When good isn’t good enough, then you’ll want great, and when looking for great, you can’t get past QNAP. They have just launched two new NAS series for the enterprise sector with plenty of storage capacity options, great connectivity, and strong CPUs. Perfect for enterprise users that don’t want to compromise. The two new series are the TVS-ECx80U-SAS R2 and the TS-ECx80U R2.
Both of these new NAS series feature two built-in SFP+ based 10Gbps Ethernet ports without increasing the price over the previous models without the R2 name addendum. Besides the two SFP+ connectors, the system also features four 1Gbps Ethernet ports. Overall, everything you need for an IOPS-demanding application setup such as virtualisation setups and database systems.
The TVS-ECx80U-SAS R2 series comes equipped with a powerful Intel Xeon E3-1246 v3 3.5 GHz processor and 16GB DDR3 non-ECC or 8GB DDR3 ECC RAM. A great hardware base for almost any setup. The TS-ECx80U R2 series provides models powered by an Intel Xeon E3-1246 v3 3.5 GHz processor too and these come with 4GB DDR3 ECC RAM. Further, the series offers options with an Intel Core i3 3.5 GHz processor and 8GB DDR3 non-ECC or 4GB DDR3 ECC RAM too.
There are quite a few models to choose from, in various sizes and with varying drive bays. They all have four DIMM slots, extra internal ports for caching, redundant power supplies, and much more.
Today’s motherboard review lands right in the middle of everything. Not because it’s all over the place, but because it has a lot of usage scenarios and support for pretty much any setup. You could use ASRock’s E5V5 WS motherboard in a gaming system as well as in a server setup as both of those setups are fully supported, but its real area of operation is to act as the base for a powerful workstation.
The ASRock E5V5 WS uses an LGA 1151 socket and the board is compatible with both E3-1200 v5 processors such as the one I’ll be using later on in this review, but it also supports normal 6th Generation Intel Core processors – so basically the entire Skylake and Skylake-S line-up. As backbone behind the CPU that you end up using is the Intel C232 chipset that is perfectly tuned for workstation environments and a motherboard like this. Memory wise you can use normal DDR4 DIMMs as well as ECC UDIMM memory modules with a speed of up to 2133 MHz in the four DIMM slots with 15μ gold contacts for a total of up to 64GB RAM.
The gold contacts in the memory slots aren’t the only quality feature in this motherboard. The E3V5 WS motherboard is part of ASRock’s Super Alloy series and comes with premium 50A power chokes and is made of a high-density glass fabric PCB. It also features ASRock’s full spike protection that protects from sudden surges, lightning, and electrostatic discharges (ESD).
The network connection isn’t controlled by the average low-performance controller either and we find an Intel PHY i219LM controller on this motherboard. The Gigabit Ethernet controller supports Wake-On-LAN, supports 802.3az energy efficient ethernet and PXE. The Ethernet controller is one of the parts that is protected by the Full Spike Protection. The second part with protection is the USB. The ASRock E35 WS features two USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel and you can connect another four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports via headers. All of these are protected by the ASRock Full Spike Protection. The audio is also protected by this and we find a 7.1 channel HD Audio controller, the Realtek ALC892. It features Blu-ray audio support and uses ELNA solid audio capacitors. Last but not least, you also find legacy PS2 connectors for both your mouse and keyboard.
Internally we find good expansion options too. Since we are dealing with an Intel-based motherboard, we also get IRST for RAID setups across the six SATA3 6 Gb/s connectors. Supported modes include the normal RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 modes.
There are two PCIe Gen3 x16 slots that support both Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards as well as consumer graphics cards. There is also full support for the use of AMD’s CrossfireX technology for multiple graphics card usage. As I mentioned earlier, you can make a great workstation with this motherboard. There are three more PCIe Gen3 x1 slots available for further expansion and neither of them will be blocked by the use of two-slot graphics cards. Even with a CrossfireX setup, you’ll still have access to the three x1 slots.
Quality hardware and components are just one side of the story, we also need a good BIOS and proper software to have the best experinece. The E3V5 WS comes with both of those features too. The UEFI BIOS has the easy EZ mode dashboard besides the advanced setup pages, which contains multiple readings of the system’s current status. You can check the most crucial information of your system, such as CPU speed, DRAM frequency, SATA information, fan speed, etc.
Even better, you can reach the tech support purely from the systems BIOS, as long as the system has an internet connection. You can also install LAN drivers onto your windows installation directly from the BIOS.
The ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) technology allows you to establish an internet curfew or restrict internet access at specified times for your kids. Stay in control of their surfing times without yelling. This probably isn’t the most used function in a workstation system, but it could be used to shut down any connection attempts outside of office hours. Another useful feature is the USB Key function that can replace the password question when you log into windows. Do it by plugging a USB drive in instead.
The well-known ASRock XFast RAM and XFast LAN are also built into this motherboard. The XFast RAM feature allows you to fully utilize the memory space that otherwise can’t be accessed in 32-bit systems, among others. XFast LAN is a quality of service protocol that prioritizes the important traffic so you don’t have to wait for loading times. ASRock Live Update and APP Shop also help to make the maintenance easier.
