ASRock Rack Xeon D – ultimate motherboard spotted

ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2TO8R rear IO view
ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2TO8R rear IO view

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.

ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2TO8R rear IO view
ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2TO8R rear IO view

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.

ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2TO8R PCIe slot view
ASRock Rack D1540D4U-2TO8R PCIe slot view

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:

ASRock Rack Xeon D-1520 mITX
ASRock Rack Xeon D-1520 mITX

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.


  1. I think everyone on the STH forums will have just died and gone to heaven if this is released. A low power platform that can do everything from router/ firewall to storage server all in one board.

    I’m awaiting your review (and being able to buy them if they are good)

  2. To date, I have had only a mediocre run out of ASRock items with too many warranty returns due to unstable BIOS’s, ports dieing and random shit. For an item such as this, I hope the standard increases.
    The board looks well featured and would be a beastie to put in a storage chassis. The onboard storage options along with high-speed networking options scream “Fark-Yeah”.

  3. I was very excited when i saw this article today. Just yesterday i was looking at a nearly identical board. I think there is only 1 difference between the D1540D4U-2TO8R (listed above) and the D1540D4U-2O8R i was looking at. the 208R has SFP+ 10G but its RJx45 ports are 1G speed. I’m very interested in using these as capable ESXI nodes and storage boxes. Can’t wait to see what other renditions they come out with and what everyone builds with them.

  4. Unknowlegdeable: I would guess this would be a killer router for somebody lucky enough to have a 10gbit network right?

  5. Vaporware …..when will they learn that announcing products that never are available to actually purchase is nothing more than a waste of our time.
    Hopefully ASRock reads this and thinks, hey maybe we should have these boards available somewhere in retail.

  6. I think one of the coolest platforms for a small NAS solution based on Xeon-D is something like this:

    4 x Western Digital WD Red Pro 4TB, 3.5″, SATA 6Gb/s (WD4001FFSX)
    1 x Supermicro SuperDOM 32GB (SSD-DM032-PHI)
    1 x Samsung SSD SM951-NVMe 256GB, M.2 (MZVPV256HDGL-00000)
    2 x Samsung DIMM 16GB, DDR4-2133, CL15, reg ECC (M393A2G40DB0-CPB)
    1 x Supermicro X10SDV-4C-TLN2F retail (MBD-X10SDV-4C-TLN2F-O)
    1 x Supermicro SuperChassis 721TQ-250B, 250W Bronze Flex ATX, Mini-ITX (CSE-721TQ-250B)

    The only question is about freenas 9.x support for the integrated X557 ethernet controller… :/

  7. “For storage there is an Avago/ LSI SAS3008 controller with dual SFF-8643 headers. That is an 8-port 12gbps SAS controller.”

    3 questions regarding the onboard SAS3008 controller:
    1. I wonder if we can use SAS to SATA fanout cables to connect SATA3 disks to this controller?
    2. Can it be flashed to IT mode so it becomes a JBOD controller?
    3. Can we passthrough (VT-d) the controller to a VM in ESXi 6.0?

    “There are also the six SATA3 6.0gbps ports.”
    In the Supermicro SuperServer SYS-5028D-TN4T board, if you passthrough the SATA controller to a VM in ESXi, it takes along the USB ports. Thus, making the USB ports unavailable to other VMs. Will this be the case for this motherboard case?

  8. When guys like this give an review about what they think the price will be, im seeing amateur time, all around…. in this reviews, guess what… the bords will be 200 bucks…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.