Supermicro X13SAE-F W680 Motherboard Mini-Review

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Supermicro X13SAE F
Supermicro X13SAE F

Today we have a sort-of bonus review or mini-review. I was chatting with Patrick and mentioned that I was putting a system together based on the Supermicro X13SAE-F, and he remarked that STH had never managed to lay hands on one. Well, I was not one to let that stand, so out came my camera and I basically just took some pictures and notes as I went about building the server I was already working on. The result is this review, which will not be super in-depth as I needed to get the server built and in production relatively quickly, but I still think there will be enough interest in the X13SAE-F to warrant a bit of coverage. We also reviewed a previous version of the Supermicro X12SAE so it seemed like it was one we had to look at.

Supermicro X13SAE-F Hardware Overview

The Supermicro X13SAE-F is an ATX motherboard measuring 12” x 9.6” and a feature set straddling the line between the workstation and server. It sports an Intel LGA-1700 (H5) socket, which will accept 12th-generation Core i3/i5/i7/i9 CPUs. This board is powered by Intel’s W680 chipset, which is their workstation variant of the Z690 consumer chipset. Support for the 13th-generation CPUs is enabled via a BIOS update, but buyers should be aware that a 12th-generation CPU is required to run the update since this board cannot perform BIOS updates via the BMC.

Supermicro X13SAE F Socket
Supermicro X13SAE F Socket

The combination of the W680 and Core series CPUs presents a bit of an interesting situation when it comes to memory support. ECC support is peppered in and out of the Core series, supported seemingly at random on some models and not on others, but only when paired with the W680 chipset. Support for ECC memory can seem very arbitrary. For example, the Core i7-12700 supports ECC memory while the Core i7-12700F does not. As you can see from my pictures, my system is getting the i7-12700F and will not be paired with ECC RAM.

Supermicro X13SAE F Memory
Supermicro X13SAE F Memory

Speaking of memory, the X13SAE-F uses ECC or non-ECC DDR5 RAM at speeds up to 4400 MHz. Memory support is currently limited to 4x 32GB or 128GB of total memory, though it is possible that the system might eventually support more if 64GB unbuffered DDR5 DIMMs are ever released.

I will also make note of a conversation had between Patrick and myself regarding the state of DDR5 and ECC memory. All DDR5 memory has on-die ECC support, meaning each of the individual DDR5 memory packages has internal ECC. The on-die ECC does not provide an equivalent level of protection as a fully implemented ECC solution from the memory controller through to actual ECC RAM that includes a dedicated parity package. With that said, I am of the opinion that “some ECC is better than no ECC” as well as that, currently, the argument is almost completely moot because ECC DDR5 UDIMMs are functionally absent from the market. This might be a topic to revisit after the market matures a bit.

Supermicro X13SAE F IO Panel
Supermicro X13SAE F IO Panel

Rear I/O on the X13SAE-F definitely looks more workstation than a server, with a full complement of display and audio outputs, along with more USB ports than most servers. The RJ45 network ports are interesting as well, with a dedicated BMC NIC along with both an Intel i219-LM 1 GbE port as well as an i225-LM 2.5 GbE port.

Supermicro X13SAE F Slots
Supermicro X13SAE F Slots

PCIe slot connectivity on the X13SAE-F is pretty good, with dual PCIe x16 5.0 slots capable of operating as x16/x0 or x8/x8. Between them are a pair of open-ended PCIe 3.0 x4 slots, and a lone old-school PCI slot at the end for even the oldest legacy add-in cards.

Supermicro X13SAE F M2
Supermicro X13SAE F M2

Storage connectivity is pretty good as well, with a trio of PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots and 8x SATA ports on the board. Notably absent on this board, and again a nod that it is intended more for workstations than for servers, are any powered SATA DOM ports. With that said, there is an internal USB header that can be used for USB booting a hypervisor if that is your preference, or any number of the M.2 ports can also be used.

Supermicro X13SAE F BMC
Supermicro X13SAE F BMC

Next, we are going to look at the management as well as the system topology.

14 COMMENTS

  1. While I understand DDR5 has internal ECC which may offer some protection. For me, ECC is not only about protecting from errors but also monitoring so one can identify parts which are starting to fail.

    Is there anyway to check the error log for the internal ECC in a DDR5 package?

  2. It’s worth noting that with a vpro processor the cheaper X13SAE motherboard will have almost all the remote management capabilities that this model has.

    Take a look at mesh commander, you can install a lite version directly on the motherboard.

    Shame that cheaper is very much relative as it’s still about double what I’d consider paying!

  3. @Enriquo: ASRock industrial theoretically has a set of W680 boards with DDR4 ECC support and I’ve been trying to buy this one for months: https://www.asrockind.com/en-gb/IMB-X1712.