The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.
Intel has resigned the higher core count processors for the professional X99 platform and doesn’t look like changing this business strategy in the near future. As a result, users with hefty requirements might need a 6-core or even an 8-core CPU for complex rendering work, or perhaps huge video editing workloads. The current flagship is the Intel Core i7-5960X which utilizes 8-cores and 16-threads. Apparently this behemoth will be replaced sometime this year with a 10-core, 20-thread 6950X processor. The new range codenamed Broadwell-E is going to be an alluring prospect for extreme users wanting the absolute best performance. Theoretically, these CPUs should work on 2011v3 motherboards providing the manufacturer offers a suitable BIOS
Today, MSI revealed that they have already taken this into consideration and released BIOS updates for their entire X99 range. Here you can see the list of supported models:
X99S MPOWER (E7885IMS.M80)
X99A SLI Krait Edition (E7885IMS.N50)
X99S SLI Krait Edition (E7885IMS.N50)
X99A RAIDER (E7885IMS.P20)
X99A RAIDER (E7885IMS.P20)
X99A GAMING 7 (E7885IMS.HC0)
X99S GAMING 7 (E7885IMS.HC0)
X99A SLI PLUS (E7885IMS.1A0)
X99S SLI PLUS (E7885IMS.1A0)
X99A MPOWER (E7885IMS.M80)
X99A GODLIKE GAMING (E7883IMS.130)
X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON (E7883IMS.210)
X99A GAMING 9 ACK (E7882IMS.320)
X99S GAMING 9 ACK (E7882IMS.260)
X99S GAMING 9 AC (E7882IMS.190)
X99A XPOWER AC (E7881IMS.A30)
X99S XPOWER AC (E7881IMS.190)
This is great news for existing owners of X99 MSI motherboards who intend to upgrade to a Broadwell-E CPU upon release. I have to commend MSI for updating the BIOS way in advance (perhaps), to ensure everything is fully operational when you purchase a Broadwell-E processor. If you have any intentions of upgrading, simply navigate to the specific model number’s support page and download the latest BIOS version. Other manufacturers should follow suit very soon but it’s great to see MSI taking such a proactive approach.
The move to developing chips with an ever-increasing number of cores allows them to cater to the needs of cloud and mobile service providers, whose servers make full use of multiple cores and processing threads to allow more video and applications to be streamed from a single server simultaneously. The chips also provide benefits in workstation usage. When combined with a powerful graphics processor, it will be able to assist in the development of cutting-edge, high-quality experiences such as virtual reality applications and 4K video editing.
The Xeon E5-2600 v4 lineup includes 27 different chips, all based on the new Broadwell microarchitecture. Broadwell offers a number of improvements which allows these new chips to offer as much as a 5% increase in speed over previous generation Haswell architecture chips. According to tests run by Dell using SAP benchmarks on a Linux OS, the new chips were observed to be as much as 28% faster than their predecessors. The main issue with chips packing so many cores is cooling as a result, the frequency of the top-line 22-core Xeon E5-2699 v4 has had to be set to 2.2 GHz, where it still draws 145 watts of power.
Of course, these chips aren’t for the average consumer, with the prices for these new chips peaking at $4,115 for the 22 core model. For their largest customers, Intel is even willing to deliver customized versions of these new Xeons, which we can be sure will hold an even heftier price tag.
QNAP’s newest server, the TDS-16489U, is an amazing one that sets itself apart from the rest in so many ways. I want one so badly even though I have absolutely no need for this kind of power. This must be how a normal person feels when they see a Bugatti Veyron. But let us get back to the new QNAP dual server.
The TDS-16489U is a powerful dual server that’s both an application server and storage server baked into on chassis for simplicity and effectiveness. It is powered by two Intel Xeon E5 processors with 4, 6, or 8 cores each while supporting up to 1TB DDR4 2133 MHz memory with its 16 DIMM slots. These are already some impressive specs, but this is just where the fun begins.
The dual server has 16 front-accessible drive bays for 3.5-inch storage drives as well four rear-facing 2.5-inch drive bays for SSD cache. Should this not be enough, then you can expand that further by use of NVMe based PCI-Express SSDs too. The system has three SAS 12 Gb/s controllers built-in to couple it all together.
There are just as many connection options as there are storage options in the TDS-16489U. It comes with two normal Gigabit Ethernet ports as well as four SFP+ 10Gbps ports powered by an Intel XL710. Should that not be enough, then you can use the PCI-Express slots to expand with further NICs of your choice. The system supports the use of 40 Gbps cards too. It also comes with a dedicated IPMI connection besides the normal networking. The PCI-Express x16 Gen.3 slots can also be used with AMD R7 or R9 graphics cards for GPU passthrough to virtualization applications. A true one-device solution for applications, storage, and virtualization.
