Since the original Intel Xeon D launch, there has been significant chatter around the ASRock Rack Xeon D motherboards. This week I was in Taiwan visiting a few vendors STH has worked with over the years and a few more that we hope to start bringing into the review cycle soon. One of the vendors I visited was ASRock Rack. I got a tour of their facilities in Taipei and got to see a few very cool products. Several I cannot talk about at this time, however there are two motherboards that I can, and both are Intel Xeon D based. Apologies in advance, I was a bit jet-lagged with only my phone camera taking pictures.
ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2TO8R
Perhaps this is the craziest Intel Xeon D motherboard seen to date, and one of the largest using a mATX form factor. For networking the ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2TO8R has two Intel X540 based 10Gbase-T, two SFP+ 10Gb optical ports using the SoC controller. For storage there is an Avago/ LSI SAS3008 controller with dual SFF-8643 headers. That is an 8-port 12gbps SAS controller. There are also the six SATA3 6.0gbps ports. One can also see two m.2 ports that utilize a Marvell SATA controller.
The other big feature here is the inclusion two PCIe slots. That does bring a question of PCIe lanes. There are 24 PCIe lanes on the Xeon D SoC and eight PCIe 2.0 lanes. Suffice to say, this motherboard is taxing the number of PCIe lanes available.
I think this would be a very premium priced product (guessing $1100 or so) but with that combination of expansion and the Intel Xeon D-1540 I think many STH folks would be interested in picking up a platform like this. The platform appears to be made to allow removal of components to create new SKUs (e.g. removing the X540 or the LSI controller) or swapping out the Xeon D-1540 for a Xeon D-1520. Of course, we are hoping for the max configuration SKU!
ASRock Rack D1520D4I
The second motherboard that we saw in-person was the ASRock Rack D1520D4I. This is a 4C/ 8T motherboard based on the Intel Xeon D-1520. The motherboard has dual Intel i210 Ethernet controllers so it is the 1GbE counterpart to the Supermicro X10SDV-4C-TLN2F. Here is what we saw:
One can see the m.2 slot as well as a SFF-8087 header used to save space. ASRock is also sporting Cooler Master active cooling on these motherboards. It will be interesting to see the pricing on this motherboard, but I would expect the ASRock Rack D1520D4I to sell for under $500.
We did request samples so hopefully we will get some testing time in the lab soon.