Asrock C2750D4I

Along with the DS380, Silverstone sent its award winning ST30SF, a 300w 80 Plus Bronze rated power supply that supports the latest Haswell processors. With that part covered, we focused more on picking the right Mini-ITX or DTX motherboard. Although there is now a boat load of such boards to choose from, very few are suitable for use in the DS380 as it requires a minimum of 8 SATA ports, 12 if you want to use the internal 2.5" slots as well.

There are many desktop boards with more than six SATA ports, but few compact boards that support more than that. This means users will need to include a SAS controller such as the HighPoint RocketRAID 2680 SGL, a low profile PCIe x4 card featuring two SFF-8087 mini-SAS ports supporting eight SATA devices. At $100, it's not a bad option when paired with something like the Asrock H87M-ITX for $90 or the Asrock Q1900-ITX for $75.

There is a more extreme option being offered by Asrock with its $410 C2750D4I, an Intel Avoton C2750 octa-core server board. A Mini-ITX server board sounds like a strange proposition, but stick with us.

The C2750D4I not only boasts an 8-core Atom processor, but it also features four DIMM slots supporting up to 64GB DDR3 ECC and UDIMM memory. More importantly for our build, it offers not eight but rather 12 SATA ports via two Marvell controllers.

The C2750D4I also supports dual Intel i210 Gigabit LAN ports (with Teaming), along with a third Gigabit Ethernet port using the Realtek RTL8211E controller that connects directly to the Aspeed AST2300 BMC Controller providing dedicated management connectivity.

In terms of actual connectivity, the C2750D4I is lacking compared to a Mini-ITX board destined for a desktop system. In fact, other than the three Gigabit Network ports, users only get two USB 2.0 ports, a COM port and a D-Sub VGA output. There is no USB 3.0 support here and no way to take advantage of those front mounted USB 3.0 ports on the DS380.

There is a single PCI Express x8 slot, though there is no need for a SAS card here so that can either be used for a PCIe SSD or possibly a graphics card.

Some DS380 users have also reported being able to squeeze the Asrock E3C224D4I-14S in with some minor modifications. That board supports Intel Xeon E3-1200 v3 series and Haswell i3, Pentium and Celeron processors for a more powerful option. However, expect to pay $290 and then factor in the cost of a CPU.

Overall, the Asrock C2750D4I is a great looking option that will no doubt impress advanced users. While we are keen to check out how the Intel Avoton C2750 octa-core processor performs, most users will probably opt for a less extreme option.