Today we are looking at the ASRock Rack X570D4I-2T. This board is somewhat of an X570-based successor to the X470D4U and X470D4U2-2T that we previously covered, though the shift to a mini-ITX form factor throws a curveball into that comparison. Similar to the X470 boards before it, ASRock Rack is making a case for Ryzen as a server processor, boasting higher core counts than Intel’s low-end Xeon chips and the unofficial ECC memory support baked into the desktop Ryzen processors. The original X470 boards were innovative, and perhaps a little bit weird, and the X570D4I-2T continues both of those traditions. As a result of the mITX form factor and 3rd gen Ryzen support, we decided to put together a 16 core Ryzen 9 3950X powered X570 server platform.
ASRock Rack X570D4I-2T Overview
The ASRock Rack X570D4I-2T is a mITX motherboard measuring 6.7” x 6.7”. In that form factor, you get the AM4 socket which accepts Ryzen 3000 series CPUs.
The Ryzen CPUs provide dual-channel memory support, and the board has four slots accepting unbuffered ECC DDR4 at speeds up to DDR4-2933. However, since this is a mITX board the memory slots are SODIMM slots rather than full-size DIMMs; while this is not unheard of for mITX server platforms, it is still somewhat unusual. Full-size DIMM slots would be too large for this platform so this decision makes sense.
The X570D4I-2T is built upon the AMD Socket AM4 platform and features the X570 chipset. Normally AM4 sockets support a wide range of CPUs available at different core counts, but this board is a bit different. The X570D4I-2T has a very limited list of CPUs on its official support list; thus far only the original Ryzen 3000 SKUs are supported, ranging from the 4-core APUs to the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X. Noted as absent are the 4-core 3100 and 3300X chips, the newer XT chips, and any of the Renoir 4000 series CPUs. Also excluded from this list are any of the 1000 or 2000 series Ryzen CPUs.
It is possible that some of the other Ryzen CPUs would work even today, and future BIOS revisions might add official support, but we tested a Ryzen 7 2700 and it did not work. Even with the smaller list of compatible 3000 series chips, there is still a wide range of available CPU core counts to drop into this board. Looking to the future, the X570 chipset is slated to receive support from AMD’s future Zen 3 based CPUs as well, which may extend the service life of board.
Thanks to the upgrade to the X570 chipset, this motherboard is capable of PCIe Gen4 speeds. PCIe connectivity is provided in four places; the onboard x16 slot, the M.2 slot operating at x4, and the two OCuLink connectors that can each operate at x4. The x16 and M.2 slots are connected directly to the PCIe lanes on the CPU, while the OCuLink ports connect through the X570 chipset and share an x4 uplink to the CPU. According to the BIOS, the x16 slot also supports bifurcation down to x4/x4/x4/x4, but this is not something we verified.
If SATA storage is more your style, the OCuLink ports also support 4x SATA3 drives each. In our review sample, no OCuLink cables of any kind were included, though retail boards may be different. Interestingly, ASRock Rack has provided a header and included cabling allowing the motherboard to directly power up to 6 SATA drives; this is somewhat similar to how systems built around the ATX12VO specification will power drives in the future.
Rear I/O is even more limited than the X470 boards that came before; as before there are only two USB 3.0 ports, but the serial port has been dropped. The VGA output and dedicated NIC for the ASPEED AST2500 are both still present, and still represent the defining feature of this board. Lastly, the X570D4I-2T sports two 10GbE connections powered by an Intel X550-AT2 controller.
That ASPEED AST2500 is the baseboard management controller and is one of the two defining features of this motherboard, along with the dual 10Gbase-T networking. The BMC allows out of band management of the system, full remote KVM, and mounting of virtual media over the network.
Many of STH’s readers will be familiar with the ASPEED brand of BMC. ASPEED is commonly used on Inspur, Supermicro, Gigabyte, and other vendor boards. We also see them used in hyper-scale servers. An example is when we covered how Facebook Introduces Next-Gen Cooper Lake Intel Xeon Platforms. Its inclusion on a Ryzen board is very nearly unique at this point in time. If you need IPMI support from a Ryzen-based platform to be able to deploy and manage the server remotely, the offerings from ASRock Rack are essentially the only options around.
Next, we are going to deep-dive into the cooling of this platform since that is a topic on its own.