Another product on display over at Supermicro at this year’s CES was that of a Xeon W motherboard. Xeon W is Intel’s professional platform that is almost a copy/paste of the high-end desktop X299 platform, but uses a professional grade chipset and offers support for ECC and RDIMM memory. Like Skylake-X, the Xeon W platform supports up to 18-core CPUs (Xeon W-2195), with almost the same specifications, except for support up to 512GB of DRAM. In previous years, these two families of products were served by a single platform, but recently Intel has seen fit to separate them. As a result, we are seeing fewer and fewer professional-grade motherboards hitting the open market, leaving most sales in the hands of pre-built OEMs. With Supermicro being one of those OEMs but with a consumer line, they are planning to offer at least one consumer/professional motherboard for this market, and that is the X11SRA we saw in the booth.


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If we look at the X11SRA, we can see a lot of similarities with the consumer X299 motherboards from Supermicro. Features like the dual U.2 ports from the C9X299-PG300 are here, along with reinforced DRAM slots and reinforced PCIe slots. The layout with dual M.2 drives seems to be a copy paste too, and there are a couple of unused pads on the bottom left which would normally be occupied by an Aspeed AST2500 management chip with some memory, as seen on the X299-PGF. With these pads present, there is likely to be an ‘X11SRA-F’ version alongside this board in due course.

This X11SRA at the booth, we were told, was not a final version. The chipset and power delivery heatsinks still need to be finalized, and it would seem that there is an additional heatsink to the left of the DRAM slots near the rear IO for something (multi-gigabit Ethernet?). Visually, it is plainly obvious that the two sets of DRAM slots are at different heights on the motherboard – this would normally be jarring for a consumer motherboard, but for professional builds, it does not matter too much.

The CPU power delivery shows only a 5-phase solution, which on a consumer motherboard would be dreadfully low. Xeon W processors are not designed to support overclocking, so Supermicro can make their motherboards to fit just within specifications and warranty. It’s worth noting that the spec list for the board states it supports only up to 165W, which is the 18-core Xeon W-2195, rather than Supermicro’s PG300 board that stated up to 300W.

Other features on the board includes a Realtek ALC1220 codec, which is a surprisingly high-end choice for a professional motherboard, however it does not feature much in the way of advanced filtering or PCB separation that we see on consumer motherboards. Internet connectivity comes via an Intel I219-LM gigabit Ethernet controller, and Aquantia’s AQC108 5-gigabit network controller. USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) seems to be supported through two Type-A ports on the rear panel.

As the X11SRA is still a work in progress, the release date is still TBD.

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  • Ktracho - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - link

    I don't know about the X11SRA, but we've got an X11SRA-F in our lab, which we are in the process of testing. We ordered it last year, and got it about a week ago. One of the things I like is that you can use the same motherboard for your desktop as for lab machines. Reply
  • HStewart - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - link

    Well if you look at architexture differences between W-2195 and its X counter part - there is a lot more differences than just memory - mostly related in security and advance functionally and of course ECC Ram

    W-2195

    https://ark.intel.com/products/126793/Intel-Xeon--...

    i9 - 18 core X series 7980XE

    https://ark.intel.com/products/126699/Intel-Core-i...
    Reply
  • thekaidis - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - link

    First, the heatsink near the rear I/O is for the AQC108 listed in the spec sheet.

    Second, there appear to be unpopulated pads for a memory package and BMC controller. Does SM have plans for a version of this motherboard with onboard IPMI?
    Reply
  • Ktracho - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - link

    See my comment above. Reply
  • oRAirwolf - Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - link

    I'm honestly kind of surprised they would cheap out and use the 5gbe Aquantia chipset on such a high end board. I haven't seen any reviews of it used in an enterprise environment, either. I have the 10gbe version on my motherboard and I haven't had any problems with it but I am definitely weary of it. I really hope that an antec will do some proper testing of the aqc107 and aqc108 chipsets in comparison to the Intel X540 or X550. Reply
  • Foeketijn - Thursday, January 25, 2018 - link

    Or somebody from Anandtech even! (I'm not sure Antec technicians up to snuff for doing some NIC testing) Reply
  • oRAirwolf - Friday, January 26, 2018 - link

    Yeah, the comment system here is trash and wouldn't let me correct that error... Reply
  • karol - Thursday, January 25, 2018 - link

    I believe that most of the Xeon W line is released, and a bunch of corresponding motherboards are already available, too. Can we expect a nice Anandtech review any time soon (including things like VROC, which should have better support with Xeon according to Intel)? Reply
  • Eletriarnation - Thursday, January 25, 2018 - link

    You said it's rated up to 165W but the placard indicates 140W - which is incorrect? Reply
  • Dr_b_ - Saturday, January 27, 2018 - link

    The Asus WS C422 PRO/SE looks a lot better, but the Supermicro board will most certainly have proper support for SR-IOV, if you want to use this for ESX

    Cant find either of these instock anywhere so it was all a paper launch. So many products that are announced never make it to the market
    Reply

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