Top motherboard manufacturer Gigabyte has upped its server game with a trio of new high-end and cost-efficient Xeon W server motherboards based on Intel's Basin Falls platform.
The Basin Falls platform is divided into two chipsets aimed at completely different audiences. The X299 chipset tends to the needs of enthusiasts in the HEDT (high-end desktop) market, while the C422 chipset is aimed specifically at the workstation crowd. Gigabyte's latest MF51-ES2, MF51-ES1 and MF51-ES0 motherboards rock the latter chipset and sport a LGA 2066 socket just like the mainstream X299 offerings.
The three new motherboards from Gigabyte are cut from the same CEB (Compact Electronics Bay Specification) mold and, therefore, measure 304.8mm by 266.7mm. Based on the C422 chipset, the motherboards are compatible with Intel's Xeon-W family of processors with models ranging from four cores to 18 cores. They take advantage of the platform's quad-channel architecture and come equipped with eight DDR4 memory slots. There's support for up to 64GB of memory at 2,666MHz. Being enterprise-oriented, the MF51-ES2, MF51-ES1 and MF51-ES0 can house registered DIMM (RDIMM) and load-reduced DIMM (LRDIMM) modules.
The C422-based motherboards provide comprehensive storage options for enterprise users. The cocktail of storage connectors includes eight SATA III ports, two SilmSAS PCIe 3.0 x4 ports for U.2 storage and an M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 port to support the latest NVMe drives. In terms of expansion slots, consumers have two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and a single PCIe 3.0 x8 slot at their disposal.
The difference between each motherboard resides in the selection of network ports. The entry-level MF51-ES2 has two GbE LAN ports based on the Intel Ethernet Controller I210. The mid-range MF51-ES1 features four GbE LAN ports, two from the Intel Ethernet Controller I350 and the rest from the Intel Ethernet Controller I210. As for the top dog, the MF51-ES0 comes with two 10Gb/s BASE-T LAN ports based on the Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X550 and two GbE LAN ports from the Intel Ethernet Controller I210.
Gigabyte didn't reveal the availability or pricing of the new Xeon W server motherboards.
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Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.