ASUS Sabertooth Z170 S (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction

ASUS have compiled a comprehensive Z170 motherboard range which caters to different sections of the consumer market. For example, the GAMING PRO line-up offers superb functionality and impeccable stability at an affordable price point. ROG products evoke a more premium feel and includes a stunning software suite for power users. The Sabertooth brand revolves around a stringent testing procedure to ensure each motherboard exhibits unprecedented reliability. The extreme thermal testing and deployment of TUF components prioritizes long-term durability. As a result, it’s a great option for consumers who demand a very high-end motherboard and have no intentions of upgrading in the near future.

Typically, motherboards opt for a red and black colour scheme because it’s the most popular option among the core gaming audience. Some time ago, ASUS unleashed the limited edition Z97 Sabertooth Mark S which utilizes an innovative white PCB and military camouflage. It’s quite rare to see motherboard sporting a white theme and while there is some competition from the MSI Krait series, ASUS is the only manufacturer to offer a pure white PCB.

The Sabertooth Z170 S is the spiritual successor to the Z97 Sabertooth Mark S and features a very unusual design philosophy. When adopting such a wacky colour scheme, it’s bound to have a polarizing reception and I’m fascinated to hear feedback on ASUS’ aesthetic choices. Looking beyond the visual aspects, I’m expecting to see some very impressive numbers given the premium electronics and DIGI+ Power Control.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

The motherboard’s box is characterized by a white finish and contains camouflage highlights. This provides a great insight into the product’s unconventional styling and creates a web of intrigue. On the front, information regarding the 5 year warranty is displayed in a clear manner.

Moving onto the opposite side, there’s a detailed description of the product’s thermal radar monitoring made possible by the TUF ICe processor. On another note, the packaging outlines the rear I/O connectivity and basic motherboard layout.

Included in the package is a user’s guide, M.2 screws, driver’s disk, case badge, certificate of reliability, stickers and a gorgeous white I/O shield. As someone who loves the technical details of motherboards, it’s fantastic to read the reliability assessment document. Here, you can browse information regarding a huge array of tests such as moisture resistance, thermal shock, solder bath, salt spray and more!

There’s also four SATA cables, a Q Connector, CPU installation tool, back I/O dust cover and SLI bridge. The Q Connector is a really handy tool which eliminates the frustration factor when attaching front panel headers. Furthermore, the CPU installation tool is designed to minimize the contact time and pressure between your fingers and the CPU. While it’s not necessary for veteran builders, it could prevent beginners from causing damage during the build process.

Shuttle’s New DH170 1-Liter Mini-PC Now Available in the UK

Shuttle has been on a roll as of late, releasing one new system after another, but one of the most impressive ones is probably the DH170 which features impressive options in a tiny 1.3-liter chassis. Now the Shuttle DH170 is officially available in the UK. The XPC Slim Series DH170 system is built upon the H170 chipset with support for the latest Skylake processors (up to 65W TDP) while only being 43m thick.

The Shuttle DH170 can be equipped with up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR3L 1600 RAM, but there is only one 2.5-inch SATA3 drive bay. Then again, there are limits to what fits inside such a small system so that’s an understandable limitation and one drive should still be plenty for most usage scenarios for this system. While I just said that it only had room for one drive, that’s technically incorrect as the DH170 also features an M.2 2260/2242 Type B M key socket and a Half-size Mini-PCIe socket.

You get an impressive external connectivity with the DH170 as it features four USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, and two Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers (i211 and i219LM) that support teaming. It also features a Realtek ALC662 HD audio solution as well as triple monitor connection via two DisplayPort and one HDMI connector. A wireless antenna fixture, serial ports, and a card reader are also included in the DH170.

This tiny reliable system is rated for continues 24/7 usage in 50-degree environments without the smart fan having any trouble keeping everything cool. It’s also economical with its 90W power supply. The DH170 is available now for £194 (VAT excluded).

Key Features:

  • Intel H170 chipset supports the latest Intel Skylake processors
  • Compact 1.3-liter chassis only 43mm thick
  • Rugged design and construction for 24/7 stability and high-temperature environments
  • Supports three independent displays even at 4K resolution; two DisplayPorts and one HDMI
  • Ample connectivity; four USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, two RS232; M.2., Mini PCI-E
  • VESA mount compatibility
  • Available at Entaonline.com for £194

Supermicro X11SAE Workstation (Intel C236) Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Intel recently released their Greenlow based Skylake series Xeon CPUs and it’s a pleasure to take a look at the first enterprise-grade motherboard built for these processors today. I have Supermicro’s X11SAE motherboard on the test bench which is a standard ATX-sized single CPU board, but one with all the trimmings.

“Supermicro’s new X11 UP workstations, long-life embedded systems and motherboards integrate the latest technologies such as USB 3.1 and M.2 as well as step up performance, density and efficiency to provide a new generation of Green Computing solutions,” said Charles Liang, President and CEO of Supermicro. “Indeed, with Supermicro’s first-to-market integration, advanced engineering and architecture expertise, we deliver the widest range of Skylake-S platforms available to the industry, enabling our customers with exactly the best competitive advantage on the market.”

Supermicro’s X11SAE doesn’t just support the new Greenlow Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 family CPUs, you can also use 6th Gen Core i7, i5, i3, Pentium, and Celeron series processors. The brain behind the motherboard is the new C236 chipset which comes with a lot of enhancements over the predecessors and Supermicro generally added the newest technologies to this motherboard. Additionally, the motherboard supports up to 64GB DDR4 2133MHz ECC UDIMMs in its 4 sockets. While this motherboard does support ECC and non-ECC modules, it doesn’t support RDIMMS, so make sure you get the right ones.

There are plenty of storage features on this motherboard with the eight native SATA3 6 Gbps ports provided directly by the chipset. The ports support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 for that extra spice in your storage setup and the motherboard also has two SuperDOM ports with built-in power. You’ll also find a next-gen PCIe M.2 slot beside the default SATA3 ports, allowing you to get that extra speed. The M.2 slot doesn’t support AHCI modules, but 2242, 2260, and 2280 PCIe modules will run at a great speed thanks to the x4 slot.

Further expansion can be added through the two PCI-E 3.0 x16 and three PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots. The Supermicro X11SAE also features two legacy 5V PCI 32-bit slots for use with older hardware despite the upgrade to the newest platform.

