Intel’s hegemony has been broken: both in the laptop and desktop market as well as in the server world, AMD is again a name to be reckoned with. Such a shift in the market entails many changes. Where until recently server manufacturers could use a handful of platforms, the market has changed with the arrival of AMD. This ensures that server buyers have more choice.
The Gigabyte MZ72-HB0 motherboard can accommodate two AMD Epyc 7002 chips.
These choices are available for those looking for a complete solution for one of the major brands, as well as for those who want to get started with a screwdriver or have a supplier who wants to do work to put together a custom-made machine. Gigabyte is also active in this market and in this Deep Dive the MZ72-HB0 is discussed: a server board that offers space for two powerful AMD Epyc Rome processors. In the case of this article, they are two chips from the Epyc 7002 family. Gigabyte has many years of experience in the component market and is known for its high quality.
The brand is also very active in the server market and forms an important foundation of the internet. Well-known sites that you use every day are based on the products of this brand. You too can take advantage of that quality and possibilities, which is why we introduce you to this motherboard today.
This series includes a wide variety of models suitable for a variety of workloads. The series starts with models that offer only eight cores, but that goes up to versions with no less than 64 cores on board: good for 128 threads per processor. In a dual CPU setup like this, you get 128 cores and a total of 256 threads. The chips are produced using TSMC’s 7nm process. This article uses two EPYC 7742s with 64 cores, 225 Watts TDP, 256MB L3 cache and 128 PCIe lanes, operating with 2.25GHz baseclock and max boost up to 3.4GHz.
Because the Gigabyte board uses the E-ATX format, you can also store it in a standard housing. Of course you have to keep an eye on the airflow. Yet this is a board that actually deserves its place in a server rack or space intended for it. On the other hand, this characterizes the flexibility of building a custom server. You can put it in any outfit you like.
Up to 2TB of RAM
There is a ‘but’ to this: a server is different from a desktop. With a server, you always choose a configuration that is as stable as possible. Crashing or getting stuck is neither possible nor allowed. That is why it is of the utmost importance to select working memory carefully. In general, server motherboards are more fussy than desktops. It is therefore smart to opt for validated modules. You can find this via the compatibility list on the Gigabyte website. With one module per channel you can reach 3200MHz, with two modules per channel 2933MHz.
The Gigabyte MZ72-HB0 during testing with Cinebench 23.
Here you see that you could grow on this board to no less than 2TB of working memory. The board offers sixteen memory slots that are placed around the processor feet. At the moment, Kingston offers the possibility to grow to 1TB with its current modules, where you can also use ECC error correction. The latter is recommended for highly critical tasks where failure is highly undesirable. The Gigabyte board had Kingston 8 GB modules installed sixteen times, for a total of 128 GB of memory. This was combined with a 1000 Watt bequiet power supply and two TR4 coolers of the same brand, which resulted in an extremely quiet confiuration.
What are server motherboards?
Motherboards all look alike: you think so at first glance. Yet there are plenty of differences. Just take a look at the regular desktop motherboards, where you will find differences between bare standard entry-level motherboards, boards intended for gamers, boards for creatives, and those who want to achieve the best performance through overclocking. A server motherboard is also different.
The block diagram of the Gigabyte MZ72-HB0.
Of course you will find a processor socket, memory slots and a number of other facilities that you actually always encounter. If you let your eye look over the board, however, you immediately see differences with a modern board. For example, at the back of the I / O shield you will find far fewer connection options than usual. You will find a serial port, two USB 3.0 ports, VGA and no fewer than three network connections. That is quite different from what you see on a standard desktop board.
On the back you will find VGA and no less than three network connections.
One of the network connections stands out: it is mounted above the two USB 3.0 connections. This is the loose network connection for the management facilities of the Gigabyte MZ72-HB0. The two network connections that are mounted directly on the pcb offer 10 gigabit via standard RJ45 utp connections. A Broadcom BCM57416 controller is used for this. You will also find an LED with the I / O shield that you can flash remotely. Handy to find the machine you are managing, if there are several in a rack.
The board also offers six PCIe x16 slots. Slot 1 and 2 are x16 wired and the rest are linked with x4 connections. For the connections to storage we find an m.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 slot, and two U.2’s with the same connection option. In addition, there are three Slimsas connections and four SATA connections available. So you can even connect a lot of storage with an extra controller[BR1] . The board does not have TPM on board as standard, you have to add that yourself.
In addition to extensive network options, the Gigabyte MZ72-HBO offers extensive options for connecting storage: 3x SLIM SAS, 2x U2 PCIe 4.0x 4, 4x SATA and an m.2 connection with PCIe 4.0×4.
Dual Epyc Rome, 2x 10 gigabit, management functions and many storage connections.
The connections of the board differ from those of a standard motherboard. But what makes a server motherboard really a server motherboard? Most of the features in the preceding paragraphs will also work fine on a motherboard for workstation applications. A dual Epyc setup is also not to be sneezed at for such an environment. A few small things that stand out make it clear that this motherboard is intended for the server market. These are the extra network connections, the VGA connector, the serial port and the LED indicator.
The management capabilities are quite extensive and are controlled from an Aspeed AST2500-BMC controller. This controller offers you the possibility to manage the device completely remotely. Gigabyte does not charge any (extra) license costs for this. So you can get started right away.
In this video you can view all features.
You can also remotely take over control of the system via the built-in IP-KVM. These licenses are also included with the board.
How fast are 128 cores?
To get an impression of the speed: the Gigabyte MZ72-HB0 is equipped with two AMD Epyc 7742 64-core processors, 128GB Kingston KSM32RS8 / 8HDR memory (16 modules), a Be quiet 1000 Watt Straight Power 11 Platinum, a Seagate Ironwolf 510 2TB ssd (PCIe 3.0) and Windows 10 Pro 20H2. Below you can see some results of tests that have been performed on this platform.
Building your own server offers optimal flexibility. In addition to flexibility, it also offers the possibility to realize an excellent price / quality ratio. The configuration shown is an example of this? Do you want to know more about Gigabyte server motherboards? Then check out www.gigabyte.com.
This advertorial was commissioned by Gigabyte, courtesy of be quiet and Kingston.
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