ASUS releasing Intel Avoton C2750 and C2550 motherboards

9
Posted May 21, 2014 by Patrick Kennedy in News
ASUS P9A-I/C2750/SAS/4L

Alerted by one of STH’s awesome readers, it seems as though ASUS is now offering at least three Intel Avoton motherboards based on the Intel Atom C2550 and C2750 SoCs. ASUS is taking a somewhat interesting approach by offering additional hard drive or SSD connectivity but also adding a M.2 SSD slot. All four of the new ASUS offerings will utilize the Avoton’s onboard Intel i354 controller and Marvell PHY. This combination is now supported out of the box with the most recent Ubuntu and CentOS versions among others. All three motherboards are based on a 6.7″ x 6.7″ mini-ITX form factor.

Low Cost Entry Motherboard – ASUS  P9A-I/C2550/4L

In what is likely to be the least expensive of the trio of new motherboards, the P9A-I/C2550/4L combines quad gigabit LAN with an M.2 SSD slot (which disables one of two SATA III slots if used), Intel Atom C2550 SoC, and two full sized DDR3 DIMMs. There also appears to be a PCIe 2.0 x4 electrical slot with a x8 PCIe connector.

ASUS P9A-I/C2550/4L Rear IO

ASUS P9A-I/C2550/4L Rear IO

Low Cost Storage Platform – ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L

ASUS here takes the value model above and adds dual Marvell 88SE9485 controllers sporting four SFF-8087 Mini-SAS connectors. Combined with the two onboard ports (or one SATA 6.0gbps port plus one M.2) for a total of 18 drives that can be connected to this platform.

ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L

ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L

Higher-end Storage Platform – ASUS P9A-I/C2750/SAS/4L

Essentially this platform is very similar to the ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L. One gets the dual Marvell 88SE9485 controllers but ASUS changes the SoC from a quad core Intel Atom C2550 to an eight core Intel Atom C2750, effectively doubling multi-threaded performance.

ASUS P9A-I/C2750/SAS/4L

ASUS P9A-I/C2750/SAS/4L

Overall this is a great development as the market is certainly heating up. These Intel Avoton processors have significantly better performance than previous generations of parts and with at least four major manufacturers supporting barebones platforms now (excluding solutions like the HP Moonshot cartridge), this is great for potential consumers.


About the Author

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick has been running ServeTheHome since 2009 and covers a wide variety of home and small business IT topics. For his day job, Patrick is a management consultant focused in the technology industry and has worked with numerous large hardware and storage vendors in the Silicon Valley. The goal of STH is simply to help users find some information about basic server building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

9 Comments


  1.  
    Kristian

    Can anybody give me a hint on where to buy those? There seems to be no reseller for those boards. Are they available to manufacturers only?




    •  

      I think they are not in channel yet. I did send a note to the ASUS rep seeing if I can get one.




      •  
        Daniel Sheehan

        Any news from the ASUS rep?

        Also I’m hoping you can answer this question. I would like to plug the 2x 10 Gb Intel NIC in the PCI-E slot. The card says it requires 8x PCI 2.1, and while this slot is physically an 8x slot the specs say it is only 4x (or at least that’s how I read them). Will that 2 x 10 Gb Intel NIC work on this motherboard? I’m hoping so because everything else about this board is pretty much exactly what I need.




        •  
          Daniel Sheehan

          I reached out to an ASUS rep and asked about the 2750 board, and this is what I got back:
          ——
          Unfortunately  P9A-I/C2750/SAS/4L is a project based model. This have to be purchased from a distributor and the minimum order quantity is 100 pieces and above. However, I did find you an alternative; Channel model P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L This will be available sometime this week or next week and no MSRP yet. MSRP should be set come July 1st.  
          Here is a different between the 2 models:
           
          C2750 and C2550 refers to CPU model, so the difference is on CPU features
           
          C2550 – 4 core / 4 Threads
          C2750 – 8 core / 8 Threads
          ——

          I’m still not sure if the PCI express slot can handle a dual port 10GB NIC though.




