The ASRock Rack 1U4LW-B650/2L2T is perhaps one of the most interesting servers you will see this year. Simply, it allows one to use the AMD Ryzen 7000 series AM5 CPUs in a 1U form factor with built-in server features like a BMC, 10Gbase-T networking, and non-ECC/ ECC DDR5 UDIMM support. At the same time, if you saw our initial Ryzen 7000 series coverage, you may think that it is a good processor series for gaming, but not for servers. We fixed that. After using this server, all I can say is, we will be using this platform.
There have been a few products I have been so excited for, but once I saw the power and performance numbers from the server come back, I had to film the video at 4:45AM before coffee just to contain myself.
As always, we suggest opening this video in its own browser, tab, or window for the best viewing experience.
We are going to do something different with this review and start with our internal hardware overview. Page 2 is the external overview. Page 3 will be the topology, management, and performance. Then on the final page, we will have power consumption and more. This is a bit different, but I wanted to surface a key insight on Page 1.
ASRock Rack 1U4LW-B650/2L2T Internal Hardware Overview
Here is a look at the server to help folks orient themselves.
Behind the drive backplane, we have a set of five fans. They are not easily hot-swappable since they are cabled, but that is very common on 1U servers just due to size and cost constraints. From the system photos, you may notice that there are spaces for up to eight fans, but some of them would be hard to use given the cabling.
Inside the server, we have the ASRock Rack B650D4U-2L2T/BCM motherboard.
The big feature of this motherboard is the Socket AM5 (LGA1718 ) for the AMD Ryzen 7000 series of processors.
While we have been testing the server, TDP specs have changed a bit. We wanted to, however, offer this guidance:
- There is probably a “cool” way to run this using something like an AMD Ryzen 9 7950X.
- The game-changer way to run this server is using the AMD Ryzen 9 7900, a 65W TDP part.
While one loses some top-end performance, we were stress testing this system at 45-47C load temperatures with the Ryzen 9 7900. The gaming-focused “X” parts are using a lot more power to hit higher clock speeds for gaming. The 65W TDP parts still hit very high clock speeds, but at under 100W of package power maximum. We tried a number of different CPUs, and to us, the Ryzen 9 7900 was just spectacular on this platform. We normally do not give CPU guidance, but this was a fairly eye-opening one.
The other major feature is memory support. One can use consumer non-ECC DDR5 UDIMMs (so long as they fit in the 1U server.) The bigger feature is that these can also use ECC DDR5 UDIMMs, as we have here. We have heard that people that have bit flippers to introduce memory errors are seeing those errors logged in this platform.
To us, this is the game-changing combination, the 65W TDP AMD Ryzen 9 7900 and the ECC UDIMM.
Our readers may have noticed the ECC UDIMM is a Micron one. We purchased the ECC UDIMM for this project, but we were also doing the Micron DDR5 ECC RDIMM piece, so this is the same memory we used to show the big differences between RDIMM and UDIMM ECC memory in the DDR5 era.
Aside from the CPU and memory, we also get a few expansion slots. The PCIe Gen5 x16 slot is at the intersection of the Broadcom 10GbE chip/ heatsink and the AMD B650 chip/ heatsink. This is the slot used to service the riser making the spec on the riser slot only Gen4 x16. There is also a PCIe Gen4 x1 slot that is not used in this system. The M.2 slot is a PCIe Gen5 x4 slot but it only supports M.2 2280 and 2242 not 110mm 22110 because of the B650 chipset heatsink.
The x4 slot is effectively not used in this system. It is a PCIe Gen5 x4 slot, but we wish that ASRock had a riser to add a M.2 drive support or something to that slot to make it useful.
Overall, this is a system much like we saw in our ASRock Rack X570D4U-2L2T review, just with several updated features for the new generation that combine to make a big difference.
Now, let us get to the server’s external overview.