Do you recall about two weeks ago when we informed you of the then-upcoming Asus WS-X299 Pro mobo? As it turns out, that motherboard has a bigger brother. "Sage" appears to be Asus' branding for its top-tier workstation boards, and the WS-X299 Sage certainly seems to fit the bill. Even though Core i9 CPUs already offer 44 lanes of PCIe connectivity to begin with, Asus goes one better and includes a PLX switch to split those PCIe lanes into a much wider arrangement.
That switch means that the board's seven PCIe x16 slots can all be run at at least x8 width simultaneously. Likewise, four of the slots can do x16 width at the same time. Surely only a very specific workload would need that much I/O, but if that's your requirement, the WS-X299 Sage could be the board to buy. Besides the seven expansion slots, the board routes PCIe lanes to a pair of M.2 sockets and a pair of U.2 ports. To fit all that connectivity, the WS-X299 Sage expands its size out to the SSI CEB form factor, although it'll fit in E-ATX enclosures.
Despite its claim to workstation-hood, the WS-X299 Sage is overclocker-friendly. It has a pair of EPS12V power connectors to feed power-thirsty Core i9 CPUs, and Asus claims the board will run its quad-channel DDR4 memory at up to 4133 MT/s. The Edge Up blog post announcing these boards goes to some lengths to point out the finned heatsinks on the board's VRMs and on the PLX chip. On-board buttons and diagnostic indicators will further assist enthusiasts in wringing the maximum performance from their machines.
Asus doesn't actually have the full specs for the new board up yet, but we know most of the pertinent details. The WS-X299 Sage has eight SATA ports, a pair of Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet connections, and Crystal Sound 3 audio. Twin USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports on the back panel come in Type-A and Type-C flavors, and there's an onboard header for a front-panel USB 3.1 Gen 2 port as well. If you need yet-faster external connectivity, you can hook up one of Asus' Thunderbolt 3 EX cards, although it isn't included in the box.
The WS-X299 Sage hasn't hit e-tail shops in the US yet, but keep an eye out if you're keen to stick a half-dozen PCIe cards in one box. Asus says the board should be available soon.
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