Externally the X11SAE has two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 LAN ports where one is powered by an Intel i210-AT and the other is powered by an Intel i219LM chip. There’s also a DVI, a DisplayPort, and an HDMI out for use when processors with iGPU are inserted into the motherboard. Further, you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.1 ports on the rear IO area. The USB 3.1 ports sport the increased bandwidth and power which allows it to run with up to 10Gbps.

Internally you can connect an additionally four USB 3.0 and size USB 2.0 ports. The motherboard also features two COM port headers, an ALC 888S 7.1 HD Audio chip, a TPM 1.2 header, and much more.

A workstation motherboard also needs a good set of monitoring abilities. You can connect up to five PWM fans with status monitor for speed control, on/off settings, and tachometer. The temperature monitoring includes the CPU and chassis environment as well as CPU thermal trip support and I2C temperature sensing logic and Thermal Monitor 2 (TM2) support.

As a Supermicro motherboard, we also have the benefits of their SuperDoctor 5 software that monitors system health of hardware and operating system services from the target nodes in real-time and provides alerts to administrators on the availability of systems in data centers.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.

Key Features:

  • Single socket H4 (LGA 1151) supports: Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 v5, Intel 6th Gen. Core i7/i5/i3 series, Intel Celeron and Intel Pentium
  • Intel C236 chipset
  • Up to 64GB Unbuffered ECC/non-ECC, UDIMM DDR4 2133MHz; 4x DIMM slots
  • 2 PCI-E 3.0 x16 (run at 16/NA or 8/8), 3 PCI-E 3.0 x1 (in x4), and 2 5V PCI 32-bit slots
  • Single GbE LAN with Intel i210-AT, Single GbE LAN with Intel i219LM
  • 8x SATA3 (6Gbps) via C236; RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 + 1 PCIe M.2 (support PCIe x4 only, 2242/2260/2280)
  • I/O: 2x COM, TPM 1.2 header
  • 2x SuperDOM with built-in power
  • 6x USB 3.0 (2 rear + 4 via header), 8x USB 2.0 (2 rear + 6 via headers), 2x USB 3.1 (10Gbps, rear)

Packaging and Accessories

The Supermicro X11SAE comes in a neutral package and that’s all that’s needed for a board like this. It isn’t one you’ll find on a shelve in the local store while browsing around, it’s one your order because you know it’s the one you want. There’s still a sticker on the side that will tell you what’s inside and what the base specifications are.

The rear of the box explains a little bit about the series of motherboards which this one is part off. You get basic information about the series as well as a quick view of optimized chassis and systems.

Inside the box we find four SATA3 cables and the IO shield next to the motherboard itself.

Transcend Introduces MST800 1TB M.2 Solid State Drive

Transcend introduced a new tiny drive with a large capacity as their newest drive available now sports an impressive 1TB capacity in a standard M.2 2280 form factor module. Sadly this isn’t an NVMe drive, but the new MTS800 is still a drive that I’m sure will become very popular due to its size versus capacity.

The MTS800 would be a perfect fit for most ultrabooks and similar thin systems where you still require a large amount of local storage. It is built with MLC NAND which provides a great reliability and performance at the same time. Besides basic features such as SMART and Trim, the drive also supports Global Wear-leveling, Advanced Garbage Collection, and Device Sleep mode.

Being an SATA3 (AHCI) based drive, it does come with some limitations. The speeds are rated for up to 560MB/s reading and 460MB/s writing which still is fast. Customers who want less than 1TB can get the modules all the way to 32GB, so the MTS800 should satisfy almost any users needs.

The small form factor that M.2 is, comes with another benefit when the drives support it like this one does. I’m talking about Intel’s Smart Response Technology (ISRT) which can use an SSD as a cache between a traditional hard disk drive and the system. We know the principle from SSHDs, but they only provide a small amount of NAND buffer where this drive can give you up to 1TB.

Transcend’s MST800 series adds to the MTS400 and MTS600 M.2 SSD models which are available in 32GB to 512GB capacities. The entire MTS series is backed by a three-year limited warranty. Transcend didn’t reveal any official pricing at this time, but with an availability announcement, we’ll know soon enough when they hit the retail market.

Which is your preferred storage form factor? Do you still use the older 3.5-inch and 2.5-inch form factor drives or have you moved onto the NGFF such as mSATA and M.2? Let us know in the comments.

MSI Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


MSI has rapidly established itself as one of the most reputable motherboard manufacturers and constantly strives to enhance the user experience through an intuitive BIOS interface and marvellous reliability. Additionally, the company offers a huge range of products to suit various colour schemes and often creates extremely-unique designs as demonstrated by the gorgeous, Z170A XPOWER GAMING TITANIUM motherboard. Some time ago, MSI released the Z170A GAMING PRO which adopted a fantastic red and black theme to please the core gaming demographic. Although, it’s difficult to stand out when using this colour scheme because manufacturers tend to fixate on a safe, popular design. That’s not to say there’s anything particular wrong with utilizing these colours, but I’d prefer to see more vendors breaking the mould through truly unusual aesthetic choices.

Since the Z170A GAMING PRO’s release, MSI has listened intently to user feedback and decided to construct a brand new model entitled, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON. At first glance, the only difference appears to be the new carbon fibre skin. However, this isn’t the case because MSI has made a raft of changes to enhance the motherboard’s connectivity. More specifically, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON features two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, one being type-A while the other is type-C. Furthermore, the redundant PCI slot has been dropped in favour of a fourth PCI-E x1 slot. Thankfully, the 180-degree angle SATA ports have been removed and replaced with a more suitable arrangement using right-angled connectors. Finally, the USB 3.1 Gen 1 layout features two on the rear and four via an internal header while USB 2.0 options now contain a total of 8 ports through a front four rear four setup.

With a recommended retail price of £119.99, the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON is destined to compete alongside the ASUS Z170 PRO GAMING. As a result, it will be fascinating to see how the different products compare and I expect the Z170A GAMING PRO CARBON to remain very competitive in synthetic testing.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

The motherboard comes is a visually appealing box which outlines the RGB functionality, and gaming focus. I particularly like the neon design from the background vehicle which corresponds with the sort of lighting embedded onto the motherboard’s PCB.

The rear portion is packed full of information regarding the motherboard’s layout, impressive software package and premium-grade hardware. This is presented in a really clean, and concise manner with statistics to help quantify the importance of each unique feature.