The TDS-16489U combines outstanding virtualization and storage technologies as an all-around dual server. With Virtualization Station and Container Station, computation and data from the guest OS and apps can be directly stored on the TDS-16489U through the internal 12Gb/s SAS interface. Coupled with Double-Take Availability to provide comprehensive high availability and disaster recovery, backup virtual machines can support failover for the primary systems on the TDS-16489U whenever needed to enable data protection and continuous services. QNAP Virtualization Station is a virtualization platform based on KVM (Kernel Virtual Machine) infrastructure. By sharing the Linux kernel, GPU passthrough, virtual switches, VM import/export, snapshot, backup & restoration, SSD cache acceleration and tiered storage.
“Software frameworks for Big Data management and analysis like Apache Hadoop or Apache Spark can be easily operated on the TDS-16489U using virtual machines or containerized apps, and with Qtier Technology for Auto Tiering the TDS-16489U empowers Big Data computing and provides efficient storage in one box to help businesses gain further insights, opportunities and values,” said David Tsao, Product Manager of QNAP.
With all the above, we shouldn’t forget that it still also runs QNAP’s QTS 4.2 operating system that provides everything you know and love from that. Included is the comprehensive virtualization applications that we’ve also seen on our consumer models, but this is where you truly can take advantage of what QNAP created and run multiple Windows, Linux, Unix, and Android-based virtual machines on your NAS. All the backup solutions and failover, from local to other NAS or the cloud. You can do it all. Share files to basically any device anywhere is made as easy as possible.
Should you still not have enough storage in this impressive unit, then you can expand with up to 8 of the QNAP enclosures and reach a seriously impressive 1152 TB raw storage capacity controlled by this single 3U server unit. The CPU power, dual system capabilities, virtualization options and impressive storage option will let you deploy an impressive system with a very tiny size and total cost of ownership compared to traditional setups.
16-bay, 3U rackmount unit
2 x Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 Family processor (with 4-core, 6-core and 8-core configurations)
64GB~1TB DDR4 2133MHz RDIMM/LRDIMM RAM (16 DIMM)
4 x SFP+ 10GbE ports
hot-swappable 16 x 3.5″ SAS (12Gbps/6Gbps)/SATA (6Gbps/3Gbps) HDD or 2.5″ SAS/SATA SSD, and 4 x
2.5″ SAS (12Gbps) SSD or SAS/SATA (6Gbps/3Gbps) SSD;
Thecus announced the launch of two new enterprise-grade NAS with 12 and 16 bays and packed with plenty of features and connectivity while running on Haswell Xeon processors. The new N12580 and N16850 offer massive scalability on top of their cross-platform file sharing, schedulable snapshots, and resilient data integrity for a working environment that won’t let your enterprise down.
The two new servers come equipped with the Intel’s Haswell Xeon E3-1231 v3 3.4GHz processor and the C224 chipset. They are equipped with 16GB DDR3 ECC RAM but support up to 32GB each. Four RJ45 LAN ports allow for plenty of connectivity and the units come with plenty of USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports too. Inside the NAS’, you’ll find an 8-lane (x1) or 4-lane (x2) and 1-lane (x1) PCI-E slot for further expansions. All that coupled together should make the N12850 and N16850 deliver lightning fast, persistent throughput speeds while offering the requirements necessary to efficiently complete CPU-consuming tasks and serves more concurrent tasks at the same time.
“Businesses today are seeking a NAS system that can best handle the demanding day-to-day high storage needs that occur in the workplace. Our new enterprise-class N12850 and N16850 NAS series are the solution. With advanced data protection and integrity mechanisms, these rackmounts NAS provide the ideal choice for storing a business’s crucial data.” said Florence Shih, CEO of Thecus Technology Corp.
With native support for both SAS and SATA drives, users can experience the superior storage performance of 12G SAS and 6G SATA drives for a flexible storage environment. These new models are 10GbE ready and support High Availability for system redundancy. The units also deploy Daisy Chaining via SAS technology which offers connections to four additional D16000 units, allowing users to reach storage capacities of up to 640TB. Impressive.
These new units also come with some new features which include Virtualization, Volume encryption, Free Intel Security, Thecus App Center and User Profiles. This new enterprise series delivers significant improvements in design, performance, and user experience.
Intel Haswell XEON processor
16GB DDR3 ECC RAM
AES-NI hardware encryption engine
Redundant power supply
4 x USB 2.0 ports, USB 2 x 3.0 ports
1 x VGA port
6G SATA and SAS 12G compatibility
Hot-swappable hard drives
RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, 60 and JBOD
The new Thecus N16850 and N12850 servers are expected to begin shipping globally in April, so that will be very soon and the wait won’t be long.
GIGABYTE launched a complete new series of High-End Desktop (HEDT) motherboards with the new X170 and X150 series motherboards that are based on Intel’s C236 and C232 chipsets and with support for Intel’s Xeon E3-1200 v5 processors as well as ECC memory. Besides the Xeon compatibility, you can also use 6th generation Core, Pentium, and Celeron processors in these new boards.
