Dual E5 2670 workstation motherboard recommendation

s2600gl

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Apr 1, 2016
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You're absolutely right, in your case the 2.0 handicap would probably not even be noticeable.

You probably want to focus more on the other features of the MB:s. Would the S2600 being a server board give you the
features you need for your workstation-ish use case ? Or would a more workstation oriented MB fit your needs better.

The fact that you would need to shell out another 70-100$ for a case kind of evens out the playfield for the more expensive MB:s
fitting in a standard ATX case.

I doubt anybody can give you a definitive answer to your question. Best you can do is to weigh in the pro's and con's of the
ones that are most appealing.

And of course report your findings in the DIY thread as a future reference for people with similar use case ;)
 

tanders12

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I was really tempted by the Z9PA-D8, but only having 8 memory slots had me a little worried. There's a chance I might end up trying to put a ton of memory in the system for some large scale biological data processing (genome assembly, etc), and 16GB sticks are super expensive.

At 175 USD I think I'll probably just get an S2600CP and see how it works out. Then I can keep an eye out for exceptional deals on other boards moving forward. It would actually be nice to have a backup board, since there's no knowing what the market for LGA 2011 motherboards is going to be like and I'd really like this workstation to last 4-5 years.

And I don't think investing in a Phanteks Enthoo Pro case will kill me. The only case I have available to use would require new fans and be louder.
 

tanders12

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Apr 27, 2016
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Z9PA-D8 came back in stock on newegg for a bit and I snagged one. I decided the 3 year warranty was too good to pass up, since there's no knowing what the motherboard market is going to look like in a year or 2 and I don't want to shoulder the risk of a used board out of warranty. I'll let you all know how it turns out.
 
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tanders12

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In the end newegg actually was out of stock for the Z9PA-D8, and they canceled my order :/ However, I got an Enthoo Pro case and a S2600CP from Natex and it's running great. Very happy with the final result.
 

FunkyRider83

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Jan 31, 2016
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S2600CP supports S3 Sleep with latest BIOS, and operates PCI-E at 3.0 (nVidia card needs a driver patch from nVidia to enable PCI-E 3.0 on X79/C60x boards), also Sandy Bridge-EP is fully certified to run at PCI-E 3.0. I have used the S2600CP4 in my new-ish system for 5 months and it worked flawlessly.

Geforce Gen3 Support On X79 Platform
 

tanders12

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S2600CP supports S3 Sleep with latest BIOS, and operates PCI-E at 3.0 (nVidia card needs a driver patch from nVidia to enable PCI-E 3.0 on X79/C60x boards), also Sandy Bridge-EP is fully certified to run at PCI-E 3.0. I have used the S2600CP4 in my new-ish system for 5 months and it worked flawlessly.

Geforce Gen3 Support On X79 Platform
That would be great news! How did you verify that it's running at 3.0 speeds? I don't think the current generation of GPUs would be affected much by 2.0 x8 speeds, but I'm not so sure about the GTX 1070 and 1080. I'm eyeing the 1070 right now.
 

FunkyRider83

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That would be great news! How did you verify that it's running at 3.0 speeds? I don't think the current generation of GPUs would be affected much by 2.0 x8 speeds, but I'm not so sure about the GTX 1070 and 1080. I'm eyeing the 1070 right now.
Download and run a tool called GPU-Z under windows. It shows current PCI-E link speed. If it shows PCI-E 2.0 @ 1x, it means the cards is reducing link speed in idle to save power. There is a button beside the link speed label to run a small rendering window to ramp up the speed. Click that and observe the PCI-E link speed. In my case it jumped right up to PCI-E 3.0 @ 8x.

I am currently running a GTX 670 with the driver patch and it runs at PCI-E 3.0 without any issues. I also look forward to upgrade the GPU soon and is curious to know the status of support of PCI-E 3.0 in newer gen GPUs.
 

FunkyRider83

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so as a 2600CO owner, am I out of luck running non whitelisted hardware at pcie-3?
From the description on the patch download page, it seems that newer generation cards have got the timing issues sorted out so that they will enable PCI-E 3.0 support on X79 by default?
 
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tanders12

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@FunkyRider83 another thought: you are running Sandy Bridge v1 CPUs (like the E5 2670 v1) correct?

I really need to borrow a x16 GPU from someone and test this out. I think I'm probably going to wait for the RX480 before I buy a new card.
 

Joseph Nunn

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May 11, 2016
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I have done much research and determined that the best board for 2670 v1 is the EP2C602-4L/D16

ASRock Rack > EP2C602-4L/D16

I will go over a few reasons why this board is the best to field these used CPUs.

