Best Motherboards for Home Server

Best Motherboards for Home Server – A server motherboard, also known as a system board, main circuit board or main board, is what we at Trenton Systems like to refer to as “home base” for your server. It’s home to all your server’s primary components, from the chipset to the PCIe slots to all those RDIMM sockets, with one of the most important components being the central processing unit, or CPU, often referred to as the brains of your server.

The server motherboard provides a platform through which each of the server’s main components can interact, and as such, the motherboard is quite literally the communication facilitator, the technological translator, of your server.

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We like to think of the server motherboard as a business consultant or a lobbyist, always ensuring that there’s an open line of communication between the key players of an enterprise, or in this case, the motherboard.

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1.ROG Maximus XIII Hero

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OUR TAKE

Asus’ ROG Maximus XIII Hero hits the motherboard scene offering users an extended features list, premium styling, and a price tag of . While that’s certainly expensive, it’s no longer flagship motherboard territory in terms of pricing. The latest Hero includes loads of USB ports (including ultra-fast Thunderbolt Type-C), high-quality VRMs and four M.2 sockets. All that, plus a high-end appearance and overall good performance help make this board worth the cost of admission.

Asus’ current Z590 product stack consists of 13 models. Starting from the top, the ROG Maximus XIII Extreme and its water-cooled counterpart, the Extreme Glacial, carve out the flagship SKUs, followed by the ROG Hero and the overclocking focused ROG Apex.

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2.ROG Strix Z590-E

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OUR TAKE

For review today, we have the ROG Strix Z590-E Gaming WiFi motherboard courtesy of ASUS. The Strix Z590-E sits in the middle of ASUS’s product stack and at the top of their Gaming series of boards. ASUS classes them all as AI 2.0 motherboards “designed to extract every ounce of performance from the latest 11th Gen Intel Core processors.”

The board features updated power designs, the latest connectivity options, and exclusive software and firmware utilities that leverage Artificial Intelligence. Coming from the upper tier of their gaming series, the Strix Z590-E is fully decked out with new hardware and looks to take on any contender in the virtual battlefield. Let’s take this board for a spin on the test bench and see how it stacks up to our other contenders!

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3.GIGABYTE GA-A320M-S2H

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OUR TAKE

GIGABYTE AM4 motherboards are ready to support the latest AMD Ryzen™ 3000 Processors and are backwards compatible with AMD Ryzen™ 2000 and 1000 Processors.

With a rich list of features on GIGABYTE AM4 motherboards such as Ultra Durable™ Armor for PCIe/ memory slots, USB Type-C™ interfaces on select boards, refined audio quality, high speed Ethernet, and the latest standard WIFI design, GIGABYTE AM4 motherboards are perfect for users looking to build the best AMD platform systems.

GIGABYTE M.2 solution offers considerably faster storage performance and support for both PCIe and SATA interfaces* for M.2 SSD devices.

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4.GIGABYTE C246-WU4

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OUR TAKE

GIGABYTE partners very closely with memory vendors from around the world to ensure that modules offered by popular memory brands are compatible with GIGABYTE Motherboards. GIGABYTE has verified over 1000+ different modules to ensure performance in a GIGABYTE built system.

Following the X299 WU8 Workstation motherboard spotted online a few weeks ago, Gigabyte now has one using the Intel C246 chipset as well. The C246 chipset is specifically for Intel’s Xeon E series processors, ideal for entry level servers. This is of course, more affordable than X299-chipset based workstations since the C246 chipset has more similarities with Intel’s mainstream desktop Z370-chipset platform.

The C246 chipset supports dual-channel RAM, but with ECC support of course. In comparison, the X299 platform supports quad-channel memory.

Since this motherboard is for servers, component compatibility is vital. Which is why GIGABYTE partners very closely with memory vendors to ensure that it does. According to the company, they have verified over 1000+ different modules to ensure performance on this motherboard.

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5.GIGABYTE X570 AORUS Elite

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OUR TAKE

is the second board in Gigabyte’s X570 product stack, above the non-Aorus-branded X570 Gaming X. The Elite aims to give users a well-balanced platform to build on, offering up-to-date connectivity and a robust power delivery area capable of driving all Ryzen 3000 processors.

The full complement of six SATA ports, two M.2 slots, an Intel I211 Gigabit NIC and Realtek ALC1200 audio codec which supports 7.1 surround are included, and the four DIMM slots are capable of supporting up to 128GB of RAM and/or speeds up to DDR4-4000 (when overclocked). Below is a complete list of specifications from Gigabyte.

If you are looking to build a Ryzen based CPU, I would highly suggest that you invest your money in the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite. It is one of the affordable offerings that are available as far as good motherboards are concerned and it does live up to its claim.

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6.GIGABYTE Z590 AORUS Elite

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OUR TAKE

The Z590 Gaming X and a couple of boards from the budget Ultra Durable (UD) series are also listed. New for Z590 is the Pro AX board, which looks to slot somewhere in the middle. Gigabyte also released the Z590 Aorus Tachyon (review coming soon), an overbuilt motherboard designed for extreme overclocking.

Overall, performance on the Aorus Pro AX was inconsistent in our testing. Some results were below the average, while others were right there or faster than the pack. For example, the 3D/game testing showed above-average results, while some synthetic tests were slower than others. This board is performant out of the box, with settings that go beyond Intel specifications.

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7.Supermicro Server

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OUR TAKE

The Supermicro 2049P-TN8R (or technically the SYS-2049P-TN8R) is a 4-socket server that is designed differently from many of the other models we have tested like the Supermicro SYS-2049U-TR4. This server is designed for scale-out applications.

