Unfortunately, this reviewer does not have any M.2 PCIe 2.0 x4 cards on hand, however we can still see how a M.2 PCIe 2.0 x2 card performs in this board with the help of a Plextor M6e. The performance from this should also show similar to how a SATA Express device should perform. We will also be using a Micron M600 M.2 SATA SSD to test the SATA performance of the slot.
The Micron M600 results proved to be about where they should be. However, we can see that since the SATA link is tied with a non-RAID capable SATA port connection there is a decrease in 4K read and write performance. When looking at the Plextor M6e M.2 results, they are very similar to our results when it was tested in our Z97 test bed as can be seen here. So overall, you should expect decent performance when you use the M.2 socket. With more PCIe 2.0 x4 devices about to be released, you should be able to see a lot faster speeds than we have demonstrated here.
USB 3.0 THROUGHPUT
To test the USB 3.0 throughput we connected our Angelbird SSD2go Pocket to the USB ports too see what kind of results we could get. Keep in mind that this external SSD has been and is still being used daily and that we are benchmarking it under a different OS than we originally reviewed it.
The results here are strong. All the USB 3.0 ports show very similar performance with speeds reaching over 400MB/s for read and near the rated speed for write. USB 2.0 performance is quite impressive with the Angelbird SSD2go reaching 42MB/s read and 44MB/s write. The USB performance on this board does not disappoint!
REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
Our testing focus primarily on the storage aspects of the ASRock X99 WS-E, just as all of our previous motherboard reviews and in light of this, it did well. It has a ton of connectivity options which include SATA Express support, M.2 PCIe 2.0 x4 support, twelve SATA 6Gb/s ports, an eSATA port, USB and SATA DOM ports, and up to sixteen USB connections!
During our testing we did find a few interesting things. For one, it isn’t a surprise that the Marvell SATA connections have a maximum bandwidth of 5Gb/s, however it was interesting to see that when the SATA mode was set to RAID rather than AHCI there was a significant jump in 4K read and write performance. Also, when testing on the non-RAID capable Intel SATA ports there was a decrease in 4K read and write performance over the RAID capable ports, all other tests showed good results however. Overall SATA performance on the RAID capable ports however proved to be quite similar to that of our Z97 test bench results, which was great to see as earlier on in X99’s release SATA performance was slacking a bit.
The one thing we were quite saddened to see was that the M.2 socket is only capable of PCIe 2.0 x4, not PCIe 3.0 x4. Even their vanilla X99 WS and a lot of their other X99 boards have PCIe 3.0 x4 capable M.2 sockets. The performance out of the M.2 socket was still quite good. The Plextor M6e was able to achieve similar results to that of our Z97 system and the M600 was able to match similar performance to that of the non-RAID capable ports as it is tied in with one of them. In our last bit of storage testing we took a look at USB throughput. For USB 2.0 we saw great results with speeds maxing out at 44MB/s and USB 3.0 speeds exceeded 400MB/s.
Now, looking over the ASRock X99 WS-E as a whole, the workstation/server features it offers up really sets it apart from its brother and sister boards. Combine these features with the vast amount of PCIe connectivity and this board becomes quite appealing. You can hook up any HBAs you want from a hardware RAID card, multiple graphics or compute cards, to even fiber network cards if that’s what you need. Even with all of those there should still be a slot or two free for anything else down the road. A great inclusion on this board is the Purity Sound 2 audio solution, with such high quality and powerful output, it saves you some dough on a sound card and put it towards more important things such as RAM and for most this should keep them an extra PCIe slot free.
With its 12 phase power delivery design and Nichicon 12K platinum caps, you should run into no issues when powering a highly overclocked i7 or some of the latest E5 Xeon CPUs. Support for up to 128GB DDR4 ECC RAM makes this board a great option for those who need rock solid reliability and up time during heavy workloads such as ultra HD video editing or VM operations…or if you are like us, long and treacherous storage benchmark sessions!
With all this said, ASRock X99 WS-E is to be the heart of our new Enterprise Review Test Bench and will allow us to see some great performance figures out of the latest and upcoming enterprise storage solutions. So far in our use we have not had any hiccups with this motherboard and just chugged along as if it were another day. If you are looking for a new workstation or server motherboard check this one out and see if it fits your needs, we sure found it to fit ours! Due to this we are giving it our Editor’s Choice award!