MSI Releases Intel C236 Workstation Motherboards for Xeon E3-1200 v5

Subject: Motherboards | December 22, 2015 - 11:06 AM |
Tagged: Xeon E3-1200 V5, workstation, msi, motherboard, Intel C236, C236M Workstation, C236A Workstation

MSI has launched a pair of workstation motherboards based on Intel's C236 chipset, with support for the new 6th-gen "Skylake" Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 processors.

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With the C236A Workstation (ATX) and C236M Workstation (Micro-ATX) boards potential system builders will have a lot of flexibility with enclosure size, and both motherboards support ECC DDR4.

"MSI C236 WORKSTATION motherboards are optimized for professional and industrial use. Advanced PCB design, engineered using industry leading standards and the use of the highest quality components passing the most extreme quality validation, the C236A WORKSTATION and C236M WORKSTATION motherboards guarantee the best in performance and reliability. Designed and optimized for NVIDIA® Quadro® and AMD® FirePro graphics cards multi-GPU setups, equipped with unique Steel Armor and optimal PCI Express slot placement ensure great efficiency and perfect stability for heavy duty computing."

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The MSI C236A Workstation Motherboard

The specifications of the two motherboards differ in more ways than form-factor, with the biggest feature set coming from the ATX model (C236A):

  • Supports Intel Xeon E3 v5 series / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron processors for LGA 1151 socket
  • Supports ECC DDR4 Memory
  • Supports Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro professional graphics cards
  • DDR4 Boost
  • USB 3.1 Gen2 (Type-C port, ASMedia ASM1142 Chipset)
  • Turbo M.2 32Gb/s
  • Multi-GPU with Steel Armor PCI-E slots (Supports NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire)
  • Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN
  • Click BIOS 5
  • Military Class 4
  • Overvoltage Protection
  • Windows 10 Ready

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The C236M Workstation Motherboard

The Micro-ATX model (C236M) looks to be more of a budget option, with differences including lack of M.2 support, no USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, and Realtek RTL8111H Gigabit LAN instead of the larger board's Intel NIC. As this is mATX there are only two PCIe slots, which are configured x16/x4.

Pricing and availability were not immediately available.

Source: MSI

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December 22, 2015 | 01:42 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Wow, the mATX board really got shafted. People who want a smaller form factor want all the current features, too. In fact, it's even more important with fewer expansion options.

December 22, 2015 | 02:00 PM - Posted by Jason (not verified)

How are these different from enthusiast PC's? I'm a professional and have never considered going this direction.

December 22, 2015 | 08:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The most apparent differences in this board are in quality control and ECC RAM support. If you don't know why you'd need a workstation board over something consumer grade, chances are you don't need it. This is pretty lame as far as workstation boards go anyway. Pretty, but still lame.

December 23, 2015 | 01:38 AM - Posted by Hakuren

I don't get it. What is the point? With HPTX boards like SR-2 and X or with XL-ATX during X58 era yes. It was great stuff, but this? This is pointless in the extreme.

December 28, 2015 | 12:46 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

These boards don't seem to have much of a market unless you can find a Skylake based Xeon in stock. All of the i7 Skylake processors seem to be out of stock at newegg. There may be some cases where you can get a better deal on a low-end Xeon compared to a consumer version, but this doesn't seem like it would save much money.

I have considered building a system with server grade parts mostly for ECC. I am of the opinion that all memory should be ECC protected. I have gotten hit with bad memory (single bit error) before that caused a lot of file corruption. All of the files on your hard drive passed through memory on the way there. I had a lot of corrupted files before the error was noticed. Hard drives and SSDs always use some form of error correction; why is it okay to not use this on system memory? It annoys me that they use this feature for market segmentation. It cost quite a bit more to get ECC if you want speed comparable to a high-end desktop machine, it just isn't worth it for most people.

July 8, 2016 | 03:47 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I am using an MSI C236M with a Skylake Pentium and ECC DDR4 memory. Essentially, this is a budget home workstation that won't be used for gaming.
If I wanted a full blown workstation, I would use an MSI C236A or ASUS P10S WS or Supermicro motherboard with a Xeon e3-1245v5.
But for my budget for a home workstation, the C236M and Pentium are pretty nice. Actually, this might work for gaming with a GTX 750 ti or GTX 950.

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