The ASUS P8C WS is the first motherboard based on the C216 express chipset, and built for the new Intel Ivy Bridge Xeon CPU (E3-1200 series v2). For those that are wondering, the C216 chipset is a decendent of the C206 chipset that came with the Sandy Bridge generation. The big advantage of the C206 and C216 series chipsets is the ability to leverage the on-die GPU of the “5” series CPUs, e.g. the Intel Xeon E3-1245 V2 CPU. Along with the ability to utilize the on-die GPU, one also can use Intel vPro for remote management, and at a much higher resolution than one can with traditional on-board BMC graphics. How will ASUS get on in bringing us their new workstation motherboard? Let’s take a closer look at the specs:
ASUS P8C WS Workstaiton Motherboard Specifications
|CPU||LGA1155 socket for Intel 2rd/3nd Generation Core i3 desktop processor
LGA 1155 socket for Intel Xeon E3-1200/12X5 v2 series processor
|Chipset||Intel C216 Express Chipset|
|Memory||DDR3 1600/1333 MHz, 4 x ECC non-ECC UDIMM, max. 32GB
*Refer to www.asus.com for the memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).
|Expansion Slots||2 x PCI-E Gen3 x16 (single x 16 link or dual x 8 link)
2 x PCI-E Gen2 x16 (x 4 link)
1 x PCI-E Gen2 x1, 1 x PCI
|Multi-GPU support||Supports ATI Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology
Intel C216 Chipset:
|Storage||2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports (gray)
4 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports (blue)
Intel Rapid Storage Technology supports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10
|LAN||2 x Intel 82574L GbE LAN
Support teaming function
|USB||4 x USB 3.0 ports (2 ports at mid-board, 2 ports at back panel)
10 x USB 2.0 ports (4 ports at mid-board, 6 ports at back pane)
|Form Factor||ATX Form Factor, 12″ x 9.6″ (30.5 x 24.5cm)|
The huge improvement over the previous Intel C20x express chipset is the official support for the desktop i3 CPU’s. This allows for a great range of CPUs to populate this motherboard and at different price points. The Xeon E3 range will of course be much better suited to workstation and/or small server, but now a budget solution can be built with readily available parts. The ability to run both desktop Core i3 and Intel Xeon E3 CPU’s is found alongside the motherboard’s support both ECC and non ECC DDR3 RAM. The ability to use non-ECC DDR3 alongside a Core i3 allows for a very low-cost platform to be configured using the ASUS P8C WS.
USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0 support can be found on the P8C WS and dual Intel 82574L GbE makes for great compatibility. The board comes with four PCIe x16 slots. These these are x16 physical only and two are PCIe 3.0 (x16 or x8 + x8) and two are PCIe 2.0 (x4 + x4). This does allow one to have multiple GPUs installed alongside the low-end Xeon E3 series CPUs. Then again, with four GPUs, a LGA 2011 platform is going to have much more bandwidth and lower latency. Since it is a workstation motherboard, the P8C WS has built-in sound and DVI out. The combination allows this board to be either a server motherboard with remote management and at the same time a solid workstation.
My very first thought of the P8C WS workstation motherboard was that it would make a great home server or even a everyday computer as long as you don’t expect too much from it, as the Intel Xeon E3, Core i3 are not the best at expansion options due to lack of PCIe lanes. The board does represent a cost effective way to store and dish out family movies and files, so I’d give it a thumbs up. ASUS always have great support and a tonne of features come with this board. No doubt Patrick will be looking forward to take the P8C WS for spin as he already reviewed the ASUS P8B WS from the previous generation. Supermicro, Gigabyte and other OEM board manufacturers will no doubt follow and release a their own versions.
For yet unreleased full specs on this board have a look over here