Intel's Xeon D SiP (System-in-package) has turned out to be one of the exciting launches this year in the server CPU space. We have already analyzed Xeon D in detail in our review of the Supermicro SuperServer 5028D-TN4T. Almost all currently available Xeon D systems / motherboards are from Supermicro, but we now have another set of options from ASRock Rack.

The Xeon D family currently consists of two members:

  • Xeon D-1520 : 4C/8T Broadwell-DE x86 cores @ 2.2 GHz, 6 MB of L2 cache, 45W TDP
  • Xeon D-1540 : 8C/16T Broadwell-DE x86 cores @ 2.0 GHz, 12 MB of L2 cache, 45W TDP

ASRock Rack's Xeon D lineup consists of one board using the Xeon D-1520 and six boards using the Xeon D-1540. Customers have the option of going with either the mini-ITX (mITX) form factor or the micro-ATX (uATX) form factor. The mITX boards are all compatible with 1U rackmount chassis.

In addition to the motherboard size, the differentiation aspects come in the form of support for different varieties of LAN ports, PCIe slot configurations, additional storage ports using the LSI 3008 HBA and different USB 3.0 port configurations. Unlike the mITX boards, all the uATX boards come with a COM port in the rear I/O.The following tables summarize the features of the various products in the ASRock Rack Xeon D lineup.

mITX Boards

  D1520D4I D1540D4I D1540D4I-2L2T
SiP Intel Xeon D-1520 Intel Xeon D-1540
RAM 4x DDR4 DIMM Slots 2133 / 1866 MHz RDIMMs (Up to 128 GB)
PCIe Expansion Slots 1x PCIe 3.0 x16
Storage Controllers 6x SATAIII 6 Gbps from integrated PCH in the Xeon D SiP
(4x via mini-SAS connector)
(1x with SATA DOM support)
1x SATAIII 6 Gbps from Marvell 9172
(via M.2 2280 interface)
LAN Controllers 2x RJ45 1GbE
(Intel i210)
2x RJ45 1GbE
(Intel i210)
2x RJ45 10GbE
(Intel X557-AT2)
Board Management Controller ASPEED AST2400
IPMI LAN Controller 1x Realtek RTL8211E
Display Output 1x D-Sub VGA
USB Ports 2x USB 3.0 Type-A (Rear I/O)

 

uATX Boards

  D1540D4U-2T8R D1540D4U-2O8R D1540D4U-2T2O8R D1540D4U-2L+
SiP Intel Xeon D-1540
RAM 4x DDR4 DIMM Slots 2133 / 1866 MHz RDIMMs (Up to 128 GB)
PCIe Expansion Slots 1x PCIe 3.0 x8 (x16 physical) 1x PCIe 3.0 x16
1x PCIe 3.0 x8 (x8 physical) 1x PCIe 3.0 x8
Storage Controllers 6x SATAIII 6 Gbps from integrated PCH in the Xeon D SiP
(4x via mini-SAS connector)
(1x with SATA DOM support)
8x SAS3 12Gbps from LSI 3008 HBA
(via mini-SAS HD connector)
1x SATAIII 6 Gbps from Marvell 9172
(via M.2 2280 interface)
LAN Controllers 2x RJ45 10GbE
(Intel X550)
2x 10G SFP+ Fiber 2x 10G SFP+ Fiber 2x RJ45 1GbE
(Intel i350)
2x RJ45 10GbE
(Intel X540)
Board Management Controller ASPEED AST2400
IPMI LAN Controller 1x Realtek RTL8211E
Display Output 1x D-Sub VGA
USB Ports 2x USB 3.0 Type-A (Rear I/O)
1x USB 3.0 Type-A (Internal Connector)
1x USB 3.0 Header

These boards are ideal for network and warm storage devices as well as micro-servers. Given the low power nature of the Xeon D platform, some of them can also be useful in home lab settings for experimenting with virtualization or even act as boards for high-end development machines.

Source: ASRock Rack

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  • Wardrop - Friday, October 30, 2015 - link

    Cool, may make for good multi-purpose NAS boards. Reply
  • ddriver - Sunday, November 01, 2015 - link

    It is overkill for nas IMO, multipurpose or not. Reply
  • aebiv - Sunday, November 01, 2015 - link

    Depends on your type of NAS.

    This is ideal for a FreeNAS setup.
    Reply
  • Shadow7037932 - Monday, November 02, 2015 - link

    Depends on the setup. If you're running ZFS this could work quite well. Reply
  • twnznz - Friday, October 30, 2015 - link

    Awesome. I can see targets for these already. These uATX boards with SFP cages would make perfect wirespeed 10GbE routers with a bit of DPDK sauce. Or an excellent SFF Ceph node. Reply
  • iwod - Friday, October 30, 2015 - link

    The SSD are shrinking in physical size on server as well. When are we going to see that for DRAM. It seems those are wasting quite a lot of space. Reply
  • iwod - Friday, October 30, 2015 - link

    And I wonder why the sever Atom support NBASE-T 2.5Gbps but not the Xeon-D, Reply
  • ganeshts - Friday, October 30, 2015 - link

    Well, 10GBASE-T switches are becoming cheaper and more power efficient. NBASE-T is awesome as an intermediate step, but it doesn't seem to be getting enough market traction - I don't think you can buy a NBASE-T switch in the market right now. And, I fear by the time those NBASE-T switches and gear become common, 10GBASE-T would become quite affordable for consumers. Reply
  • Blackfell - Sunday, November 01, 2015 - link

    NBase-T hardware is out there; Cisco is currently shipping NBase-T hardware (in the form of the Catalyst 3850 model WS-C3850-24XU). Sure, the price point is...well...punishing, but it's out there. Now, as to why NBase-T exists, it's less the switch side and more the client side. On the switch side, because NBase-T fills in the gaps between 1 and 10Gbps, I expect future 10GbE-capable switches to all support 2.5 and 5Gbps speeds as it doesn't involve any major engineering challenges to do so. And, as you note, 10GBase-T hardware is rapidly coming down in price. Now, on the client side, there is a need for intermediate steps. The primary driver for NBase-T is wireless APs - 802.11ac wave 2 hardware needs more than 1Gbps, but 10GbE is substantially overkill. Additionally, since enterprise APs are PoE powered, there's a maximum power budget of 30W for an AP (802.3at standard), so putting in a 10Gbps-capable Ethernet controller into that AP would end up pushing it beyond what a PoE+ switch could deliver. However, a 2.5 or 5Gbps controller could fit into the power budget and allow the AP to provide maximum throughput. Reply
  • nils_ - Thursday, November 05, 2015 - link

    It's also important to note that you may not be able to use 10GBase-T with existing cabling, but 2.5/5 might work. Reply

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