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