Linux 5.13 To Allow For OpenBMC Development With A Lower-Cost ASRock Rack Motherboard

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 14 April 2021 at 02:00 AM EDT. Add A Comment
The Linux Foundation's OpenBMC project to provide an open-source BMC firmware stack is quite exciting for freeing this low-level aspect of servers, but finding a supported motherboard that works well with OpenBMC can be a challenge at this stage. Fortunately, Linux 5.13 is set to support a lower-cost motherboard option in hopes of boosting OpenBMC development/usage.

Queued into the SoC "for-next" Git tree is support for the baseboard management controller on the ASRock Rack E3C246D4I motherboard.

Zev Weiss of Equinix explained of the motivation for getting the BMC of this ASRock Rack motherboard supported by the mainline kernel, "This is a relatively low-cost AST2500-based Xeon E-2100/E-2200 series mini-ITX board that we hope can provide a decent platform for OpenBMC development. This initial device-tree provides the necessary configuration for basic BMC functionality such as host power control, serial console and KVM support, and POST code snooping."

The AsRock Rack E3C246D4I-2T is a mini-ITX server motherboard still available in retail channels for around $350 USD. This mini-ITX ASRock Rack board supports up to 95 Watt CPUs in the Intel Xeon E-2100 series, four SO-DIMM slots for DDR4 memory, one PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot, eight SATA 3 ports, dual 10G LAN ports, and features an ASpeed AST2500 BMC.

The Xeon E 2100 series have been around since 2018 as being "Coffee Lake" server processors up to six cores. The hardware itself isn't all that exciting in 2021 especially for a $350+ motherboard, but it's at least on the lower cost of the spectrum for those wanting to get into the OpenBMC world. Other OpenBMC supportive hardware tends to be expensive IBM POWER9 systems and other harder to procure boards.

So this addition ahead of the Linux 5.13 merge window is interesting as a lower cost motherboard but not necessarily exciting from the hardware/performance standpoint unless just after a platform for working on open-source BMC firmware development with the Linux-based OpenBMC stack.
Related News
About The Author
Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

Popular News This Week