The Xeon CPUs come with quite a bit more power than the ordinary desktop CPUs and they are perfect for photographers, designers, and video editors where the software can take a real advantage of the underlying architecture. GIGABYTE is so sure of these products that Henry Kao, the Vice President of GIGABYTE’s motherboard business commented it as “the best HEDT experience” [sic]. The new Intel generation brings some great improvements. Not only are the new Skylake based Xeon’s built on the 14nm technology, the new C230 series chipsets bring along support for faster, better, and more memory. The boards support up to 64GB DDR4 memory with 2133MHz compared to the max of 32GB at 1866MHz on the previous generation. There are also the added bonuses of improved manageability, increased I/O bandwidth, and enhanced processor graphics to name a few.
In the new GIGABYTE series are boards with ECC support and some without, depending on what you need. The X170-Extreme ECC, X150-PRO ECC, and X150M-PRO ECC boards all support it and it can be a useful feature as it can eliminate small data discrepancies and prevent data corruption to ensure reliability for critical applications while also helping to reduce system crashes. Another thing that can help your productivity a lot is how GIGABYTE designed the motherboard. The first PCIe lane on these motherboards is a direct x16 Gen.3 lane to the processor that offers 128Gb/s unrestricted bandwidth to your graphics card.
The new boards also come with all other modern features such as USB 3.1, M.2, and PCI-Express connections. U.2 drives can also be used through an M.2 adapter to give you the fastest possible storage solutions available. On the flagship X170-Extreme ECC motherboard, you’ll also find the Killer E2400 Gigabit Ethernet Controller which is classified as the world’s most advanced networking detection and prioritization technology for consumer and enthusiast users. The adapter delivers industry-leading latency performance, offering more powerful network control, improved latency, reduced jitter and virtually eliminates video freezes so users can play, watch and stream games all at the same time. At least on the paper.
At the time of writing, not all product pages have gone online yet, so we can’t provide details on all of the boards. The X170-Extreme ECC and X150-PRO ECC are still missing. The X150-Plus WS, X150M-Plus WS, and X150M-PRO ECC are online and you can find the highlights for those below.
Supports the Intel® Xeon® E3-1200 v5 processor and 6th Gen. Intel® Core i3/ Pentium®/ Celeron® Processor
Dual Channel DDR4, 4 DIMMs
2-Way Graphics with Premium PCIe Lane
PCIe Gen3 x4 M.2 Connector with up to 32Gb/s Data Transfer (PCIe & SATA SSD support)
SATA Express Connector for up to 16Gb/s Data Transfer
8-channel HD Audio with High-Quality Audio Capacitors
Audio Noise Guard with LED Trace Path Lighting
Intel® GbE LAN with cFosSpeed Internet Accelerator Software
APP Center Including EasyTune and Cloud Station Utilities
Even as the process nodes continue to decrease year after year, it seems like clock speeds only keep going up. When Intel launched Devil’s Canyon and Skylake, those chips basically had the highest stock frequencies ever shipped by them. An upcoming CPU though may soon top all previous record holders with the highest stock frequency ever. At 5.1Ghz, the reported Xeon E5-2602 V4 will surpass all Intel chips and even AMD’s 9590 which is limited to 5Ghz.
Based off 14nm Broadwell-EP, the 2602 V4 is a surprise given Broadwell hasn’t clocked that well. On the other hand, the 14nm process has been pretty good to overclockers. Being a Xeon, you can sure that the 5.1Ghz speed will be guaranteed and be able to run 24/7. Given the high clock speed, it’s no surprise that the TDP is a whopping 165W. The 2602 V4 is also a quad-core chip with Hyper-Threading, understandable since finding enough cores that can all clock that high. This is backed by 10MB of L3 cache with quad channel DDR4 on LGA 2011-3.
Unfortunately for consumers, the chip is expected to a limited run and only for release to specific enterprise customers. It will likely be used for highly single-threaded workloads that require the high core clocks. Hopefully, there may be some way for consumers to get the chips but given the strict binning, cost is likely astronomical and supply severely limited.
Intel launched the very impressive Intel Xeon D-1500 System on Chip (SoC) last year and now GIGABYTE is ready with four new server boards based on this tiny wonder chip. The Xeon D-1500 family is a series aimed at low power and high-density server applications and it great at that as we’ve seen in our review section.
While I said that there are four new motherboards in this line-up, that’s both true and false at the same time. A better way to say it would probably be that there are two new motherboards that each come in two versions. The difference between the two versions is the SoC that has been used. Two of the motherboards use an Intel Xeon D-1521 processor while the other two use the faster Intel Xeon D-1541 processors. The motherboards are identical on all the other parts than the SoC.
The MB10-DS4 and MB10-DS3 server motherboards come with four cores/eight threads and eight cores/sixteen threads respectively from the SoC and are equally well packed on connectivity. Despite the small mITX form factor, these motherboards still pack dual 10GbE SFP+ LAN ports as well as dual 1GbE LAN ports for optimal connectivity. There’s also a dedicated IPMI 2.0 remote management port with iKVM support. With four DIMM slots, these motherboards can take up to 128GB ECC DDR4 memory and run it at 2133MHz.
