ASRock's latest X99 board turns onboard networking up to 22Gbps

— 10:30 AM on November 24, 2014

ASRock's workstation-oriented X99 WS-E/10G motherboard takes networking to a whole 'nother level. First, there are the dual Gigabit Ethernet jacks, each one powered by an Intel I210AT controller. On top of those, the board has dual 10-GigE connections fueled by an Intel X540 chip. And teaming is supported, which allows the onboard connections to form a single link with a monstrous 22Gbps of bandwidth.

So, what's all the extra bandwidth for? Making your Internet faster, of course. The press release starts like so: "If you are unsatisfied with your internet bandwidth but at the same time reluctant to succumb to those malevolent internet providers, now is the time for a major hardware upgrade!" ASRock has even produced a YouTube video showing the board hitting 20360Mbps in an "Internet speed test" that looks conspicuously like it's running on a LAN.

Even if that speed test is legit, most folks have substantially slower connections to their ISPs. Heck, Google Fiber tops out at only 1000Mbps. 10-Gigabit Ethernet may be great for sufficiently fast local networks, but billing it as a way to improve Internet performance is disingenuous at best.

Source: ASRock

Apart from having an over-the-top networking configuration, the X99 WS-E/10G is loaded with other goodies. It has seven expansion slots and support for four-way CrossFire and SLI configurations. An M.2 x4 slot hangs off the CPU, while dual PLX switch chips redistribute the platform's PCIe payload. There are 12 SATA ports, too, plus one SATA Express connector and one "SATA DOM" port meant for tiny disk-on-module drives.

In another nod to the workstation crowd, the board supports Xeon E5 v3 processors based on Haswell-EP silicon. Up to 128GB of ECC memory can be spread across the eight DDR4 DIMM slots. ASRock also mentions compatibility with 1U chassis and "Windows server operating systems."

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