In terms of accessories, there’s a detailed user’s guide, product registration card, cable labels, CPU installation guide and driver disk. It’s great to see the inclusion of cable labels because they help with diagnostics if you have multiple drives in a RAID configuration and struggle to determine which is the boot device.

Here we can see the bundled I/O shield, SLI bridge and SATA cables. The I/O shield’s red lettering and MSI dragon logo evokes a luxury feel and emphasizes the motherboard’s target audience.

ASUS B150 PRO GAMING/AURA (LGA1151) Motherboard Review

Introduction


Since the official reveal of Intel’s latest mainstream LGA1151 platform, we’ve analysed the performance numbers of various Z170 motherboards and even taken an analytical look at the non-overclocking H170 offerings. However, there’s another chipset available to consumers even though it’s primarily marketed towards business users. More specifically, the B150 chipset includes Intel’s Small Business Advantage software package to manage a small network of PCs using fairly rudimentary desktop applications. As a result, it seems quite a bizarre choice to release a B150 motherboard which adopts a lavish visual design, although it might be suitable for business clients wanting to play games during their downtime.

In a similar vein to the H170 chipset, there are some technical limitations when opting for the more budget friendly options. For example, B150 motherboards support a maximum of 18 HSIO lanes (in addition to 16 PCI-E from the CPU) compared to 26 on Z170. Additionally, overclocking is disabled even with an unlocked multiplier CPU, the PCI-E lanes are reduced from 20 to 8, and there’s a small dip in USB 3.0 ports down from 14 to 12. Despite these cutbacks, there’s still more than enough connectivity, and features to please a large quantity of consumers. The ASUS B150 PRO GAMING/AURA is a fascinating motherboard because it brings many of the high-end components from the Z170 range and comes with an excellent array of gaming focussed software. This means, it’s possibly the most ostentatious and impressive B150 motherboard I’ve encountered thus far, and I expect to see some impressive performance numbers in our typical benchmark procedure.

Specifications

Packing and Accessories

The motherboard is packaged in an attractive box which outlines the RGB sections and high-speed M.2 support. Additionally, there’s a promotional 15-day code to access a premium account in the free-to-play title, War of Warships.

On the rear, there’s a basic overview of the board layout, a technical synopsis and details about the AURA RGB lighting system. Furthermore, ASUS also provides information on the Digi+ VRM, USB 3.1 connectivity, premium audio hardware and gaming software.

In terms of accessories, the B150 PRO GAMING/AURA includes a user’s guide, cable labels, zip ties to help with cable management and drivers disk.

As you might expect, the motherboard comes with an I/O shield, SATA cables and M.2 fixing screws.

Best of CES 2016 – QNAP M.2 SSD NASBook

We saw a lot of great products at this year’s show, but the latest storage device from QNAP really stood out from the crowd. While deploying huge NAS systems is no bad thing, they offer lots of potential for storing huge amounts of data at a competitive price, the new M.2 SSD NASBook could be the future of NAS systems.

Offering up a super compact form factor, this little box runs quiet, hold up to four M.2 drives and offers up blisteringly fast performance. When it comes to building a connected home multimedia setup, or managing all of your personal data, this could be the perfect NAS for the job.

Equipped with 4 x m.2 SSD bays, support for 2280/2260/2242 SATA 6Gb/s SSDs, 2 RAM slots for up to 8GB of DDR3L RAM, a powerful Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core Braswell processor with built-in Intel HD Graphics, the NASBook can transcode 4K video in real-time! I know I would love one of these as part of my own home setup, it’s small enough and stylish enough to place under your TV, in your office, or anywhere for that matter. With the added bonus of great connectivity and a built in gigabit switch to make it a true hub for your home/office.

QNAP M.2 SSD NASBook

Check out our full CES coverage of the QNAP M.2 SSD NASBook here or check out our latest QNAP storage, news, reviews and competitions here!

GIGABYTE Launches Two AMD Socket AM3+ Motherboards With A Twist

It came as quite a surprise when GIGABYTE first mentioned their new AMD socket AM3+ based motherboards about a month ago and quite a few people were shocked by this news. But there can be a lot of benefits in these two new AM3+ based GIGABYTE motherboards, benefits that some people might not have considered.

The most likely scenario for these new motherboards is probably one where the old motherboard has died or generally just starts to bug around. It is time for a replacement despite that the user might originally have intended to wait for one of the new CPU architectures such as Intel’s upcoming Extreme series or AMD’s own Zen-based series. You could buy an up to six years old motherboard and gain nothing, or you could get one of GIGABYTE’s new ones and get a lot of benefits from modern technology and advancements that have been made since the AM3+ socket was introduced in 2009.

The two new motherboards are the GA-990FX-Gaming and GA-970-Gaming that both got the GIGABYTE G1 Gaming treatment. They come with an M.2 connectors that can transfer with up to 10Gb/s on the 970-based board and 20Gb/s on the 990FX-based.

Both can utilize NVMe and SATA drives, but you naturally you won’t reap the full benefits of an NVMe drive with 10Gb/s speeds. It would still be great and the board is able to use these modern drives with the result being a much faster systems and one that takes less CPU usage than an equivalent SATA version.

GIGABYTE also added USB 3.1 and USB Type-C connectors to these motherboards, allowing you to use the newest peripherals too. This again allows you to move forward with all other aspects of your system while you wait for one of the new hot platforms to be released.

The bigger of the two boards comes with three PCI-Express x16 slots and the smaller only has two, but both support dual-graphics solutions and you can add up to 32GB DDR3 memory to both. Another nice touch on the PCI-Express slots is the use of the exclusive ultra durable metal shielding that will give the slots more durability.

Being boards in the G1 Gaming series, these boards also come with great network and audio solutions. The Audio is taken care of by an 115dBB SNR HD Audio system with built-in rear audio amplifier and high-quality audio capacitors as well as the Audio Noise Guard with Ambient LED Trace Path Lighting to prevent interference. The network connection is provided by a KillerNIC E2200 network controller.

GIGABYTE didn’t reveal any pricing or availability, but considering that they are launched now they should be available soon and the pricing should be close to the predecessors.

