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ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L (Intel Avoton) Server Motherboard Review

By: William Harmon | Motherboards in IT/Datacenter | Posted: Aug 22, 2014 2:05 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: ASUS

Power Consumption


We have upgraded our power testing equipment and now use a Yokogawa WT310 power meter for testing. The Yokogawa WT310 feeds its data through a USB cable to another machine where we can capture the test results.


To test total system power use, we used AIDA64 Stability test to load the CPU, and then recorded the results. We also now add in the power use for a server from off state to hitting the power button to turn it on and take it all the way to the desktop. This gives us data on power consumption during the boot up process.




Here we can see that the system with Atom C2550 uses a little more power. Power use jumps right up when we start the tests to a peak of about 55 watts. In some of our SPEC CPU2006 tests, we did see peak power use in the range of 65 watts.




When turned off the P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L, it uses about 4 watts, this keeps IPMI active. After powering on, power jumps to about 48 watts and then peaks out at about the same load. After a brief run up of the server and booting the OS, the P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L motherboard will settle down to the 44 watt range.


This is useful to know when powering up a rack of these servers what the boot up power demands would be like.



Final Thoughts


The ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L fits into the NAS appliance market very well, offering higher bandwidth and lower power consumption with a large number of drives that can be attached.


It offers a large number of MiniSAS connectors for 16 drives total. This puts the P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L in a great position for storage appliances. Its low power use also makes it ideal for slim form factor designs such as 1U and 2U blade type servers.




The motherboard itself uses very low power and requires only passive cooling. Of course, power requirements will go up as drives are attached to the system. Performance of the Intel Atom C2550 is expected for a CPU of this type - its strengths are the storage and network capabilities.


The design of the motherboard allows it to be reversed in a case. With the power button and LED display showing on the front of cases suitable for a NAS. We did find that having server management included was nice; usually we have to purchase an ASMB7-IKVM module to get this feature on ASUS motherboards. Our P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L motherboard did not come with any MiniSAS cables, which we think it should have. These are not costly, but they do add to the initial cost of the system.


The P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L motherboard is also fussy about memory used. None of our normal DDR3 server memory would work with this motherboard. The PA-I only has support for UDIMM with ECC memory, non-ECC UDIMM's are allowed, but not recommended. Be sure to check the Memory/Device support section for supported memory on this platform.



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