Gigabyte this week introduced its new MU92-series motherboards that are designed for Intel's 3rd Generation Xeon Scalable 'Ice Lake-SP' processors with up to 40 cores as well as support Intel's workstation-optimized Xeon W-3300 CPUs with up to 38 cores and high frequencies. The MU92-series platforms are designed primarily for servers.
Gigabyte's MU92-TU motherboard is based on Intel's C621A chipset and are equipped with one Socket P+ for Intel's LGA4189 processors as well as 16 slots for DDR4-3200 SDRAM to enable support of up to 4TB of memory using RDIMMs, LRDIMMs or Intel's Optane Persistent Memory modules.
Gigabyte's MU-92-TU comes in an E-ATX form-factor in a bid to provide additional expandability (and memory capacity) using seven PCIe Gen x16 slots (one works in x16 mode, three can work in x8 or x16 mode, the remaining can only work in x8 mode) for accelerators, high-performance SSDs, and/or network adapters. In addition, the motherboard has one M.2-22110 slot for SSDs with a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface, two SlimSAS connectors supporting 8 SATA ports as well as two native SATA ports.
Being a server motherboard, Gigabyte's MU92-TU does not have rich I/O capabilities. It does have two 10GbE connectors controlled by the Intel X710-AT2 chip as well as one GbE port for IPMI remote management enabled by the Aspeed AST2500 BMC. Also, the unit has two USB 3.0 ports, a COM port, and a D-Sub display output.
As far as software compatibility is concerned, Gigabyte's MU92-TU is compatible with Microsoft's Windows Server 2016/2019, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2/8.3 ( x64) or later, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP5/15 SP2 ( x64) or later, Ubuntu 20.04/20.04.1 LTS (x64) or later,. VMware ESXi 6.7 Update3 P03/ESXi 7.0 Update2, and Citrix Hypervisor 8.2.0.
While the majority of server workloads are optimized for multi-core/multi-threaded systems for easier scaling, there are also workloads that need both high clocks and high core count. Both Intel and AMD have CPUs that offer a balance between core count and frequency and workstation-optimized Xeon W-3300-series is a good example of such balance. To that end, it makes a perfect sense to release a server motherboard that supports both Intel's Xeon Scalable and Xeon W processors.
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Anton Shilov is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.