Hot on the heels of the recent announcement of a Haswell-E based mini-ITX motherboard from the main motherboard division of ASRock, the ASRock X99E-ITX, the server division has decided to release one of their own. One of the main complaints about the mainstream model was the reduction to dual channel DDR4 memory in order to fit everything on the board – however the EPC612D4I from ASRock Rack moves to SO-DIMM modules and elegantly fits one DIMM per channel within a 17cm x 17cm footprint for quad channel support.

The motherboard uses the narrow ILM socket, usually found in the server space, similarly to the X99E-ITX. We also get a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, four SATA 6 Gbps ports, an integrated server control ASPEED 2400 module for headless running with KVM support and dual Intel gigabit Ethernet (I210 + I217). There is also an on-board USB 3.0 type-A connector for in-chassis USB devices such as dongle licences, and the rear panel is almost at the thin-mini-ITX standard for z-height. Notice that there is no onboard audio due to the space limitations.

Sources of DDR4 SO-DIMM modules, especially ECC ones for servers, are relatively few right now. But because this is a server motherboard, chances are that the board is mostly available through B2B channels, athough we might see some consumer outlets start selling it later in the year similar to the C2750D4I. Also by virtue of server focused sales, chances are that the EPC612D4I will not come with a bundled narrow ILM cooler (like the X99E-ITX does) and users will have to source their own. The pricing reflects this, as we see that the price is reported to be at $265, making it a very cheap LGA2011-3 motherboard especially when we factor in Xeon and ECC support.

Much like the X99E-ITX, ASRock is targeting the small form factor CPU compute markets rather than large GPU compute systems. We have the X99E-ITX in for review so stay tuned for that within the next few weeks.

Source: ASRock Rack (product page)

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  • WatcherCK - Monday, May 4, 2015 - link

    Is this a board that would be the base for a visualization station (add a quad LAN card) or if you put a RAID/HBA card into it a decent NAS, maybe a gaming board but you already have the X99E-ITX? Im struggling to see (beyond the form factor) what the best fit for this board would be... Supermicro seem to have specific VM and NAS friendly ITX options and everything else you can think of, i wish there was somewhere other than ebay I could buy them from :)
  • ZeDestructor - Monday, May 4, 2015 - link

    For VM and NAS purposes, the Avoton and Xeon-D platforms are just better-suited for small-scale or very large-scale deployments IMO. If you're going LGA-2011 for VM or NAS, you're usually going the whole hog and getting in a dual-socket board.

    Consequntly I have to agree with Ian's opinion of it: this is a very compute-focused board for those that want something small and dense without the expense of dual-socket or buy-in into blade designs.
  • Ammaross - Monday, May 4, 2015 - link

    Falling behind. Tom's had this article on April 29th. :)

    Would make a nice micro server though.
  • meacupla - Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - link

    pretty cool.

    Just one thing I don't understand, why the extra USB3.0 port on the inside?
  • Mr Perfect - Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - link

    What they mentioned in the article is USB dongle licenses, which is a hardware device that contains the license for your software. You must plug the dongle into the machine and leave it there in order to run the software, like a hardware based DRM. Moving it inside the chassis ensures that it isn't lost, stolen or broken by people working in your equipment room.
  • meacupla - Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - link

    ah, gotcha. Thanks for the explanation.
  • samer1970 - Friday, May 8, 2015 - link

    Actually that internal usb is a soltion for many thing missing like :

    USB sound card !!!

    USB wifi !!!

    it is a smart move !

    you can still add sound to this motherboard ! and something like

    the Xonar U7

    if you unbox it and use the card inside the case and use that internal usb3 , and find a place to stick that board inside the case , you end up with a super usb sound card in itx case.

    also, you can use that internal usb for Wifi stick !
  • TomWomack - Tuesday, May 5, 2015 - link

    That's a neat design; does Asrock also offer cases which store lots of these boards in a rack-mountable form factor? It is irritating that the 17cm Mini-ITX board doesn't quite fit three across a 19-inch rack.

    Are there manufacturers of small (comparable to the Compucase 8K01) Mini-ITX cases with 200W PSU and adequate cooling for an eight-core Xeon?
  • KateH - Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - link

    Impressive board, and the price is good. With a nice case and something like a R9 295X, it would make a great Mac Pro-clone at a fraction of the cost!
  • StrangerGuy - Wednesday, May 6, 2015 - link

    My question is: why did JEDEC even specify a desktop DIMM for DDR3/DDR4 when the mobile DIMM is already more than sufficient for desktop applications?

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