Being server motherboards, these come with a rear IO ID button as well as a power button and LEDs for quick diagnostics. There’s also a D-Sub VGA port and two USB 3.0 ports. You can connect two more USB 3.0 ports via the onboard header, but we don’t find any USB 2.0 at all. There are six SATA ports for your drives and you also get a single PCI Express x16 Gen3 slot on the motherboard. The integrated display option is powered by the well-known Aspeed AST2400.
We find the same setup as on the above motherboards when we look at the MB10-DS1 and MB10-DS0 server motherboards, except for one difference. These motherboards don’t have the two 10GbE LAN ports that the above two come with. The faster network connection is something that will increase the price slightly per system which in return quickly runs up when a lot of systems have to be deployed. If you don’t need it, then don’t pay for it and get the versions without. It’s great to see so many options for what’s basically one motherboard with a few changes each time.
CES 2016: Intel’s Xeon CPUs have a reputation for being extremely expensive and designed for the most demanding professional workloads. However, since the release of Skylake, Intel has outlined their plans to bring the Xeon name back to affordable consumer-grade motherboards. In theory, consumers can purchase the E3 1230 v5 CPU which offers the same core/thread count and L3 cache compared to the i7-6700. The only real downsize is a slight 0.2GHz turbo deficit, 20W higher TDP and lack of onboard graphics. Although this isn’t an issue as most high end users will be using a discrete GPU.
After speaking at length with Gigabyte about this, it seems they feel the consumer Xeon range provides great value, and could become a popular choice. However, I’m pretty sceptical as marketing the Xeon name as an affordable proposition will be a difficult task. During CES, Gigabyte unveiled the X170 Gaming 3 WS, X170-Gaming 7 WS, X170-Extreme ECC, X150-Plus WS and X150M Plus WM.
As you can see the motherboards adopt a stylish camo design which looks phenomenal and should suit various colour schemes. Rather surprisingly, the majority of these do not have ECC support although this might be revised in time for the official release. These C232/C236 workstation products aren’t as barren as you might expect and include gaming features like an isolated audio PCB section, USB 3.1 Type-C connectivity, 32Gb/s M.2 support 115dB SNR, DualBIOS and more!
This is only a brief overview of the range, and we should be taking a more in-depth look when the motherboards arrive for review purposes.
Altera, the US-based manufacturer of programmable logic devices, has been purchased by Intel in an all-cash deal worth $16.7 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywalled, via Engadget).
“Altera is now part of Intel, and together we will make the next generation of semiconductors not only better but able to do more,” Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, said in a press release. “We will apply Moore’s Law to grow today’s FPGA business, and we’ll invent new products that make amazing experiences of the future possible – experiences like autonomous driving and machine learning.”
The deal, which is the biggest in Intel’s history, will unify Intel’s Xeon processors with Altera’s field programmable gate arrays, which are already in use together by tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, unifying the conjunction under one commercial banner. Intel will begin selling the pair as a bundle to start with, but aims to unify the systems into a single chip in due course.
“As part of Intel, we will create market-leading programmable logic devices that deliver a wider range of capabilities than customers experience today,” Dan McNamara, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Programmable Solutions Group at Intel, and former Altera employee, added. “Combining Altera’s industry-leading FPGA technology and customer support with Intel’s world-class semiconductor manufacturing capabilities will enable customers to create the next generation of electronic systems with unmatched performance and power efficiency.”
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
The release of Intel’s Greenlow platform has been anticipated for a while and now it is finally upon us. Intel announced the official release of the first Xeon E3-1200 V5 Greenlow processors that support the new C236 chipset. The new CPUs are designed for the low-end workstation area more than the microserver area where its predecessors were targeted.
Intel released a total of 11 new Xeon E3-1200 processors and all of them have four cores, no more dual-cores. Most of these new processors have Hyper Threading and it is only three of them that come without. The base clock ranges from 2GHz to 3.7GHz while the turbo clock ranges from 3.0GHz to 4.0GHz. The TDP is 80W on eight of them, one comes with a 45W TDP, and two with a low 25W TDP. Four of the new CPUs also have an HD P530 iGPU. You can check the summary in the chart below or head over to Intel’s ARK for the complete specifications of all the new chips.
The new processors support both ECC and non-ECC DIMMs with a capacity up to 16GB per modules. When it comes to the iGPU, we get a 4K 60Hz capable output with 350MHz base frequency and a maximum shared memory up to 1.7GB. It is fully DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.4 compatible while supporting up to three displays simultaneously. The SATA connection count also got upped a bit over the predecessor, the new processors now support up to 8 SATA3 drives on Greenlow, from the previous 6 on the predecessor chips.
Manufacturers of motherboards are naturally ready for this release, so we can expect a lot of new C230 based motherboards to hit the market very soon.
QNAP announced a new series of NAS devices for businesses that need nothing but the best, the new TVS-ECx80-SAS-RP series. The new NAS units are built around an Intel Xeon E3-1246 v3 quad core 3.5 GHz processor and come with either 16GB DDR3 RAM or 8GB DDR3 ECC RAM.
