Asus workstation Socket AM2 board spotted

— 12:00 AM on March 6, 2006

One of our readers sent us some pictures revealing an unannounced Asus workstation board based on Socket AM2. Dubbed the M2N32-WS, the board uses an NVIDIA C51XE/MCP55 PXE chipset combo that's reportedly the high-end, dual 16-lane SLI version of NVIDIA's next-gen chipset. In addition to a pair of PCI Express x16 slots, the M2N32-WS supports up to 8GB of unbuffered DDR2-800 memory, and features a pair of PCI-X slots, two Gigabit LAN ports, eight-phase power, and an impressive ten 300MB/s Serial ATA ports, one of which is eSATA.

According to the spec sheet, six of the M2N32-WS's Serial ATA ports hang off the NVIDIA MCP55 PXE. The spec sheet also lists two identical Marvell PHY Gigabit Ethernet chips, suggesting that NVIDIA's new core logic has a pair of GigE MACs onboard. It looks like High Definition Audio is in the chipset, too, as the spec sheet sports an "Azalia" logo and lists an Analog Devices ADI 1988A codec.

While the M2N32-WS's spec sheet doesn't list compatibility with Opteron or even the Athlon 64 X2 processors, the board's existence could mean that AMD has some Socket AM2 workstation chips in the pipeline that will support unbuffered DDR2 memory. Either way, the availability of a high-end workstation board for Socket AM2 will be good news for those who have been hanging onto PCI-X SCSI and RAID cards.
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