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 3×3 802.11ac 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.

Comments closed
    • spugm1r3
    • 4 years ago

    There is almost no reason for this board to exist… which has absolutely no bearing on how much I want one.

      • homerdog
      • 4 years ago

      I think it’s perfectly reasonable to want X99 class performance in a mATX case. I suspect most who purchase X99 don’t fill out more slots than mATX can handle, even SLI/Crossfire users.

      • just brew it!
      • 4 years ago

      I disagree. Full-size ATX are becoming a bit of an anachronism. With all the features mobo makers are able to cram into a mATX form factor these days, most people don’t NEED the extra slots any more.

        • Freon
        • 4 years ago

        It paints you into a corner when it comes to pending advancements and settling of the hard drive interconnect standards if nothing else. You can run SLI, or a single video card and a SAT4 or m.3 or whatever add-on board later on, but that’s about it.

        Is that enough expansion? Well, you’ll have to tell yourself that at least if you buy a micro board.

          • just brew it!
          • 4 years ago

          By the time things have advanced enough that SATA4 and m.3 have rolled out and are offering compelling performance advantages over SATA3 and m.2, it’ll probably be time for a CPU upgrade (and new motherboard) anyway.

            • curtisb
            • 4 years ago

            You say that, yet people continually poo-poo on CPU releases saying “my Sandy Bridge is still plenty fast enough, what’s the point of upgrading?”.

            • just brew it!
            • 4 years ago

            If their current CPU is still “fast enough” chances are their SATA3 SSD will be too.

        • Krogoth
        • 4 years ago

        ATX is becoming the new “Extended ATX”.

        It makes sense if you are building a single-socket workstation platform, but otherwise stick with a mATX board and system which has enough room and ports to satisfy the majority of users out there.

      • Pax-UX
      • 4 years ago

      I think the up take in mini-computers is mostly down to heat becoming less of an issue. Also the amount of add-on boards people actually put in their system is very limited, Sound & NIC all built in and good enough for most people; only really leaves GFX cards.

      HD’s being SSD run cool, while large data drives- I think are better suited to run off a USB 3.0 interface then fixed internally as I can connect it to many PCs or just to my router’s USB.

      I also think Valve’s push for a Steam Machine is also helping in the up turn. I know my next build will be ITX/MTX

        • just brew it!
        • 4 years ago

        Dunno about Steam Machine having much of an effect. The hype seems to have really died down, I doubt it represents more than a tiny fraction of the market at this point.

    • JMccovery
    • 4 years ago

    Quad PCI-E x16 (x8 each), with the remaining x8 to dual M.2 slots (either vertical on top, or placed on the mobo underside) would be nice on a board like this.

      • spugm1r3
      • 4 years ago

      I’m struggling with what four, single-slot, PCI-E add-ins you would stick on a board like this?

      Even if you say PCI-E SSDs, I’m not sure there are any consumer level drives that require more than gen3 x4.

        • JMccovery
        • 4 years ago

        A mini compute box utilizing 4 watercooled GPUs; or, just a system with a high-bandwidth storage array.

    • dodozoid
    • 4 years ago

    for a second, I thought it is mITX board…damn…
    I gues even the socket by itself is to big for mITX

      • pyro_
      • 4 years ago

      Asrock does a mITX X99 board
      [url<]http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/X99E-ITXac/[/url<] There is also the Asrock Rack board [url<]http://www.asrockrack.com/general/productdetail.asp?Model=EPC612D4I#Specifications[/url<]

        • homerdog
        • 4 years ago

        The Asrock mITX board only has 2 RAM slots which kind of sucks. I’d rather they go with 4xSO-DIMM. Alas there is no SO-DIMM DDR4 AFAIK.

          • pyro_
          • 4 years ago

          They are available however generally as ECC, just not always the easiest to get

          [url<]http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-SODIMM-DDR4-2133MHz-PC4-17000-Unbuffered/dp/B00MTSWZRC[/url<] [url<]http://www.crucial.com/usa/en/memory/DDR4?cm_re=top-nav-_-flyout-memory-_-us-memory-shop-for-ddr4[/url<]

          • stdRaichu
          • 4 years ago

          Well it’ll take 2x16GB ECC DIMMs according to the crucial memory confugulator (if you’re prepared to go for a xeon at any rate), else 2x8GB for regular i7’s (which is OK for most uses in my book), and the reviews I saw for it show that dual channel vs. quad channel didn’t really make much of a difference in performance except in some benches that are heavily dependent on memory bandwidth (such as WinRAR).

      • stdRaichu
      • 4 years ago

      You can certainly get 2011-3 boards in mITX format if you like…

      [url<]http://asrock.com/mb/Intel/X99E-ITXac/index.us.asp[/url<] [url<]http://www.asrockrack.com/general/productdetail.asp?Model=EPC612D4I#Specifications[/url<] Edit: Ninja'd by pyro!

    • Ryhadar
    • 4 years ago

    Yay for mATX love.

    • pyro_
    • 4 years ago

    Nice, though one thing that I dont see is that the M2 slot is 4x PCIE 3.0 so most likely only 2x, would be nice if it was a full 4 lanes since if I was to pick up a board like this i would be keeping it for a while and it would be nice to have the ability to fully use the new M2 drives that are coming out at full speed

    • just brew it!
    • 4 years ago

    That’s a pretty sweet looking little board. If I was building a new desktop from scratch in the near future it would probably be on my short list.

    • guardianl
    • 4 years ago

    [url<]http://ark.intel.com/products/64400/Intel-Ethernet-Controller-I210-AT[/url<] $3.20 [url<]http://ark.intel.com/products/71307/Intel-Ethernet-Connection-I218-LM[/url<] $1.92 Don't break the bank Asus! What's really sad is all the $100+ motherboards that use Realtek NICs at a cost savings of less than a $1 versus Intel. :-/

      • chuckula
      • 4 years ago

      In defense of the cheap motherboards, the total profit margin on each of those boards is probably in the range of the price of that $3.20 ethernet controller.

      • spugm1r3
      • 4 years ago

      I don’t know exactly how it factors into their cost, but it is a helluva lot cheaper to qualify one part number than it is to qualify two. Every component that gets attached to a motherboard in one shape or another, has to get qualified by a team of engineers and technicians. Qualifying one part on a hundred different systems means (usually) one full qualification, and 99 partial qualifications. If you qualify two parts for 50 systems each, that means 2 full quals, and 98 partial quals. The number of man hours goes up significantly.

      • Krogoth
      • 4 years ago

      Unless you got some specialized networking needs.

      Realtek NICs are more than sufficient. I do suppose that driver support for *nix is better for Intel NICs.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 4 years ago

    Damn this is a nice looking motherboard. The dual Intel NICs, as opposed to Realtek or some Killer nonsense, alone make it extremely compelling. Guaranteed it won’t be cheap, but it could very well be worth the price (assuming it isn’t too sky high).

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