A great CPU and plenty of memory is just a small part of what makes this new series so great. QNAP releases four units in this series: The TVS-EC2480U-SAS-RP 24 x 3.5-inch 4U, TVS-EC1680U-SAS-RP 16 x 3.5-inch 3U, TVS-EC1280U-SAS-RP: 12 x 3.5-inch 2U, and the TVS-EC1580MU-SAS-RP with 9 x 3.5-inch and 6 x 2.5-inch bays in a 2U rackmount unit. All four units come with 4 x Gigabit LAN port and are 10GbE ready with optional add-in cards via two PCIe expansion slots. They supports 3.5-inch SAS 12Gbps, SAS/SATA 6Gbps hard drives and SSD, or 2.5-inch SAS/SATA SSD. The hard drives are, of course, hot-swappable and the untis also come with built-in 256GB mSATA modules for SSD caching. USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and HDMI ports are also part of each of these units.
All that hardware I’ve just mentioned is able to deliver an impressive performance with up to 3,800+ MB/s throughput and 268,100+ IOPS. If you should run out of space at some point, QNAP has you covered with their REXP-1620U-RP and REXP-1220U-RP RAID expansion enclosures of which you can attach up to eight of. That in return allows you over 1 Petabyte of raw capcity which is managed from a single unit.
Having a lot of data is one thing, you also need to be able to access it in a proper fashion. The TVS-ECx80U-SAS-RP series is an industry-leading unified NAS that supports Auto Tiering to deliver constant optimization of data across high-performance SSD, 12Gbps SAS drives and high-capacity SATA disks.
“QNAP’s Qtier Technology triggers storage auto-tiering for the TVS-ECx80U-SAS-RP series, allowing the right data to be placed in the right disks at the right time according to the access frequency of stored data,” said Alan Lin, product manager of QNAP. “The new NAS series realizes the optimal storage efficiency and boosts performance, making it the best storage solution especially for environments like virtualization that contain dynamically-changing workloads.”
There isn’t much that you can’t achieve with this new series, may it be your own cloud system or something completely different. You get all the usual features of a NAS unit of this caliber including QNAP’s great Qsirch for efficient searching of data in that giant storage pool.
The new TVS-ECx80U-SAS-RP QNAP NAS models and REXP-x20U-RP RAID expansion enclosures are now available and come with up to 5-years warranty where the first three years are default and included.
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.
While higher powered CPUs finding homes in mobile laptops is nothing new, Intel looks to be expanding their professional offerings. In the past, those looking for top tier CPU performance were stuck with Intel’s i7 lineup, which while offering great performance, did not support a number of workstation and professional features. These features were confined to the desktop Xeon lineup of E3, E5 and E7s. Yesterday, Intel announced they will start offering mobile Xeon E3s from the E3-1500M v5 family, bringing professional support to the mobile workstation.
Like most Xeons, the E3-1500M v5 supports ‘professional’ features like ECC (Error Correcting-Code memory) and Intel vPro enterprise features. Intel also stated that each Xeon enabled laptop will also featureThunderbolt 3. We don’t know yet if this will be enabled on the PCH chipset or OEMs will have to bundle a Thunderbolt controller chip. Thunderbolt 3 also means support for USB C, which makes these laptops likely some of the earliest ones to get the new connector.
With i7s long being used in high-end mobile workstations, these Xeons will probably get snapped up by firms wanting vPro support and professionals running workloads requiring ECC. As CPU performance has stagnated, it won’t be surprising if these Xeons be within spitting distance of stock desktop i7s. Given that some firms have already offered desktop i7s and even 12 core Xeons in workstation laptops, Intel officially getting into the game shouldn’t be surprising. No word has been given about clock speeds, release date or core count, but I doubt Intel plans to be exceeding 4 Skylake cores for now; you can find the Intel announcement here.
In a paper to the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer), AMD has revealed the existence of their Exascale Heterogeneous Processor or EHP. Pretty much a massive APU, the EHP will combine a massive 32 Zen cores with a Greenland graphics portion and up to 32GB of HBM2, all on top of a 2.5D interposer. Unlike the Fiji GPUs, the EHP will also be connected to more NVRAM (Non-Volatile RAM) with the HBM acting more like a fast cache.
At this point, it is difficult to determine if this massive EHP would actually become a product or not due to the huge complexity of the chip. At 32 CPU cores along with what appears to a be a massive GPU portion for the APU itself, that chip would push the very limits of what is possible. The largest announced Zen CPU is a 16 core variant though higher core counts might be made for the enterprise segment. However, the enterprise segment has generally used separate GPUs when needed. I suppose this is where HSA comes in, with GPU cores being turned to general processing tasks.
As expected, given the complexity of the EHP, a silicon interposer is used to link the HBM modules to the APU. A chip that integrated everything would likely be beyond our current technical ability. It’s interesting that AMD has decided to still fuse the massive CPU and GPU together as a silicon interposer could let the CPU and GPU dies be made separately and still communicate with each other almost as if they were on the same chip, though that could impact HSA.
