28 Cores in Mini-ITX: ASRock Rack EPC621D4I-2M Motherboard for Xeon Scalableby Gavin Bonshor on May 8, 2019 8:00 AM EST
In an interesting release from the professional arm of the manufacturer ASRock, ASRock Rack has quietly come out with a mini-ITX LGA-3647 motherboard designed for Intel's Xeon Scalable platform. The EPC621D4I-2M has to make do with quad memory channel support, but offers a full PCIe 3.0 x16 with BMC in a very efficient package.
Going after high density servers is always a goal of some of these manufacturers. The 'build it small and pack them in' only goes so far, before you come up against limits of power delivery and heat dissipation. ASRock Rack thinks they have it cracked with this new motherboard.
It comes with four SATA ports via an SFF-8639 port, with another coming via a single SATA-DOM port. NVMe comes through two M.2 slots on the rear, which supports both PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA drives. A single full-length PCIe 3.0 x16 slot sits just below two of the four RAM slots which support DDR4-2133, DDR4-2400, and DDR4-2666 SO-DIMMs, with the LGA-3647 socket located in the center of the board. Users looking for BMC capability will appreciate the inclusion of an ASpeed AST2500 chip, while the seemingly 6-phase power delivery with basic aluminium heatsinks is driven by the Renesas ISL69127 PWM controller.
ASRock Rack EPC621D4I-2M Block Diagram
On the rear panel is a basic set of inputs including the two 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports each controlled by its own individual Marvel 88E1514-MNP2 networking controller (the top port operates the boards BMC capabilities). A D-Sub VGA manages the BMC video output. Located to the right of the dual 1 GbE LAN are two USB 3.0 Type-A ports.
With small form factor's popularity gaining momentum in the consumer sector, it's application onto Intel's Xeon Scalable platform seems interesting with ASRock Rack opting for four SO-DIMM slots due to the mini-ITX form factor. There aren't many ECC SO-DIMM RAM modules currently available and with support for just five SATA ports available in total, it asks more questions on the EPC621D4I-2M's application than it answers, with perhaps one use of this being placed inside of a server blade. There's also the question whether this six channel platform is still as effective with four SO-DIMM memory slots, which of course depends on the workload.
We've seen mini-ITX motherboards before with compromises, such as fewer memory channels and limited PCIe use. ASRock as a company has made a name for itself for doing them, and the company still produces these products, because for some users, density sells. These users have workloads that aren't PCIe dependent, or memory bandwidth dependent, and require density. As we move towards a '5G' world, most companies in that 5G space are looking at high-density compute deployments at the edge of the network, and how to provision enough compute and resources at that distance. It would appear that ASRock is aiming for this market.
The official documentation lists that the board supports Skylake and Cascade Lake Xeon Scalable parts, up to 205W TDP. The pricing and availability of the ASRock Rack EPC621D4I-2M aren't yet known, but it is expected that ASRock Rack will unveil the details in the near future.
- TYAN Launches 53 Platforms for Cascade Lake-SP & Optane DC Persistent Memory
- AnandTech Year in Review 2018: CPUs
- The Intel Xeon W Review: W-2195, W-2155, W-2123, W-2104 and W-2102 Tested
- The Intel Second Generation Xeon Scalable: Cascade Lake, Now with Up To 56-Cores and Optane!
- Intel Architecture Manual Updates: bfloat16 for Cooper Lake Xeon Scalable Only?
Source: Sviko (Review)
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Barilla - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - linkAsRock is really pushing the ITX form factor to it's limits. No other manufacturer comes close to them, as far as I know, when it comes to supporting SFF high performance PC's.
JKJK - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - linkWhy.... oh WHY no 10GbE?
mode_13h - Thursday, May 9, 2019 - linkI know, right? 2x NVMe's and no 10 Gb Ethernet?
They probably expect the PCIe slot to be filled with a 100 Gb NIC.
GreenReaper - Friday, May 10, 2019 - linkI guess they figure you could use the card for that, if that's its main job. Or plug something into the USB 3.0?
fazalmajid - Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - link5G deployments are more likely to rely on the Xeon D-2100, it's curious that's not the target platform.
mode_13h - Saturday, May 11, 2019 - linkIt turns out there's also a version of this board with 6 DIMM slots! Not sure where they put them - maybe in place of the PCIe slot?
timecop1818 - Sunday, May 12, 2019 - linkThere's two unpopulated footprints for DDR4 SO-DIMM on the bottom of the board. I have no idea if ECC So-DIMMS exist or if you can mix and match them with regular UDIMMs but thats where the 2 extra slots are. You can see them on the board bottom picture in the article.
Daniel Egger - Saturday, May 11, 2019 - linkSo how exactly are you supposed to feed that Skylake-SP power horse with data? Using the two shitty Marvel GbE ports? Come on...
Rollo3647 - Saturday, May 11, 2019 - linkall of my skylake-sp have UDIMM enabled, got a cascade-lake, UDIMM disabled. seems we have a problem.
Rollo3647 - Thursday, May 23, 2019 - linkfrom ASRock Rack product sheet PDF(EPC621D4I-2M - EPC621D6I)
"4 DIMM slots, Supports Quad Channel DDR4 2993/2666/2400 ECC SO R DIMM, ECC SO DIMM, and non-ECC SO DIMM (Max. 64GB)"
there are SO R DIMM ????? where ?