The main supporting features of this motherboard are its large number of MiniSAS and Network ports, which give storage and RAID options right out of the box, and plenty of expansion options.
The four LAN connections also supply basic network connectivity and provide the option to install faster network cards into the PCIe expansion slot. The board also comes equipped with IPMI/iKVM as standard features.
Here we get our first look at the ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L. With a size of 6.7" x 6.7", this is a very small motherboard, but it has a massive amount of features packed into this tiny area.
The ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L supports the Intel Atom C-Series FCBGA processors. This SOC (system on a chip) has memory and PCIe controllers integrated to support 2-channel (2 DIMMs) DDR3 memory and 4x PCI express 2.0 lanes. It also has improved CPU performance, integrated voltage regulators, and is very energy efficient.
The onboard Marvell 88E1543 Quad PHY LAN solution uses SGMI interface and could achieve network throughput close to Gigabit bandwidth. The Quad LAN teaming ports provide high network bandwidth with load balance and fault tolerance functions.
Also included on the ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L is a M.2 slot for SSD installs. This port does share bandwidth with the SATA 6Gb/s ports and is dedicated to running an operating system. Add in a M.2 SSD and the system can support up to 108TB of storage. Storage options include 2x Marvell 88SE94585 controllers with a total of 4x MiniSAS connectors giving this a total of 16 drives that can be attached.
As you will see in the BIOS screens shots later in the review, the P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L features ASUS fan speed technology that will adjust fan speeds according to system loading and ensure quiet, cool, and efficient operation. Also the P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L comes with onboard ASMB7-iKVM server management, which enables dashboard system health monitoring. The ASWM Enterprise software includes centralized management through a graphic interface.
Here we get a look at the main storage connections for the ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L. We can see the heat sinks for the 2x Marvell 88SE94585 controllers and also the 4x MiniSAS connectors, each can have four drives attached.
Next to the MiniSAS connectors, we find three white fan headers. The first two are for case fans and the third for a CPU fan, if used. The two SATA connectors are next. The white or gray connector as it is called in the manual, shares its bandwidth with the M.2 SATA port. The blue SATA port is also a 6Gb/s port. The next three white fan headers are for cases fans. And above the white fan headers is a 4-Pin power connector.
The upper right side of the motherboard has a white COM port next to the battery. Headers located next to the RAM slots are the System Panel and Auxiliary Panel connectors.
This is a close up of the heat sink for the integrated Intel Atom C2550 FCBGA processor. The system stays very cool, so it does not need a fan directly over the heat sink. However, to ensure cool operation, some form of a case fan should have its airflow directed over this area.
Looking at the back IO ports now, on the left side of the board is a power button. The Blue, Yellow, Red LED display is for:
- Blue: Message LED, indicates an abnormal event occurrence
- Yellow: HDD Error LED, which will light up or flash if HDD errors are found
- Red: Location LED, if location services are enabled this will light up
- 1x VGA port
- 1x BMC network LAN port with 2x USB ports under that
- 4x Gigabit LAN ports
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