ASRock Rack showcased the first motherboards for Ampere’s Altra and Altra Max processors, marking its entry into the Arm-based server business. The company’s ALTRAD8UD-1L2T, demonstrated at Computex, can be used to build small servers or workstations with up to 128 Armv8 cores and data center grade scalability and manageability.
ASRock Rack’s ALTRAD8UD-1L2T fully supports Ampere’s Altra and Altra Max CPUs with 32 to 128 cores, which can be combined with up to 2TB of memory using eight DDR4-3200 modules. Additionally, this motherboard leverages the rich I/O capabilities of Ampere’s 1st Gen Altra Max data center SoC, including 128 PCIe Gen4 lanes up to x2 and x4 branches.
In terms of physical slots, the motherboard has 4 PCIe x16 slots, 2 M.2-2280 slots, 4 SlimSAS connectors and 2 OCuLink connectors for SSDs. The platform also has two 10GbE ports controlled by Intel X550, one GbE connector enabled by Intel I210 and one GbE driven by Realtek RTL8211F for remote management supported by Aspeed AST2500 BMC I have. This motherboard also features an SPI connector for a TPM module, a USB 3.2 Gen1 port and a D-Sub VGA display connector.
One of the features of the ASRock ALTRAD8UD-1L2T platform is that it comes in the company’s proprietary Deep microATX form factor, so it cannot be installed in a regular microATX chassis. In fact, I don’t even know if the standard he can be mounted on an ATX tower or a full ATX tower. However, ASRock Rack will probably provide a chassis for installing such motherboards in a rack or desktop environment.
One of the questions about the ALTRAD8UD-1L2T is its target market. Ampere’s Altra and Altra Max processors are tuned for cloud workloads, so using them as client machines makes little sense outside of cloud software development. Still, ASRock certainly sees the market for microATX-like platforms for Ampere CPUs as promising enough to address it.
ASRock Rack is the sixth company to offer a platform based on Ampere Altra processors, after Foxconn, Gigabyte, HPE, Supermicro and Wiwynn.