First look at Gigabyte MX11-PC0 NVMe Enabled Server Board

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Gigabyte MX11-PC0
Gigabyte MX11-PC0

Coming off the release of Gigabytes C236 Intel Xeon E3-1200 V5 Greenlow motherboards we now have our first in the Lab for review. It does look a bit different than the original pre-release version pictured in that news release. The Gigabyte MX11-PC0 is the first Gigabyte server motherboard to be released with a mini-SAS HD (U.2) connector for internal 2.5″ NVMe storage. We wanted to provide a quick overview of the platform ahead of our initial benchmark results as it represents something new in the Xeon E3 universe.

Gigabyte MX11-PC0 Motherboard
Gigabyte MX11-PC0 Motherboard

Gigabyte MX11-PC0 motherboard Key Features:

  1. Single socket LGA 1151 Supports Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 V5 product family. Core i3 series, Intel Celeron and Intel Pentium processors
  2. Intel C232 chipset
  3. 2x DIMM slots with up to 16GB per module, DDR4 1866/2133 MHz, ECC and Non-ECC UDIMM
  4. 1x PCI-E 3.0 x16 and 1x Mini-SAS HD connector
  5. 2x GbE LAN ports (Intel I210)
  6. 4x SATA3 (6Gbps) via Q170; RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
  7. 1x VGA port Integrated in Aspeed AST2400 and 2D Video Graphic Adapter with PCIe bus interface
  8. 4x SATA III 6 Gb/s, 1x Serial Port, TPM header, VGA front panel header
  9. 4x USB 3.0 (2 rear + 2 via header)
  10. Form Factor Mini-ITX, Dimensions 6.7″ x 6.7″, (170mm x 170mm)

The Gigabyte MX11-PC0 is a mITX form factor motherboard so it is small enough to cram into very small chassis.

Gigabyte MX11-PC0 Motherboard Top
Gigabyte MX11-PC0 Motherboard Top

One can see a few of the trade-offs made in order to make this platform work. There are only two DIMM slots and four SATA connectors. We also see dual 1GbE networking, however there is a Gigabyte GC-MNXE21 Dual 10GbE SFP+ LAN card available for those looking towards faster networking.

Gigabyte MX11-PC0 Motherboard Back IO Ports
Gigabyte MX11-PC0 Motherboard Back IO Ports

Here we see the mini-SAS HD (U.2) connector which is capable of connecting one NVMe drive which uses a SFF-8639 (U.2) connector. This is a nice feature if you want to add a drive such as an Intel 750 2.5″ SSD. With the four SATA ports, one could fairly easily turn this into a low power ZFS server utilizing an inexpensive Intel 750 for L2ARC duties.

Gigabyte MX11-PC0 NVMe Port
Gigabyte MX11-PC0 NVMe Port

This is certainly something we hope and expect other manufacturers will follow suit on in the near future. NVMe performance is significantly faster than SATA III so we are eagerly awaiting opportunities to utilize the new forms of storage without the use of adapter boards.

Summary

The Gigabyte MX11-PC0 is an innovative platform with its inclusion of a U.2 connector for 2.5″ NVMe SSDs. We have this motherboard in our lab right now, but we wanted to give a quick preview of a platform that offers something quite different. Stay tuned for the full review.

Gigabyte MX11-PC0
Gigabyte MX11-PC0

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi William,

    I’ve read on Intel ARK that the chipset C323 doesn’t support ECC memory : I understand that any ECC RAM stick will operate in non-ECC.
    I’m surprised that a server chipset doesn’t have this feature, I’m wondering if it’s not an error from Intel. Could you please check that point during your review ?

    Thanks

  2. I think it’s a big mistake that gigabyte implemented U.2 instead of a M.2 interface.
    The M.2 is cheaper, the drives a cheaper og more models to choose from and they are just as fast.
    I don’t see any advantages of U.2!

    It’s very hard to find this board at any resellers……it seems not many buying this!

    A shome cause I really like gigabyte’s board and I would like to see Gigabyte staying in the server-board business. But I fear they burned their fingers because of wrong configuration decisions 🙁

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