Asus WS-C621E-Sage lets builders overclock a pair of Xeon SPs

Once upon a time, before anyone had ever even imagined there would be dual-core CPUs, the truly hardcore PC enthusiasts were building and overclocking dual-CPU machines. The legendary Abit BP6 and similar dual-socket boards were popular choices for the task, and my best friend once built (and overclocked) a machine using a monstrous Tyan Thunder K7. We thought those days were long gone, but perhaps not. Have a glance at the Asus WS-C621E-Sage. You may want to sit down first.

That thing in the picture is exactly what you think it is: a motherboard with a pair of spots for Xeon Scalable Processors sitting in LGA 3647 sockets (aka Socket P). The board has one DIMM slot per memory channel per CPU, for a total of twelve RAM slots. Builders can install up to 768 GB of ECC RDIMMs or LR-DIMMs running at up to 2666 MT/s, if they can find such exotic equipment. The board can run four PCIe 3.0 x16 expansion cards at full bandwidth, or three x16 cards and four more with x8 connections. There are four U.2 connectors and an M.2 socket on the board, all of which get four lanes of PCIe 3.0 to play with (although we're not sure whether there's some lane-sharing going on). There are even ten SATA 6 Gbps ports.

Okay, so what? None of those specs are weird for a workstation board. What's out of the ordinary here is that Asus explicitly describes the WS-C621E-Sage as an overclocker's board.  Asus doesn't have the board's CPU support list up yet, so we don't know exactly exactly which Xeon SP  chips it can overclock. Still, that feature alone makes the Sage unique, to our knowledge.

The Sage is funky in other ways, too. It has a fair few features you won't normally find on this sort of motherboard, like a pair of USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports in Type-A and Type-C formats, and a CMOS reset button on the rear panel. Further overclocking features include on-board power and reset buttons, as well as a diagnostic LED readout. The board's high-end audio hardware appears to be a close relative of the ROG SupremeFX solution found on Asus' fancy gamer boards. The paired Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers are less unusual, as is the onboard Aspeed AST2500 chip that provides basic video output from the board's VGA port.

We've just spotted the product page for the WC-C621E-Sage on Asus' site, so we don't know when you'll be able to plunk down your pound of flesh for it. The motherboard hasn't showed up at e-tail yet, but if you intend to build a monument to excess you probably don't care what it will cost when it does.

Comments closed
    • mcarson09
    • 2 years ago

    Asus’ WS boards are not what they used to be. I had issues with their x9pe-d8 and their X10PE-D16. The strange was the latter gave me fits with areca RAID controllers to the point i had to return it. The irony is their ASrock rack boards are rock solid and some even have not advertised OC options. The OC options do work on 16xx unlocked Xeons. i would nbot touck their WS boards till I see someone test RAID controllers with them. What’s the point of using a WS board if you don’t use a RAID controller with it? QUAD SLI/Xfire is prettty much dead.

      • the
      • 2 years ago

      NVMe RAID via U.2 is supported via CPU lanes so that should be enough bandwidth for a workstation. That’d be 16 GByte/s peak bandwidth available for SSDs to utilize.

    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    See, that is sexy. It’s not a cheesy, eaglebro-owl-dragon-robot themed christmas lights holder.

    No, this is a monochrome board bristling with components and not an inch wasted on frivolity or utterly meaningless junk.

    Modern consumer boards are ricers, but this is a tuner.

      • mcarson09
      • 2 years ago

      Do you find yourself making the farting noise when you sit down at your ROG LIGHTENING GOTY TWIMTP BLING BLING LED light show gaming computer?

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        No, my fart can exhaust note is drowned out by the 1.21 JigaWatt mutli-subwoofer surround system that has it’s own NOS system and bolt-on bodykits.

      • juzz86
      • 2 years ago

      Absolutely, gorgeous board.

      Look at all that EPS!

    • CheetoPet
    • 2 years ago

    Oddly in has an Aspeed AST2500 on it yet no IPMI. Struggling to think of a good reason for this.