First and most important when fielding older CPUs is price , this board can be had for just over $300 new, very reasonable, its out of stock basically everywhere but Newegg, who wants to rip you at ~$400 something a board. However I have learned that Superbiiz will take orders over the phone at listed prices (~$300) and ship when they arrive in stock. I'm hoping my board gets here as planned on the 10th, I will let you know how it goes.

Second, this board uses UEFI, not all Sandy Bridge boards do I think. This means it should be possible to boot from NVMe PCIe add in cards like the Intel 750.

This board has 3 PCIe x16 3.0 slots, and most importantly, the 2 that are usable simultaneously by dual slot graphics cards are on the same processor. Although the board is not SLI, if you plan on doing any deep learning with multiple GPUs there is a significant performance penalty to have cards on different PCIe root complexes. And of course you get full x16 slots, although with PCIe 3.0 it doesn't make a difference in gaming it definitely does in training neural networks which uses the graphics cards in a different way. Some boards sadly do not have PCIe 3.0, which is a deal killer for me.

This board has 16 DIMM slots, some other boards only have 8.

This board can run 150 watt CPUs, like the 2687W v1 and v2 workstation Xeons, not all 2011 boards can run 150 watt CPUs.

This board has a ton of SATA connectors, while some boards have 6+2 sata2 and sata3, this board has 12 + 2 sata2 and sata3 respectively. For me this means I do not need a separate RAID controller.

This board uses square ILM brackets, giving you many more options for cooling.

The board has IPMI and virtualization I/O passthrough, not all boards do I think.

The board will run Windows 10 Pro, even though its not listed. I intend to use Linux with KVM and I/O passthrough to graphics cards for a Windows 10 VM as my general computing environment.

And finally, most importantly, the screw hole at the top corner near the IO area is ATX compliant, which is offset inward rather than being absolutely in the corner as is common on many server boards. Which means I can mount the board in my E-ATX tower case using all the screws and offsets one should rather than half-@ssed or in a rack.

Joseph
 

tanders12

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Apr 27, 2016
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I have done much research and determined that the best board for 2670 v1 is the EP2C602-4L/D16

ASRock Rack > EP2C602-4L/D16

I will go over a few reasons why this board is the best to field these used CPUs.

First and most important when fielding older CPUs is price , this board can be had for just over $300 new, very reasonable, its out of stock basically everywhere but Newegg, who wants to rip you at ~$400 something a board. However I have learned that Superbiiz will take orders over the phone at listed prices (~$300) and ship when they arrive in stock. I'm hoping my board gets here as planned on the 10th, I will let you know how it goes.

Second, this board uses UEFI, not all Sandy Bridge boards do I think. This means it should be possible to boot from NVMe PCIe add in cards like the Intel 750.

This board has 3 PCIe x16 3.0 slots, and most importantly, the 2 that are usable simultaneously by dual slot graphics cards are on the same processor. Although the board is not SLI, if you plan on doing any deep learning with multiple GPUs there is a significant performance penalty to have cards on different PCIe root complexes. And of course you get full x16 slots, although with PCIe 3.0 it doesn't make a difference in gaming it definitely does in training neural networks which uses the graphics cards in a different way. Some boards sadly do not have PCIe 3.0, which is a deal killer for me.

This board has 16 DIMM slots, some other boards only have 8.

This board can run 150 watt CPUs, like the 2687W v1 and v2 workstation Xeons, not all 2011 boards can run 150 watt CPUs.

This board has a ton of SATA connectors, while some boards have 6+2 sata2 and sata3, this board has 12 + 2 sata2 and sata3 respectively. For me this means I do not need a separate RAID controller.

This board uses square ILM brackets, giving you many more options for cooling.

The board has IPMI and virtualization I/O passthrough, not all boards do I think.

The board will run Windows 10 Pro, even though its not listed. I intend to use Linux with KVM and I/O passthrough to graphics cards for a Windows 10 VM as my general computing environment.

And finally, most importantly, the screw hole at the top corner near the IO area is ATX compliant, which is offset inward rather than being absolutely in the corner as is common on many server boards. Which means I can mount the board in my E-ATX tower case using all the screws and offsets one should rather than half-@ssed or in a rack.

Joseph
Wow, thanks for all the excellent information. It sounds like we have a lot of similar plans for our systems, though you did considerably more research than me. I ended up buying the SP2600CP, and so far I'm very happy with it, though I have yet to start throwing discrete GPUs in there. Theoretically it should support KVM with GPU passthrough. I was starting to wonder if the x8 would bottleneck compute applications. Sounds like that might be the case.

