achieving 20 Gbps network speeds. It also means that the network card needs some extra cooling in the form of an active fan as well as a passive heatsink.

The adapter also features an onboard screening of 802.1Q VLAN tagged Ethernet frames, allowing you to assign multiple subnets to each server and isolate devices within each VLAN from the rest of the network for better traffic control and security. With support for advanced features such as 802.3x flow control, jumbo frames, and SNMP for network management, the DXE-820T can easily interoperate with your current networking equipment.

With two ports at your disposal, you can increase the network throughput even further than the 10 Gbit per second on each port. With Smart Load BalancingTM, the DXE-820T can configure multiple adapters to work as a team, sharing traffic and ensuring data reliability. This both creates a faster network and provides fault tolerance resulting in a stable and efficient network.

The low profile design allows the deployment in space restricted areas and D-Link also included a low-profile slot cover right away. The card itself is powered by Broadcom’s BCM57810 chip.

The card naturally supports Jumbo Frames for optimized setups and it allows for values up to 9K. The DXE-820T is compatible with all major operating systems with drivers available for both user systems and server systems such as Windows Server 2012 or Solaris 11.

Feature Highlights

  • High-Speed data transmission at rates up to 40Gbps allow for seamless data transfer.
  • 10GBASE-T technology supports distances to 100m over CAT6A or better copper cable.
  • Advanced Features: 802.3x flow control for traffic management, 802.1Q VLAN tagging for increased security, and checksum offloading to reduce CPU processing burden.
  • Bandwidth Management: NIC partitioning enables administrators to manage bandwidth for greater network efficiency.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The DXE-820T NIC card comes in a very neutral box that only really reveals that we have a D-Link product inside. But it’s a network card and it isn’t like you would put the box in the display after installing the card anyway, so simply is good.

We do find a little sticker on the rear of the box that reveals what is inside, the model number along with serial, mac address, and hardware version.

There is both a driver disk and a quick installation manual inside the box, and D-Link also included a low-profile bracket for use in small-form-factor systems. Everything you need to get going with that extra speed.

D-Link DXS-1210-12TC 12-Port 10GBASE-T Switch Review

Introduction


As a review site, we need to keep our testing equipment above or at least on the same level as the hardware that we test in order to provide you with relevant reviews and in that regards we’ve just upgraded our network test are with new 10 Gbps equipment. Among the new devices is the D-Link DXS-1210-12TC 10 Gigabit Ethernet Smart Switch that I’m taking a closer look at today.

In order to test this switch I need two systems with 10 Gbps capabilities and four CAT7 cables and below you see all but the one network card as that is onboard in one of my test systems. In my opinion, we have been stuck at Gigabit level for way too long and 10 Gigabit Ethernet is slowly starting to make an entry. It is starting to become more affordable which allows SMBs and enthusiasts to enter an area of the market that previously was limited to enterprise and large corporations.

D-Link’s DXS-1210 series is composed of several 10 Gigabit Ethernet Smart Switches and they are a cost-effective 10 solution capable of servicing a wide range of network needs in any business. Some of the switches in the series focus primarily on SFP+ connections which aren’t optimal for my test scenario. I still test a lot of normal Gigabit equipment and my switch needs to stay compatible to those. Luckily D-Link also has this one with eight 10GBASE-T RJ45 ports and two 10Gbps SFP+ ports. Additionally, since it has two combo ports for use with either RJ45 or SFP+ connections.

The DXS-1210-12TC uses a default 19″ rack format which makes it easy to deploy in server cases and D-Link also included rubber feet in case you should run in placed on a desk or shelve somewhere. The 10GBASE-T copper ports utilize RJ45 interfaces and support 10 Gigabit speeds over CAT6a/CAT7 LAN cabling for up to 100m. That makes it easy to deploy no matter how far apart your systems are. The 10GbE fiber ports can be connected to other 10GbE ports with low-cost Direct Attach Copper (DAC) cables or with SFP+ optical transceivers over multimode or single mode fiber optic cabling.

D-Link made sure that there’s plenty of overhead when it comes to transmission capabilities in the DXS-1210-12TC. It is capable of up to 240Gbps switching capacity, double what is needed, and has a maximum packet forwarding rate of 178.56 Mpps.