If this EHP does come to fruition, AMD is likely hoping the combination of HBM, HSA, 16nm and Zen will allow them to take a stab back at the much more lucrative enterprise segment. The EHP may be just the answer AMD needs to combat Intel’s Xeon and Xeon Phi as well as Nvidia Tesla’s; it will be interesting to see how the market will react to these massive EHPs and HSA.
Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information
ASUS showed off their new X99M-WS motherboard back at Computex in June and then there was a bit silence on that regards while users patiently await its release. That time should now be upon us as it’s being reported that ASUS formally launched this new Micro-ATX motherboard with LGA2011v3 socket and Intel X99 Express chipset.
This could very well be the most feature rich motherboard in this category, with this chipset and this form factor. With support for Core i7 “Haswell-E” processors and certain Xeon E5 v3 models and four DIMM slots for up to 64GB quad-channel memory, this board starts out great. Additionally you’ll get three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x16/x8 or x8/x8/x8) as well one PCIe x1 slot for expansion cards of your choice.
Storage doesn’t come short either with eight SATA3 ports and one 32Gbps M.2 slot. On top of that you could use the PCIe slots for even more storage, may it be by RAID and storage controllers or PCIe storage drives. You also get a full coverage on connectivity with dual Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11ac Wireless LAN.
You’ll also find the latest generation of USB ports where this board features two Type-A USB 3.1 ports on top of the six USB 3.0 and several USB 2.0 ports. There’s also a proper onboard sound solution thanks to the 8-channel ASUS CrystalSound 2.
Thank You TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
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.
The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers homepage and are as such subject to change in possible future revisions.
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.
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.
We finally see Intel getting it right and structuring their naming convention and numbers to actually make sense when it comes to Intel Graphics in its latest Intel Skylake chips. A recent driver leak revealed what the company has planned and how you should choose Intel’s graphics.
Before we get into that, lets see where Intel went into the wrong direction. 2010’s Westmere chips saw the first entry-level HD Graphics, followed by Sandy Bridge’s HD 2000/3000. So far, the numbering system clearly displayed their performance through the latter numbering system.
Intel’s HD Graphics took a turn in 2012 with the Ivy Bridge and HD 2500/4000. From here, Haswell and Broadwell HD Graphics’ numbering system went as a ‘messy’ waterfall, having higher HD Graphics number models with a mixture of frequencies and execution units, sometimes even lower than HD Graphics with a lower numbering system. It was hard distinguishing which is which and what is better that the other without a deep search of the CPU and the graphics it boasted.
Luckily, the leaked Skylake drivers give us some hope and show that Intel is finally tidying its graphics naming conventions, having the company reducing it to a letter followed by three digits as show in the pic below.
According to a blog post from MyDrivers, the HD Graphics will remain the base graphics models, which can be found on the Celeron and Pentium CPUs. The HD 510/515/520/530/535/540 will represent the common multimedia-oriented graphical solutions found on the Core iX models. They will come with various frequencies, so be sure to check the CPU out before you buy it.
The Iris 550 is said to be the higher-level solution found in high-end smartphones, while the Iris Pro 570/580 are found in the top-of-the-line K Desktop models and smartphone models. They are rumoured to boast an embedded catch of 64 MB or 128 MB, depending on the CPU model. Finally, we have the HD P530 and Iris Pro P580, which can be found on the Xeon E3 product line and corresponding desktop version.
Computex 2015 – Thecus makes some amazing NAS units and we’ve also stopped by their booth at Computex to check out what news they might have in the bags.
On display is everything from high-end enterprise rack-servers such as the N16850, W16000, and N8880U-G units as well as the newest bay-trail based Windows Storage NAS.
The N16850 packs quite the punch, starting with the Intel Haswell Xeon E-3 CPU running at 3.1GHZ. It also comes packed with 8GB ECC RAM and is upgradeable up to 32GB.
Redundant power supply with 80 Plus certification, plenty of network connections and PCIe expansion slots are all available in this amazing NAS unit.
Thecus also brought along the N7770-G and N880U-G units that differentiate between being tower and rack units. They are powered by an Intel Core i3 CPU, come with 43GB ECC memory and support Real-time remote replications as well as 7 modes of Link Aggregation. Thecus also added 10Gb Ethernet to these units as well as bundled them with Acronis True Image and Intel Security.
Last but not least, Thecus also showcased what on the first glance looks like N4310 that we reviewed not long ago. But it is in fact a brand new unit that just uses the same type of enclosure. The W4100 is a Bay-Trail based unit running Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Essentials.
Intel have introduced another new product family, the Xeon processor E3-1200 v4. This chip is aimed at data centres and servers that are heavy on graphics. This announcement came at today’s Computex 2015 event.
The internet as it is today is very graphical. Visual content is all around us and there will be no getting away from it. This demand is changing the workloads of data centres, with growing need to deliver video content and 3D applications to end devices.
