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ASRock Rack C2550D4I (Intel Avoton) Mini-ITX Server Motherboard Review

By: William Harmon | Motherboards in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Nov 28, 2014 3:12 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: ASRock Rack

Specifications

 

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One of the main outstanding features of the C2550D4I is the large number of SATA ports, which makes this motherboard ideal for storage applications. The next feature we like is 4x DIMM slots, which enable you to add a large amount of memory in comparison to other motherboards of this type.

 

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All of the Avoton platforms have a simple block diagram, and this one is no different. You can see what controllers the SATA ports use on this diagram, and how the PCIe interfaces with the system.

 

 

Layout

 

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Here we get our first look at the ASRock C2550D4I. With a size of 6.7" x 6.7", this is a very small motherboard, but there are a massive amount of features packed into this tiny area.

 

The ASRock C2550D4I supports the Intel Atom C-Series FCBGA processors. This SoC (System-on-Chip) has memory and PCIe controllers integrated to support two-channel (four DIMMs) DDR3 memory, and the PCI express 2.0 lanes. The C2550D4I also has improved CPU performance, integrated voltage regulators, and is very energy efficient.

 

The onboard Marvell SE9230 supports 4x SATA 3.0 6.0Gb/s (blue), followed by a Marvell SE9230, which supports 2x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (white). On the other side of the board, we have 2x SATA3 6.0Gbps, and 4x SATA2 3.0Gbps supported by C2550.

 

For network connectivity, there are Dual Intel i210 Gigabit LAN ports (which support Teaming function). The C2550D4I also includes a BMC controller, ASPEED AST2300 that includes IPMI 2.0, and iKVM support through a dedicated IPMI LAN port.

 

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Here we get a look at the 4x SATA 3.0 6.0Gb/s (blue), followed by a Marvell SE9230, which supports 2x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (white) ports that are controlled by the onboard Marvell SE9230. Just below the SATA ports, we can see the ASPEED AST2300 chip that supports IPMI and iKVM. Also, at the left of the picture, we see two BMC SMB Headers, and the Intelligent Platform Management Bus header.

 

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At the front of the board we can see 2x SATA3 6.0Gbps, 4x SATA2 3.0Gbps supported by C2550 chip. Just below the CPU heat sink we have two rear fan headers, and on the right, two CPU fan headers; these are for case fans to control airflow through an enclosure.

 

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In this picture, you can see that the main CPU heat sink is rather large. This works very well for the Avoton CPU because it generates very little heat. We ran our test system without a fan blowing across here, and it ran just fine in this configuration. Our test bed was an open-air bench type setup, so this was not an issue for us. Inside of an enclosure, we would recommend using a fan to help keep the system cooler.

 

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Now we are looking at the back IO ports. On the left side of the board we have video output, and a COM port above that. The next stack has a LAN RJ-45 port with two USB 2.0 ports below. This LAN port can be used for BMC functions. The last stack has two LAN RJ-45 ports, and a UID switch/LED next to it.

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