Since the introduction of Skylake CPUs Intel has removed the support for its Xeon processors on consumer-grade motherboards such as the B250, H270, and Z270 chipsets. Instead, they created two new server-grade chipsets in the forms of C232 and C236.
Similar to the Intel Xeon processors, the C232 and C236 chipsets are not meant for mainstream consumers, but they are rather targeted at businesses, data centers, and embedded solutions where reliability and workstation-related features are important. These Xeon CPUs, C232 and C236 chipsets are tested rigorously to last longer than their mainstream counterparts, ensuring their capability of handling many types of workloads.
The major differences between these two server chipsets are the C236 has a total of 20 PCIe lanes compared to 8 lanes on the C232, the C236 has more SATA3 6Gb/s ports (8 vs 6), more USB 3.0 options (10 vs 6), supports for Intel HD Graphics iGPU, Intel AMT 11.0, and Intel Node Manager.
With us today is the Supermicro X11SAE workstation motherboard, which is based on the Intel C236 chipset and LGA1151 CPU socket. This motherboard supports the latest Xeon E3-1200 v6 as well as previous-gen E3-1200 v5 series of server CPUs. Additionally, it also accepts consumer-grade CPUs such as the Kaby Lake- or Skylake-based Intel Core, Celeron, and Pentium processors.
Without further ado, let’s check out what’s so special about the Supermicro X11SAE that deserves our attentions.
The X11SAE is one of the models Supermicro’s UP Xeon motherboards based on the server-grade Intel C236 chipset. Featuring the Socket H4 or better known as LGA1151, it supports the latest Xeon E3-1200 v6 CPUs which are built around Intel’s high-efficiency 14nm+ Kaby Lake CPU architecture. Last-gen Xeon E3-1200 v5 CPUs are also supported, alongside consumer-grade CPUs such as the Kaby Lake- or Skylake-based Intel Core, Celeron, and Pentium processors.
The motherboard comes with a total of four DDR4 slots, which support unbuffered ECC and non-ECC UDIMM memory modules up to 64GB of capacity in Dual-channel configuration with the memory frequency capped at 2,133 MHz. There are two full-length PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (run at x16/x0 or x8/8 mode), three PCIe 3.0 x1 slots (run at x4 mode), and two on-school 5V PCI 32-bit slots.
In the networking department, Supermicro provides not just one, but two Ethernet LAN ports based on Intel’s I210-AT and I219-LM controllers, respectively. For storage needs, you get eight SATA3 6Gb/s ports, and one M.2 socket running off PCIe x4 lane. Two of the SATA3 ports also serve as SuperDOM with built-in power. The board also sports six USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports, and two 10Gb/s USB 3.1 Type-A ports. There are two legacy serial (COM) headers for those you need them.
Physically the PCB measures 30.48 x 24.38 cm and conforms to the ATX form factor, making it able to fit most ATX chassis out there.
Single socket H4 (LGA 1151) supports Intel Xeon processor E3-1200 v5, Intel 6th Gen. Core i7/i5/i3 series, Intel Celeron and Intel Pentium
Intel C236 chipset
Up to 64GB Unbuffered ECC/non-ECC UDIMM DDR4 2133MHz; 4x DIMM slots
2 PCI-E 3.0 x16 (run at 16/NA or 8/8), 3 PCI-E 3.0 x1 (in x4), and 2 5V PCI 32-bit slots
Single GbE LAN with Intel i210-AT Single GbE LAN with Intel i219-LM