IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a tiny, power efficient server motherboard, then the new range of Pine View based mini-ITX server boards from Supermicro might just be what you’re looking for. The company has launched three boards going under the X7SPA moniker that offer slight variations in the feature set from each other.
The X7SPA-HF features the dual core Atom D510 processor, but oddly enough it seems that Supermicro isn’t using the NM10 PCH, instead the board is listed as using the ICH9R. We’re not quite sure how Supermicro has done this, but it adds six SATA ports with RAID support, something you won’t get with the NM10. This is as far as we know not a configuration supported by Intel. But things get even stranger as Supermicro has also fitted a Matrox G200eW graphics chip to the board with 128MB of dedicated graphics memory. However, this isn’t just a plain old graphics chip as it also houses a baseboard management controller with IPMI 2.0 and KVMR support for remote access.
The board also has a x16 PCI Express slot, although it only offers four lanes worth of bandwidth. Add to that a pair of Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers, two SO-DIMM slots and a standard USB 2.0 port on the board and you’ve got something quite unusual here. The board also has two rear USB 2.0 ports, a D-sub connector, a serial port and headers for an additional five USB 2.0 ports and one additional serial port. This board seems to be retailing for about $250, so no, it’s not an affordable solution for a home server.
Supermicro is also offering a slightly cut-down version called the X7SPA-H, which loses the Matrox graphics chip but retains all the other features. We don’t have a price for this model. Finally we have the X7SPA-L, which uses the single core Atom D410 processor and doesn’t have RAID since it has to make do with the ICH9. As such this model also only has four SATA ports. Supermicro has also got rid of one of the Ethernet ports. However, this model gains two additional serial port headers and LVDS support, as well as HD audio. We don’t have a price for this model either.
Supermicro has been on the forefront of power efficient servers and server boards for quite some time and these new additions, as peculiar as they are, just re-affirm Supermicro’s dedication to the cause. We’ll have to wait and see where these products finally find a home, but we’re sure there are plenty of interested customers waiting to get their hands on these new boards.strong>S|A
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