Transcend Introduces Full SLC SSD Lineup

Transcend revealed their SSD570 almost three months ago and now they’re ready with the full lineup surrounding the SSD570 SLC SSD and with most current form factors. SLC NAND has quite a few advantages over MLC and TLC NAND, but it also comes at a higher price and with less capacity. MLC NAND is used in mainstream and enthusiast drives while TLC NAND is used in the newer budget oriented drives for three times the capacity per chip used over SLC.

But Transcend’s new lineup is full of SLC drives that have the superior performance and reliability. There are normal 2.5-inch slim SSD drives and half sized case-less drives as well as mSATA and M.2 of various sizes. The 2.5-inch, half-slim, and mSATA versions come as both SATA3 and SATA2 drives while the M.2 come in two different lengths, 42 and 80 mm, but both SATA3 models and the default 22mm wide.

SLC NAND has a higher durability than MLC that is found in most consumer products and SLC can withstand up to 50,000 program and erase cycles at the same time as it can perform with up to three times the speed of MLC flash. On top of that comes a lower power consumption and error rates, making these perfect for mission critical applications.

The drives feature all the normal features such as S.M.A.R.T. function to monitor the drives health status, but they also feature more advanced features such as DevSleep. DevSleep is the newest power saving feature that sets the drive into the lowest possible power state. Transcend also added error correction code (ECC) and wear-leveling algorithms to these SLC SSDs. The final feature is necessary when we’re talking mission critical data, and that is the Power Shield function that ensures data integrity in the event of a sudden power loss.

The new line contains the SATA3 SSD570K and SATA2 SSD520 2.5-inch drives, the HSD570 SATA3 and SSD25H-S SATA2 half-slim SSDs. The SATA 2 and SATA3 mSATA SSDs are called MSA520 and MSA570 respectively while the M.2 drives are called MTS870 and MTS470.

QNAP Demonstrate M.2 SSD NASBook @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Not everyone has room for a full-size NAS, and some people would just prefer a slimmer and quieter unit in general if given the option. The new NASBook for QNAP looks perfect for those who demand a highly portable unit, but even more so for those who want a compact size with big performance.

Equipped with 4 x m.2 SSD bays, with support for 2280/2260/2242 SATA 6Gb/s SSDs, in raid 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 5+ hot spare, JBOD and, of course, separate volumes. There are 2 RAM slots for up to 8GB of DDR3L RAM, a powerful Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core Braswell processor and built in Intel HD Graphics. That means 4K video playback with real-time transcoding!

Equipped with QTS 4.2.1 OS, as well as all the high-end NAS features that come with it, the NAS also has two HDMI ports, two USB ports, audio jacks, IR receiver, and a built-in Gigabit switch! Overall, this is a seriously well-equipped multimedia powerhouse, perfect for a home entertainment setup.

 

Transcend Develops SuperMLC NAND Technology

Here I sat thinking that I knew all the terms for the different NAND technologies and then Transcend comes along with a new one that they have called SuperMLC. SuperMLC was developed as a more cost effective solution to SLC NAND with a performance that comes very close. In fact, the write performance is up to four times better than traditional MLC-based products.

Okay, I have to be honest right away and say that this technically isn’t a new form of NAND, we’re still dealing with Multi-Level Cell NAND chips. The difference comes down to how this NAND is handled by the SSD controller and its firmware. By using high-quality NAND chips and reprogramming the firmware, Transcend essentially created a cell-based RAID setup where the same data is stored in both bits in the same cell instead of having different data stored in the two. This naturally decreases the available capacity per NAND chip by half, but it also allows the drives to deliver a much better performance. In fact, the new SuperMLC has up to four times the sequential write performance when compared with traditional MLC NAND. It also brings better lifetime expectancy with up to 30,000 P/E cycles.

Transcend will release new drives based on this technology in early 2016 and they are all aimed at the enterprise sector where both initial costs and total costs of ownership really matters. That doesn’t mean that you can’t purchase these drives and use them in your personal setup, if that is something you are considering. Among the upcoming products with this brand new SuperMLC technology are a 2.5-inch SSD (SSD510K), an mSATA SSD (MSA510), a half-slim SSD (HSD510), and two M.2 SSD models. (MTS460 & MTS860).

What do you think of this way to utilize the NAND chips? Would this be an option you would be interested in, or do you prefer the normal MLC NAND for capacity or SLC NAND-based products for their reliability and performance? Let us know in the comments.

ZOTAC Announces ZBOX MI551 Skylake-Powered Mini PC

Zotac is pretty much the inventor of mini PCs as we know them and the ZBOX style is probably their most known series. The newest member of the ZBOX family is Skylake based and called the ZBOX  MI551.

The MI551 is equipped with an Intel Core i5-6400T quad-core processor that runs at a core speed of 2.2GHz and has a boost speed of up to 2.8GHz. The system allows for up to 16GB RAM to be installed in the two DDR3L-1600 SODIMM slots, so no DDR4 in this system.

The ZOTAC ZBOX MI551 uses the CPU built-in GPU in the form of an Intel HD Graphics 530 that supports the two DisplayPort connections for up to 4K UHD at 60Hz and the HDMI port with UHD resolutions at up to 24Hz in multi-screen mode and 60Hz with just one panel. So this tiny system is fully 4K ready.

Internally it has room for one 2.5-inch SATA SSD or HDD as well as one M.2 SATA SSD (42, 60, or 80mm length) and externally it features a combined card reader and USB 3.1 combo port for easy readout of memory cards.

Other than the previously mentioned connections you get stereo jacks for microphone and headphones, one USB 3.1 Type-C, two USB 3.0, one USB B2.0 and two Gigabit Ethernet connections. The MI551 also features a built-in 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless card with external antenna.

There is an optional Plus model available as there usually is with the ZBOX systems where you, in this case, get 4GB memory and a 120GB M.2 SATA SSD pre-installed for out-of-the-box usage.

Innodisk Introduces M.2 Module Network Adapters

You might know Innodisk as a storage and memory manufacturer, but that isn’t the only thing that this company creates. They also produce a lot of embedded solutions and modules and the newest in this range is also a world’s first: A new M.2 form factor Single and Dual Gigabit Ethernet Module that doesn’t require extra drivers.

The single port module is called the EGUL-G101 and the dual port module that supports port trunking and link aggregation is called the EGUL-G201. The modules are built-in a 22×60 (60mm long) form factor which could be an issue with some boards that only take 2280 modules, however, newer boards take 40, 60, and 80mm modules.