I'm very interested to hear how your experience with SuperBiiz goes. Where exactly would they be getting new stock from? Is Asrock still manufacturing those motherboards? I would consider picking one of those up and keeping my S2600CP around as a backup for the next couple years.
 

Joseph Nunn

Member
May 11, 2016
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Wow, thanks for all the excellent information. It sounds like we have a lot of similar plans for our systems, though you did considerably more research than me. I ended up buying the SP2600CP, and so far I'm very happy with it, though I have yet to start throwing discrete GPUs in there. Theoretically it should support KVM with GPU passthrough. I was starting to wonder if the x8 would bottleneck compute applications. Sounds like that might be the case.

I'm very interested to hear how your experience with SuperBiiz goes. Where exactly would they be getting new stock from? Is Asrock still manufacturing those motherboards? I would consider picking one of those up and keeping my S2600CP around as a backup for the next couple years.
Sadly not only does the S2600CP have x8 slots, but I believe those slots are locked to PCIe 2.0 if you update the BIOS past a certain revision. So the bandwidth is doubly reduced from what you might expect. Wouldn't make a difference for older Intel Phi cards which run at x8 PCIe 2.0, but for GPGPU usage its huge, now that doesn't sound like Intel does it? ;)

I believe Asrock Rack is still making these boards at some production rate for the server market, which has a longer generational span than consumer products. All I really know though is Superbiiz has a warehouse in Los Angeles, and their shipment in arrives on the 9th, and it should take only 1 day to reach me in Orange County.

If you are looking into Deep Learning, check out Tim Dettmer's article on choosing hardware

A Full Hardware Guide to Deep Learning - Tim Dettmers

Joseph
 
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tanders12

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Sadly not only does the S2600CP have x8 slots, but I believe those slots are locked to PCIe 2.0 if you update the BIOS past a certain revision. So the bandwidth is doubly reduced from what you might expect. Wouldn't make a difference for older Intel Phi cards which run at x8 PCIe 2.0, but for GPUGP usage its huge, now that doesn't sound like Intel does it? ;)

I believe Asrock Rack is still making these boards at some production rate for the server market, which has a longer generational span than consumer products. All I really know though is Superbiiz has a warehouse in Los Angeles, and their shipment in arrives on the 9th, and it should take only 1 day to reach me in Orange County.

Joseph
Yeah I'm aware of the PCIE 2.0 issue. However, if you read earlier in this thread it sounds like the latest BIOS can run GPUs at 3.0 speeds. NVIDIA GPUs apparently need a patch. Not sure about AMD.

Definitely let me know if you get your board. I'll keep this on my radar.
 

Joseph Nunn

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May 11, 2016
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Yeah I'm aware of the PCIE 2.0 issue. However, if you read earlier in this thread it sounds like the latest BIOS can run GPUs at 3.0 speeds. NVIDIA GPUs apparently need a patch. Not sure about AMD.

Definitely let me know if you get your board. I'll keep this on my radar.
I doubt anyone claiming to run graphics cards at PCIe 3.0 in the Intel sc2600 motherboard family using a v1 processor on the latest BIOS. Additionally if you read the aforementioned link, the NVIDIA patch is only for 670 and 680 GPUs, which the original poster is using, newer graphics cards do not use the patch I presume.

However, here is Intel's PCIe advisory on the sc2600 motherboard family.

http://www.intel.com/content/dam/support/us/en/documents/motherboards/server/sb/ta_102105.pdf

From page 2: "The BIOS option “Processor PCIe Link Speed” will not be visible if the platform employs the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5- 26xx V1, E5-24xx V1, E5-16xx V1, or E5-46xx V1 families, and the BIOS will limit the PCIe slots speed to PCIe* 2.0 speeds unless the add-in adapters have been tested for robust operation at PCIe 3.0 speeds.", following is a link to the tested adapters, but none of them are graphics cards.

Joseph
 
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FunkyRider83

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I doubt anyone claiming to run graphics cards at PCIe 3.0 in the Intel sc2600 motherboard family using a v1 processor on the latest BIOS. Additionally if you read the aforementioned link, the NVIDIA patch is only for 670 and 680 GPUs, which the original poster is using, newer graphics cards do not use the patch I presume.

