Asus WS X299 Sage/10G packs double-barreled 10 GigE

Gerbils with deep pockets will surely recall Asus' WS X299 Sage motherboard from late last year. High-end workstations these days are all but required to have 10-Gigabit Ethernet, though, and the pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports on the WS X299 Sage may have disappointed some buyers. For those folks, Asus has a new version of that board called the WS X299 Sage/10G that upgrades both RJ-45 jacks to 10-GbE sockets. The newer revision also packs an upgraded VRM heatsink.

The new network connections are powered by an Intel X550-AT2 chip codenamed Sageville. Because of all the high-speed PCIe connectivity the fast NICs require, the WS X299 Sage/10G loses a few of its connections compared to the original board. It still comes equipped with a full suite of 7.1-capable analog audio connections, four USB 3.0 ports, and a pair of USB 3.1 connections (one of which is a Type-C port.) There are also onboard headers for two more USB 3.0 ports and a USB 3.1 front-panel jack. The second U.2 port also goes bye-bye on the revised board.

This board's only other change from the original version is an upgraded VRM heatsink. The difference isn't stark, but part of the heatsink now extends to the back panel, likely to cool the Sageville network chip. The secondary VRM heatsink is also a bit longer. The changes could help cool power-thirsty X299 CPUs, although the extant WS X299 Sage board already has one of the densest fin stacks we've seen on a motherboard's power-delivery circuitry. Rumor has it that Intel has 22-core CPUs on the way in September for LGA 2066, so it's also possible this change is to help prepare for those CPUs' likely prodigious power draw.

If you're curious about further details, you can check out the product page or our coverage of the original WS X299 Sage. Since Asus just put up the product page, we don't know how much the new board will cost. You can probably figure on a premium of at least $100 over the $529 price of the original board, though.

Comments closed
    • curtisb
    • 1 year ago

    I wish the 10GigE ports were SFP+ instead of RJ45.

      • Krogoth
      • 1 year ago

      Not going to happen in a workstation-tier motherboard. SFP+ belongs on dedicated networking equipment.

        • curtisb
        • 1 year ago

        Not true at all. It would ikely be cheaper to do an SFP+ port on the motherboard. The cost comes from the optics, but there are plenty of places to get cheap, yet good quality, optics these days. Twinax is also cheap if your run doesn’t need to be longer than 10 meters. SFP+ ports also give you lower latency than Base-T ports.

          • Krogoth
          • 1 year ago

          SFP+ ports are too long on the board side. It wouldn’t fit on an ATX form factor board (CPU and its support circuitry are in the way).

            • curtisb
            • 1 year ago

            Look further down in this thread. Ryu had already brought that up, and I replied. My statement had nothing to do with whether or not the ports would fit, just that I prefer SFP+ over RJ45 for 10GigE…for multiple reasons.

            However, a quick search shows that Gigabyte managed to figure out putting an [url=https://b2b.gigabyte.com/Server-Motherboard/GA-6PXSVT-rev-10#ov<]SFP+ port on an ATX form factor board[/url<]. They even did it on an [url=https://b2b.gigabyte.com/Server-Motherboard/MB10-DS3-rev-13#ov<]mITX Xeon-D motherboard[/url<], with dual ports stacked.

      • Airmantharp
      • 1 year ago

      After researching what it would take to do 10Gbit between desktop, switch, and NAS (think SATA SSD 0+1 maybe that could saturate 10Gbit) I agree.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 1 year ago

        Maybe, but 10g-baset means you can do 2.5g or 5g. SFP+ would mean either 10g only (and investing in fiber) or if it was backwards compatible, 10g/1g

          • curtisb
          • 1 year ago

          Being a Base-T port doesn’t automatically mean it’ll do 2.5g or 5g. The NIC AND switch both have to allow it. Looking at the Intel ARK page linked in the article, the X550-AT2 can do 1/2.5/5/10, but only in Linux.

