Gigabyte MZ31-AR0: EPYC Motherboard With Dual 10Gb/s LAN, 16 SATA Ports, Seven PCI-E Slots
Written by Michael Larabel in Motherboards on 5 April 2018. Page 1 of 2. 32 Comments

When it comes to our AMD EPYC Linux testing the past number of months, one of the most common test requests was to test the Gigabyte MZ31-AR0 motherboard, which is more workstation oriented than traditional server with plenty of PCI Express slots for suiting multiple graphics cards, etc. Over the past month I have been testing out this single-socket AMD EPYC motherboard and overall it has worked out fairly well.

The Gigabyte MZ31-AR0 can accommodate one AMD EPYC 7000 series processor, sports sixteen RDIMM/LRDIMM memory sockets for plenty of RAM and exploiting the eight-channel memory support of EPYC, two SFP+ 10Gb/s LAN ports, four slim-SAS ports for up to sixteen SATA 3.0 ports, one M.2 socket, four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, another three PCI Express 3.0 x8 slots, and has an ASpeed AST2500 remote management controller and Broadcom BCM57810S.

Overall, it's quite a featureful board with plenty of PCI Express slots, plenty of SATA potential, and dual 10 Gigabit LAN onboard. I picked up the MZ31-AR0 when in need of another AMD EPYC motherboard for some testing. A full run-down on this Gigabyte EPYC motherboard specifications via Gigabyte.com.

The M.2 slot on this motherboard is nice but it would have been better if they were able to squeeze at least two M.2 slots on this EATX motherboard. I ended up using a PCI Express adapter to M.2 for allowing two NVMe SSDs.

Other features on this motherboard not yet mentioned include both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 headers backed by dual GL850 controllers, TPM header with TPM 2.0 support, and COM header. The plethora of connectivity on this motherboard can be thanked to EPYC CPUs featuring 128 PCI Express lanes.

While there are plenty of PCI Express slots, do note that the top four PCI-E slots are behind eight of the DDR4 DIMMs, which will end up blocking any longer PCI-E card (including graphics cards) from being installed. When popping in a large graphics card, only the bottom three PCI-E slots are without any interference.

Rear I/O panel ports include a VGA, COM, the dual SFP+ 10Gb/s LAN ports, Ethernet port for the BMC, two USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports. Besides the 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports it would have been nice if Gigabyte still included a Gigabit Ethernet port for those not yet prepared to make the investment into 10 Gigabit. Additionally, I long for the day still where even on server motherboards are HDMI (or DP) ports with server motherboards being the only reason I still keep VGA cables around...



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