Asus’ WS C246 Pro boards are ready to cradle Xeon E chips and ECC RAM

Intel's Coffee Lake-based Xeon E chips have been around for a little bit now, and every major vendor is peddling products meant for those CPUs. Asus has a couple of motherboards for Xeon-E builders, as well as E500 G5 workstations barebones systems that use them. Let's have a glance at Asus' WS C246 Pro and WS C246M Pro motherboards. The two boards on show are nearly identical aside from their size, although the differing dimensions obviously result in a few minor alterations.

ASUS WS C246 PRO

Despite being listed as part of “products formerly Cannon Lake” in Intel's ARK database, the C246 chipset appears to be a very close relative of the consumer Z370 chipset. The primary difference in the two is the C246 chipset supports Xeon CPUs, and in turn, ECC memory.

Either board supports Coffee Lake-family LGA 1151 CPUs, from the Xeon E chips mentioned above on down to the Celeron G-series chips. They both come with four DDR4 DIMM slots supporting regular or ECC memory at up to 2666 MT/s. Both boards have eight SATA ports, dual Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet connectors, and two USB 3.1 ports of unspecified speed. Finally, since most of the new Xeon E CPUs include integrated graphics, both boards can use HDMI, DisplayPort, or VGA connections.

ASUS WS C246M PRO

The WS C246 PRO board gets no less than four PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. Naturally, only the first slot is capable of operating in x16 mode, and that lane allotment is split between the first two slots when both are in use. The third and fourth x16 slots are connected to the C246 chipset, and top out at four lanes each. The larger board also gets a second M.2 socket, a USB 3.1 Type-C port replacing a Type-A connector, and a DVI-D jack—all of which the smaller board lacks. However, the smaller WS C246M Pro has a “rack-optimized” layout with the DIMM and CPU sockets rotated 90 degrees compared to the larger board.

ASUS E500 G5 workstation

Perhaps because most companies aren't building their own systems, Asus offers the boards as part of its E500 G5 workstations. The WS C246 Pro comes in the full-sized E500 G5 tower, while the WS C246M Pro drops into the E500 G5 small-form-factor (SFF) machine. Asus offers the chassis with the motherboard and power supply pre-installed so that users can simply drop in their own memory, storage, and processor.

ASUS E500 G5 SFF workstation

While this hardware has been up on Asus' site for a few days, the company didn't tell us when or for how much builders could start buying the parts. We'd expect it to show up at e-tailers sooner rather than later.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 1 year ago

    YES! Look at those heatsinks. They might actually work [i<]as heatsinks[/i<]. Also, do you see the RGBLEDs? No? Amazing RGBLED-free technology. That is the future, man. I'm not so keen on the black PCB though. I'm not sure I can trust anything that's been tarted up with paint. Give me Abit's 'distressed vomit' colour scheme and we'll talk.

      • jihadjoe
      • 1 year ago

      I believe the keyword here is Workstation.

      • HERETIC
      • 1 year ago

      That “distressed vomit colour” might be a pointer to back when Bakelite was the substrate
      today it’s fibreglass-“green”

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 1 year ago

        You can build fiber-reinforced-polymer structures with different polyesters. Green is characteristic of today’s epoxy vinyl ester resins. Older resins might have been brown.

          • auxy
          • 1 year ago

          You just restated what he said. (‘ω’)

            • JustAnEngineer
            • 1 year ago

            It has been a few decades since I worked at the circuit board factory, but the fiber-reinforced polymer substrate was not bakelite even then. Some of the BPA epoxy resins were brown. Vinyl esters tend to be green. The R&D group was even experimenting with some blue polymer for fine-tuning trace impedences when I was there.

      • Waco
      • 1 year ago

      I would buy “gaming” boards with heatsinks like this over ANYTHING else EVERY time if they were an option.

        • strangerguy
        • 1 year ago

        Yeah, but without those gaudy “GAMING” pasted everywhere nobody would ever know a PC with the right specs can, gasp…play games.

          • Chrispy_
          • 1 year ago

          Actually these lack the requisite logo and RGBLED support to launch any games, unless you’re talking about text-adventures in a terminal window.

          I tried to run Quake Champions on a workstation the other day and it exploded, killing four architects, one engineer, and maiming the HR lady.

            • Redocbew
            • 1 year ago

            That sounds like a lot of paperwork.

            • deruberhanyok
            • 1 year ago

            Not if HR is out of commission.

            • Chrispy_
            • 1 year ago

            I like the way you think.

        • deruberhanyok
        • 1 year ago

        You could just use one of these in your gaming system. They’re usually just as expensive as the gaming ones, but instead of RGB bling, you get “validation reports”.

          • Waco
          • 1 year ago

          And generally no ability to overclock.

            • deruberhanyok
            • 1 year ago

            True, but I just assume diminishing returns for overclocking at this point anyways. 🙂

            • Waco
            • 1 year ago

            True, but that last few percent feels worthwhile.

        • Freon
        • 1 year ago

        Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable line is what you’re looking for. Good implementations of chipsets, a few extra power phases for overclocking, and without the RGB or KillerNIC BS.

          • Waco
          • 1 year ago

          My last few boards were UD series, I have nothing but good words about them, but the heatsink design is garbage just like every other consumer board it seems.

            • Chrispy_
            • 1 year ago

            Heh yes, couldn’t agree more.

            My hatred of garbage heatsinks on consumer boards predates the blight of gamer bling and RGBLED by at least half a decade.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    Those enclosures (particularly the top one) are very IBM/Lenovo-looking

      • chuckula
      • 1 year ago

      It’s not just Lenovo, it’s practically late 1990’s Lenovo. That card-reader on the front looks like it slots right into the 3.5″ floppy bay.

        • NovusBogus
        • 1 year ago

        I still haven’t forgiven the motherboard companies for taking away my floppy drive connector.

      • morphine
      • 1 year ago

      Yep, I half-expected to see “ThinkStation” stamped across the fascia.

      • rnalsation
      • 1 year ago

      They are OEMed by In-Win.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 1 year ago

        The E500 G5 SFF seems to combine the layout of the [url=https://www.in-win.com/en/computer-chassis/bl-series/USA<]BL Series[/url<] with the decorative style of the [url=https://www.in-win.com/en/computer-chassis/ce-series/USA<]CE Series[/url<].

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        At my local Walmart are some Asus gaming PCs that have enormous In-Win logos. You’d almost think the PCs were made by In-Win they’re so big.

    • chuckula
    • 1 year ago

    The motherboards are generally Krogoth but I find the complete lack of meaningless RGB bling on those towers to be quite non-Krogoth.

      • Krogoth
      • 1 year ago

      I declare the measurement of “not impressed” as a Krogoth

        • Wirko
        • 1 year ago

        Who would of thunk?

          • Srsly_Bro
          • 1 year ago

          Would have*

            • Wirko
            • 1 year ago

            Who would have thunk?

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            would of*

            😉

            • Srsly_Bro
            • 1 year ago

            lol go away, bro.

        • The Wanderer
        • 1 year ago

        I could have sworn I saw that happen here in these comment threads (declared by someone else, but adopted by general acclaim) literally 5+ years ago, if not 10+.

        I can’t find any reference to that now, though…

        • DPete27
        • 1 year ago

        What is the measurement scale?

      • Redocbew
      • 1 year ago

      Perhaps the RGB craze could also be known as the Krogothic Era. A long period of time where nothing impressive happened.

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