It may seem like a slight nuance, but the system is designed differently for that purpose. This is a system designed to deliver maximum compute and memory in a system while minimizing extraneous costs. In our review, we are going to see how this was accomplished.

The SuperStorage 6019P-ACR12L+ is a 1U server designed for organizations that need a solution for high-density object storage, scale-out storage, Ceph/Hadoop, and Big Data Analytics.

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8.MSI Arsenal

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OUR TAKE

The MSI B450 Tomahawk is the successor to the popular B350 Tomahawk and offers users a slightly better feature set. This starts with including a pair USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, as well as customizable RGB LED lighting integrated into the board.

The B450 Tomahawk is a gaming-themed motherboard and comes from MSI’s ‘Arsenal’ range of motherboards designed to offer users an affordable option with many of the features found on the more expensive models, but with some differentials to keep the overall cost down. This includes the pairing of decent quality and cost-effective Realtek controllers on audio side and the networking side.

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9.GIGABYTE TRX40

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OUR TAKE

One of the more annoying things about building with the TRX40 Aorus Xtreme is the number and variety of screws required to remove its M.2 covers. Another is that those covers are inseparable from the fan cover, making it less likely that builders will want to use heatsink-integrated M.2 drives. But removing those covers reveals one nice feature: four PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots.

The forward-bottom M.2 slot steals I/O pathways from SATA, reducing the number of ports from ten to six, but the competing Asus board has similar sharing that reduces its ports from eight to four. And while the Asus board supports up to five M.2 drives thanks to its M.2 riser card, one of its onboard slots steals another four lanes from its eight-lane lower PCIe card slot.

Gigabyte’s TRX40 Aorus Xtreme supports one fewer drive, but since its PCIe slots are always x16-x8-x16-x8 regardless of the number of drives installed…pick your resource-sharing poison.

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10.GIGABYTE X299X AORUS

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OUR TAKE

If you are part of the enthusiast set though an AIO is good, but not the absolute solution. The best way to keep your components cool is to go for a custom watercooling loop, normally covering the CPU and GPU. As anyone who has specced their dream lottery win build will know it is also possible to buy water blocks for the motherboard too. This normally entails buying a specific motherboard that has a block designed for it, and voiding your warranty installing the thing.

What if there was another way? What if, instead of being restricted in your motherboard choice and buying third party water blocks and all those headaches, you could just grab a motherboard that has it all built in already?

The Gigabyte X299X Aorus Xtreme Waterforce isn’t the first motherboard that has a built in water block for keeping the key components of your motherboard cool, but it is the first that combines all of the current system build thinking into a whole monoblock. The Monoblock on the Aorus Xtreme Waterforce not only can keep your CPU cool, but it has dedicated channels for the M.2 drives and the 16 phase, 70A power stage, all wrapped up with RGB lighting and a subtle but effective Aorus logo.

It is all the benefits of watercooling with none of the headaches of finding a water block to fit, or plumbing in many differing elements. Naturally the latest eighteen core Intel Extreme 10980XE processor is a perfect test for this cooling solution and so we’re here to put the X299X Aorus Xtreme Waterforce through its paces.

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Best Motherboards for Home Server – BUYER’S GUIDE

Server motherboards typically have two processors, compared to the typical desktop motherboard’s one. As a result, the server motherboard has more cores and more threads with which to process data. In other words, the typical server motherboard can handle a higher computational workload than a desktop motherboard, and for good reason, given that most servers are often powering resource-intensive applications for the military, commercial and industrial sectors, and providing files and resources to many computers at once.

Server-grade CPUs are often from Intel’s Xeon processor family, which is specifically designed for high-performance servers intended to efficiently digest a considerable workload. We’re talking workloads associated with data acquisition, cloud computing, the control of weapons and communications systems, industrial automation and much more. Desktop motherboards, on the other hand, typically incorporate Intel’s less-powerful Core, Pentium or Celeron CPUs. These processors have their purpose, of course, but they’re not designed to handle the heavy-duty workloads tasked to data-driven servers.

You’ll also find error-correcting code (ECC) RAM on server motherboards, which prevents data corruption through automatic detection and correction of memory-related errors. Given that this feature is designed to support enterprise-grade workloads and servers, it’s also supported by Intel’s Xeon processors. ECC is an important feature for military, industrial and commercial applications because it’s a data-protection failsafe. Other processor families do not support ECC.

Server motherboards typically have more PCIe slots than a desktop motherboard as well, or they’re designed to support a compatible PCIe backplane. This allows customers to add high-speed RAID cards, GPUs, additional USB ports, solid-state drives and much more, thereby extending the server’s overall functionality. This is an important feature to have should a customer expect, say, a need for a high-end GPU or additional storage capacity down the line.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What is a server motherboard?

A server motherboard, also known as a system board, main circuit board or main board, is what we at Trenton Systems like to refer to as “home base” for your server. It’s home to all your server’s primary components, from the chipset to the PCIe slots to all those RDIMM sockets, with one of the most important components being the central processing unit, or CPU, often referred to as the brains of your server.

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WRAP UP

Best Motherboards for Home Server –  If you plan on building a home server, check out this guide. It lists ten motherboards that are perfect fit for any kind of home server. We got your back no matter if you want to build a simple dedicated server for gaming or cloud storage, a high-end VM machine, a powerful media streaming solution for your household, or a beastly gaming server that will replace multiple gaming PCs.

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