Stuff a terabyte of RAM in Gigabyte's MZ31-AR0 Epyc motherboard


— 2:00 PM on June 22, 2017

Gigabyte's latest motherboard is a little bit outside the scope of what we usually cover here at TR, but we figure that it deserves a look as it's the first motherboard we've seen for AMD's Epyc server processors. If you've ever wondered what a modern single-socket motherboard with sixteen memory slots looks like, have a gander at Gigabyte's MZ31-AR0.

This blue beauty is a Socket SP3 motherboard in an E-ATX form factor. It supports Epyc 7000-series processors with up to 32 cores and TDP ratings of up to 180 watts. Even though the MZ31-AR0 is a single-socket motherboard, it has two EPS 12V CPU power connectors. Some of that power will likely go toward driving the aforementioned sixteen DIMM slots. You can install any kind of memory in the MZ31-AR0 as long as it's registered DDR4. To hit that magical 1 TB number though, you'll need LRDIMMs or NVDIMMs. The maximum supported speed is DDR4-2667, but transfer rates can drop as low as 1866 MT/s when the DIMM slots are fully populated.

There's no traditional onboard chipset, because most of the connectivity comes directly from the AMD CPU. Epyc chips don't include an IGP, so the MZ31-AR0's Aspeed AST2500 management processor provides some basic video out capabilities. Alternatively, you could install a video card... or five. The board has seven PCIe 3.0 slots, five of which are x16 slots, while the other two are offered in an x8 configuration. Perhaps more notably, the electrical configuration matches the physical configuration for every PCIe slot save for one. There's also a PCIe x4 M.2 socket available, as well as four SlimSAS connectors that can be broken out into sixteen SATA 6 Gbps ports.

Over on the back panel, Gigabyte offers up a pair of SFP+ connectors for 10-Gigabit Ethernet, both powered by a Broadcom BCM57810S chip. There's also a regular old RJ-45 jack for the Aspeed chip's management connectivity. Two USB 3.0 ports and two USB 2.0 connections along with legacy VGA and serial ports all round out the back panel I/O. Gigabyte hasn't announced a release date or pricing for the MZ31-AR0. Don't expect it to be cheap, though.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
View options