However, here is Intel's PCIe advisory on the sc2600 motherboard family.

http://www.intel.com/content/dam/support/us/en/documents/motherboards/server/sb/ta_102105.pdf

From page 2: "The BIOS option “Processor PCIe Link Speed” will not be visible if the platform employs the Intel® Xeon® Processor E5- 26xx V1, E5-24xx V1, E5-16xx V1, or E5-46xx V1 families, and the BIOS will limit the PCIe slots speed to PCIe* 2.0 speeds unless the add-in adapters have been tested for robust operation at PCIe 3.0 speeds.", following is a link to the tested adapters, but none of them are graphics cards.

Joseph
Well, that's kind of crappy. I'm sure I've seen the GPU-Z screen reporting that my card is running at PCI-E 3.0 many times. I will get some screen shot when I am home today. Now the question is, if GPU-Z says it's at PCI-E 3.0, does it really mean it?
 

Joseph Nunn

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May 11, 2016
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Well, that's kind of crappy. I'm sure I've seen the GPU-Z screen reporting that my card is running at PCI-E 3.0 many times. I will get some screen shot when I am home today. Now the question is, if GPU-Z says it's at PCI-E 3.0, does it really mean it?
I saw your situation, and since you are running the video card that needs the patch maybe that patch overrides the default BIOS setting, I don't know. One might try benchmarking to see a difference, but you would need a benchmark stressing the PCIe connection, and most games do not come close to maxing it out.

Generally, most games load all their textures onto the card at the beginning and thats basically it, little PCIe communication occurs during game play. A notable exception are Id Software games using megatextures, as there are always texture samples being passed from memory through PCIe to the card in those games.

Deep learning would show a strong difference between PCIe 2.0 and 3.0, but I don't know any benchmarks to test that.

My understanding of the patch you use is that it marks the PCIe speed in the windows registry as 3.0 and I don't know if that does anything for real on the SC2600, but I bet GPU-Z looks in the registry and just reports the value that is there.

If it does affect the link speed, figuring out how to set that registry value by hand could help other people using different graphics cards also get PCIe 3.0 functionality on sc2600 motherboards. However I would not be surprised if the link speed is 2.0 despite the registry value being set to 3.0.

Joseph
 

Klee

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Jun 2, 2016
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I have done much research and determined that the best board for 2670 v1 is the EP2C602-4L/D16

ASRock Rack > EP2C602-4L/D16

I will go over a few reasons why this board is the best to field these used CPUs.

First and most important when fielding older CPUs is price , this board can be had for just over $300 new, very reasonable, its out of stock basically everywhere but Newegg, who wants to rip you at ~$400 something a board. However I have learned that Superbiiz will take orders over the phone at listed prices (~$300) and ship when they arrive in stock. I'm hoping my board gets here as planned on the 10th, I will let you know how it goes.

Second, this board uses UEFI, not all Sandy Bridge boards do I think. This means it should be possible to boot from NVMe PCIe add in cards like the Intel 750.

This board has 3 PCIe x16 3.0 slots, and most importantly, the 2 that are usable simultaneously by dual slot graphics cards are on the same processor. Although the board is not SLI, if you plan on doing any deep learning with multiple GPUs there is a significant performance penalty to have cards on different PCIe root complexes. And of course you get full x16 slots, although with PCIe 3.0 it doesn't make a difference in gaming it definitely does in training neural networks which uses the graphics cards in a different way. Some boards sadly do not have PCIe 3.0, which is a deal killer for me.

This board has 16 DIMM slots, some other boards only have 8.

This board can run 150 watt CPUs, like the 2687W v1 and v2 workstation Xeons, not all 2011 boards can run 150 watt CPUs.

This board has a ton of SATA connectors, while some boards have 6+2 sata2 and sata3, this board has 12 + 2 sata2 and sata3 respectively. For me this means I do not need a separate RAID controller.

This board uses square ILM brackets, giving you many more options for cooling.

The board has IPMI and virtualization I/O passthrough, not all boards do I think.

The board will run Windows 10 Pro, even though its not listed. I intend to use Linux with KVM and I/O passthrough to graphics cards for a Windows 10 VM as my general computing environment.

And finally, most importantly, the screw hole at the top corner near the IO area is ATX compliant, which is offset inward rather than being absolutely in the corner as is common on many server boards. Which means I can mount the board in my E-ATX tower case using all the screws and offsets one should rather than half-@ssed or in a rack.

Joseph

I joined just to reply to this post, been lurking for a while.

I chose the Asrock Rack EP2C602-4L/D16 for my "cheap" E5 2670 build.

I had a major issue with Windows 10 Pro with this motherboard. It had random hard lockups, nothing in the logs at all except for the messages about the unclean shutdown because of me hitting the reset button.

It would be completely random sometimes only a minute or two after booting up and sometimes many hours or one a day and a half of being powered on.

