There has been quite a bit of buzz lately about the Intel Xeon E3-1200 V3 series of Haswell architecture chips. Intel also makes server motherboards to go along with their processors. For the Intel Xeon E3-1200 V3 series, Intel is launching four S1200V3 motherboards. For those who have been following Intel’s products, the popular Intel S1200 series has historically been for Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge Xeon platforms. With the V3 version, Intel looks to extend its products both in motherboards and in the pedestal and rackmount server segments. Let’s take a look at the Intel Haswell server motherboard lineup.
The four S1200V3RP motherboards span all three of the Intel PCH options for the Intel Xeon E3-1200 V3 series. Unlike most vendors, Intel does tend to showcase the highest-end PCH the most, the C226. For those looking at 10GbE or SAS expansion, this will need to be accomplished using add-in cards. Intel provides many add-in card options to choose from including SAS controllers and does provide proprietary mezzanine card interfaces onboard several of the SKUs.
Below is the Intel S1200V3RPL which one can tell is a C226 motherboard because it has six identical 6.0gbps SATA ports onboard. Although there are three PCIe x8 physical and one x16 physical slot, Intel only partitions x8 PCIe 3.0 lanes to the standard PCIe slots. Much of the PCIe bandwidth is instead being used for the proprietary intel mezzanine connectors shown in white below. Intel has a RMM module for a dedicated IPMI NIC. Intel is using dual i210 gigabit Ethernet NICs but is not providing a dedicated NIC for out of band management standard with each motherboard.
Dealing a lot with the Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge generation Xeon motherboards along with the Haswell Xeon server motherboards, we do notice something very different in the above. There is no Aspeed AST2000 series ASIC. Luckily, the new Intel Xeon E3-1200 V3 series motherboards from Intel (like other Intel products) come extremely well documented. We can see the block diagram for the BMC below:
Interestingly enough, the BMC is a Emulex Pilot-III management controller. This is different than the other vendors who are all using AST2300 BMC chips in their Haswell Xeon server motherboards. Intel announced it would partner with Emulex with integrating the Pilot-III about two years ago in the S1200 range so this makes sense. Overall, this is certainly an area that Intel is thinking differently in their Xeon E3-1200 V3 series motherboards.
For those looking to see a comprehensive listing of Intel along with other vendors’ offerings, we have a great resource on the forums with all of the different Haswell Intel Xeon E3-1200 V3 motherboards.