The EGUL modules use the USB 3.0 standard that provides up to 5Gb/s throughput, plenty for even the dual EGUL-201 that only needs 2Gb/s. Unlike PCI-express based network cards, the EGUL modules can be used on both Windows and Linux platforms without the need for extra drivers and provide flexible network expansion for all kinds of embedded systems.

The modules use an industrial grade design, suitable for use in commercial systems. The EGUL-G101 and EGUL-G201 are built with strong electrical isolation and 30 micro-inch gold interface connectors for a robust connection. The ethernet modules feature 15kV ESD, 2kV HiPot and 2kV surge protection, preventing electrical damage to the system and connected components from potential differences or dirty electrical conditions while also maintaining signal integrity.

There are multiple daughterboards available, allowing you to set the actual RJ45 ports where you need them and where your case or rack allows you to mount them.

The new EGUL-G101 and EGUL-G201 modules should be available now, meaning they will arrive at resellers very shortly. It is really nice to see some available options in the M.2 form factor that previously was known as the next-generation form factor (NGFF). For a next generation, there have been way too few options for too long.

Features

  • Single/Dual isolated GbE LAN ports
  • Complies with EN61000-4-5 2kV Surge protection
  • Complies with IEC 60950-1:2005 + A1: 2009 + A2:2013 2kV HiPOT protection
  • Complies with EN61000-4-2 (ESD) Air-15kV, Contact-8kV
  • Flexible daughter board with cable to fit into different system
  • Optional terminal mounting hole or bracket for daughter board
  • Support native CDC-ECM driver in Linux
  • Support driver auto-install mode in Windows
  • 30µ ” golden finger, 3 years warranty
  • Industrial design, manufactured in Innodisk Taiwan

Addonics Announces Complete Family of Industrial or Enterprise Grade SSDs

Addonics announced a new family of SSDs that support the CFast, mSATA and M2 form factors in both Industrial or Enterprise class grades. The difference between the two types is the type of NAND used. The Industrial class modules are built with SLC NAND where the Enterprise class modules are made with MLC NAND.

These new storage modules are all rated for operation in industrial temperatures ranging from minus 45 to plus 80 degrees Celcius. They are also some of the most reliable SSDs on the market, a thing that easily can be spotted in the TBW and MTBF ratings. For example, a 64GB SLC mSATA modules comes with a TBW rating of 3448 TB and the same module with MLC NAND has a TBW of 635TB for the 256GB model. All come with an MTBF of over 3 million hours.

Which type you pick is down to the operations they need to perform. MLC is more energy-efficient, has more capacity, and it is faster, but the SLC has more durability and a longer lifetime expectancy. Addonics new Industrial and Enterprise SSDs range from 4GB to 256GB capacity and Addonics also offers a full line of converters, readers, and duplicators for the most common SSD form factors.

Suggested retail prices of the Addonics Industrial grade mSATA Flash SSD is $325 for 32GB. The Enterprise class mSATA SSD starts at $54 for 32G. You can also check out the full details on the official new landing page for Addonics Flash media and SSDs: http://addonics.com/category/fm-ssd.php

Samsung Launches 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD

While Intel probably was the company that drew most headlines with their 750 SSD NVMe drive, Samsung’s SM951 NVMe SSD has been the go-to choice for a lot of enthusiasts. It convinced everyone with its M.2 form factor and great performance. Samsung is now ready to follow up on that drive with their brand new 950 Pro M.2 NVMe SSD.

The Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD is quite impressive, but there are some disappointments too, at least to begin with. Initially, the drive will be released in two capacities, 256GB and 512GB. These are currently the most wanted drive capacities when it comes to SSDs and as such it’s a logical choice. It is, however, a bit disappointing that there aren’t any larger drives available yet, especially after the recently revealed 2TB consumer SSDs. The second disappointment might follow right away for users that need other form factors than the 2280 as that is the only form factor that will be released initially.

The Samsung 950 Pro M.2 utilizes the same UBX controller as the SM951 does, but it uses the latest version of their own 3D V-NAND technology as well as having support for the Magician software. The 512GB model is rated for up to 2500MB/s read and 1500MB/s write as well as 300K IOPS at random reads and 110K at random writes. The 256GB model is a little slower, but not much. The 950 Pro also features 256-bit hardware encryption.

The Samsung 950 Pro drive is backed by a 5-year warranty and are expected to hit retail shelves on October 15th for an MSRP of $199.99 and £349.99 respectively. 1TB and 4TB versions are planned for next year sometime and will be built with the upcoming 48-layer V-NAND that will enter products later this year.

 

Thank You TomsHardware for providing us with this information

ASRock Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac offers native 4K 60Hz Video Out

ASRock has come a very long way over the last years, moving from a budget company to a force that shouldn’t be dismissed, and that is proven again by the quite impressive Fata1ty branded Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac mini-ITX motherboard. Despite its size, it packs amazing features and a solid build quality.

The first feature to stand out on this little marvel is the native 4K 60Hz video output capabilities thanks to the HDMI 2.0 port. HDMI 2.0 was introduced quite a while ago, but its adoption has been more than sluggish. That also means that this is the first 100-series chipset mITX motherboard with just that feature.

Moving on and you’ll find anything else that you’ll want from a Gaming motherboard. ASRock added the Fatal1ty mouse port, Intel-based Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, and an 802.11ac wireless network card.

The Gaming-ITX motherboard features plenty of USB connections, ranging from USB 2.0 to USB 3.1, SATA3 ports, a single SATA-Express port. Other connections include a PS2 dual-port, onboard audio, a PCIe x16 Gen3 slot, and more. Hidden on the rear of the motherboard you’ll also find an ultra M.2 slot.

The motherboard is built on an 8-layer PCB and adopts an eight power phase design. IUt’s further built with Super Alloy and Gaming Armor design, such as the Premium 60A Power Chokes, Dual-Stack MOSFET, Nichicon 12K Platinum Capacitors, Hi-Density Power Connector, 15μ gold contacts and Digi Power.

ASRock didn’t reveal a global availability or MSRP price, but it can already be had in some regions such as Germany where it retails starting from €193.04. It surely isn’t the cheapest, but it’s also quite impressive on its feature list.

MSI Unveils Turbo U.2 Adapter Card

MSI has unveiled a new U.2 host card for use with SATA-Express SSDs such as the 2.5-inch Intel 750 that can deliver up to 2400MB/s transfer speeds. While we have seen such adapters bundled with a few selected top motherboards before, MSI’s stands out a bit.

