Supermicro Dual Intel Xeon E5-2400 Motherboard Preview (LGA 1356)


Today we are looking at the new  Supermicro dual LGA 1356 lineup for Intel Xeon E5-2400 series CPUs. Recently, we looked at the Tyan dual LGA 1356 motherboard lineup for dual Intel Xeon E5-2400 series CPUs, so it is about time that we look at Supermicro’s offerings which in some cases are better equipped.

The Intel Xeon E5-2400 series is a lower-end offering to the Intel Xeon E5-2600, offering fewer memory channels (three per Intel Xeon E5 CPU versus four per Xeon E5 CPU on the E5-2600 series), less PCIe 3.0 lanes and only 1x QPI link. The pricing from Intel is surprisingly high, the Intel E5-2650 and Intel E5-2450 similar speed, cores, cache and etc. but the E5-2650 would be the better buy as it has the features mentioned above that the E5-2400 series does not. Essentially, the LGA 1356 platform is the successor to the very popular, Xeon E5500 and E5600 series CPUs.

With all of this in mind, it does seem like vendors are heavily favoring LGA 2011 Intel Xeon E5-2600 series platforms over the LGA 1356 parts. This is a fairly good indicator that the market is leaning heavily toward the more capable CPUs. Intel is currently keeping pricing very similar, but hopefully the Intel Xeon E5-2400 series gets priced more as a Xeon E4 variant in the middle of E3 and E5.

Here is Supemicro’s new LGA1356 range:

Key Features (X9DBL-3F)
 1. Dual socket B2 (LGA 1356) supports, Intel Xeon processor E5-2400
2. Intel® C606 chipset
3. Up to 192GB DDR3 1600MHz ECC, R/LRDIMM; 6x DIMM sockets
4. Expansion slots: 1 PCI, 3 PCI-E 3.0 x8, 1 PCI-E 3.0 x16, 1 PCI-E 3.0 x4 (in x8)
5. Intel® 82574L GbE LAN, 2 ports
6. 4x SATA2 and 2x SATA3 ports
7. 8x SAS/SATA2 ports from C606
8. Integrated IPMI 2.0 and KVM with Dedicated LAN
9. 7x USB 2.0 ports (2 rear, 4 via header + 1 Type A)

Other members of the X9DBL family (F is for IPMI versions and the 3 versions utilize onboard SAS versus SATA II on the i versions) are:

Key Features (X9DAL-3)Supermicro X9DAL-3
1. Dual socket B2 (LGA 1356) supports Intel Xeon processor E5-2400
2. Intel® C606 chipset
3. Up to 192GB DDR3 1600MHz ECC R/LRDIMM; 6x DIMM sockets
4. Expansion slots: 1 PCI 32, 1 PCI-E 3.0 x16, 1 PCI-E 3.0 x4 (in x8), 3 PCI-E 3.0 x8 (1 allows a x16 card)
5. Intel® 82574L Dual port GbE LAN
6. 4x SATA2 and 2x SATA3 ports
7. 8x SAS/SATA2 ports from C606
8. 4x USB 3.0 and 10x USB 2.0 ports

The two members of the X9DAL family are the: Supermicro X9DAL-3 and Supermicro X9DAL-i 

This has better expansion options over the similar SSI-CEB sized Tyan version of the board, but the Tyan S7045 with dual PCIe 16x slots might be a better option for those looking at GPU server. This board layout I could happily live with. Not sure why these boards are going for the older 82574L GbE Intel chipset. This particular board comes with Audio as well so Supermicro is positioning it for workstation use also. Intel needs to start integrating USB 3.0 into its platforms for server vendors to start taking advantage of much higher throughput offered by that interface. At first one might think these are upgrades to the older X8 line Tylersburg 5500 series but looking at the X8DAL-3 shows some significant differences.
Overall these boards would be good, except for Intel maintaining parity with CPU pricing you would be better off with 2x LGA2011 CPUs and have all the additional performance that they bring at the same price. One major consideration may be the fact that these boards all use an ATX form factor. That makes these boards much better able to fit in standard server chassis and even desktop chassis than the majority of LGA 2011 motherboards we have seen thus far.


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