    • auxy
    • 2 years ago

    You point out how big the TR4 socket is every time you talk about it but no comparison here? (・ω・`) They actually pay you for this? Step it up or I’ll slap the patina off your bald head! (゚∀゚)

      • RAGEPRO
      • 2 years ago

      You can’t even reach my bald head, lil’ bit.

      • mcarson09
      • 2 years ago

      There is only one chuckula, and that’s bad enough…

    • DPete27
    • 2 years ago

    @Tyan Thunder K7 S2462: 25 degree angle DIMM slots!? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

      • auxy
      • 2 years ago

      It was my older brother’s PC. SO STUPID. Not the board, it was majestic. He got some cheaper version without the SCSI controller on it. It required a special power supply and registered memory.

      But it was moronic because he spent all that money on it and ended up basically with two 1GHz Durons with 2GB of RAM when he could have gotten a faster video card and CPU… for what he spent he could have bought a faster game box AND got ME a newer PC. (I was still using his hand-me-down K6-III+ machine then.)

      I’m not bitter or anything tho. (・へ・)

        • mcarson09
        • 2 years ago

        I’m sure you didn’t bring this up to his attention at all… NOT once.

      • Mr Bill
      • 2 years ago

      I still have a couple of those boards. But the trusty K7D Master was a better board.

    • Delphis
    • 2 years ago

    Eventually these ‘monuments to excess’ show up on eBay and the like. Future upgrading potential as and when I need a new server board. Those U.2 connectors are intriguing.

    Found out they do indeed make SFF-8087 to SFF-8643 (U.2) cables. Hmmm 🙂

    • DrDominodog51
    • 2 years ago

    [url<]https://www.evga.com/articles/00537/[/url<]

    • SuperPanda
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]so we don't know exactly exactly which Xeon SP  chips it can overclock[/quote<] None of them.

      • Leader952
      • 2 years ago

      [quote<]Aside from drooling over such a system, one of the stand-out features listed for the Sage is its ability to overclock both CPUs. We have been told by Intel that none of the Xeons are overclockable, which usually means that the CPU multiplier is not adjustable. ASUS hasn't released any details on the overclocking capabilities, however [b<][u<]there are two ICS chips on the board which are usually attached to motherboards that offer significant base clock frequency adjustment, so our current thoughts are it will be using BCLK adjustments for overclocks[/u<][/b<].[/quote<] [url<]https://www.anandtech.com/show/11960/asus-announces-ws-c621e-sage-workstation-motherboard-dual-xeon-overclocking[/url<]

        • SuperPanda
        • 2 years ago

        Asus said the same thing about their Z10 D8 and D16 boards:
        [url<]https://www.asus.com/us/Commercial-Servers-Workstations/Z10PED8_WS/[/url<] [url<]https://www.asus.com/us/Commercial-Servers-Workstations/Z10PED16_WS/[/url<] I'd love to be wrong, but we're almost certainly talking about tiny amounts of "overclocking" (<10%) that nobody in their right mind would consider on a platform like this. The gains are just too small to be worth the hassle and potential instabilities.

          • mcarson09
          • 2 years ago

          But their WS bioses are so bad it really makes these boards nothing but a glorified “gaming” board with two cpu sockets…

      • mcarson09
      • 2 years ago

      The only reason to get a board like this is for the slots.

    • Takeshi7
    • 2 years ago

    How much you want to bet Intel will force Asus to remove the OC ability in a future BIOS update? Just like they did when all of the Non-Z chipset boards started doing BCLK overclocking.

    Also, I need to cut a giant hole in the front of my case so that I can fit this motherboard in it. It will be ugly and half of the motherboard will be hanging out, but it’ll be worth it.

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      It’s technically the [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SSI_CEB<]SSI-EEB[/url<] form factor that is basically the same size as EATX. Which isn't a surprise for a huge dual-socket motherboard like this.

        • Chrispy_
        • 2 years ago

        Aye, the E-ATX cases I’ve bought all came with SSI mounting holes as well as ATX ones (Cheiftec, Supermicro, Antec). I’m not sure if the consumer-only brands like Corsair/Fractal etc also support SSI but it doesn’t really matter that much – nothing a drill-bit, and three standoffs with 3/32″ nuts won’t fix.

