At STH we have the most comprehensive Intel Xeon D platform coverage on the Internet. One of the most highly anticipated motherboards, or motherboard series based on the Intel Xeon D has been the mATX Xeon D platforms from ASRock Rack. Today we have a first look at an ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2T8R which recently arrived in our labs. We originally featured this motherboard in our ASRock Rack Xeon D launch article and got to see one of its siblings in our trip to Taipei where we got to tour the ASRock Rack labs. This is the first Xeon D motherboard we have in our US based labs and needless to say we are excited.
ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2T8R Overview
The ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2T8R is based on the ASRock Rack D1540D4U platform. ASRock has options available with 10Gbase-T networking, SFP+ networking, LSI SAS3008 controllers, and without any of those advanced features. The ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2T8R we are testing is a mATX form factor board has dual 10Gbase-T ports and a LSI / Avago / Broadcom SAS3008 controller onboard.
Using the mATX form factor one gets both a PCIe x16 and x8 slot (both PCIe 3.0 x8 electrical). The platform also has provisions to add storage via 6x SATA ports (D-1540 integrated SATA controller) and 8x ports off the SAS3 12.0gbps controller. There are even two m.2 ports for SATA storage via a Marvell 9172 controller.
That means that even without PCIe add-in cards or SAS expanders one can have a system with dual 10Gbase-T, 8x SATA III/ SAS3 drives, 6x SATA III drives and 2x m.2 SATA drives for up to 16 drives total.
Moving to the 10Gbase-T ports – we did notice that they are using the Intel X540 dual port 10Gbase-T controller, not the onboard Xeon D MAC. The X540 is ubiquitous and still has better support than the Xeon D’s X557 so this is a welcome addition.
We will have a full system review coming shortly but we did want to update the STH community that the boards are coming. We also hear that the next revisions of the platforms will have the updated D-1541 “wave 2” CPUs that were launched in November 2015 and that are starting to become available. I would suspect the updated boards to hit shelves sometime in April 2016 based on what I am hearing. You can check out the small testing thread we have in the forums here for incremental updates. The larger format motherboards are something we are seeing more of with the Xeon D platform as companies cram more functionality into compact platforms. For those looking to see full specs ahead of the review, you can find them here.