The SATA-Express connector stands a bit out in this world where all technology keeps getting smaller and smaller. It’s quite a large one. This is where the U.2 connector comes in, as it’s basically a cabled version of the M.2. It allows the same great bandwidth up to 32 GB/s on a PCIe x4 connection.

MSI added a little twist to their version that I don’t think that we have seen before. They added what they call the U.2 redriver and it is a kind of amplifier that helps maintain the best transfer signal strength possible, and thereby the best possible transfer speeds.

MSI also made sure that the U.2 Host adapter supports PCIe RAID, allowing you to use two of these on motherboards that support it. In return, you can RAID your brand new NVMe SSDs for impressive speeds up to 3500MB/s read and 2000MB/s write.

MSI will without a doubt bundle this adapter with some of their flagship motherboards, but the packaging also suggests that it will be sold as separate add-on.

Features

  • Supports U.2 interface SSD with NVMe driver
  • U.2 redriver: The signal amplifier for better performance
  • The best compatibility: Compatible for all M.2 slot in PCI-E mode
  • Maximum Bandwidth: PCI-E 3.0 x4 (up to 32 Gb/s)
  • Input Interface: M.2 (Key M)
  • Output Interface: U.2 Host Connector up to 32 Gb/s
  • Compatible OS: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10
  • Compatible for M.2 2280 slot

ASUS Shows off Maximus VIII Extreme Motherboard

ASUS has shown off their newest consumer flagship motherboard ahead of the official launch, the ROG Maximus VIII Extreme motherboard. The new Maximus VIII Extreme is naturally built for Skylake and the LGA 1151 socket and comes with Intel’s Z170 chipset. The ROG colour scheme has been changed from the old black and red into the new orange, silver and black theme that we’ve already seen on the ROG Matrix GTX 980Ti Platinum graphics card.

The new ROG Maximus VIII Extreme motherboard should provide everything an enthusiast wants. You get four PCIe Gen 3 x16 slots where three are wired to the CPU and the last is wired to the PCH. The ATX sized motherboard comes with the usual four memory slots and requires almost normal power connectivity. You’ll need a 24-pin ATX, an 8-pin, and a 4-pin EPS connector to hook up this beauty.

The motherboard doesn’t lack anything in the area of storage or connectivity. Besides the eight SATA3 ports, you also get an SFF-8639 U.2 connector for NVMe drives with up to 32Gbps, an M.2 32Gbps slot, and two SATA-Express 16Gbps connectors. Onboard is also Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 ac WLAN, and Bluetooth 4.0 for you to connect to the world with.

One shouldn’t forget the onboard sound either, as it isn’t a low-budget one on this board. ASUS added the SupremeFX audio solution that comes with a front-panel unit for easy access and connectivity.

Thank You TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

Crucial MX200 M.2 500GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Crucial launched their MX200 series quite a while ago and you might remember our reviews of the 2.5-inch SATA3 models in the series. Crucial has now supplied us with this M.2 version of the drive and today I am giving it a good spin on our test bench to see if it can perform as good as the 2.5-inch versions did. The Crucial MX200 M.2 SSD that I’m taking a closer look at today is the 500GB version (CT500MX200SSD4), an impressive capacity considering the size and even more so considering the amount of chips used, but that is something you’ll see further into the review.

The MX100 series originally set new standards for SATA SSDs and Crucial continued that with the MX200. It boasts great features and a great performance, and it does all that are a very reasonable price. One of the features that help the MX200 push ahead of many competitors is the Dynamic Write Acceleration technology. It uses an adaptable pool of high-speed, single-level cell flash memory for a consistent and fast performance rather than a fixed cache of multi-level cell flash.

The Crucial MX200 M.2 500GB drive is rated with a sequential speed of up to 550MB/s when reading and 500MB/s when writing. The random read performance is rated at 100K IOPS while the write performance has an impressive 87K IOPS. That is pretty sweet considering that we have a drive that’s only 22mm wide and 80mm long.

Crucial also made sure that the MX200 will survive for a very long time and it comes with a total bytes written (TBW) rating of 160TB. That equals to 87GB per day for a 5 year period, which should be more than sufficient and at that time you’ll want to upgrade with a more modern drive anyway. Sounds like a safe bet and a purchase where you can’t do much wrong.

Once we peel off the sticker, we see that this 500GB SSD only uses two NAND chips, one controller, and one RAM chip. Removing the sticker also removed most of the print on the NAND chips and it was almost impossible to take a photo where it was properly readable. The rear of the module isn’t used at all, which is what I referred to in the beginning. It’s all done with just two NAND chips.

This is the best I could do on the Micron NAND chips used on this drive. It isn’t the world’s best photo, but it appears to read 51C22 NW659 and the Micron logo is clearly visible.

The controller used is the Marvell 88SS9189-BLD2, a great choice for its features. You get AES 256-bit hardware encryption, it is TCG Opal 2.0 and IEEE-1667 compliant, and compatible with Microsoft’s eDrive. Other features include Power Loss and Adaptive Thermal Protection, Active Garbage Collection and TRIM support, ECC error checking code and SMART monitoring technology as well as Exclusive Data Defense.

Crucial backs the MX200 series with a 3-year limited warranty and the drive has a life expectancy of 1.5 million hours mean time before failure. The drive also comes bundled with Acronis True Image HD backup and cloning software.

Features

  • Hardware Encryption
    • AES 256-bit encryption
    • TCG Opal 2.0-compliant
    • IEEE-1667-compliant
    • Compatible with Microsoft eDrive
  • Data Transfer Software – Includes Acronis True Image HD software for free data transfer
  • Redundant Array of Independent NAND (RAIN)
  • Exclusive Data Defense: Adaptive Thermal Protection, Power Loss Protection, and Data Path Protection
  • Self-Monitoring and Reporting Technology (SMART), Error Correction Code (ECC), TRIM Support, and Active Garbage Collection

Packaging

An M.2 2280 module doesn’t require much of a packaging at all and it comes in the same type blister package that we know from memory modules; and even that is large for this module. The front carries a sticker with the drive type and capacity while the rear displays the included Acronis True Image HD Software.

