ASRock Rack ROMED8-2T Review an ATX AMD EPYC Platform

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ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T PCIe Slots Angled
ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T PCIe Slots Angled

Our ASRock Rack ROMED8-2T review is one we have been excited about for some time. A key feature with the AMD EPYC 7002 Series codenamed “Rome” is that it exposes a large number of PCIe lanes even in a single-socket configuration. There are some practical constraints to putting a full AMD EPYC 7002 single-socket platform on an ATX form factor motherboard so many examples we have seen to date make major trade-offs. With the ASRock Rack ROMED8-2T, one effectively gets everything the CPU has to offer except in 1 DIMM per channel memory mode. Let us get into the review.

ASRock Rack ROMED8-2T Overview

Looking at the ASRock Rack ROMED8-2T we can see an absolutely packed ATX form factor motherboard. While this is a standard ATX form factor, there are a few small concessions made to stay compact. A great example of this is that the middle screw mounting point on the top edge of the motherboard is replaced by a pad on the backside in order to make room for the DIMM slots.

ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T Overview
ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T Overview

There are a total of 8x DDR4 DIMM slots which support RDIMMs, LRDIMMs, and even NVDIMMs (check the HCL.) At the upper end of the spectrum, this means one can have up to 8x 128GB LRDIMMs for 1TB of memory or 8x 256GB LRDIMMs for 2TB of memory. These eight slots each have their own memory channel for full bandwidth. That is a big differentiator over the Threadripper (non-Pro) series. The CPU socket supports AMD EPYC 7002 CPUs up to 225W. One can see that the socket and memory are designed for front to back airflow which is what one typically wants in server chassis.

ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T CPU Socket Memory Airflow
ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T CPU Socket Memory Airflow

Let us get to what is perhaps the most unique feature: PCIe slots. There are seven PCIe Gen4 x16 slots. That means we get 112x PCIe Gen4 lanes exposed in this system. The AMD EPYC 7002 series has a total of 128x PCIe lanes, however, some are used for peripherals such as the 10GbE networking that we are going to discuss later.

ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T Bottom Half Of Motherboard
ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T Bottom Half Of Motherboard

Setting some context here, the 112x PCIe Gen4 lanes have more lanes than a dual Intel Xeon Scalable server. Since they are Gen4, not Gen3, they have more bandwidth than a 4-socket 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Cooper Lake platform. One of the challenges on this system, and while there are not many others like it, is that getting this many single-width PCIe Gen4 x16 cards is relatively difficult. Still, the flexibility this provides is excellent.

ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T M.2 Slots
ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T M.2 Slots

In order to service the remaining motherboard expansion capability, ASRock Rack has a series of switches that allow one to effectively divert PCIe Gen4 lanes from the PCIE2 slot to other formats. An example is that we have dual M.2 slots. One can take up to a M.2 22110 (110mm) NVMe SSD, the other up to a M.2 2280 M.2 SSD. We will note that with a M.2 22110 SSD installed, you may have difficulty accessing the mounting point at the bottom middle of the motherboard.

ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T Oculink
ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T Oculink

The motherboard also has two Oculink and two miniSASHD connectors. If you look at the motherboard, this is perhaps one of the more modern designs without even a single dedicated 7-pin SATA port on board (there is a SATADOM BOM option that is depopulated on our motherboard.) Instead, we get high-density connectors for features such as SATA ports. The Oculink ports can be used for NVMe SSDs such as the Kioxia CM6 we just reviewed.

ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T Storage Edge
ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T Storage Edge

ASRock Rack also did a nice job of using the edges of the motherboard with horizontal connectors to keep cabling tidy. We also wanted to point out that there are a total of 7x 6-pin fan headers along the edge of the motherboard which makes fans easy to wire except if they are rear chassis fans. If you have fans at the rear (or potentially top) of the chassis, you simply need to be mindful of cable lengths and routing.

ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T Rear IO
ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T Rear IO

The giant silver heatsink near the PCIe slots is primarily to cool the Intel X550-AT2 controller which provides this platform with dual 10Gbase-T networking. The Intel X550-AT2 is well supported in most OSes and that is a great choice for this platform. Other ports one will find legacy serial and VGA ports. There is an out-of-band management port. The USB port configuration is slightly different. We have two USB 3 Type-A ports which is fairly standard. We have no USB 2 ports which are largely unnecessary these days, but then we have a USB Type-C port as well. This is one of the first server motherboards we have used with a Type-C port. It is powered by an ASMedia ASM3142 controller and if you look at the motherboard pictures you will see a front panel header from this controller as well.