A device like this will naturally consume quite a bit of electricity as it has to perform flawlessly at any time and needs the power to do so, but D-Link applied their Green technologies in order to improve on this area without sacrificing operational performance or functionality. The DXS-1210-12TC features smart fans that don’t run at full speed when it isn’t needed, internal heat sensors that monitor and detect temperature changes in order to adjust the fans. The switch can also toggle ports into sleep mode automatically and it is built with hardware parts that in themselves are energy-efficient. The DXS-1210-12TC will still draw between 42.65 watts in standby mode and up to a maximum of 90.81 watts.

Feature wise you’ll find anything you’ll want in a smart switch starting with a complete lineup of L2 features. The DXS-1210-12TC supports port mirroring, Spanning Tree Protocol, and Link Aggregation Control Protocol (LACP). DXS-1210 switches also support Auto Surveillance VLAN (ASV), and Auto Voice VLAN, which are best suited for VoIP and video surveillance deployments. The DSCP markings on Ethernet packets enable different levels of service to be assigned to network traffic. As a result, these voice and video packets take precedence over other packets. In addition, with bandwidth control, network administrators can reserve bandwidth for important functions that require a larger bandwidth or might have high priority.

The DXS-1210 series also features an extensive list of safeguards against traffic flooding and other malicious attacks. It supports 802.1X port and host-based authentication as well as external RADIUS server authentication. It also features Access Control List (ACL) for enhanced network security as well as ARP spoofing prevention. The DHCP server screening feature can also detect rogue DHCP server packets from user ports in order to prevent unauthorized IP assignment.

 

Maintenance is an easy job when it comes to the DXS-1210-12TC smart switch where it also features a few extra functions to make the admins life easier. It includes loopback detection which is used to detect loops created by a specific port and automatically shut down the affected port. There is also a cable diagnostic feature that’s primarily designed to rapidly discover errors and determine a cable’s quality.

The switch has a smart discovery protocol built in which makes it easy to set up and manage through D-Link’s Network Assistant Utility and it will detect all switches within the same L2 network. This allows extensive switch configuration and basic setup of discovered devices, including password changes and firmware upgrades. The switch also supports D-View 7 and Command Line Interface (CLI) through Telnet. D-View 7 is a network management system that allows for the central management of critical network characteristics such as availability, reliability, resilience, and security.

Feature Highlights

  • Green Technology
    • Power saving via the following features: Link Status detection, LED Shut-Off, Port Shut-Off, System Hibernation
  • Security Features
    • Access Control List
    • IP-MAC-Port Binding
    • Clientless MAC/Web access control
    • D-Link Safeguard Engine
    • Port Security
    • ARP Spoofing Prevention
  • Intuitive Management
    • D-Link Network Assistant Utility or Web-based GUI
    • CLI through Telnet
  • Advanced Features
    • Auto Surveillance VLAN
    • Loopback Detection
    • Cable Diagnostics
    • Static Route
    • LLDP/LLDP-MED
    • Auto Voice VLAN

Package and Accessories

Equipment like the D-Link DXS-1210-12TC smart switch doesn’t need a fancy package, it is what is inside that matters.

There is a small sticker in one corner of the box that shows what is inside and the feature highlights.

Inside the box are several leaflets about security and conformity as well as a Getting Started Guide and a Driver and Manual disk.

Included is a mounting system for use as a 19″ rack unit as well as four small rubber feet for those who wish to use it placed on a surface. Screws for the 19″ mounts are included too and so is a cable tie system for the power cord. You wouldn’t want to jank that out by accident.

Naturally there’s also a power cable for the region where you purchased the switch. The switch supports from 110V to 240V, so the only difference here is the plug on one end.

ASRock Rack Introduce Three Greenlow Platform Server Motherboards

Intel’s recent release of Skylake Xeon CPUs also sparked the release of a lot of new motherboards and just a few weeks ago we saw ASRock Rack’s new workstation motherboards based on the new C236 chipset. Today, ASRock Rack introduced three new server motherboards for this platform, well suited for high-density web 2.0 and storage servers.

