Supermicro X12SAE W480 Motherboard Evaluation: For Xeon W-1200 Workstations

We’ve got seen quite a few Intel Z490 motherboards over the months since Intel’s platform for Comet Lake was introduced again in April. Whereas the Z490 is designed for normal shoppers and players who intend to make use of the desktop Intel Core i5/i7/i9 processors, Intel additionally launched its W480 chipset barely later which is designed for its workstation oriented Xeon W-1200 collection. One such board designed particularly for the Xeon W-1200 processors is the Supermicro X12SAE with help for as much as 128 GB of DDR4-2933 of ECC and non-ECC UDIMMs. Additionally included within the function set are two PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, twin Ethernet together with a 2.5 Gigabit controller, in addition to a devoted Intel PHY with Intel AMT and vPro help. 

Supermicro X12SAE Overview

For each present W480 mannequin available on the market, there are no less than 4-5 Z490 variants, which makes Intel’s workstation platform slim pickings for alternative. One of many causes behind that is right down to necessity, with workstations platforms choosing performance and core function units over bling and fancy designs. What the Supermicro X12SAE lacks in visible enchantment, it makes up for in its function set with a lot of what now we have come to count on from its mid-level skilled fashions. The X12SAE is the one typical ATX sized mannequin from a trio we checked out after we overviewed the W480 chipset earlier on within the 12 months, and as such, has loads of options included on its inexperienced and fundamental trying PCB. This unit is designed for mass workstation deployment, relatively than aesthetics.

Included within the specs is a pair of PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, with drives in each M.2 2280/22110 kind components supported. The X12SAE has a complete of 4 SATA ports with help for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 RAID arrays, with twin LAN on the rear panel, one 2.5 GbE controller, and the opposite through an Intel Gigabit PHY. The obvious distinction between the LGA1200 Z490 and W480 chipsets helps ECC reminiscence, albeit unbuffed, with the X12SAE permitting for as much as 128 GB of DDR4-2933 throughout 4 reminiscence slots. For growth playing cards, Supermicro consists of three full-length PCIe 3.0 slots working at x16 and x8/x8/+x4, with one PCIe 3.0 x1 and a single 5 V PCI 5 V 32bit slot.

Whereas there may be house on the board for a BMC chip, as proven by the pads above, this mannequin doesn’t have it – customers ought to look to the X12SCA-F for a BMC.

On-board audio is sort of commonplace for a board of this caliber because it makes use of a good but growing old HD audio codec, with different rear panel connections together with a trio of video outputs consisting of an HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVD-D port. There’s additionally USB aplenty, with help for as much as 5 USB 3.2 G2 ports (4 rear panel, one inside), with Kind-A and Kind-C, in addition to three USB 3.2 G1, and two USB 2.0. 

Supermicro X12SAE Block Diagram

Evaluating the Supermicro X12SAE paired with an Intel Xeon W-2170 processor with the remainder of the LGA1200 fashions we have examined thus far, albeit, with an Intel Core i7-10700K (intently matched), we noticed the anticipated ranges of efficiency. In our system checks, we noticed decrease energy consumption total, which will be attributed to a decrease TDP and decrease threshold for enhance energy necessities with out a lot of the jazzy bells and whistles of desktop fashions. We additionally noticed gradual POST occasions, which is a trait typically related to workstation and server fashions. DPC efficiency out of the field was common but acceptable. In our computation checks, our W-1270 carried out in addition to anticipated, regardless of the facility allowance variations in comparison with the Core i7-10700K. It ought to be famous that the Intel Xeon vary is not designed for gaming and the high-burst efficiency of the Core collection of Comet Lake processors makes them superior for duties similar to gaming when in comparison with the Xeon vary.

It ought to be famous that we skilled a variety of points with the X12SAE, together with reminiscence help, a dodgy thermal sensor, and intermittent networking dropouts. Particulars are over the following few pages.

The Present Intel Xeon W-1200 (Comet Lake) Product Stack

The Comet Lake based mostly Intel Xeon W-1200 processors embody a lot of the identical applied sciences as its desktop counterparts, with additional single-core efficiency via Intel’s Thermal Velocity Enhance and Turbo Enhance Max 3.0. This pushes one core a lot additional than others for a protracted time period. In complete, there are three predominant fashions, together with the W-1250, W-1270, and W-1290, every with two or three variations, together with the P SKU’s, with the P that means efficiency.

Intel Xeon W-1200 Collection Processors

Comet Lake (LGA 1200/W480)
 AnandTech  Cores  Base Freq


One Core

All Core
L3 Cache  TDP


W-1290P 6/12 3.7 5.3 4.9 20 MB 125 $539
W-1290 6/12 3.2 5.2 4.7 20 MB 80 $494
W-1290T 4/8 1.9 4.7 3.8 20 MB 35 $494
W-1270P 6/12 3.8 5.1 4.7 16 MB 125 $428
W-1270 4/8 3.4 5.0 4.7 16 MB 80 $362
W-1250P 6/12 4.1 4.8 4.5 12 MB 125 $311
W-1250 6/12 3.3 4.7 4.4 12 MB 80 $255

The usual variants embody an 80 W TDP, with the P fashions matching the desktop fashions at 125 W, with a single T mannequin, the W-1290T with a a lot decrease TDP of 35 W. All of those SKUs embody built-in graphics, with help for dual-channel ECC reminiscence, and added safety built-in through Intel {Hardware} Protect.

Placing the WORK into Workstation

Rounding again to the Supermicro X12SAE, it ought to value across the $280 mark dependant on the retailer, though Newegg, through a third-party vendor, has it listed for $350 at current. At present, there’s not an excessive amount of competitors inside the W480 boards available on the market, however the GIGABYTE W480 Imaginative and prescient W ($260) is a pleasant value however resembles a extra consumer-focused desktop design and have set. It definitely would not provide the flexibleness of distant entry and real-time monitoring because the Supermicro. It as a substitute goes for upgraded audio, extra SATA. It’s a desktop board posing as a workstation board as a substitute of specializing in the skilled components related to a platform similar to W480.

Learn on for our prolonged evaluation.

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