ASRock Rack ROMED6U-2L2T Market Perspective
There are probably going to be two types of reactions to the ASRock Rack ROMED6U-2L2T. The first is of those who will look at this platform and think “this is exactly what I want, mATX EPYC.” The second is going to be those who simply think “ATX might let me have 8 DDR4 channels.” Those are both valid ways to view a platform like this.
After spending some time with the platform, personally, I migrated from the second type of reaction to the first, with the specific mATX caveat. A few months ago we did a Building a TrueNAS Core 8-bay mATX ZFS NAS article and video. There we focused on many of the challenges with finding mATX cases and motherboards. Specifically, here we now have a platform that offers a better option than what we could find on the market a year ago. There are more I/O possibilities and more CPU cores opened up which is a big deal for the mATX market.
Having gone through that experience, and documenting options, this may have been the best option if cooling can be sorted out in often cramped mATX chassis. Cooling 225-280W TDP CPUs in many of the mATX desktop chassis can be hard. It can be even harder in some of the short-depth 1U server chassis on the market.
Still, just the sheer amount of flexibility provided by having almost unconstrained I/O in a mATX platform is refreshing. All four PCIe slots are available and using PCIe Gen4 x16 links. Often in mATX there are trade-offs with PCIe slots. The PCIe slots also do not need to be used for features such as SATA HBAs (in many cases) and NVMe storage since that is available on the platform.
Overall, this is going to be one of the platforms that our STH readers will appreciate. ASRock Rack has made the most out of building an AMD EPYC mATX platform. Many that purchase this motherboard will not use all of the I/O, but at the same time, it is nice to have the options and not make trade-offs.
In terms of pricing, as of the date this article is published we are seeing prices in the $485- $600 range in the US for street pricing which is a fairly wide variance. With the onboard 10Gbase-T, a PCB supporting PCIe Gen4, and the lower-volume nature of the motherboard it seems about right in terms of a pricing range.
Reviewing so many server platforms each year, there are few that I feel are relatively “wild” and the ASRock Rack ROMED6U-2L2T may just be one of them. This platform is packed with I/O to the point that an ATX 24-pin power connector and two DIMM slots could not be fit, but there is still a SATA power output onboard. While we cannot say this is the perfect motherboard for everyone, but it absolutely has a lot to offer if you are looking to fit more into an mATX server.