Giada Unveil N50M-BO Xeon E5 Series Server Motherboard

Giada released quite a few mini and small form factor PCs lately, but they also have a very impressive series of server and workstation motherboards. That series got a new family member now as Giada unveiled the N50M-BO Xeon E5 series server motherboard equipped for both connectivity and storage.

Next to an Intel Xeon E5 V3 series CPU, you can install up to eight DDR4 DIMM modules for a total capacity of up to 512GB RAM using quad-channel modules and ECC LRDIMMs. Using ECC RDIMM reduces the max capacity to 256GB and UDIMMs reduce it down to 64GB. You get two PCIe 3.0 x16 ports (x16/x8) and two PCIe 3.0 x8 (x4) ports for further expansion.

There is room for plenty of accessories thanks to all the USB ports. There is both a USB 3.0 Type A port and a header onboard and you’ll find two more USB 3.0 ports on the rear IO next to the two USB 2.0 ports. Remote control abilities are included through a dedicated IPMI 2.0 as well as the COM port. You won’t need a dedicated GPU in a system like this, which can be a big bonus for storage-oriented boards as this. The onboard ASMedia AST2400 takes care of this and the board comes with a standard D-Sub VGA connector.

This motherboard was just unveiled and there seem to be a few inconsistencies between the product page, the actual images, and the press release – so please bear over with me on this section. The main connectivity is handled by two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports controlled by two Intel i210AT controllers and it also features a dedicated IPMI connector for remote management together with the AST2400. The press release and the photos both tell and show us that this motherboard also features two SPF+ 10Gb/s connectors controlled by an Intel 82599ES, but these aren’t mentioned in the specifications on the product page. So whether that’s an oversight or there will be two versions of the motherboard is unclear at this point.

You can also connect plenty of storage to this motherboard as the C612 chipset offers 10 SATA3 ports on its own, and two of these can be used for DOMs here. There are 8 more storage ports on the motherboard which aren’t fully clear where they come from. They could be controlled by an onboard LSI3008 controller, but that’s just a qualified guess from my side. The only reference to it from the company is the comment that “customers can expand and integrate a 12G capacity solution and enhance the performance via the standard PCI-E slots”.

Durability shouldn’t be an issue with Giada’s N50M-BO motherboard as it is built with ultra-durable solid capacitors that pass strict tests of 12,000 hours’ exposure in a temperature of 105℃, a lot more than a typical working environment. The Giada N50M-BO comes at a very reasonable MSRP of $477 USD considering all the features and options it provides.

Gigabyte MW70-3S0 (Intel C612) Dual CPU Workstation Motherboard Review

Introduction


Gigabyte’s motherboard series based on the Intel C612 chipset is quite an impressive one and I’ve already had the pleasure to test the MU70-SU0 server motherboard. Today I’m taking a look at its bigger brother, the dual socket Gigabyte MW70-3S0 workstation motherboard.

The Gigabyte MW70-3S0 workstation motherboard is based around Intel’s C612 chipset and offers you two LGA 2011-3 sockets with support for Intel’s Xeon E5-2600 V3 processors as well as 16 DDR4 modules for a total of up to 768GB RAM. The MW70-3S0 is a workstation board and as such it offers some other features than server boards, such as Multi-GPU configuration. With support for up to three graphics cards in CrossfireX or SLI via the three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and coupled with the CPU and memory support will make sure that we don’t run out of performance anytime soon.

One of the really great things about this board’s memory support is that it supports the full speed of 2133MHz, even when all 12 memory banks are populated. In the past, you had to make the choice, whether you wanted capacity or speed. Gigabyte made sure that you’ll have a maximum speed on all memory banks at all times.

We also get plenty of storage abilities on Gigabyte’s MW70-3S0. Not only does it provide 10 SATA3 ports via the Intel C612 chipset where two of them support SATA DOMs, we also get an LSI SAS 3008 onboard controller with two Mini-SAS ports for eight SAS 12GB/s drives. The SATA ports support RAID 0/1/5/10 while the SAS ports support RAID 0/1/1E/10. The connectivity is secured by two Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet ports that allow for easy trunking and link aggregation.

Overall, this board is built with quality components that should make sure that everything runs stable and for a long time. It is equipped with IR Digital PWM and IR PowIRstage IC controllers to guarantee a stable operating environment and OS-CON capacitors with a minimum service life of 50.000 hours. The installed chokes are high-end ferrite core chokes that again should help deliver a stable power to both CPU and memory.

Specifications

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

Key Features

  • Intel Xeon processor E5-1600 V3 & E5-2600 V3 product families
  • 16 x RDIMM/LRDIMM ECC DDR4 DIMM slots
  • Supports 3-Way NVIDIA SLI / AMD CrossFireX
  • 2 x GbE LAN port (Intel I210)
  • 2 x Mini-SAS (for 8 x SAS 12Gb/s ports)
  • 10 x SATA III 6Gb/s
  • 7.1+2 HD Audio
  • 2 x USB 3.0 + 2 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 x USB 3.0 header + 1 x USB 2.0 header

Packaging and Accessories

The box follows a very simple design and is perfect for the market it’s aimed at. There is no need for fancy artwork like we’re used to on consumer motherboards.

The rear of the box gives a little detail about 3 key points that are important to a board of this caliber including reliability, availability, and serviceability. These are all major factors for any IT admin needing a reliable product with quality components that is easy to set up and maintain.

Inside the box, we find anything we need to get started, but nothing unnecessary that would drive up the overall price on the product. We get two SATA3 cables where one of them has an angled connector at one end, two CrossFireX bridges, as well as two NVIDIA SLI bridges for 2-way and 3-way SLI and CrossFireX support. There’s also the obligatory IO shield and a driver disk

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.