ASRock Rack EPYCD8-2T Makes For A Great Linux/BSD EPYC Workstation - 7-Way OS AMD 7351P Benchmarks

Written by Michael Larabel in Motherboards on 28 February 2019 at 10:35 AM EST.

If you are looking to assemble an AMD EPYC workstation, a great ATX motherboard up for the task is the ASRock Rack EPYCD8-2T that accommodates a single EPYC processor, eight SATA 3.0 ports (including SAS HD), dual M.2 PCIe slots, dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports,and four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots all within ATX's 12 x 9.6-inch footprint. This motherboard has been running well not only with various Linux distributions but also DragonFlyBSD and FreeBSD.

I picked up the ASRock EPYCD8-2T several weeks back and it's been working out very well as an EPYC 1P board and especially if you are looking more for a desktop/workstation-oriented EPYC build but can work just fine as a server board as well, this board has the common ASpeed AST2500 BMC controller. With the single SP3 socket are eight DDR4 memory slots to keep EPYC happy with its eight DDR4-2666 memory channels compared to four on Threadripper. For plenty of connectivity this motherboard has four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots as well as three PCI Express 3.0 x8 slots. The PCIe slots and ATX size of the motherboard make this board practical should you be wanting a multi-GPU workstation for some scientific workloads that can also commonly leverage the eight memory channels of EPYC. For storage there are plenty of SATA 3.0 ports as well as two SAS HD headers and also two OCuLink ports for U.2 SSDs.

On the networking side there are dual 10 Gigabit RJ45 connections via Intel X550 controllers and the third RJ45 for the IPMI LAN port. It's great having dual 10 Gigabit LAN on this board and its other feature set considering this ATX EPYC motherboard retails for just above $500 USD -- not out of line with other single-socket EPYC motherboards retailing these days from just under $400 USD to $700 at major Internet retailers.

Rear I/O panel ports include serial, VGA for the ASpeed AST2500 controller, two USB 3.0 ports, and the three RJ45 jacks (dual 10 Gigabit, IPMI LAN). It could have been nice seeing more than two USB3 ports on the rear if you do intend for this board to be more of a workstation-style setup, but is certainly suffice for servers and there's always USB hubs or utilizing one of the many PCIe slots for an extra adapter.

ASRock Rack officially supports this motherboard for Windows Server 2012/2016 as well as RHEL 6.9 / RHEL/CentOS 7, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, and Ubuntu 16.04. Besides those enterprise Linux targets, the EPYCD8-2T works as well with other Linux distributions especially the many up-to-date Fedora, Ubuntu, Arch, and other releases. These days any Linux distribution released in the past year or two is working fine with AMD EPYC processors. I personally tested this ASRock EPYCD8-2T with Fedora Workstation 29, CentOS 7, Debian 9.8, Clear Linux 27910, and openSUSE Leap 15.0. The experience was pleasant and without any issues to report on the Linux side.

While Linux distributions work well with all the AMD EPYC tests we run at Phoronix, some of the servers/motherboards we have tested have run into various issues with the BSD operating systems. Fortunately, the EPYCD8-2T is also in good shape there: both DragonFlyBSD 5.4.1 and FreeBSD 12.0 booted up, installed, and subsequently run without any problems on this motherboard. It's great to see all of the major operating systems running nicely on this EPYC ATX board!

Related Articles