ASUS and ASRock have started shipping special versions of workstation motherboards to some enterprise customers that have the processor socket rotated 90° in the plane of the board. This design allows you to use server cooling systems and also directs airflow to the memory and voltage regulation module (VRM). Curious boards were shown to the world by German YouTube blogger and overclocker de8auer, who visited the data center of well-known German provider Hetzner.
ASUS Pro WS B665-ACE and ASRock Rack B665 D4U1L motherboards feature a 90° rotated AM5 socket and several surrounding components. This allows airflow to envelop the memory slots and VRMs, and improve cooling efficiency through the use of an extended heatsink. The bundle of boards is minimal – this is a standard option for cloud providers who buy such solutions by the thousands.
Unlike traditional AM5 boards, these instances only support PCIe 4.0 as there are no more modern SSDs on the market. Due to the changed position of the VRM, we also had to change the path of the PCIe lines to the first slot. The ASUS board features an affordable 65W AMD Ryzen 7 7700 processor and 64GB of DDR5 4800MHz memory. This version of the chip is well suited for server work, the review author noted: its performance is only 5% lower than that of its 90 W counterpart, but power consumption is reduced by 20-30%.
The ASRock board packs even more modestly than the ASUS model – the top half is unfolded here too, but the VRM is to the right of the processor rather than in an L-shaped configuration around it. As a result, the module lies directly in the air flow, which goes from left to right.