This is where the new Xeon processor E3-1200 v4 comes into the picture. It has up to 1.8 times the overall graphics performance and 1.4 times more video trans-coding.
At the time of writing this, the E3-1200 v4 comes in 5 flavours, ranging from 1.8GHz to 3.5GHz. All of which are bases on 14 nm transistor technology of the Broadwell micro-architecture and performance optimised for graphics intensive workloads.
These new chips harness the power of Intel Iris Pro graphics P6300 which is also seen in many Broadwell based intel chips for laptops and it competes very well against Nvidia dedicated laptop GPU’s. The inclusion of this enables the better handling of graphical content and demand for remote workstation applications. Intel Graphics Virtualization Technologies (Intel GVT) enables dedicated or shared access to the Iris Pro.
No mention of price yet, but if they are reasonable I would bet there will be a few people investing for their home PC’s.
We’ve seen and heard a lot about Intel’s mobile and desktop processors lately, but we shouldn’t forget that Intel also creates some of the best server processors in the world. They have just released the latest version of these monsters that come with up to 18 cores and 36 threads, 45MB cache and support for up to 12TB RAM in an eight-socket system.
The new Xeon E7 v3 processors move from the Sandy Bridge architecture to the Haswell but maintains the 22nm manufacturing process for now. We’ll have to wait a little longer for the 14nm versions and while these new chips already impress us, the future process could help with the current power consumption and 165W TDP rating. They are still the best performance per dollar for any business that needs this kind of power.
The new processor family already set 20 new performance world records across a broad range of mission-critical applications where it achieves a 40 percent average performance improvement compared to the prior generation. The processors support configurations with up to 32 sockets and comes with the industry’s largest memory capacity per socket as well as support for both DDR3 and DDR4 memory technology.
New security and reliability capabilities include increased cryptographic performance via the latest Intel Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (Intel AES-NI) and Intel Run Sure Technology that is a unique set of reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features for the Intel Xeon processors.
The new Xeon family of processors contains 12 models for various segments including two high-frequency models that are designed for a subset of database applications requiring the fastest cores available. Starting today, the largest system manufacturers will begin announcing systems based on the new Intel Xeon E7 v3 family platform, including Dell, Cisco, HP, Bull, Lenovo, Oracle, Supermicro and many more.
Processors like these aren’t cheap at all and the prices you see below are when purchasing a quantity of 1000, so it’s unlikely that we’ll find many of these in homes around the world in the near future. They’re still some amazing chips and I wouldn’t mind having a couple myself.
Although Boston may at first not be familiar to many, rest assured with a presence in America, UK, Germany and India this is a truly global company. They supply one of the widest variety of business hardware available, from micro servers, blade servers, Quadro workstation and even green and cloud solutions. Today we will be looking at the Boston Venom 3401-7T, which is one of their flagship models of their Venom series, which has been designed for high-performance graphics, parallel processing and high-speed rendering. With this being one of our first enterprise workstation reviews we have a fresh selection of benchmarks which will help us push these high specification systems to their limits. We have a wide range including CPU, GPU, Memory and storage benchmarks which will help us collect some statistics which will help us find the cream of the crop of workstation rigs and at the same time provide our audience with informative concise results.
Although normally in reviews we don’t usually use descriptions that suppliers supply us with, with workstations often being targeted at a particular use or task and I feel that it makes sense for us to include a small description from Boston on what area the Venom is aimed at.
“The Boston Venom 3401-7T is designed to be the ultimate workstation for all design, VFX and digital content professionals. The Venom 3401-7T is a workstation designed by Boston that brings together the often disjointed design and simulation processes into one package; dramatically increasing productivity and allowing engineers, designers and content creators to do more, faster, and with better results.”
So on that note, we have some high expectations going into this review!
Name: Boston Venom 3401-7T
Case: Silverstone Fortress Series Case FT04 – Black
Motherboard: Supermicro X10DAX
Processor: Intel Xeon Processor E5-2687WV3 3.1GHz (Haswell) x 2 with 4% Overclock
The Xeon Phi co-processor has always been a powerhouse, but the latest generation is expected to offer significant gains over the current line-up. With up to 72 cores on a single processor, as well as support for up to 384GB of DDR4 memory, with 36MB of shared L2 cache and up to 16GB of High Bandwidth Memory (HMB), the new Silvermont architecture is certainly showing its worth. For comparison, the current prototype Xeon Phi is capable of up to 32 cores and 128 threads, still significantly short of the upcoming hardware.
Compared to consumer hardware that currently maxes out around 8-cores, with 16 threads, this is obviously a big advancement and while it’s not much use to your average consumer, the extra processing power is great for the scientific and engineering communities, as it’ll allow them to run simulations and calculations much faster in a server environment.
A six-channel DDR4 memory controller, with speeds of 2400MHZ is impressive, although I must admit I wouldn’t like to foot the bill for 384GB of DDR4 to saturate the capabilities of this new hardware. However, with an expected 300% improvement in single-threaded performance, as well as a 300% improvement in efficiency, this kind of hardware could quickly pay for its self.
Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information.