Gigabyte MW70-3S0 (Intel C612) Dual CPU Workstation Motherboard Review
Bohs Hansen / 4 years ago
A Closer Look & Layout Analysis
The first things that we’ll take a closer look at is the IO area on the rear. We find a serial COM port all the way to the left, followed by the two Gigabit Ethernet ports on top of two USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports. All the way to the right we find the audio jacks and optical out for the onboard sound. One thing we notice missing right away is the monitor connectivity. The motherboard does come with an onboard graphic solution in the form of the Aspeed AST2400, but you’ll have to connect a port yourself via the onboard header. We’ll take a closer look at that further down the page.
Moving on from the IO area, the next things we see are the CPU sockets and memory slots at the top of the motherboard. The sockets support square 80x80mm cooler mounts, so you don’t need to worry about finding one of the slim-fittings. We could already spot one of the 8-pin power connectors for the CPU in the photo above and here we see it again. Each CPU has 8 DDR4 DIMM sockets for quad channel memory setups. Also visible on the photo below is the PMbus connector above the memory slots.
The second CPU and RAM area looks like the first and here we see the rest of the power connectors for this motherboard, the 24-pin and second 8-pin. Each CPU socket also has a fan connector placed closely for the CPU coolers.
Removing the cover from the socket and opening up doesn’t reveal anything new. The LGA 2011-3 socket looks the way it does.
The Gigabyte MW70-3S0 offers 3-way SLI and CrossFireX support and we clearly see the three Gen3 PCIe x16 slots here. One runs at x16 speed while the other two run at x8 speed. There are three more PCIe x8 slots on this motherboard where the two run at full speed and the third runs at x4. At least that’s one way to set it up. You can, via the PCIe switch, change that to three PCIe x16 Gen3 slots at full speed and one PCIe x8 Gen3 at x4 speed.
One thing to take note off here is how close the top PCI slot is the memory banks. You’ll want slim memory modules as well as a graphics card that doesn’t stand out on the rear of the PCB. Especially the screws used to mount the GPU cooler on the graphics cards can become a problem here, if they stand out too far.
Most of the headers on this board are located around the PCIe slots. The top header in the photo below is the VGA header for the onboard graphics solution and at the bottom we can spot the front audio header, a COM2 header, an IPM header as well as the USB 2.0 header.
All the storage connections are located together at the inner bottom corner. We can see the 10 SATA3 ports in red where the top two support DOMs as well as the two Mini-SAS ports controlled by the LSI3008 controller. The front-panel header for power, reset, and LEDs is also located here.
This is also the corner where you’ll find most of the fan headers; four of them are placed right here in pairs of two.
There is plenty of power thanks to the two 8-pin and one 24-pin power connections. Two CPUs of this grade and the amount of memory the motherboard supports needs enough power to run stable even when taxed to the max. That also goes for the PCIe slots and other onboard devices and neither should be any problem.
The Aspeed AST2400 is a popular iGPU and it is used on most server and workstation boards that offer an iGPU solution. It doesn’t bring the big specifications, but it does all it needs to do. The 2D Video Graphic Adapter with PCIe bus interface allows you to operate the system without an extra GPU at 1920×[email protected] 32bpp.
The two ethernet ports are both powered by their own Intel i210 controller chips. This is one of Intel’s lower-end chips, but it performs very well and stable.
In a workstation system, you’ll most likely also want sound and Gigabyte added that to the MW70-3S0 via the Realtek ALC888 controller that supports 2, 4, 5.1, and 7.1 channel configurations. It probably isn’t the one you’ll want in your bag while creating the next summer hit, but it provides a basic sound option for those who don’t need any more and don’t wish to invest in a high-end dedicated sound card.
The Lattice chip seen below adds extra levels of hardware monitoring to the board that otherwise wouldn’t be present and aren’t supported by the native sensors.