        •  
          Daniel Sheehan

          I had posted this comment earlier but for some reason it’s gone now so I am reposting it.

          I pinged my ASUS POC about the 2750 motherboard and this was the response:

          Unfortunately P9A-I/C2750/SAS/4L is a project based model. This have to be purchased from a distributor and the minimum order quantity is 100 pieces and above. However, I did find you an alternative; Channel model P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L This will be available sometime this week or next week and no MSRP yet. MSRP should be set come July 1st.

          Here is a different between the 2 models:
          C2750 and C2550 refers to CPU model, so the difference is on CPU features

          C2550 – 4 core / 4 Threads
          C2750 – 8 core / 8 Threads

          I’m still not clear if the PCI-Express 8x slot can support an 8x card or if it can only support a 4x card.




          •  
            Kristian

            Thanks for reaching out.
            Not the answer I was hoping for. :-(
            Am I assuming correctly that “project based model” and “has to be purchased from a distributor” mean that its OEM hardware? Or is the “distributor” a company like newegg that will resell the boads?




  2.  
    Monsta_AU

    First listing of these motherboards that I could find – after we pushed them to find out if they could get them, how much they would cost etc, Scorptec in Australia has listed them.

    AUD$699 is fairly expensive in my book, and delivery time of 3-4 weeks but it’s a great start.

    Listing: http://www.scorptec.com.au/product/Motherboards/Server_&_Workstation/55319-P9A-I_C2750_SAS_4L




  3.  

    This just arrived in the lab. Will have a review posted shortly.




  4.  
    Adam Lipstadt

    Patrick, first off, congrats on the wedding. Second, thanks for your continuing work, especially in tracking the Avoton/Rangley boards. Power use is my bane and these are probably my last hope before a complete rearchitecture; on the other hand its made my experimentations interesting to a few friends, ranging from engineers at a few companies I won’t (and wouldn’t have to) name to people doing SMB deploys, finance IT, and web work… but with MIT backgrounds.

    That’s neither sour grapes nor name dropping – I’m glad that what is an unending source of what seems to me to be scut work and frustration is interesting or useful to (usually more) qualified people. It’s probably one of the things that keeps me going. Avoton has drawn real interest from one person doing SMB in particular: it’s a great mid tier (by SMB standards) whitebox option for small offices whose proprietary data crosses the one spindle threshold and going into sticker shock at the jump from a few rotating HDDs to the entry robust and redundant SAN/NAS world, and doesn’t require “crazy” accommodation for power, cooling, noise, etc. for your average non-IT business, moreso in NYC where space is a fortune, buildings (read: wiring) are often old, and every dollar on an electric bill counts.

    In any case, a request: you know of my problems with ASRock Haswell and Brocade 1020s, but while not as severe, my ASRock C2750D4I also has 10GbE problems. Either my throughput is limited to 1GbE speeds (on the 1020, wtf?) with system stuttering or outright (WS2012R2) bluescreen on ancient Neterion when lanbenched with a stable 10GbE source. (Repeated three times consecutively.) My “new” Neteffect Argus cards are apparently defective so I can’t test that, but I’m about to pull my one Mellanox Connectx to give that a go.

    I’m curious if this a throughput/lane saturation problem inherent in the Avoton design, with different failure modes depending on driver, or more of ASRock’s PCIe incompetence. If you could test one or two cards with a saturation test, especially under Windows Server, it would be not just appreciated, but save me more time than you might expect. If you need loaners (I doubt it, but hey, I’m making the request) I have spare Brocades and Neterions.

    In an ideal world, I can get two Avotons, clustered, in separate racks (I managed to stack Dell 5524s at 20+ feet) each serving duplex 10GbE off a SAS expander (cheapy SGI 3016 is fine at 1.2GB/s) with a synced archive… with maybe some CPU headroom for HA/fail over network services like VM DCs. Of course, in an ideal world, Avoton would have Vt-D. I’m always torn between 1220Lv3 and C2750.

    Thanks again for all your work, and have a great wedding.





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