RIOWORKS XDG-LS Dual Slot-2 GXby Anand Lal Shimpi on June 16, 1999 5:27 PM EST
- Posted in
The on-board Intel 82558B 10/100 Ethernet controller makes an appearance on the RIOWORKS XDG-LS and the XDG-L. The on-board Intel controller does a fine job of making sure that your system stays connected to whatever network you need it to stay connected to, while it isn't the same controller that powers the server adapters, it's good enough for most uses. The board features an auto-sensing 10/100 CAT-5 port on the ATX backpanel , which unfortunately means that all standard ATX backpanel cutouts will be useless with the board and RIOWORKS provides you with no replacement. This isn't an issue if you don't mind not having an ATX backpanel cutout installed which is always an option, but be prepared.
Continuing the trend of on-board peripherals, the XDG-LS and the XDG-S both feature an on-board Adaptec 7890 Ultra2 SCSI controller. The controller provides for a single 68-pin UltraWide SCSI-3 channel that is shared with a 50-pin Legacy SCSI connector, and a separate 68-pin Ultra2 SCSI channel for all Ultra2 devices, yet it is backwards compatible with all older SCSI peripherals in the event that you have no Ultra2 devices.
To power all of this, as with most server motherboards, the XDG (all models) feature two redundant ATX power supply connectors for use with server cases that support redundant power supplies. A total of 6 fan connectors are present on the motherboard to support most cooling configurations you'll cook up with your server. Hardware monitoring is made possible via two Winbond 83782D hardware monitors, each of which is capable of monitoring two fans, up to three temperatures, and 7 voltages. The combination of the two chips leaves two of the six fans without hardware monitoring support, which isn't bad at all considering there are some server motherboards that don't even feature 4 fan connectors. It is obvious that hardware monitoring was an important consideration RIOWORKS made when designing the XDG series, and a definitely worth while consideration on their part.
Software support for the on-board hardware monitoring chips is provided in the form of a bundled CD that contains the drivers for the on-board Ethernet and SCSI adapters as well as your standard patches and utilities. The bundled CD also contains the XDG-LS user's manual in an Adobe Acrobat .pdf format. The SCSI drivers are also provided to you via four 3.5" floppy disks just in case you happen to have a SCSI CD-ROM drive and can't gain access to it right away.
The board is bundled with a 50-pin legacy SCSI cable as well as a 68-pin Ultra2 cable with an LVD terminator for any Ultra2 drives you may want to install as they usually don't come with the necessary LVD terminators. The cables alone are worth over $40, which is a bundle you should demand your motherboard manufacturer to support (most of them do). It's simply ridiculous spending over $500 on a motherboard and not being able to set it up right away due to a lack of the proper cables.
The RIOWORKS XDG-LS ran side by side with the Epox GXB-M and performed, amazingly enough, identically to the GXB-M in virtually all tests (scores differed by no more than 2%). This also means that the stability of the XDG-LS was on-par with the GXB-M, while that doesn't mean it's ready for use in a server that gets millions of requests per day, it does mean that RIOWORKS is ready to be taken seriously, and they do have the products to back them. It seems like RIOWORKS has accomplished in 3 months what some manufacturers still haven't accomplished after being in the industry for years, the ability to deliver on their claims. They claim to be able to produce cost effective motherboard solutions without sacrificing stability, and they deliver just that.