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Supermicro C7X99-OCE (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Mar 31, 2015 1:53 am
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Supermicro

Circuit Analysis

 

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In this section, I will start off with the voltage regulators and then move to other important circuits.

 

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Interestingly enough, this VRM is very reminiscent of other X99 motherboards designed for overclocking. However, there is one major difference: the output filter's capacitors are almost exclusively high-frequency MLCC (multilayered ceramic capacitors) and five 470uF tantalums on the back. I would estimate that the total capacitance is around 3000-4000uF with 2350uF being tantalum and 1000-1500uF of ceramics. The last time I saw this type of output arrangement was with high-frequency Volterra based VRs where the transient response was key. Part of the reason for this is also the characteristics of the inductors and how the LC (inductor and capacitor) circuit works in this case.

 

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The IR3580 is an eight-phase digital PWM with IR's latest technology built into it. The PWM works well with IR3556, which are 50A integrated power stages. Using all International Rectifier parts allows certain International Rectifier technologies to be utilized, such as the Body-Breaking mode, to turn both internal MOSFETs off to increase overall efficiency. The inductors are server-grade Vitec with 66A saturation current.

 

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Each set of two DIMMs has its own triple phase Texas Instruments TPS53640 (under NDA). Each set also has their own Texas Instruments TPS54630, which is a 6A step-down converter used for the VPP supply of each set of DIMMs. The power stages used, 59963 (maybe UDP or CSP), are also from Texas Instruments. I would guess it's a 40A or 50A part from its size, and that it has integrated drivers. However, Texas Instruments is kind of tightlipped with their Intel power solutions. Almost everything Texas Instruments for the VR is very high quality and quite expensive compared to other brands.

 

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Dual Intel WGI210AT NICs provide dual GBit LAN.

 

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Here are two ASMedia ASM1042AE; one is used for the top two USB 3.0 ports, and the other is for the internal header. Each one can have 2x PCI-E 1x routed to it for USB 3.1. These two controllers are possibly the reason there is no M.2, as it takes 4x of PCI-E 2.0 bandwidth to allow these two controllers to provide USB 3.1 speeds.

 

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This is the Realtek ALC1150, and it's located right below the TOSLINK audio outputs. There doesn't seem to be any upgrades to the codec.

 

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Supermicro has really paid attention to the performance of their ports and overall signaling. First, there are two Pericom PI3EQX77, which are USB 3.0 re-drivers that increase USB 3.0 signaling for the back-panel ports. Next, there are two Texas Instruments SN74GTL2014, which are each four channel transceivers that interface between a Xeon processor GTLs and chipset LVTTL, and they also have ESD protection. These are really only found on server motherboards, and the C7X99-OCE also has them.

 

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Some ASM1480 PCI-E 3.0 quick switches can switch bandwidth to the second PCI-E slot from the third for 16x/16x SLI/CrossFireX. The ICS 9DBL411, a quad-channel clock generator, provides clocking signals for the PCI-E 16x slots.

 

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The Super I/O is a Nuvoton NCT6776D, which is quite common for consumer motherboards, and it should provide adequate monitoring capabilities and fan control. There is a single 128Mbit/16MB BIOS ROM for the UEFI.

 

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An ASMedia ASM1182E helps expand PCI-E lanes for the black 1x slots. The empty pads you see are for the C7X99-OCE-F model; this is where the VGA adapter that supports IPMI for server management sits.

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