          FWIW, 2.5g/5g can be done on SFP+ ports. It’s not limited to the media type.

      • Ryu Connor
      • 1 year ago

      Not sure where you think a slot long enough to hold those is gonna fit on this motherboard.

        • curtisb
        • 1 year ago

        I fully realize including SFP+ ports in the normal port cluster is next to impossible. Asus has some smart engineers, I’m sure they could figure something out. We all know it’s not below them to include daughter card type designs with their boards.

        If I were building that class of workstation, using a PCIe NIC wouldn’t be off the table. An [url=https://ark.intel.com/compare/83964,83965<]Intel X710-DA2 or- DA4[/url<] would be a good option, although they are picky about the optics or twinax cables you connect to them. And for what it's worth, the Base-T versions of those cards are about 50% more than the SFP+ version. Base-T switches are also going to run higher cost, and they use more power. There's also [url=https://www.amazon.com/10Gtek-E10G41BTDAG1P5-Ethernet-Converged-X520-DA1/dp/B01DCZCA3O/<]10Gtek's "version" of the Intel X520-DA2[/url<] that's available at a relatively decent price. The X520's aren't picky at all about their optics or twinax cables.

    • Goty
    • 1 year ago

    I’d like to see some testing of some onboard 10GbE implementations sometime. I see Aquantia solutions popping up a lot more often now and it would be interesting to see how they compare.

      • demani
      • 1 year ago

      Yeah-now that 10GbE is generally affordable on the switch side I’d love to see some testing of some of the client chipsets to see what is worth it and what isn’t any better than 1Gb.

    • Beahmont
    • 1 year ago

    Are those RJ-45 or SFP 10GbE connectors? I can’t quite tell from the pictures.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 1 year ago

      Looks like RJ-45. There’s a notch for the tab.

        • Anton Kochubey
        • 1 year ago

        Also it’s not deep enough for SFP

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 1 year ago

    Intel is also rumored to have a 22 core on x299 platform.

      • chuckula
      • 1 year ago

      Needs at least 10 more cores.

        • moose17145
        • 1 year ago

        Oh Snap!

    • DPete27
    • 1 year ago

    Wowza. The northbridge cooling is the thing to talk about. Large heatsink + two separate heatpiped finned heatsinks to back it up…..oooph!

    PS. Love the covers on top of the finned heatsinks. Really effective in trapping heat inside the fins.

      • Neutronbeam
      • 1 year ago

      The heatsinks need integral fans.

      • drfish
      • 1 year ago

      [quote<]Love the covers on top of the finned heatsinks. Really effective in trapping heat inside the fins.[/quote<] Yeah, just just the pollen clogging up my air conditioner!

      • Krogoth
      • 1 year ago

      It is actually the PCH.

      “North bridge” is an obsolete term ever since memory controller moved onto the CPU.

        • DPete27
        • 1 year ago

        True. Kids these days….

        • chuckula
        • 1 year ago

        And the “PCH” is basically what was formerly referred to as the “south bridge” moreso than the north bridge.

        Incidentally, it was possible to have an integrated memory controller and still have a north bridge. Both Nehalem and Bulldozer/Piledriver had IMCs but still had separate north bridges.

          • Krogoth
          • 1 year ago

          Northbridge for Bloomfield/Westmere and Bulldozer/Pilediver platform was the PCIe controller before it was moved into the CPU itself.

    • techguy
    • 1 year ago

    Where was this board when I bought my Asrock X299 Fatality 1337 Gamer Extreme Ultra Hardcore Professional board last year?

      • meerkt
      • 1 year ago

      Had to search to make sure that isn’t a real product name.

        • techguy
        • 1 year ago

        It’s close enough to the real name.

        Asrock Fatal1ty X299 Professional Gaming I9 [url<]https://www.asrock.com/MB/Intel/Fatal1ty%20X299%20Professional%20Gaming%20i9/index.asp[/url<]

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