If you have front panel USB needs, there is a standard USB 3.0 header near the power supply inputs.

ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T Power
ASRock Rack ROMED8 2T Power

The power supply inputs are another interesting aspect to this system. There is a standard 24-pin ATX power connector, an 8-pin CPU power input, and then a 4-pin power input. In this class of system, we usually see two 8-pin CPU power inputs but it is likely that the extra space was needed to put the motherboard mounting hole. That is a great way to show just how packed this motherboard is.

Next, we are going to get into management, followed by our test configuration and performance. If you are looking for the block diagram to tie the above together, check out the last page.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Aesthetics
9.8
Performance
9.5
Feature Set
9.9
Value
9.6
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Patrick has been running STH since 2009 and covers a wide variety of SME, SMB, and SOHO IT topics. Patrick is a consultant 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 server, storage and networking, building blocks. If you have any helpful information please feel free to post on the forums.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Patrick,

    Is the ASRock Rack ROMED6U-2L2T slated for review at some point?

    We have a couple on the way here shortly as Micro-ATX is perfect for a small cluster node application.

    Thanks for the great articles. It’s great to see objectivity like this as it builds trust. 🙂

    Philip

  2. Just started coming to this site regularly since I put a rack in my basement. Really like the content!

    Anyone have power consumption numbers for this board with a low-end EPYC chip? I want something I could load up with RAM, but not something that idles at 100+ watts.

  3. On the AsRockRack website are CPUs with over 225W TDP listed in the supported CPU list. Are they compatible or just with extra airflow over the VRMs? What’s correct?

  4. i would like to know 2 things:

    – case used to house the board ? is it server rack case, used with air shrouder ??

    – how hot get CPUVRM when cpu is fully loaded at all cores ??

  5. I think there is a one small problem – and it’s with the name of this motherboard.

    ASRock Rack has already a motherboard named ROMED8-2T, and it has 4 PCIe 3.0 X16 and 3 PCIe 3.0 X8 and it’s for both ROME and Naples CPU’s (7001 & 7002 series).

    This board has the same name, and it’s a pity that they didn’t change it, so if you plan to buy this board, then MAKE SURE you’ll getting this one and not the older one.

  6. Patrick,

    You mention that this MB only support 1 DIMM per channel, but you don’t have any test which compare memory performance against ‘standard’ server MBs.

    Perhaps you could post an update with a comparison?

  7. hi there,

    thanks for the great review! I bought this board few weeks ago and there is one big trouble currently: neither bios nor ipmi lets me configure fan controls. Talked tomasrock already, they promised new firmware until, well, yesterday. now they told me it is going to be tuesday, we will see. right now all fans run at full speed and dont make use of any thermal management.

    did you guys experience something alike?

    cheers

  8. As the first person in Europe who got this board more than 2 months ago. Have to say I’m not super impressed. The fact they advertise Thunderbolt support and there is a TB header on the notherboard but it does not work at all and I made AsrockRack aware of this months ago and they seem to try and suppress this glaring issue. (I also have TRX40 Creator where they advertised Thunderbolt support but then removed it from website and BIOS (i still have the BIOS that contains a whole optuons page with Thunderbolt options.)

    Have to say I have been very disappointed by Asrock lately, and I used to be a hughe fan.

  9. I don’t see thunderbolt on their site for this or in the review. It’s an AMD platform so i wouldn’t expect it to have TB support. Intel has only certified a very small set of AMD for TB right?

  10. So they also removed it from their website now which reinforces my point. I have the printed manual that came with the motherboard that states TB support and also with all respect I have the motherboard in my hand You don’t. Why would Asrock go through all the trouble and implement a physical header on the motherboard and in the BIOS named Thunderbolt and then try to.erase it from the website?! Time for my EU commisary to investigate.

  11. I always get asrock if possible for any build, and they again show they are on top with their Motherboards, propped full of features pushing the limits of all the form factors. Hope to see the 2p ROME2D16-2T next!

  12. Thanks for the review. When I build my next system it will be with this motherboard. My own AI workstation.

  13. @Mario I am also facing the same problem, that there does not seem to be any fan control in either bios or ipmi…..
    For now plugging them to PSU, but thats one loud box now…

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