ASRock Rack 1U4LW-B650/2L2T External Hardware Overview
The server itself is a 1U rackmount chassis at ~21″ or 533.4mm in depth. While it is not the shortest-depth server, it is designed to fit in even shallow racks often found in low-cost hosting/ colocation.
The front of the chassis has the normal USB ports, power, and reset buttons along with status LEDs, but the biggest feature is the four 3.5″ bays. 3.5″ SATA bays are still popular in this market. The 3.5″ trays are toolless for large hard drives but can use 2.5″ SSDs with screws.
These are hot-swap bays, unlike some servers in this segment that are not hot-swappable due to the backplane just behind the storage.
Just above these 3.5″ bays is a optical drive bay slot. In our system, we had a 2.5″ mounting point in that space for an extra SSD, although we did not have the power and SATA cable routed there. Still, it is possible to use this as another option in the server.
Moving to the rear of the server, this is the single PSU option. ASRock Rack has a redundant PSU variant as well. Our system came with an 80Plus Gold power supply. The spec page says it is supposed to be an 80Plus Platinum PSU, although most 400W PSUs top out at Gold levels. (Update 2023-09-03: ASRock Rack has updated its website after this article was published to say the Gold PSU we reviewed is correct.) We also have a slightly pre-production server as the “preliminary” tag was removed from the server after we had tested and reviewed the unit, but while the video was being edited.
The rear I/O is super interesting. Here we get a serial port and a VGA port. We also get four USB ports and an out-of-band management port. What is different, is we get a DisplayPort and HDMI port, because the new AMD Ryzen 7000 series has an integrated GPU. This was a feature we saw on our recent ASRock Rack W680D4U-2L2T/G5 Motherboard Review for the Intel side as well.
Aside from having two more USB ports, the networking is also a bit different. We have two Intel i210 NICs for 1GbE. Instead of the Intel X710 10Gbase-T ports, here the two 10GbE ports are handled by a Broadcom BCM57416 NetXtreme-E NIC.
On the side of the chassis, there is a lone PCIe Gen4 x16 riser slot, but at least it takes full-height cards.
With a fast slot like this, one can even add things like dual 100GbE networking on a NVIDIA BlueField-2 DPU that also has its own Arm system. Those cards cost about as much as the entire ASRock Rack barebones, but you could.
The maximum power supported here is 75W on the PCIe slot. There is airflow going to the riser. That means aside from NICs, one could also put lower-power GPUs, FPGAs, or even HBA/ RAID controllers.
Clearly the motherboard and CPU are the stars of this system, so let us get to the topology, management, and performance.