It's not uncommon to find Intel's Atom processors in NAS servers. These low power processors have dominated the 4-bay NAS market for a few years. Over the last year, Atom processors have crept into larger NAS servers with up eight bays. Now, it seems that isn't enough. Late last year, Intel released the most ambitious Atom processor, codenamed Avoton, to date.
The Atom C2750 is an 8-core SoC with a clock speed of 2.4GHz (2.6GHz Turbo) with support for up to 64GB DDR3-1600 DRAM. The 2750 also supports 16 PCIe 2.0 lanes, two SATA III buses and four USB 2.0 ports. The 2750 is a 64-bit processor built on 22nm lithography. Intel has five models in the Avoton family that range from two cores to eight.
ASRock has taken the Intel Atom 2750 (8-core) and Atom 2550 (4-core) and built two unique motherboards with twelve SATA ports, dual gigabit Ethernet, and a PCIe 2.0 8-lane connector. The motherboards are impressive on their own, but the barebones server kit is spectacular.
Today, we're looking at the ASRock Rack 1U12LW-2750, a 12-bay cold storage server that is low power, high capacity, and powerful enough for small business NAS duty. The open PCIe port means 10GbE is an option, and the large DRAM capacity means you can run applications on it as well.
Hardware Specifications and Pricing
Modern NAS servers have moved beyond data storage through a wire network. In order to get the most out of a NAS, you need to look at the extra I/O hardware and the mountain of potential software features.
The ASRock Rack 1U12LW-C2750 12-Bay Storage Server is unlike most of the NAS products we write about here. This is a barebones server, which ships with a motherboard, built-in processor, 1U server case, power supply, and cables. End users add RAM, storage (hard drives or solid state), and an operating system. There are two models in the 1U12LW product family: the 8-core Avoton model we're testing today and the 4-core Avoton model we're testing next week.
The 1U12LW-C2750 is currently listed at Amazon in the US for $1059.83 with free shipping. The price is in line with several eight-bay diskless NAS products on the market. You do need to add RAM and an operating system. DDR3 1600MHz is fairly cheap, and a single 4GB stick can cost as low as $30. The 1U12LW products can use either ECC or non-ECC DRAM. Operating systems come in all shapes and sizes, from Windows Storage Server to any number of free Linux operating systems, and a few are even tuned for NAS like FreeNAS.
The PCIe 2.0 8-lane opens the door to 10GbE connectivity or a dedicated RAID controller. 10GbE is an easy endeavor; just add the PCIe card. A dedicated RAID controller like an LSI 9271-8i means some assembly is required since you'll need to change the cabling to the drive sleds.
Sadly, the server does not ship with rails, but ASRock offers them separately. The server does ship with a 250-watt power supply.
PRICING: You can find the ASRock 1U12LW-C2750 for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
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