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ASUS, MSI reveal quad InfiniBand boards

Mellanox chalks up wins

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You could argue that a networking technology never really goes mainstream until it is integrated into a system motherboard, making its use seamless and its cost invisible.

This is why Mellanox is keen on getting quad data rate InfiniBand ports onto mobos and is happy that two motherboard makers popular with the whitebox server crowd, Asustek and Micro-Start International, have opted to slap Mellanox InfiniBand circuits on some new boards.

The two mobo makers will be showing off the new boards at the SC09 supercomputing trade show in Portland, Oregon, next week, but decided to jump the gun and make their announcements Wedneday.

Asustek is putting the Mellanox ConnectX InfiniBand host channel adapter chip on its Z8PH-D12, which is a half-width, two-socket board based on Intel's Xeon 5500 Nehalem EP processors. The feeds and speeds of the Z8PH-D12 were not out yet, but it is a fair guess that it looks a lot like the Z8NH-D12, which has 12 DDR3 memory slots and two Gigabit Ethernet ports (plus an additional 100Mbit port for system management).

The Z8PH-D12 supports both 40 Gb/sec InfiniBand or 10 Gigabit Ethernet protocols, and can therefore support Fibre Channel over InfiniBand (FCoIB) or Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) links from servers to storage.

MSI has put the ConnectX host channel adapters on its full-size MS-91D1 and half-width MS-91D2 motherboards for servers as well as the MS-92C2 "1U high-performance computing solution."

The feeds and speeds of these boards - and what looks like a server - were also not released yet, but will no doubt be available next week at SC09. They are almost certainly Xeon 5500 boards.

What we do know is that these mobos implement the ConnectX electronics on the board and provide QDR InfiniBand and 10GE connectivity. We'll let you know what is up when we find the specs next week. ®

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