Asus updates X99-E WS with twin 10Gb Ethernet connections

Asus released the original X99-E WS motherboard back in 2014, and reviewers were fond of its generous expansion options. Given the success of that model, it's no surprise that Asus is updating it for Broadwell-E, with the appropriately-named X99-E-10G WS.

New to this version of the board is an Intel X550AT2 10-gigabit Ethernet controller. That chip and its heatsink rest amidst the I/O cluster. This does take up quite a bit of back-panel port space, but it ensures maximum reliability when using the X99-E-10G's dual 10-gigabit Ethernet ports. In addition to four USB 3.0 and two USB 3.1 ports on the back panel, the board still has headers for four more USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports.

Besides the new high-speed network hardware, this board also drops its predecessor's unloved SATA Express connection for a U.2 jack. Of course, it also has an M.2 socket, with screws for 60mm and 80mm M.2 drives. Both U.2 and M.2 connections are equipped with four lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity. Ten SATA 6Gbps ports fill out the board's storage options.

Aside from those changes, the X99-E-10G WS is pretty similar to the original X99-E WS. Like the previous model, the new board uses a multiplexer to spread 64 lanes of PCIe 3.0 across seven x16 slots. That allows the board to support four PCIe x16 connections, or a single x16 and six x8 connections. Asus reinforced all seven slots to prevent users who frequently remove and reinstall cards from damaging the board. Asus says the refreshed X99-E WS will be available "soon" for a suggested price of $650.

Comments closed
    • Bensam123
    • 3 years ago

    Should’ve started seeing this a decade ago, then maybe we would’ve had 10GBps on normal consumer stuff.

    Adoption from 100Mbps to 1Gbps was much faster… and cheaper. A lot more options for in between upgrades.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    Disappointing that they’re using 10Base-T for the 10GbE.

    I know SFP sockets need real estate on the motherboard, but not having an SFP socket really limits the usefulness of the 10GbE premium, to the point that people will just ignore them and plug in something like an Intel X520 instead.

      • jts888
      • 3 years ago

      It’s just not physically possible to fit the rather deep (~2″x0.5″x0.3″) SFP/SFP+ ports on a non-extended ATX board with 8+ DIMM sockets.

      Saving 4 or 5 Watts a port would be nice, but the average consumer for even a $600+ mobo will still balk at SFP+ twinax cables or fiber transceivers. Virtually nobody is going to have an enterprise 10 GbE switch within 15m or so of their workstation anyway, and this board is clearly not intended for the server market.

    • Wirko
    • 3 years ago

    Why aren’t 10GbE ports blue?

    • Luminair
    • 3 years ago

    I bought a WS board from Asus. When it broke near the end of the warranty period they wouldn’t RMA it because they allegedly had no suitable replacement available in the entire company. Don’t let the “WS” name or price premium fool you, it’s still Asus trash customer support

    • TwoEars
    • 3 years ago

    Finally! And not a moment too soon. Now we just need some more affordable switches and NAS servers with 10-gigabit ports. Then I’ll be able to…. what will I be able to do with that exactly?

      • jts888
      • 3 years ago

      I can’t speak for everyone’s potential uses, but having fast network media storage is great for dealing with collections of RAW photos.

      Flipping through 20-30 MB files is a lot snappier at 10Gb than 1Gb, and local SSD storage is not a complete solution.

    • TwoEars
    • 3 years ago

    Finally! And not a moment too soon. Now we just need some more affordable switches and NAS servers with 10-gigabit ports. Then I’ll be able to…. what will I be able to do with that exactly?

    • flip-mode
    • 3 years ago

    Yowza!

    • JosiahBradley
    • 3 years ago

    I can’t seem to find the PS/2 port. Maybe it just wasn’t pictured, right guys, right?

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 3 years ago

      My brother’s computer got screwed up and the USB devices wouldn’t work. Luckily it had a PS/2 port, and luckily there was a dusty Dell PS/2 keyboard in the garage.

      • Redocbew
      • 3 years ago

      That’s one use for an expansion slot. Too bad there’s only six others.

      • Krogoth
      • 3 years ago

      PS/2 port has been omitted on some motherboards that made in the past few years. PCI slots are also facing the same fate.

    • Andrew Lauritzen
    • 3 years ago

    Nice! Even has the good controller from Xeon D. Obviously still a bit pricey (although so are 10gbit NICs), but hopefully this is a precursor to it rolling down to more consumer oriented boards.