Inside the tiny box you’ll find the above-mentioned leaflet with the Acronis True Image HD Software Activation key, which can be downloaded from the internet, two screws in case you misplaced the ones from your motherboard or PCIe adapter card and naturally the M.2 Type 2280 500GB Crucial MX200 SSD.

OCZ RevoDrive 400 Revealed: NVMe Speeds for M.2

While we’ve long had M.2 SSDs, those drives have often been limited to either SATA speeds or suffered from the legacy AHCI protocol. In order to get around the legacy standard, consumer SSDs are starting to pick up NVMe, a new storage protocol designed for flash. OCZ is set to bring their own contender to the M.2 market by offering the OCZ RevoDrive 400, the first NVMe M.2 SSD.

We’ve seen what NVMe is capable of with the PCIe version of Intel’s 750. Now with 4 lanes of PCIe 3.0 through the M.2 connector, the RevoDrive can finally make use of those M.2 slots on many motherboards, giving much-needed speed without having to use up a PCIe slot. Read speeds are set to hit  2000MB/s and write speeds around 1600MB/s – 2000MB/s, pretty close to the Intel 750.

Given that OCZ is now owned by Toshiba, it’s interesting that this comes so soon after Toshiba announced their own M2. NVMe SSD from the BG1 family. Those drives however, were targetted more for OEMs and enterprise rather than consumers. At this point, all we know about the RevoDrive 400 is that it uses a Toshiba controller and 15nm MLC NAND.

No word is available on pricing but we can expect prices to probably fall near the Intel 750 so don’t expect this to be a budget drive. Intel does have one important advantage as the RevoDrive 400 maxes out at 1TB while the 750 goes a bit higher; it’s not quite fair to compare the two different form factors, though. No launch date has been revealed at this time.

Thank you TechReport for providing us with this information 

SilverStone Announces ECM20 Dual M.2 PCIe Card

SilverStone released a new PCIe add-in card that brings a duality of M.2 support to your system, the ECM20. It can connect a PCIe based M.2 SSD via the PCIe x4 connector and at the same time it can connect a SATA based M.2 via the 6Gbps SATA connector on the rear of the board.

No need to worry if the adapter supports your M.2 SSD here, as it supports both kinds. The only difference is where you plug it in and connect it. You can also use both at the same time, so there is no trade-off either. The board is clearly labeled as to where what goes and the M-Key is used for the PCie based M.2 while the B-Key is used for the SATA based M.2 drive. There isn’t any need for extra power cables either, as the PCIe port can provide plenty of power for such two small NGFF drives.

The card is fully plug-and-play and doesn’t require any drivers to be installed. That simplifies the installation a lot and the Silverstone ECM20 also comes with a low-profile bracket for mounting it in smaller chassis types.

There shouldn’t be any compatibility issues due to module length either; We all know that M.2 drives come in a lot of different lengths. The 2280-type is probably the most common supported form factor, but the adapter also supports 2230, 2242, and 2260 modules.

 

Next-Gen Intel NUC Takes Power in Small Size to a New Level

Intel’s NUC lineup is already pretty impressive all things considered. You get a lot of power in a tiny form factor and a variety of different models. With the release of Skylake, Intel is now prepping the next generation of NUC series that will be powered by Skylake-U low-voltage processors. The new tiny systems will draw just 15W while supporting M.2 drives and up to 32GB DDR4 memory.

It was more or less a given that Intel would release Skylake based systems, but up until now we’ve just seen slides mentioning them and no actual units. That has changed as they were spotted on Kingston’s booth at the IDF2015. The unit was of course loaded with Kingston HyperX Predator DDR4 SO-DIMMs and M.2 SSD drive.

On the rear of the board, we can see a mini-DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a connector, two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, and the DC power. The system also has a wireless card with 802.11ac and Bluetooth that most likely is placed underneath the M.2 drive.

The front of the board features an Infrared receiver and a 3.5mm audio jack. It also features two USB 3.0 ports where the yellow one of them is designed for faster charging of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. There’s also a header for two USB 2.0 ports on the device, but that’s not pictured.

It isn’t fully clear yet what CPU was running in the demonstrated Intel NUC system, it could be either a Core i5-6200 or Core i3-6100U as both have a base clock frequency of 2.3GHz.

Thank You LegitReviews for providing us with this information

ASMedia Demonstrates 750MB/s via USB 3.1

The USB 3.1 era is upon us and ASMedia were the first to become officially authorized by the USB-IF official organization. Up until now, USB 3.1 has been more a gimmick and a sales pitch than a useful product, there simply haven’t been any devices around that really could take advantage of what the new host controller and protocol can perform.

So we need a demonstration of what it can do, some real figures to work with instead of theoretical figures. We all know that USB theory doesn’t equal USB reality. During the Intel IDF 2015 we now got that demonstration from ASMedia. They had an MSI notebook and an ASUS USB 3.1 enclosure box connected to show what the host controller can do. The ASUS USB 3.1 enclosure box had two M.2 SSDs on the insides, making sure that there is enough performance to test the bus to the max. The USB 3.1 host controller also supports RAID on a hardware level, which is really nice.

And the result is pretty impressive for a USB connection. We see a sequential performance of up to 735MB/s and a sequential write performance up to 748 MB/s. The random QD32 4K performance isn’t without either and is something that the previous USB connections weren’t good at, not at all. Now we just have to wait for some actual drives to be released that take advantage of this, instead of the unimpressive USB 3.1 flash drives that don’t perform any better than a USB 3.0 does.

Thank You LegitReviews for providing us with this information

Toshiba Unveils M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drives

Toshiba announced three new families of solid state drives that are fitted with high.speed PCIe interfaces that provide high.bandwidth point-to-point links with the processor and reduce system bottlenecks. That is thanks to the use of the NVMe protocol and they come for various systems. All versions are built with Toshiba’s own MLC NAND flash memory.

We’ve previously seen the PX4P family that is designed for server applications in its 2.5-inch form factor, but the M.2 drives are new. Most newer motherboards feature an M.2 connector and the drives are also used in netbooks and ultrabooks thanks to the small form factor.

The XG3 family is the one aimed at the broader audience and it is an impressive drive. It is an M.2 Type 2280 drive and comes with the industries highest capacity of up to 1TB. It supports up to four PCIe 3.1 lanes and a maximum bandwidth that is six times that of the SATA3 interface. There will also be a 2.5-inch SATA-Express version of this drive. The XG3 series is equipped with Toshiba’s QSBC (Quadruple Swing-By Code) error-correction technology and also features lower power state modes. It is also the first Toshiba product to support the Trusted Computing Group security specification, Pyrite (TCG Pyrite).

