The MSI C236A Workstation Motherboard Continues Working Out Great For Skylake Xeons

Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 8 January 2017 at 08:16 AM EST. 2 Comments
Just in case any of you now are thinking about building a Xeon E3 v5 "Skylake" workstation-ish system now that the prices are getting lower, I just wanted to pass along that the MSI C236A WORKSTATION motherboard is still serving me very reliably and ended up picking up another one of these boards when a Supermicro Skylake board stopped working.

MSI sent over the C236A WORKSTATION motherboard for review on Phoronix in early 2016. It's still what is used in many of our Linux benchmarking articles paired with a Xeon E3-1280 v5 for delivering great speeds. This board has worked out reliably on not only every Linux distribution I've tried but also BSDs, OpenIndiana/Solaris, and yes Windows when doing some cross-OS comparisons. It's worked out fine without any real issues to think of over the better part of one year.

Meanwhile, a Super Micro motherboard I picked up at the end of 2015 had recently stopped working... When running into some UEFI booting issues with some cross-distribution tests I was recently working on, from the BIOS / setup utility I decided to remove all of the UEFI boot options that were listed (Fedora, Ubuntu, etc) and then rebooting with plans to reinstall the OS. But instead, when removing all of those UEFI boot options, the motherboard won't even POST anymore. And yanking the battery and other tricks were to no avail. Thus when thinking about a new Intel C232/C236 motherboard for this Xeon E3-1245 v5, the choice was easy and I bought another MSI C236A Workstation board.

Changing out the motherboard, the system quickly booted up and we were back into the races. This E3-1245 v5 system is one of those systems doing daily benchmarks of Clear Linux on The new board is working out fine and it was even among the cheapest C236 ATX motherboard options when checking recently on Amazon and NewEgg. For those potentially interested in this board, this Linux-friendly mobo can be found for $169 USD.
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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

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