MSI C236A Workstation Is A Great Skylake Xeon Motherboard For Linux Users
Written by Michael Larabel in Motherboards on 13 April 2016. Page 1 of 2. 15 Comments

For the past month and a half I've been battering the MSI C236A Workstation motherboard with an arsenal of benchmarks and various workloads on Linux and BSD. This MSI motherboard for Xeon E3 v5 "Skylake" processors has been working out great.

At the end of February the kind folks at MSI sent over the C236A Workstation and let us borrow some Xeon E3 v5 CPUs for testing to do a 9-way Xeon Skylake Linux comparison. Since then I've continued using the MSI C236A Workstation in a majority of my other articles when benchmarking graphics cards / drivers under Linux, the Linux kernel, various distributions, etc. The C236A Workstation paired with a speedy E3-1280 v5 has been my go-to setup the past month for running an assortment of tests on Linux and also FreeBSD/PC-BSD 10.3 where it's been working out well. For today's article I just wanted to call some extra attention to this nice workstation-class motherboard.

The C236A Workstation supports not only the Xeon E3 v5 CPUs but also Skylake Core i3, Pentium, and Celeron LGA-1151 Skylake CPUs. This Intel C236 chipset motherboard supports ECC DDR4 (unbuffered) memory, there is USB 3.1 Gen2 support, turbo M.2 and turbo U.2 storage capabilities, multi-GPU support, audio boost, Military Class 4, EZ Debug LEDs, 4K UHD support, optimizations for 10 GBIT LAN cards, and more.

CPU
- Supports Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 series processors, Core i3 processors, and Intel Pentium and Celeron processors for Socket LGA1151

Chipset
- Intel C236 Chipset

Memory
- 4 x DDR4 memory slots, support up to 64GB
- Supports DDR4 2133 MHz
- Dual channel memory architecture
- Supports ECC, un-buffered memory
- Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

Slots
- 3x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (support x16/x0/x4, x8/x8/x4 modes)
- 3x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots

Onboard Graphics
- 1 x HDMI port, supports a maximum resolution of 4096x2160@24Hz, 2560x1600@60Hz
- 1 x VGA port, supports a maximum resolution of 2048x1536@50Hz, 2048x1280@60Hz, 1920X1200@60Hz
- 1 x DVI-D port, supports a maximum resolution of 1920x1200@60Hz

Multi-GPU
- Supports 3-Way AMD CrossFire Technology
- Supports 2-Way NVIDIA SLI Technology

On-Board SATA
- Intel C236 Chipset
- 6x SATA 6Gb/s ports
- Supports RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10 for SATA storage devices
- 1x M.2 slot
- Supports PCIe 3.0 x4 standard, 4.2cm/ 6cm/ 8cm length M.2 SSD cards
- Supports PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe Mini-SAS SSD with Turbo U.2 Host Card
- Supports Intel Smart Response Technology for Intel Core processors

USB
- ASMedia ASM1142 Chipset
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port on the back panel
- Intel C236 Chipset
- 6 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (SuperSpeed USB) ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB connector)
- 6 x USB 2.0 (High-speed USB) ports (2 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB connector)

Audio
- Realtek ALC1150 Codec
- 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio

LAN
- 1 x Intel I219-V Gigabit LAN controller

Back Panel I/O Ports
- 1x PS/2 mouse port
- 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
- 1 x VGA port
- 1 x DVI-D port
- 1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 ports
- 1 x HDMI port
- 1 x LAN (RJ45) port
- 2 x USB 2.0 ports
- 6 x audio jacks

Internal I/O Connectors
- 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
- 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
- 2 x USB 2.0 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 2.0 ports)
- 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 connectors (supports additional 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports)
- 2 x 4-pin CPU fan connectors
- 3 x 4-pin system fan connectors
- 1 x Front panel audio connector
- 2 x Front panel connectors
- 1 x TPM module connector
- 1 x Chassis Intrusion connector
- 1 x Serial port connector
- 1 x Parallel port connector
- 1 x Clear CMOS jumper



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