MSI MS-S0221 Intel Xeon E5-2600 E5-1600 Motherboard Preview


Recently I found the MSI MS-S0221 over at MSI’s website by accident, these guys have been very quiet on the server/ workstation front. This particular Intel Xeon E5-2600 series or Xeon E5-1600 series single CPU motherboard looks a standard server motherboardboard but with good quality components which could make it an interesting motherboard if you can find one. There is nothing spectacular about this board except its very well provisioned for with SATA ports, as many as 14 of them. Two SATA III and the rest all 3.0gbps ports. 8 ports come from the PCH chipset SAS controller. Expansion ports use all the available 40 PCIe lanes the Intel Xeon E5-2600 or Intel Xeon E5-1600 CPU provides so possibly putting the PCIe x4 lanes in x8 slots would have made it a better upgrade option. The PCIe 3.0 x16 slot on far right is double spaced so no slot is wasted when a large dual-slot GPU is installed which is a nice touch. It comes in ATX format, so will fit the vast majority of boards with no issues, and is fairly rare in the Intel Xeon E5-2600 and Intel Xeon E5-1600 motherboard lineups we have seen thus far. It is nice to see MSI decided put dual Intel 82574L 1GbE LAN ports onboard, as these are very well supported gigabit NICs in Windows, Linux, VMware, Solaris, FreeBSD and etc.

Now this board comes in two versions, the Server board as explained above, and a workstation version which has some features added and some removed. The Server board has full baseboard management with a dedicated LAN port, the Workstation does not. The workstation motherboard does however get USB3, Firewire and onboard audio which are things that we typically see in workstation motherboards as one can see in the ASUS P9X79 WS workstation motherboard recently reviewed.

Main features

  • Supports Intel Sandy Bridge-EP (E5-2600 / E5-1600) processor
  • Intel® C602 Chipset
  • 8x DDR3 – 256MB Max RAM
  • 2x Intel 82574L 1GbE LAN
  • Built in VGA
  • Dedicated IPMI baseboard Management (Server version)
MSI MS-S0221 Top View
MSI MS-S0221 Top View

All in all, a good motherboard for general use, it should do most things. This might make a good storage server that does not require SAS or hardware RAID onboard. Up to foruteen hard disk drivers can be connected directly to the motherboard. With two SSDs in RAID 0 attached to the SATA III 6.0gbps ports would yield a decent option for SSD caching or an OS/ application volume in addition to storage on the SATA II ports. One thing we would love to see is greater availability of these server boards. Right now the market is dominated by Intel, Supermicro, Tyan and ASUS with Gigabyte starting to make an entry into the server space. Here are the full specs below:

MSI MS-S0221 Specifications

• Supports Intel Sandy Bridge-EP (E5-2600 / E5-1600) processor
Core Chipset 
•  Intel C602 Chipset
 Memory Support
• Provides 8 DDR3 DIMM slot
• Supports DDR3 (1066/1333/1600) ECC DDR3 UDIMM / RDIMM / LRDIMM module
• Supports single module size: 2GB ~ 32GB, Max. 256GB
Expansion Slots
• 2 x PCIEx16
• 2 x PCIEx4
• 1 x PCI

 Storage Interface
•  2 x SATA III ports
• 4 x SATA II ports

• 4/8 x SAS ports (Depending on Intel Upgrade-ROM status)

Rear Panel I/O
– 1 x 1394 port(for WorkStation version only)
– 1 x USB2.0 (2 ports)
– 2 x USB2.0 (2 ports) + 1Gbps (RJ-45)
– 1 x BMC port (RJ-45, for Server version only)
– 1 x Serial port
– 1 x VGA (DB-15)
– 1 x Audio (Audio-Out / Audio-In / Line-In, For WorkStation version only)

Internal Pin Header
– 1 x USB 2.0
– 1 x USB 3.0 (For WorkStation version only)
– 1 x 1394(For WorkStationversion only)
– 1 x Buzzer
– 1 x Audio (For WorkStation version only)

• Support 2 x 1Gbps Ethernet interface (Intel 82574 )

Built-in VGA controller
• Aspeed AST2300 (Server Version)
• Aspeed AST1100 (Work Station Version)

Hardware monitor controller
• Aspeed AST2300 (Server Version) , compatible with IPMI standard
• Aspeed AST1100 (Work Station Version), compatible with IPMI standard

Board Size
• Compatible with ATX form factor(305 mm x 244 mm)


  1. I’ve been waiting on some competetion in the single socket market for s2011. Lets see if this will make the price drop some 50 bucks across the line and we’re up for some upgrades.


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