GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 (SP3 EPYC) Server Motherboard Review

/ 3 years ago

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A Closer Look & Layout Analysis

We had a look at the general feature on the first page and now its time to take a closer look at where everything is located.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 SS-Press ProductOverview

Power Connections and Onboard Buttons

A server motherboard usually doesn’t come with any onboard buttons, they simply aren’t needed here. Not in the same way they are on an overclocking board, for example. We do have power connectors though, and they’re all in the top corner behind the IO area. There are two 8-pin and one 24-pin power connectors to supply enough power to all components.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details power connectors

All the caps and power regulators on the board are high-quality as you’d expect them to be.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details caps 3

They’re located all around the main CPU and memory area, making sure all the components get a stable power delivery.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details caps 1

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details caps 2

Processor and Memory Sockets

Server motherboards have a generally different layout as they need to fit into rack chassis rather than desktop setups. EPYC boards such as this look different tho as there are so many core component options. The CPU and memory area takes up nearly half the PCB space.

We can also spot the two 4-pin fan headers for the CPU cooler right next to the CPU socket.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details cpu and ram sockets

Storage Connectors and USB Headers

The storage connectors are located at the inner bottom corner. There are four SlimSAS ports which each supports four SATA drives. A great setup choice over adding 16 SATA ports on the board. Not only would it take up a lot of space, the SlimSAS setup allows for a much cleaner cable setup. Also, I really wouldn’t know where to put 16 standard SATA ports on this motherboard. There simply isn’t the space for them.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details storage sata

The PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot is located right next to the SlimSAS ports which keeps all storage options close by each other.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details storage m2

PCI-Express Slots

With 128 PCIe lanes from the CPU, there’s enough to bandwidth to run all expansion slots at full speed. The MZ31-AR0 motherboard has five x16 and two x8 slots available which allow you to install a lot of cards without any worry about performance throttling.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details PCIe slots

It should be noted that you won’t be able to install longer add-in cards in a lot of the slots. At least not unless you use riser cards or cables. HHHL cards will fit with no issues, but graphics cards, for example, can be too long to fit in anything but the bottom x16 or x8 slots.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details add-in space 1

This isn’t an issue for most server setups, but it’s worth mentioning.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details add-in space 2

IO Area

There aren’t a whole lot of connection options, because you don’t need a lot. From left to right, you get a COM port, a D-Sub VGA port, two 10GbE SFP+ ports, a Gigabit Ethernet management port, two USB 3.0 ports, and two USB 2.0 ports. The button all the way to the right is for identification and location purposes.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details IO area

The 10GbE LAN controller is placed directly behind the ports and it is well-cooled thanks to the added heatsink.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details lan controller cooler

Other Headers and Onboard Connectors

The onboard headers and connectors are located at the bottom side, starting with the serial COM header.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details header 1

Next to that, you get four 4-pin FAN connectors and the USB 2.0 and 3.0 headers.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details header 2

The backplane header follows those before we get to the frontpanel header. And that’s it. A realy simple setup without a lot of not-needed extras.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details headers 3

The BIOS battery and header, as well as the on-board speaker, are located at the rear side, close to the IO area.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details bios battery and speaker

The only thing left to show is the TPM connector next to the Aspeed AST2500 controller. We can also spot the SKHynix memory for it right below.

GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Photo details remote management aspeed controller

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