If you want to fuel your productivity with a Xeon E3-1200 v5 processor without also sacrificing your gaming thrills, Asus has a Christmas gift for you: the E3 Pro Gaming V5 motherboard. Asus designed this board around Intel’s workstation-oriented C232 Express chipset, but this isn’t your typical business mobo.
To start, Asus says it tricked out this board's signal chain with a beefed-up headphone amplifier, premium capacitors, and some extra EMI shielding that might keep analog audio cleaner. Also included is Sonic Radar II, an in-game overlay application that can show the direction of sounds like gunshots and sneaking enemies. Those features will be familiar to anyone who's a fan of Asus' Republic of Gamers motherboards.
The E3 Pro Gaming V5 comes with an Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller whose port is shielded against power surges. This board can accept up to 64GB of DDR4-2133 RAM, and its M.2 slot lets builders install PCIe SSDs. USB 3.1 Type A and C ports let users connect next-gen peripherals. This motherboard sports a mean-looking red and black color scheme, too.
Going by Asus' specs, the C232 chipset lacks ECC RAM support, so workstation builders might feel that the E3 Pro Gaming V5 falls short. Building a gaming PC around this chipset might make sense for a couple of reasons, though. At the time of this writing, the four-core, eight-thread Xeon E3-1275 v5 is $50 cheaper than the Core i7-6700k on Newegg. The i7-6700K has been in high demand since its debut in August, while (admittedly locked) Xeon E3-1200 v5 chips might be easier to find in stock.