ASUS has started sales of a low-cost motherboard for Intel Xeon E-series processors that’s aimed at miniature servers. Based on a yet unannounced chipset, the P11C-I platform comes in the Mini ITX form-factor, so it can fit into very small chassis and/or ensure maximum density in a rack. Meanwhile, the mainboard supports up to eight storage devices out-of-box and up to 15 storage devices when outfitted with an optional ASUS PIKE II SAS card.
The ASUS P11C-I motherboard is based on Intel’s yet unannounced C242 chipset (probably a low-cost version of Cannon Point-H WS) and supports Intel’s Xeon E-2100-series CPUs for entry-level servers, as well as Intel’s 8th Gen Core i3/i5/i7 chips along with their inexpensive Pentium Gold and Celeron counterparts. The motherboard features a quad-phase CPU VRM capable of 95 W that uses solid-state inductors and capacitors to sustain stable operation during prolonged workloads. The P11C-I has two DRAM slots supporting up to 32 GB of DDR4-2667 memory with or without ECC.
The storage capabilities of the ASUS P11C-I are something that clearly deserves mentioning. The motherboard has one M.2 PCIe 2.0 x2 slot for an SSD, six SATA 6 Gbps ports (four via Mini-SAS connectors), and a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot for a high-end SSD. Meanwhile, the latter can accommodate ASUS’s PIKE II 3008-8i 8-port SAS 12G RAID or PIKE II 3108-8i 8-port SAS 12G HW RAID controllers, which use a PCIe 3.0 x8 interface and provide eight SAS ports for storage devices. Therefore, the small Mini-ITX motherboard can support up to 15 storage devices, a rare feature for an SFF platform.
The number of storage ports supported by the platform implies that it is intended for servers rather than for miniature workstations. Indeed, the P11C-I comes with the Aspeed AST2500 baseboard management controller (BMC) and can be equipped with an optional ASMB9-iKVM module for remote BIOS updates, fan control, standalone KVMs, video recording, BSOD capture, and so on. Furthermore, the motherboard has a TPM 2.0 header for an appropriate module. ASUS supplies the motherboard with its ASUS Control Center software.
I/O capabilities of the P11C-I are also server-centric. It has three GbE ports (two controlled by Intel’s I210AT, another one is used for management), two USB 3.1 Gen 1 and two USB 3.1 Gen 2 headers (some SKUs only have two ports), and a D-Sub display output.
|ASUS Mini ITX Motherboard for Xeon E|
|CPUs||LGA1151 v2 CPUs
8th Gen Core i3/i5/i7, Pentium, Celeron
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics from CPU
PCIe 3.0 x16 slot
|Display Outputs||1 × D-Sub|
|Memory||2 × DDR4 DIMM
Up to 32 GB of DDR4-2667
ECC or non-ECC, depending on CPU
|Slots for Add-In-Cards||1 × PCIe 3.0 x16|
|Ethernet||2 × Intel I210AT Gigabit LAN
1 × GbE for management
|Storage||SATA||6 × SATA 6 Gbps (4 over Mini SAS connectors)|
|M.2||1 × M.2 (PCIe 3.0 x2 or SATA)|
|SAS (Optional)||ASUS PIKE II 3008-8i 8-port SAS 12G RAID
ASUS PIKE II 3108-8i 8-port SAS 12G HW RAID
|USB||2 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
2 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
|Form-Factor||Mini-ITX (170 mm × 170 mm | 6.7″ × 6.7″)|
The ASUS P11C-I is already available from select partners of the company. Mindfactory.de sells the product for €178.62 with tax ($169 w/o tax), but without the optional ASUS PIKE II SAS card.