ASRock EPC612D4I Motherboard: Mini-ITX LGA 2011-3 with Quad-Channel DDR4

Subject: Motherboards | May 1, 2015 - 09:25 AM |
Tagged: sodimm, quad-channel, mini-itx, EPC612D4I, ddr4, ASRock Rack, asrock

They finally did it! A new mini-ITX LGA 2011-3 has been announced by ASRock, the EPC612D4I, and this server-grade product will offer full quad-channel memory support with a switch to SoDIMM RAM.

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Image credit: Tom’s IT Pro

While ASRock had previously released a mini-ITX X99 motherboard (the X99E-ITX/ac) there were concessions made based on the limitations of the form-factor, and the motherboard was limited to dual-channel memory with only two DDR4 DIMM slots. So for a full quad-channel experience it became obvious that a switch to SoDIMM’s would be required. So are there any DDR4 SoDIMMs available? They certainly aren’t cheap, but a quick search for the model number of this new board finds a page from Crucial for compatible DDR4 modules – at a cost of $555.99 for a massive 32GB (4x8GB) of 1.2V DDR4-2133 ECC memory.

Specs for the EPC612D4I from ASRock:

  • LGA 2011 R3 Intel Xeon processor E5-1600/2600 v3 series
  • 4x SO-DIMM slots, supports quad-channel DDR4 2133/1866 ECC
  • 4x SATA 6Gb/s by C612
  • 1x PCIe 3.0 x16                      
  • Integrated IPMI 2.0 with KVM and Dedicated LAN (RTL8211E)
  • Intel Dual GLAN (Intel i210 + Intel i217)

The new board was first reported by Tom's IT Pro and their article lists the retail price for the ASRock EPC612D4I at $265, which isn’t bad for a product like this. While definitely targeting the server market this could potentially be implemented for a very compact workstation setup (and allow creation of a PC to rival the diminutive Mac Pro, perhaps).

Source: ASRock

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May 1, 2015 | 09:44 AM - Posted by BBMan (not verified)

It figures. 2011-v3 processors are huge, so they're going to be the Bigfoot footprint on this. They will should mostly be like global warming for the rest of this form factor.

Sorry, but this borders on the absurd.

May 1, 2015 | 10:37 AM - Posted by collie

How much heat would you need to account for with this guy fully packed?
It's cool, it's impresive, but it's a bit silly no? Any mITX space savings are gona go to radiators and or fans, so why?

On the other hand, it's very impressive what they can pack on such a small board, I bet there isn't a hair's worth of unaccounted space.

May 1, 2015 | 10:43 AM - Posted by jiyang1018

To make LGA2011 work properly in an mITX, it is probably better to put some components on the back of the PCB; there is just not enough space.

May 1, 2015 | 11:00 AM - Posted by legokill101 (not verified)

No matter how I look at it, with the green pcb, bare aluminium heatsinks, it looks more like it was designed for servers then as a desktop case. I mean just compare it to their other x99 mitx board. especial true with the ipmi, duel gigabit and integrated kvm

May 4, 2015 | 03:35 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

It IS designed for servers. Notice no audio and dual ethernet?

May 4, 2015 | 08:56 AM - Posted by collie

I hadn't noticed that detail, good catch!

May 1, 2015 | 11:06 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yeah certainly server based, with the three NICs. Could also serve as a great little ESXI/hypervisor of choice host.

May 1, 2015 | 11:07 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

"(and allow creation of a PC to rival the diminutive Mac Pro, perhaps)".

And perhaps not if you are up against Apple's economy of scale, Apple Gets those Dual Firepro cards at a volume discount, and this motherboard does not have the PCI slots to host dual cards. A little larger motherboard with dual/or more PCIe x16 slots would be a better choice for a workstation to rival Apple's product. but beating the Mac Pro on price for the GPU hardware components you get, that is what is difficult. It's better to spend the money and get a workstation, there are plenty of last years model workstations new and on sale that can beat Apple's Mac Pro and come in at around the same price. It's not as if Apple uses the latest and greatest components in the Mac Pros, and Apple has not come out with any updated Mac Pros, so last years HP/Dell, or other workstation OEMs probably have plenty of last model years SKUs at a very competitive price, with much better expandability options.

May 1, 2015 | 12:20 PM - Posted by Sebastian Peak

I wasn't trying to imply that you could completely recreate a Mac Pro, only that you could create a small PC with the same kind of power. A very small workstation would be an interesting project, and this board would allow the use of a Xeon with quad-core ECC memory (like the Mac Pro). Naturally, this wouldn't have the ability to support dual GPUs, and Apple also uses PCIe flash storage with the Mac Pro. Still, a powerful GPU and this system could fit into a case as small as the NCASE M1 (which is the enclosure I had in mind).

May 1, 2015 | 05:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No doubts that this motherboard form factor could be useful, and more portable like the Mac Pro, it's the economy of scale that the big OEMs have in offering the GPU cards at an affordable price, and that is why the Mac Pro is hard to replicate if the graphics cards need to be purchased separately. I'm sure there will be uses for this board in a small from factor case that could be brought with on the road where a server's power would be needed for certain uses, or for on site testing of server VM configuration builds before they are committed to the main server systems.

Those portable workstation laptops cost and an arm and a leg above what you could build with this motherboard in a small case, and for this use this Mini-ITX motherboard may find some adoption, among other uses. A small workstation/server build testing rig brought on site to debug test builds, that is just as portable as those overpriced portable server/workstation laptops, and with even better thermal headroom than a laptop based device, is where this product will shine, and would cost less than half of what a portable server/workstation laptop costs.
Hopefully there will be some builds tested by you or others, with some rendering benchmarks done on the CPU(Ray tracing).

I'm sure going to be pricing some builds for rendering workloads maybe even some configurations that use two motherboards/systems, LANed up render farm style, if the prices of the lower end Xeons make that a better option. It depends on the costs of memory for quad channel kits, and deals on the 6 core Xeons, some sale pricing for the lower end Xeons can justify getting 2 of them instead of one larger core count SKU. Hopefully there will be other motherboard manufactures getting competing products so prices will come down.

May 1, 2015 | 12:29 PM - Posted by dragosmp (not verified)

I was thinking about the Bitfenix Prodigy, should work well enough

May 3, 2015 | 05:21 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

"NCase M1" and "Protocase NOVA" for me.

May 3, 2015 | 05:19 PM - Posted by Master Chen (not verified)

'DEM SO-DIMMS.

May 4, 2015 | 12:15 PM - Posted by Ziggurat (not verified)

OMG, this is beautiful. But why does it have a low profile IO shield? I mean with the size of the CPU cooler (even if you have an AIO water cooler). I'd like to see the case this was made for :)

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