Asus' X99-M WS mobo makes for bite-size workstation builds

Asus has officially released its X99-M WS microATX motherboard. This pint-sized workstation board plays host to both Core i7 and Xeon E5-2600 Haswell-E CPUs. Four DIMM slots handle up to 64GB of RAM, and ECC RAM support is available if you're using a compatible Xeon CPU. Four PCIe slots (three x16 and one x1) make dual-SLI and CrossFire setups possible.

Storage facilities include eight SATA 6Gbps ports with RAID support, plus an M.2 slot that's compatible with both SATA and PCIe storage. Since this is supposed to be a workstation motherboard, you get dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports—one powered by an Intel I210-AT chip, the other by way of an Intel I218LM. Asus also bundles cFosSpeed's traffic-shaping software if you want to be extra sure your ping time is perfect while gaming. The dual Ethernet interfaces are complemented by an external 3x3 802.11ac Wi-Fi antenna, which is the pleasant kind of overkill. The unspecified wireless chipset also offers Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.

There are USB ports aplenty, too. The back plate features eight of 'em: four USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports from the X99 PCH, plus two USB 3.1 Type-A ports courtesy of an ASMedia controller. Six more ports are available from internal headers: two USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0. Realtek's premium ALC1150 codec and Japanese-made capacitors and op-amps should provide quality analog output, and Asus claims a 112dB signal-to-noise ratio on the rear stereo output. DTS Connect is included for real-time multi-channel audio encoding.

Asus hasn't provided pricing or availability for the X99-M WS, but an X99 board of this pedigree probably won't be cheap.

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