ASRock Rack EPC612D4I Xeon E5 Mini-ITX Review
Following the release of the ASRock X99E-ITX, the first X99 Mini-ITX motherboard on the market, ASRock Rack - ASRock's Server division have decided to follow suit and release their own LGA2011-3 Mini-ITX Server board. This is very much the first of its kind in the server market and offers users a very small form factor ITX motherboard with very high levels of compute.
One of the main issues with the X99E-ITX was its 2 x DDR4 DIMM slots. While it was great they managed fit standard length slots on the board it limited you to just two channels and therefore only supported 16GB of total memory, however the EPC612D4I from ASRock Rack moves to SO-DIMM modules and elegantly fits one DIMM per channel within a 17cm x 17cm footprint for quad channel support.
The motherboard uses the narrow ILM socket, very much the norm in the server space, the X99E-ITX also uses same socket layout which caused a few issues for some.. We also get a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot and an integrated server control ASPEED 2400 module for headless running with KVM support and dual Intel gigabit Ethernet. Augmenting the internal storage capabilities is a USB 3.0 header. This is perfect for an embedded VMware ESXi boot device. The rear panel is almost at the thin-mini-ITX standard for z-height. No On-board audio here but again this is standard for server board not to include audio but in this case there simply was not enough room due to space limitation.
Just above the PCIe expansion slot are four white 7-pin SATA connectors. The C612 chipset can support up to 10 but there is limited space on this motherboard and they are squeezed in flanked by two DDR4 SODIMM slots above and the C612 PCH to the left.
One can also see a USB header next to the internal Type-A connector. Next to these are three 4-pin PWM controlled fan headers. Looking at the top of the motherboard we can see standard 24-pin ATX and 8-pin CPU power connectors just on the edge of the motherboard. There is another 4-pin fan header just above the CPU power and next to the two DDR4 SODIMM slots.
- LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
- 4 x SO-DIMM slots, supports quad-channel DDR4 2133/1866 ECC
- 4 x SATA 6Gb/s by C612
- 1 x PCIe 3.0 x16
- Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
- Intel Dual GLAN (Intel i210 + Intel i217)
DDR4 SODIMM Avaliability
So while the DDR4 SODIMM slots are great for 4 channel support, getting hold of some DDR4 SODIMM Modules could be a issue. Currently there are only a few options on the market, some from Crucial and Innodisk. Even then these 2 options are not easy to find. Both Innodisk and Crucial are offering 8GB DDR4 SODIMM modules, giving you the ability to install a max of 32GB. We do expect other vendors to come with 16GB DIMM's soon giving your memory support 64GB. One 8GB DDR4 SODIMM module will currently set you back around £75.00.
Overall, the mITX space is getting much more interesting with the addition of the big Xeon E5 cores coming in this motherboard and Xeon D motherboards. If you are looking for a mITX Xeon E5 server platform with lots of compute, the ASRock Rack EPC612D4I is simply the only option for you today. Using the narrow LGA2011 ILM, and DDR4 SODIMMs the motherboard is even able to include quad channel DDR4 memory in a very compact package. This new form factor for the Xeon E5 plaform is a very interesting one and offers high compute for very small short depth rackmount chassis's. Overall the ASRock Rack EPC612D4I uses its innovative design to bring the Intel Xeon E5 family to extremely compact footprints. ASRock Rack are asking for a price of roughly £190 GBP, so also very good value for money!
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