    Alas, nobody seems to actually sell them and ASRock itself hasn’t been forthcoming about availability. At least they have confirmed that they will also support Raptor Lake CPUs…

    There is a somewhat similar one from Gigabyte https://www.gigabyte.com/Press/News/1984, that seems slightly better in terms of availability, but with no Raptor Lake commitment currently.

    I wish they’d add a proper 10Gbit NIC already (it seems the board is prepared for it), but at least the x4 slot is open ended and a good fit for an ACQ107 or 113.

    I’d rather prefer a DDR4-3200 ECC board, because those DIMMs are relatively easy to get and I might just lend it half of the 128GB I have in my Ryzen 5950X for a while.

    DDR4 ECC is about where DDR5 non-ECC is today and the first DDR5 ECC DIMMs I’ve now actually seen are twice that, while they are only available at 4800 speed (ECC & overclock represent opposite mindsets, I guess).

    I might actually be tempted to just go with a 58003D instead to offset the slower DRAM, even if this board is really more about juggling VMs. On one hand I want the responsiveness of high turbos, on the other hand this server of mine is designed for quiet and low power idle as it runs 24×7.

    Unfortunately X570 spends in Wattage what Ryzen 3 saves on the SoC to the point where Raptor Lake with W680 might be rather competitive on energy, while it adds quite a punch of turbo peak performance for the rather short bursts I need them.

  4. Thanks for the info. I ordered the SAE version. Maybe by the time it gets here I’ll find out if this board will support the Raptor Lake processor. I have an RME AES PCI card that still works great, so I like the fact that this has the PCI slot. How noisy are the stock CPU fans if you run the CPUs at the lowest settings?

  5. I’m curious, does the X10SAE-F support *both* IPMI and vPro? If so, how do they interact? Can you use both types of KVM-over-IP at the same time? Both types of serial-over-LAN at the same time?

    Now if only they’d make an X13SAT, with Thunderbolt 4…

  6. I promised myself that the custom built pc will have Intel’s latest ECC RAM supporting processor and have been patiently waiting for Alder Lake’s successor. While Raptor Lake processors are said to be available for purchase tomorrow the current number only amounts to three ECC RAM supporting SKUs. And all of those are 125 W base power. Of course, today’s Intel support chat gave no word on when lower base power Raptor Lake SKUs will launch.

    Even for Alder Lake 65 watt SKUs I can only find ONE micro-ATX ECC RAM enabling W680 board that ever launched. Of course, what didn’t help was that Intel never released the Raptor lake supporting W790 chipset. Not that AMD’s any better. AMD probably could have worked best for me were it not for its always questionable CPU/motherboard ECC RAM support.

  7. If you want 1700 socket W680, DDR4 ECC memory in micro-ATX form factor for Alder/Rocket Lake CPUs this still all there is currently https://www.asrockind.com/IMB-X1314 And if you want same with ECC DDR5 memory it’s only some of these. https://www.asrockrack.com/general/products.asp#Server And those are server boards, where you’d probably end up paying a lotmore for a lot of features you’ll never or can’t even use. This insane dearth of such boards from all the major board brands has to be all due to Intel delaying launch of Raptor Lake until opportune for competing against AMD, until release of Meteor Lake. Even with yesterday’s launch there’s still no 65 watt base power 13th Gen CPUs out yet-probably at least not until Q1 2023. And since board brands closely follow Intel’s launch scheduling these boards likely be in stores until then. All we can do is let Intel and the board brands know that we’re aware of these games and don’t like be victimized by them.

  8. Yes it REALLY sucks big time that boards supporting ECC RAM with Adler lake is not available for purchase until Raptor Lake is released – really bad timing!!!!

  9. Just a heads up for anyone who stumbles upon this review. The X13SAE(-F) boards can support 13th gen Raptor Lake CPUs, but you’ll have to wait until BIOS R 2.0 is released. According to SuperMicro support, the ETA for that is mid-November. If that’s of interest to you, be prepared with a 12th gen CPU as that will be required unless you want to RMA it to be flashed. Flashing the BIOS is not supported, not even with a license key.

  10. Im looking at running this board with a i9-12900 and some ECC memory. My OS of choice will be WS2019 or 22. Did you have any issue installing 22 on this MB? Also did you need the TMP this install?

  11. Bios update 2.0 is out, which means this board now supports 13th gen Intel Raptor Lake CPUs! Also, their website states this board supports CPUs with up to 16 cores (8+8), but I emailed their support and they said that this board can support the new i9-13900K which has 24 cores and that they will update the webpage. Pretty sweet board!

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