We have already seen some impressive things from AMD's long awaited Zen microarchitecture in the form of Ryzen, and in the not-too-distant future Threadripper will carry the torch on the desktop. However, things are just getting started. Zen will really spread its wings in the server and data center market, boy-oh-boy does Gigabyte have one heck of a motherboard ready.
Gigabyte's new MZ31-AR0 has a boring name but a fun assortment of features of AMD's aptly named EPYC 7000 series processor family. Many of them are overkill for the desktop, including the 16 (yes, SIXTEEN) memory slots that support up to 1TB of DDR4 RAM.
This is a large-size motherboard based on the E-ATX form factor. It is outfitted with AMD's socket SP3, so you can't stick a regular Ryzen processor into this thing. Even if you could, that would be child's play compared to the EPYC processors that are supported here. At the top of the stack is the EPYC 7551P with 32 cores and 64 threads clocked at 2GHz to 3GHz, and 128 PCI Express lanes.
Here is a look at some feature highlights of this motherboard:
- 16 x DDR4 DIMM slots supporting 8-channel memory
- RDIMM modules up to 32GB / LRDIMM and NVDIMM modules up to 64GB
- DDR4-2677/2400/2133MHz support
- Dual SFP+ 10Gb/s LAN ports (Broadcom BCM 57810S)
- Dedicated management port
- 4 X SlimSAS for 16 SATA 6Gbps ports
- M.2 with PCIe Gen3 x4 interface
- Up to 4 x PCIe Gen3 x16 slots and 3 x PCIe Gen3 x8 slots
- Aspeed AST2500 remote management controller
This is a decked out motherboard, though if there is one area where it falls short (compared to desktop motherboards), it's the assortment of external connectivity. It is not loaded with USB ports and other connectors like a typical desktop board, and that's because server and data center demands are different. That said, it does deliver two GbE LAN ports, along with a regular RJ-45 jack for management chores.
Gigabyte did not say when this motherboard will be available or for how much.