The first of the three new motherboards is micro-ATX sized and called the ASRock Rack E3C236D4U. It can easily fit in a rack or short depth chassis while still providing plenty of features and connectivity. The chipset provides eight SATA3 ports where one of them supports DOMs, and you get one PCIe x16, one PCIe x8, and one PCIe x1 slot along with a PCIe x4 slot that shares the bandwidth with the onboard M.2 connector. Network connectivity is covered by two Intel i210 controllers while it also features dedicated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and RTL8211E LAN. With four DIMM slots at your disposal, you can install up to 64GB DDR4 2133/1866 ECC and UDIMM memory.

ASRock Rack also introduced a lighter version of this board called the E3C232D4U-V1L (not pictured). It has basically the same features but comes with the lighter C232 chipset. That limits the SATA3 ports to six and it only features a single Intel LAN controller and no dedicated IPMI.

The second new motherboard in this series is a full ATX sized motherboard called the E3C236D4M, and it comes with 8 SATA3 ports provided by the Intel C236 chipset just like the Micro-ATX brother. It also supports up to 64GB DDR4 2133MHz dual-channel memory and it has dual Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet controllers and onboard IPMI 2.0 with dedicated RTL8211E LAN. Expansion port wise you get two PCIe x16, two PCIe x8, and one PCIe x1 connector along with a legacy PCI one. The motherboard also features two mezzanine slots for adding up to 40Gbit extra network connectivity or SAS controllers. An M.2 connector is also present to connect those new and fast NVMe drives.

The last of the three new motherboards is called the E3C236D2I and it is an mITX sized board. The small size makes it easy to deploy as a micro server, mini servers, or tower servers no matter whether you are enterprise NAS users or just a power home users. The board supports two DDR4 ECC DIMMs with a speed up to 2133MHz and also comes with eight SATA3 ports and dual Intel LAN (i210+i219). For expansion, you get a single PCIe x16 slot which should be plenty in such small systems.

ASRock Rack didn’t reveal and pricing or availability at this time, but we can expect them to hit the online and retail shops very shortly.

ASRock Rack Launched Two New Xeon D Server Motherboards

Intel’s SoC based Xeon processors bring along amazing performance abilities and features for a SoC system as we’ve already had the pleasure to see in our motherboard review section. They come with full support for up to 128GB DDR4 ECC memory, impressive IOPS and support 10G Ethernet to bring an incredible value on a small footprint. ASRock Rack is now ready with two motherboards featuring the Intel D1500 series SoC processors, the new D1540D4U-2T2O8R and the D1520D4I, targeting the exponential growth for edge data.

The ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2T2O8R is a microATX motherboard slim enough to fit into 1U chassis and allow for 14 trays of 3.5-inch HDDs at the same time, allowing for an effective system with a low total cost of ownership. It features a D1540 processor and has four DDR4 DIMM slots for easy setups with 128GB ECC memory. You get six SATA3 ports from the SoC as well as eight SAS3 ports from an LSI3008 onboard controller. Besides these more legacy connectors, the board also features two M.2 slots that are perfect for both caching options and the operating system. It also supports up to 40G Ethernet controllers to connect all this raw performance and storage to the rest of the world.

D1540D4U-2T2O8R Highlights

  • uATX 9.6”x 9.6”
  • Intel Xeon D1500 Series Processors
  • Supports dual channel DDR4 2133/1866 ECC DIMM max. 64/64/128 GB
  • Support 6 SATA3 by D1500+ 8 x SAS3 by LSI3008
  • Supports 1x PCIe 3.0 x16
  • Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Supports Intel X540+ CS4227 by PCH

The second motherboard is the D1520D4I and it comes in an mITX form factor with a four-core D1520 processor. Despite the small size, it still features four DDR4 DIMM slots for up to 128GB DDR4 ECC memory. You also get six SATA3 slots, one PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, integrated IPMI 2.0 with dedicated LAN and dual Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet.

