With single CPU packages packing so many cores these days, it might seem that dual-socket motherboards are becoming less and less relevant. That could however not be further from the truth. Apart from modern professional computing workloads using as many cores as you can throw at them, dual-socket boards offer other advantages, such as higher installable RAM amounts and better per-core memory throughput thanks to twice the number of parallel buses.
The Epyc processors from AMD have impressed us with competitive IPC figures and prices, not to mention high core counts! Which is why we’ve been looking for a dual-socket motherboard to serve as the foundation of high-performance yet cost-effective builds. With the Gigabyte MZ72-HB0, we’re confident we’ve found one of the best all-round dual-socket motherboards for AMD Epyc systems. Not only from a pure performance and feature perspective, but also when taking into account management and pro-level tweaking.
Performance Per Dollar
Let’s get the hard specifications out of the way first. This is designed for the Epyc 7002 series of processors. That means, at the highest end, you can have two 64-core CPUs with 128 threads each installed.
This is backed up by 16 DIMM slots for DDR4 memory, arranged in an 8-channel configuration. That’s for a maxim of 16x8GB memory modules for a total of 128GB!
As you might expect, IO is crucial for a system build with a board and components like this. Gigabyte have included one M.2 slot with PCIe Gen4 and two NVME ports, also using PCIe Gen4. Mass storage is provided by four 6Gb/s SATA ports and three SlimSAS ports.
Another eye-popping feature comes from the number of PCIe 16x slots. Since there are two processors to provide PCIe lanes, each slot is assigned to a specific CPU. There are five x16 slots, three with 16 lanes and two with 8. This opens up a wealth of multi-GPU and PCIe card storage solutions, depending on what exactly it is you need the system to do.
Our Favorite Professional Features
OK, so we can establish that this motherboard features a wealth of flexible hardware features, but that’s only half the value of a professional dual-socket board like this. The other major concern is system management. This board will likely either end up in a local desktop workstation chassis or in a remote server location. That means good management tools are essential!
This the MZ72-HB0 has in spades. There are simply too many to mention, but these are our favorite highlights:
Remote system status via the server dashboard
Remote hardware sensors via the system dashboard
Detailed remote information about system resource usage and allocation
Remote access for users, including shutdown, reset and power-on
Power consumption limit settings
Email alerts for important events
Remote BIOS updates
This is just the tip of the iceberg, but if you want a system that lets you have full access and control of it no matter where you are, then the MZ72-HB0 is a compelling choice at a very good price. For professionals who have to initiate and manage mission-critical renders or other computer jobs, it makes life a lot easier and we’re excited to integrate the MZ72-HB0 in our high-end Epyc 7002-series builds!