Just as with everything else in business, you need to make sure that all your IT hardware is business-grade. It starts with business motherboards inside your PCs
It’s easy to overlook the specific benefits of a specialist motherboard for business. It’s often not a consideration when shopping for a new board to base a PC or server spec around. You’ve worked out the motherboard type (Intel typically) and the processor generation you need. So why choose a business motherboard over any other model?
The answer lies in the way business motherboards like the ASUS PRIME series are designed and engineered. PRIME boards offer three specific features that businesses can benefit from enhanced security, better reliability and simplified management. But what do these mean in practice, and why are they important for your business needs? Let’s find out.
ASUS offers several security features that combine to form its ASUS Shield. They cover both the motherboard’s physical hardware as well as its firmware, which is to say, the computer’s BIOS (the tiny bit of software that initialises the computer and its hardware, plus performs various tests to check all is functioning correctly before handing control over to the operating system).
Security measures include the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), a specialised microchip on the motherboard that performs various checks. One example is how it provides hardware authentication for gaining access to your network – if any encryption keys stored within it are modified without authorisation, it’s refused entry.
The motherboards are also protected using ASUS Secure Boot, a mechanism that checks all the boot software is genuine and hasn’t been altered by potentially malicious sources.
To prevent these sources gaining a foothold, ASUS PRIME motherboards are certified to NIST SP 800-147 standards. This is a series of standards designed to enhance server security within the BIOS. First, this ensures the BIOS can only be updated using authenticated BIOS images – namely images provided and tested by ASUS itself. This can be accompanied by a secure local update mechanism, which forces all updates to be manually approved. Other protections ensure that the firmware can’t be modified outside of the update mechanism and that hardware components – including the processor – can’t be leveraged to bypass these protections.
ASUS PRIME Motherboards are also carefully engineered to provide consistent performance and they’re rigorously tested for 24/7 operation at a range of temperatures and humidity levels. They also come with several features to aid the maintenance and repair of your PC. These include a self-healing BIOS that can automatically recover from a corrupt update and a specialist 10-1 pin ASUS Debug header for connecting to dedicated debug cards. The latter can aid your system administrators should they ever need to troubleshoot problems.
Mindful of its role as a server in a range of environments, such as factories or internet cafes, PRIME motherboard components are also covered with a special moisture-resistance coating to help prolong their life further. Other life-extending properties include strengthened solder points around memory and PCI-E pins, anti-sulphur resistors, electrostatic discharge guards, corrosion-resistant stainless-steel back I/O panels and overvoltage protection.
All PRIME motherboards come with the ASUS Management Suite, designed to help set up, customise and maintain the PC over an extended period. The suite also records detailed event logs for detecting BIOS updates, current hardware status and potentially abnormal events, such as AC power loss, chassis intrusion and key component changes.
This user-friendliness extends to the physical aspect of assembling and upgrading the board over time. Rounding things off you’ll find practical features on the board itself, from the use of box headers and specially designed Q-slots for easy PCI-E and RAM removal to both fixed-position and colour-coded connectors, all helping to speed up (and to simplify) both the initial assembly and any subsequent upgrades.
All of these are indicative of the kind of features that every business should be looking for when specifying their business hardware. Consumer hardware may seem cheaper, but it often doesn’t have the features required for reliable business performance.