    • NovusBogus
    • 3 years ago

    I want a refreshed X-99 M WS, that model is discontinued but is currently the only Asus mATX X99 board on the market.

    edit: Come to think of it, maybe that’s not what I want at all–this refresh managed to cut out half the original board’s rear USB ports which is kind of a big deal for workstation/gaming builds.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 3 years ago

    I really like that board…buying a lottery ticket now so I have a chance of affording it–and the Broadwell-E to go with it.

    EDIT: Added the word “ticket”. Oops!

    • thesmileman
    • 3 years ago

    Regardless of the features, I love the almost all black subtle design with just the model number printed on it and even that is a thin font that doesn’t scream “ADVERTISEMENT!” on a product I already bought. event the ASUS logo doesn’t scream at you.

      • flip-mode
      • 3 years ago

      Can’t wait to plug a heatsink with multi-colored LEDs into it, and a video card with multi-colored LEDs and weaponized-looking heatsinks, and put it in a transformers-looking case with mulit-colored LEDs with fans with multi-colored LEDs and hard drives with multi-colored LEDs and plug in a keyboard and mouse with multi-colored LEDs. So classy.

      • Waco
      • 3 years ago

      This. My Z68XP-UD4 is still one of my favorite boards for just being…simple. Grayscale, simple, and no stupid flashy shit.

    • Waco
    • 3 years ago

    I really wish 10 Gbit networking gear would come down in price. I’m buying 100 Gbps EDR Infiniband at work for cheaper than 10 Gbit Ethernet. Chew on that a bit.

      • crystall
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah, 10 GbE pricing is still surprisingly high. For a lot of applications it’s significantly cheaper to deploy QDR InfiniBand even if the software involved does not support RDMA operation and relies on IPoIB instead.

        • Waco
        • 3 years ago

        Yup, I’m in the same boat. Why buy 10 GbE when 100 Gb IB is cheaper, and you can run IPoIB. Even with all its limitations, IPoIB is still 2-4 times faster…

          • bacondreamer
          • 3 years ago

          eww…infiniband ::hiss::

          (have had bad memories supporting it)

            • Waco
            • 3 years ago

            IB is amazin’.

            • jts888
            • 3 years ago

            Yeah, I remember having awful times using it at a prior job due to its quirks.

            IIRC, the main problem was that packet routing was done statically on a per-connection basis and was managed by a service running on the subnet, and that service (OpenSM) could get in a stuck state several times a day for no apparent reason.

            The symptom was that already opened sockets could chug along all day just fine but new connections would fail and look like a server problem and not a network problem. It was pretty frustrating to deal with as a network software developer, and it made Ethernet’s use of ARP and MAC CAMs in switches seems not actually all that bad…

      • Krogoth
      • 3 years ago

      The main reason is pure market segmentation. There’s no killer mainstream application that makes wired gigabit ethernet woefully inadequate for the masses. The masses are far more interested in wireless ethernet.

      The only group that are interested in 10Gbps and beyond are prosumers and professionals. They are more then willing to pay for current price levels since the hardware pays for itself in real workloads.

        • Waco
        • 3 years ago

        Oh, I know, but I can still hope. The same was said about gigabit just over a decade ago.

          • Krogoth
          • 3 years ago

          The only killer apps that help drive gigabit ethernet to the masses was lower-end NAS solutions and higher-end consumer internet connectivity packages that made 100Mbps Ethernet woefully inadequate. It also helped that affordable UTP Cat5e could effortlessly handle Gigabit speeds without too much hassle.

          It starts getting tricky when you try to push 10Gbps and beyond with UTP. You need at least Cat6e cabling if you want any decent distance. 100Gbps is pretty much limited to fiber you if want any distance.

        • GrimDanfango
        • 3 years ago

        As one of those professionals – a self employed one with extreme bandwidth requirements for fluid dynamics – I had to wait for a random Amazon sale when 10GbE cards dropped to a third their usual price, buy up a bunch of them, install several in my server, and run everything using direct crossover connections… simply because it was FAR cheaper than buying a hub at the time.
        (Edit: not really crossovers, I know it’s all auto-negotiated these days… what’s the correct term for a direct link?)

        I wasn’t at all happy paying that kind of money – the cost of a hub would’ve taken me a fair while to recoup.

        I suppose I’m an exception… most small businesses don’t typically need 10GbE bandwidth.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    I might have to buy one just because I need a second system with 10Gbit ethernet to have something worth plugging into the 10Gbit ports on my Xeon D server!

      • Andrew Lauritzen
      • 3 years ago

      ^ Same situation lol. Steam cache always needs more speeeeeeed 🙂

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