Did two fresh install's and all the updates, removed all unnecessary cards and hardware, still hard lock ups.

It would not lock up at all under Kali Linux. So I knew it was a Windows issue.

Did a fresh install of Windows 8.1 and its been %100 stable for the past couple of weeks.

I had planed to run Unraid and run Windows 10 virtually with pass through for my video card and will probably try that out in a couple of weeks as soon as I decide on hard drives for the build.

I purchased this motherboard from NewEgg at $329.00 after the first price hike but before it shot up to $449.00.

I originally wanted the EP2C602 motherboard for ~$280.00 but this one was instock and I jumped on it as I had about $50.00 in my paypal account I had forgotten about so I was still within my budget.

This build is for a main pc/workstation that I plan to tinker with alot.

I already had the power supply, phantecks enthoo pro case ( MB fits perfectly as I only had to move one standoff and install one from the pack of hardware the case came with, every hole lined up perfectly.), GTX 970 video card and ssd's and hard drives.

All I needed was two cpu's , motherboard, ram, usb 3.0 pcie card and two Cooler Master 212 evo's.

I am very pleased with this setup especially the motherboard and the performance of the cpu's.

A few days before I purchased this board I went on Asrock Racks facebook page and asked a question or two and it was only minutes when I received a reply. That blew me away. I have never had a motherboard company reply so fast.

Also the board is supposed to be able to run AMD crossfire, thats per the guy at Asrock Rack , even tho its not listed anywhere in the manual or online.
 

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Klee

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This is a screenshot just after I installed Windows 8.1 and I was installing Office 2010, making a Windows 10 install flashdrive for my youngest daughters pc, watching one of the Matrix movies, running my virus scanner, firefox running with about 7 or 8 tabs , and the CPU's show %4 utilization. LOL

The cpu cores are not speed demons but its got a lot of them.

I had some people give me grief over this build because "its overkill" "newer cpu's are faster for gaming" LOL they did not understand what I was after and that was a pc that could handle everything I can through at it. My last pc was a FX 8320 overclocked to 4.7 ghz on watercooling that was a big step up from the Phenom 940 that I was running. The Fx cpu made me realize that even tho the cpu is not the fastest more cores will let you do more stuff at the same time. I still remember the single core days and not being able to watch a video when I was doing anything else on the pc.
 

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Joseph Nunn

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I joined just to reply to this post, been lurking for a while.

I chose the Asrock Rack EP2C602-4L/D16 for my "cheap" E5 2670 build.

I had a major issue with Windows 10 Pro with this motherboard. It had random hard lockups, nothing in the logs at all except for the messages about the unclean shutdown because of me hitting the reset button.

It would be completely random sometimes only a minute or two after booting up and sometimes many hours or one a day and a half of being powered on.

Did two fresh install's and all the updates, removed all unnecessary cards and hardware, still hard lock ups.

It would not lock up at all under Kali Linux. So I knew it was a Windows issue.

Did a fresh install of Windows 8.1 and its been %100 stable for the past couple of weeks.

I had planed to run Unraid and run Windows 10 virtually with pass through for my video card and will probably try that out in a couple of weeks as soon as I decide on hard drives for the build.

I purchased this motherboard from NewEgg at $329.00 after the first price hike but before it shot up to $449.00.

I originally wanted the EP2C602 motherboard for ~$280.00 but this one was instock and I jumped on it as I had about $50.00 in my paypal account I had forgotten about so I was still within my budget.

This build is for a main pc/workstation that I plan to tinker with alot.

I already had the power supply, phantecks enthoo pro case ( MB fits perfectly as I only had to move one standoff and install one from the pack of hardware the case came with, every hole lined up perfectly.), GTX 970 video card and ssd's and hard drives.

All I needed was two cpu's , motherboard, ram, usb 3.0 pcie card and two Cooler Master 212 evo's.

I am very pleased with this setup especially the motherboard and the performance of the cpu's.

A few days before I purchased this board I went on Asrock Racks facebook page and asked a question or two and it was only minutes when I received a reply. That blew me away. I have never had a motherboard company reply so fast.

Also the board is supposed to be able to run AMD crossfire, thats per the guy at Asrock Rack , even tho its not listed anywhere in the manual or online.
Interesting, I did a quick search for Windows 10 lock up problems on Google and found this:

Windows 10 freezes randomly - Windows 10 Forums

To sum up, many different people had the same issue with a wide range of motherboards and other hardware and software. I do not think the Win10 lock up issue you are having is specific to the EP2C602-4L/D16 motherboard.

Joseph