Asus Z270-WS workstation mobo reports for duty

Builders of Kaby Lake systems have tons of motherboard choices from Asus. The company updated almost 90 of its 100-series boards to work with Intel's seventh-generation Core CPUs, and it's launched a bevy of Z270 motherboards, to boot. The company must feel like it still has a gap in its product line, because it just announced the Z270-WS, a workstation motherboard built with Intel's upper-level mainstream chipset.

The Z270-WS has all the normal features of a high-end Z270 motherboard, like dual M.2 slots, six SATA ports, six rear USB 3.0 ports, and four DIMM slots with room for up to 64GB of DDR4 memory. Asus adds some extra hardware goodies to give it the Workstation label: two U.2 connectors, USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports courtesy of an on-board ASMedia controller, and dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet jacks. TechPowerUp says the board also multiplies some of its PCIe lanes thanks to a PLX PEX8747 bridge chip. Workstations typically call for system stability over all else, but the Z270-WS sports a full set of overclocking features. Don't even think of trying to build a Z270-WS system with a cheap 300W power supply, though. This motherboard has 24-pin ATX, eight-pin EPS, and six-pin PCIe power connectors.

Thanks to that PLX chip, the board offers four physical PCIe x16 slots capable of running four-way AMD Crossfire or Nvidia SLI setups with supported graphics cards. Three-way configurations will run in a x16 + x8 + x8 arrangement and four-way setups will run at x8 + x8 + x8 + x8. There's also an additional PCIe x4 slot in the middle of the board, though even two-way multi-GPU configs will block it off.

For sound, Asus chose a Realtek ALC S1220S 8-channel audio codec for times when users want to listen to something other than spinning fans and hard drive platters. Asus says the audio solution supports DTS Connect multi-channel encoding, and signal-to-noise ratios of 120 dB for playback output and 113 dB on the line input.

Asus didn't offer pricing or availability information for the Z270-WS, but we would suspect that it won't be far off the $350 asking price of the company's Z170-WS motherboard.

Comments closed
    • robertsup
    • 3 years ago

    somebody know are there will be ws mobo on x370 for ryzen? spec for mobos are very weak for am4

    • CScottG
    • 3 years ago

    You can stamp “WORKSTATION” all over the board, but if it doesn’t have ECC memory support – then it isn’t a workstation board.

    ..and oddly Kaby Lake doesn’t seem to have a C236 chipset equivalent:

    [url<]https://ark.intel.com/products/codename/82879/Kaby-Lake#@All[/url<] I guess for the time being stick with the Asus (if pursing that brand): P10S WS.

    • TEAMSWITCHER
    • 3 years ago

    What is up with all the Z270 boards? ASUS and Gigabyte have gone bat-shit crazy with motherboard models and new branding. Does Z270 really need Prime, TUF, Strix, ROG:Maximus, and WS (workstation) brands from ASUS alone?

    I love building my own PC’s, but can’t help to feel that they are completely missing what people really want. Reliable components, sensible feature sets, a properly functioning BIOS’s with timley updates, and eye pleasing aesthetics. They could cut their current line-up by two-thirds and nobody (and I mean nobody) would feel slighted. It really has gotten out of control.

      • adamlongwalker
      • 3 years ago

      The reason why is in 2016 the only thing that was going well for the PC market was the “PC niche gamer’s section of that market”. Everything else is in decline mostly due to smart phones that are becoming more and more computer like.

      It is getting out of hand, these “niche” components and software and I don’t like where all of this leading too as I have seen the same crap happening in other sectors of the manufacturing market, corporations that has happened in the past and it is currently “trendy” now.

      BTY I completely agree with your comment. Pretty soon I’ll be building another rig in the near future, but I’ll be honest. The core of my board gaming design is done on a 9 year old computer.

      And the reason why is it all works very well (software + hardware) together. Why should I change something that is not broken? And I know it will continue to work well and will use it for it’s exact purpose until is dies a noble death.

      And then I’ll use one of my newer rigs to replace it.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    I bought five of these sort of Asus boards back in the Z77 days, P8Z77-WS I think.

    I would [b<]never do it again;[/b<] Godawful BIOS issues that never got fixed because this isn't a high-volume board for Asus and they don't have the same level of committment to troubleshooting with enterprise hardware that the big boys like Dell, HP, IBM and Supermicro have. What I do these days is buy a high-volume, everyday board that will sell hundreds of thousands of units globally, and buy dedicated PCIe cards from big names like Intel and LSI instead of hoping that Asmedia and Asus's BIOS guys (with a bajillion other things to also work on) made v1.0 of the firmware flawless. [i<]Yeah, like that's ever happened...[/i<] Not only is it less problematic, it's also easier to replace any failures years down the line when these hen's teeth boards have long vanished from stocks but you could just get any generic Z270 board and pop your LSI/Intel cards into it.

      • Bauxite
      • 3 years ago

      Haven’t checked in awhile, but previously they were “windows only” on support for fixing broken crap or unimplemented ‘features’ on their WS boards. Went with asrock who was posting VT-d working videos on their cheap boards and never looked back.

      • robertsup
      • 3 years ago

      [url<]http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/Core/Z270/C7Z270-PG.cfm[/url<] here you have alternative

    • derFunkenstein
    • 3 years ago

    It’s basically a “gamer” motherboard without the horrific gamer aesthetic, which I can kinda get behind. “You want us to tone it down? Fine. But you’re going to pay for it.”

      • UberGerbil
      • 3 years ago

      [code<]Bill of Materials: Gamer Mobo $150 Remove RGB LEDS (@ $1/each): $100 Remove Jagged Plastic Shrouds (@ $10/each): $ 50 Remove Stickers (screaming animals, demons, near-naked women) (@ $20/each) $ 60 ------- ----- Total: $360 [/code<] Seems legit.

      • Krogoth
      • 3 years ago

      It has ECC support and full VT-D support for EFI. Not exactly gamer-tier features.

        • Wirko
        • 3 years ago

        No ECC this time. An ASMedia chip glued somewhere and calculating checksums would not be inconceivable, though.

          • MOSFET
          • 3 years ago

          At first read, Wirko, I agreed. But couldn’t one actually use a lower than i7/i5 chip with ECC? Asus upper-level mainstream boards almost always have the [s<]BIOS[/s<] UEFI support. edit: I can't imagine that use case, but technically....or is that totally out with the Z270? I've been using Asus AMD boards for so long.

            • Wirko
            • 3 years ago

            None of Intel’s consumer chipsets support ECC. On the contrary, their role is to disable ECC even if the processor has support for it.
            Here’s a product intended to keep people confused:
            [url<]http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=5914#ov[/url<] No, it's not an X170 board. Not X and not 170. But it's ECC.

            • Bauxite
            • 3 years ago

            Intel nerfed i3 ECC, E3 xeons on desktop chipsets and several other things that had been the norm. They have been tightening their grip on [s<]star systems[/s<] cpu features for awhile now.

    • UberGerbil
    • 3 years ago

    It’s kind of amusing to see them try to cover as much territory they can with this board, when they have literally a hundred other variants (really? That seems insane just from a BIOS management standpoint, but ok). I mean, they call it a Workstation board but they throw in overclocking, and then add odd “luxury” audio features (yes, Realtek, but still) even though I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a real workstation even hooked to speakers (unless you’re talking about an audio workstation, in which case it has dedicated audio hardware).

    But I guess if you’re going to ask over $300 for a board — and you’re not Supermicro, with their features and rep — you have to find as many ways as you can for the buyer to rationalize the price.

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