D1520D4I Highlights

  • Mini-ITX 6.7”x6.7
  • Intel Xeon D1520 Processor
  • Supports Dual channel DDR4 2133/1866 R-DIMM max 64/128 GB
  • Supports 6*SATA3 by D1500
  • Supports 1* PCIex16
  • Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Supports Intel i210*2

ASRock Rack Unveiled Three Greenlow Based Workstation Motherboards

Intel released the new Greenlow platform with Skylake chips and chipset. ASRockRack is ready with three new motherboards based on the new architecture and the three motherboards also come in three different sizes. The C236WS is a full-sized ATX motherboard, the C236MWS is a Micro-ATX sized motherboard, and the last one is called the C236WSI and it is also the smallest being an mITX sized motherboard.

The C236 chipset brings a better memory speed, more SATA3 ports, more PCIe 3.0 lanes, and USB3.0. All this should be a big up over the old processors and the motherboards are ready to provide it all.

The ASRock Rack C236WS is a full-sized ATX motherboard with a single LGA 1151 H4 socket with support for Intel’s Xeon E3-1200 v5 series processors. It offers dual-channel DDR4 memory support with speeds up to 2133MHz and support for both ECC and non-ECC UDIMM in its four slots. The motherboard comes with 8 SATA3.0 ports and dual Intel LAN (i210 and i219). Users get two PCIe 3.0 x 16 slots, one PCIe 3.0 x8 slot, and two PCIe 3.0 x4 slots on this motherboard. There are also two legacy PCI slots available. The IO features four USB3.0, one HDMI, one DVI and one VGA connector.

The Micro-ATX C236MWS motherboard features almost the same things as the full-sized ATX version, just on a more compact PCB. The biggest difference is the PCI slot layout and you get two PCIe 3.0 (x16/x0 or x8/x8), one PCIe 3.0 x4, and one M.2 slot/PCIex1 Co-Layout.

 

The C236WSI takes the whole thing down another notch and we have arrived at the Mini-ITX form factor. We only get two memory slots here and we are also down to a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot.

ASRock Rack 2U & 3U Server Solution Supports the Latest NVIDIA GRID 2.0

Nvidia recently released their GRID 2.0 at the VMWorld and ASRock Rack now announced that their 2U and 3U server solutions support just this. Nvidia GRID 2.0 is a big step up as it delivers double the application performance as well as double the user density over the previous version. Not only that, it also offers support for Linux OS and blade servers to provide unprecedented speed and efficiency for virtualized graphics. Users can work from almost anywhere with virtually no delays and thereby increase their productivity. IT departments can equip workers with instant access to powerful applications, improving resource allocation. And data can be stored more securely by residing in a central server rather than individual systems.

The two ASRock Rack solution compatible with the new GRID 2.0 are the 2U2N-F and the 3U8G-C612 and both are configurable with four to eight GPU cards; and four are the recommended minimum. Next to the up-to-eight Tesla M60 GPUs, the server units also feature numerous other PCIe slots for further expansion and acceleration by PCIe SSDs, Remote Direct Memory Access by SFP+ or InfiniBand, NVR or facial recognition systems by capture cards and much more.

ASRock Rack fans might have noticed that the mentioned 2U2N-F is a new rack unit. The 2U rack-mounted server features eight 2.5-inch HDD bays and redundant 1600W Platinum PSU. The server supports Intel Xeon E5-2600/4600 series with a TDP of up to 120W and narrow-type CPU cooler. The eight DIMM slots support up to 2133MHz and you’ll also get an ASpeed AST2400 onboard graphic solution with dedicated Realtek IPMI network connection. The 2U2N-F is definitely worth a closer look if you’re about to set up a new powerful virtualization system or plan to upgrade the old.

ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R (Intel C612) mATX Server Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


The motherboard that I am taking a look at today is a little bit special as it is considered to be the first mATX motherboard featuring Intel Xeon E5 V3 series with LGA 2011-3 single socket. The ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R isn’t just a rarely seen form factor in this category, it also packs a huge punch and plenty of features such as quad-channel DDR4 memory support, dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet, dedicated IPMI, and native support for up to 16 storage drives.

Just because you decide to create a motherboard in the mATX form factor as ASRock Rack did here, doesn’t mean that you can’t add plenty of features to it. It’s all about using the available space properly. You get a total of eight SATA3 ports that are powered by the Intel C612 chipset and on top of that you get another eight SAS3 12Gbps ports thanks to the added LSI 3008 RAID controller. If that isn’t enough for you already, then you have plenty of possibilities to expand that with two PCIe Gen3 x16 and one PCIe Gen3 x8 slot.

