Xeons based on Intel's new Haswell-EP silicon debuted earlier this week. They have up to 18 cores apiece, and a pair of 'em can ride in Asus' Z10PE-D8 WS workstation motherboard. This two-headed monster has dual Xeon sockets primed for the latest E5-2600 v3 processors. Each socket is flanked by quad DDR4 memory slots, allowing the board to accommodate a staggering 512GB of RAM.
Check out the massive 12" x 13" circuit board, which has the same footprint as the Extended ATX form factor but uses mounting holes based on the EEB specification.
Seven PCIe x16 slots hang off the dual CPU sockets. With the right CPUs installed, there's enough Gen3 connectivity to fuel quad CrossFire and SLI configs with 16 Gen3 lanes per card. The board also has a four-lane M.2 connector attached to one of the CPU sockets.
The rest of the onboard storage comes from Intel's C612 chipset and a couple of auxiliary ASMedia controllers. All told, there are two SATA Express ports and 12 SATA 6Gbps ports. 10 USB 3.0 ports are split between the rear cluster and internal headers.
Somewhat surprisingly, the onboard audio looks decent. Realtek's high-end ALC1150 controller is paired with DTS software for surround-sound virtualization and multi-channel encoding. You even get a S/PDIF digital audio out.
Additional enhancements abound, including a POST code logger that can dump data to USB storage, LEDs that identify dodgy power delivery, and a firmware update mechanism that requires only a PSU and thumb drive. Asus' promotional materials mention overclocking support and flexible fan speed controls, too, but we don't have the full scoop on the extent of those features. We've asked the company for more details and will update this post when we get them.
According to the official press release, the Z10PE-D8 WS is coming "soon." The asking price is $599, so start saving your pennies now. And, if you want to pop 18-core Xeons into the thing, maybe consider selling an internal organ.