The second M.2 type drive that Toshiba Announced, is the BG1 SSD family, the world’s smallest NVMe SSD. It measures just 16 by 20 mm thanks to the M.2 Type 1620 form factor and will also be available as a Type 2230 removable module with up to 256GB capacity. This drive is designed for thin notebooks and 2-in1 systems that are naturally limited in physical space. The BG1 series also supports the TCG Pyrite and features the low power state modes that the larger XG3 family has.

Along with these information, we also learned that the PX04P series, with its incredible low 18 watts max power draw, also will be available as HHHL (half-height half-length) add-in card next to the SFF-8639 12Gbps connector. Samples of the new drives are expected in Q4 2015, so expect the actual drives sometime during the start of 2016.

Lite-On Announces New NVMe M.2 PCIe SSD

Lite-On announced the EP1 Series M.2 PCIEe Gen2 x4 solid state drive roughly nine months ago and it has become a popular drive for cloud operators due to its great performance, small footprint, and low power consumption. Not resting on that, Lite-On is ready with the brand new EP2 M.2 solid state drive with NVMe protocol and it will be presented at the Flash Memory Summit 2015 in Santa Clara next week.

The NVMe protocol is amazing and we’ve seen what great performance it can bring when we reviewed the Intel 750 SSD and that is thanks to the way it works and with Lite-On’s customized firmware, commands are bypassed and subsequently result in improvement for multiple queues and higher queue depths while the CPU is used to its full potential instead of bottlenecking the IOPS with single core limitations.

The new EP2 series delivers a great performance with up to 250K IOPS at reading operations and 25K IOPS at writing. The ultra-low latencies of 35/35 μs ensure the fastest response times for the commands. Feature wise, the drive comes with all the basics as well as power loss protection (PLP) and end-to-end data protection. That is sadly about the only information that we get so far, but that will change next week.

“Lite-On storage takes pride in quality, innovation, and performance for all of our storage products. I’m happy to announce our next generation EP series SSD. The EP series utilizes the latest NVMe protocol, which is combined with our proprietary firmware. This removes the bottleneck on SATA hardware and creates at least 1.4x throughput improvements for all workloads. We are committed in continuing to bring innovative products to meet today’s storage demands and stay competitive in the growing market,” said Darlo Perez, Managing Director of Lite-On Americas region.

Lite-On will also bring its new ER1 and EM1 SATA SSDs along to the Flash summit. These drives are designed to address the capacity and performance needs of hyper scale computing and virtualized data centers that require rigorous I/O operations. Both the ER1 and EM1 double the maximum capacity and will be presented with up to 4TB capacity. The ER1 and EM1 come in two form factors, 1.8-inch and the more default 2.5-inch size.

Mushkin Launches New ATLAS VITAL Family of Solid-State Drives

Mushkin announced its latest addition to the ATLAS family of products, the new ATLAS VITAL M.2 2280 Series for Ultrabooks, notebooks, and small form-factor PCs. Atlas Vital is said to be suitable for mobile gamers, professionals, or general end-users looking to take their computing experience to the next level with solid state storage.

The drive comes in a quite a few capacity versions, but all in the M.2 2280 form factor. There will be 120GB, 140GB, 250GB, 480GB, and 500GB versions of this SandForce SF-2000 series based solid state drive. It seems like somewhat of a weird choice to go with a SandForce controller these days, as there are far better ones available. It isn’t a bad controller either and the Atlas Vital drive can perform sequential speeds up to 550MB/s while reading and 535MB/s while writing. The random 4K performance is rated up to 86K IOPS for low-latency and high throughput.

The Atlas Vital is aimed at the value-minded users looking to improve their experience over traditional hard drives and that also explains the choice of controller. It is a cheaper controller that allows Mushkin to create a better performing drive at a lower price, but at the costs of a few features.

Mushkin did not announce the availability or price of the drives yet, but those information are sure to follow very soon.

Supermicro X10SDV-F Xeon D-1540 SoC Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


The motherboard I’m taking a look at today is a little something special. It is a tiny board yet it packs a punch that is worthy of a large right hook. The Supermicro X10SDV-F is a Mini-ITX motherboard with an onboard Intel Xeon D-1540 System-on-a-Chip (SoC) processor and lot of other goodies to go along with it. The Intel Xeon D-1540 is an octa-core processor with sixteen threads. It runs at 2GHz with a boost of up to 2.6.GHz. You will also need a lot of RAM to go along with that kind of CPU and that isn’t any problem for this tiny Supermicro board. It supports up to 128GB DDR4 memory with its 4 DIMM slots. You also get six high-speed SATA3 ports, a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot, a full speed PCIe Gen3 x16 slot and two Intel Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. The bigger brother of this board is called the X10SDV-TLN4F which also features two integrated 10 Gigabit Intel Ethernet ports for those that need even more connectivity from a tiny board. Further, you get two USB 3.0 connectors on the rear I/O while USB 2.0 is provided via two headers. The remote management with a dedicated Realtek Ethernet port and built-in Aspeed graphics solution for maintenance and setup is another great feature and one that shouldn’t be missing on a server-grade motherboard.

There isn’t much you won’t find here. You can also choose whether you want to power it via a standard 24-pin power header or rather use 12V connectors depending on your power supply options. With a thermal design of just 45 watts TDP, the CPU can be passively cooled, but it is recommended that you cool the chassis properly.

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 SoC and up to 128GB DDR4 memory support in this form factor.

  • mITX
  • Intel Xeon D-1540 SoC with 45W TDP
  • Up to 128GB DDR4 ECC Memory
  • ATX and 12V Dual power abilities and low power consumption
  • Dedicated IPMI Remote Management and SuperDoctor 5
  • 6 SATA3 ports, M.2 slot, USB 3.0 on-board, Dual Intel i350-AM2 Gigabit LAN
  • PCI-E gen3 x16 slot

Packaging and Accessories

As reviewers we don’t always get the retail package on these products as we simply don’t need them and the companies wish to get the products to us as fast as possible for review. In this case, I got the motherboard in a simple OEM box without any accessories. Normally however the motherboard includes two 57.5 cm flat SATA cables and a standard I/O shield.