The networking is a little bit special on this board as it comes with dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet thanks to the Intel X540 network controller. These ports are still RJ45 and backward compatible with normal RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet components. The ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R also features a dedicated IPMI 2.0 connection based on a Realtek RTL8211E controller that allows you to manage all your servers from a single connection, locally or remotely.

Four DDR4 DIMM slots with quad-channel support allows you to use this motherboard for memory-hungry applications and while the QVR list only has up to 16GB modules so far, you should also be able to use 32GB modules in this motherboard and get up to 128GB memory to support Intel’s latest Xeon E5 processors.

Overall, with the high performance processor, storage, and network all together in a mATX motherboard, the EPC612D4U-2T8R is perfect for the compact storage solution such as mid-range servers, web 2.0 storage servers, and other warm data servers. It also fits snugly into ASRock Rack’s previous released storage solution 1U12L-C612D4U, and currently has EPC612D4U, EPC612D4U-2T, EPC612D4U-8R and EPC612D4U-2T8R for customers’ selection.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.

Key Features

There is always something that sets each and every motherboard apart for the rest, sometimes it’s in features and other times it is the software. On this motherboard, it is most likely the Network and storage capabilities as well as the form factor.

  • UATX 9.6”x9.6”
  • Single Socket LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
  • Supports Quad channel DDR4 2133/1866 RDIMM/LR DIMM/NV DIMM, 4 slots
  • Support 8 SATA3 by C612 and by 8 SAS3 LSI 3008
  • Supports 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x 8
  • ASPEED 2400. Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Supports Intel Dual 10GLAN by Intel X540

Packaging and Accessories

A server motherboard doesn’t need to come in a fancy box with flashy images and slogans, and that is why we don’t get that here. The EPC612D4U-2T8R comes in a simple black box with a little graphic and basic keywords.

The rear of the box doesn’t provide much more information either, but it will tell you a little bit about ASRock Rack as a company.

I really like that ASRock Rack also packed the motherboard properly like seen below. It provides that extra bit of protection during the transport from factory to end-customer over a motherboard that’s just loosely packed into a cardboard box.

Besides the motherboard itself, you’ll find an IO Shield, driver disk, and manual along with six SATA3 cables inside the box. It is nice to see a printed manual come along as it will help a lot with the basic task of finding the headers and pins you need to set it up.

ASRock Rack EPC612D4U-2T8R Micro ATX Motherboard Launched

ASRock is mostly known for their consumer products, but they also have a range of server equipment in the ASRock Rack branding. Just that division has just announced the latest motherboard in their lineup and it is a unique little board.

The new EPC612D4U-2T8R comes in a rare form factor for an E5 motherboard and it can be considered the first mATX motherboard with support for Intel’s Xeon E5 v3 series with its LGA2011-3 single socket.

It further comes with four DDR4 DIMM slots for quad-channel memory and eight SATA 3.0 ports for storage. It further comes with an LSI 3008 controller with support for eight SAS3 ports. With two full PCI-Express 3.0 x16 and one x8 slot, you can expand the capabilities even further.

They haven’t skimped on the network connectivity either with Intel’s X540 that supports two 10Gbased-T connections. All of this put together makes up one very powerful motherboard for an high-end processor in a very compact form factor.

Key Specification

  • Micro ATX 9.6″ x 9.6″
  • Socket LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
  • Supports Quad channel DDR4 2133/1866/ ECC DIMM, R DIMM, LR DIMM
  • Intel® C612: 6 x SATA3 6.0Gb/s(support RAID 0, 1, 5, 10); 2 x sSATA3 6.0Gb/s(support RAID 0, 1)
  • Supports 8-port SAS 3 by LSI:3008
  • Supports 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1 x PCIe 3.0 x 8
  • Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Supports 1 x Intel®X540

This motherboard won’t come cheap and will set you back around 500 bucks at the time of writing. We’ll also have a full review of this board ready for you soon, so stay tuned.