        The biggest caveat is not usually the case, but the PSUs; You need dual 8-pin connectors for the board.

          • mcarson09
          • 2 years ago

          The corsair 800D can do eATX and SSI. Most good 850/1200/1500 watt psus come with dual 8 pin cpu connectors that double as 2x4pin.

        • mcarson09
        • 2 years ago

        EEB is just too many extra characters to type. People are so lazy they use pcie instead of PCI-E.

          • Chrispy_
          • 2 years ago

          Isn’t it PCIe, officially?

      • mcarson09
      • 2 years ago

      Intel doesn’t need to. The kicker is the straps on the bclks for the non 16xx Xeons are locked. You can only get a 105 bclk max if you are really lucky, 103 is the norm. This is with SB/IB and HW/BW.

    • blastdoor
    • 2 years ago

    The BP6 was awesome because it allowed a poor grad student (like I was at the time) to build a system that Intel’s market segmentation strategy never intended me to have. The BP6 was able to exist because the market segmentation strategy was only marketing — those old Celerons were fully capable of SMP operation and higher clock speeds.

    Nowadays, though, there’s nothing (including this) that really delivers what the BP6 delivered. Intel now has market segmentation implemented in silicon. There is no modern equivalent of those old Celerons — no low hanging fruit for intrepid DIYers to pick.

    These days the only solution to Intel’s market segmentation strategy is competition from AMD.

      • jihadjoe
      • 2 years ago

      AMD’s market segmentation goes right to the silicon, just like Intel. There is no EPYC overclocking, and despite unlocked multipliers on Ryzen the chips are binned close to their max clocks anyway so there’s little headroom to play with.

      This is just the industry smarting up. Those days of truly free performance are over.

        • the
        • 2 years ago

        Both Xeon SP and Epyc at the high end are certainly trading clock speeds for higher core count. This is due to the insane amount of power needed run those core counts at what their desktop counters parts have. If Asus found a means of reliably over clocking the Xeon SP, they better have power circuitry that can feed two of those chips beyond stock power.

        • Bauxite
        • 2 years ago

        AMD segments an order of magnitude less than intel. Intel is getting worse and worse with their in-your-face segmenting rather quickly.

        TR all lanes and ECC vs X299 neuterville, and whatever the 2011 xeon socket update is getting called along with whatever stupid restrictions it comes with (I stopped following due to lack of giving a damn).

        AM4 vs 1151/1151v2 oh and don’t forget E3 xeons off on their own little island now, all “different” for reasons™! (no honest engineer would claim a Z170 with good VRMs could not power all those chips) Pay no attention to the fact their x86 cores are TOTALLY FREAKING IDENTICAL SINCE SKYLAKE. 8th generation my foot, we’re on [i<]maybe[/i<] 4th since sandy. Enjoy your bundled bleh GPU taking up half the chip whether you want it or not. EPYC vs 3467, well not much different there except insane price tiers from intel...wait I forgot the new "use all your ram" model upcharge. And the "decent amount of lanes but still less" 2P surcharge. Quite a few of their terrible SKUs only exist to take advantage of similarly terrible enterprise software licensing that came from the dreams of IBM execs 50 years ago.

          • the
          • 2 years ago

          This is also ignoring how many generations of 115x there were that used dual channel DDR3. I’m suspect confident that Lynnfield/Westmere and Sandy/Ivy Bridge could have all been done on the same socket.

          Haswell/Broadwell had an IVR which does merit a new socket and Sky Lake added DDR4 so those get a pass on socket change.

          The really open question is what chipset and socket a Coffee Lake Xeon E3 v7 is going to use. Also what rebranded name of the Xeon E3 v7 will actually be.

      • floodo1
      • 2 years ago

      There will never be a situation as good as going from a single core to dual cores way back then … SMP made windows so much smoother!

      • mcarson09
      • 2 years ago

      Even the BP6 had the dreaded bad caps issue….. Why did Abit have to die?

      After the BP6.. You could use athlon XP as MPs if you bridged certain L bridges.

      • Mr Bill
      • 2 years ago

      Felt the same way about the MSI K7D Master and the MP Palamino cpu’s.

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