From motherboards sporting M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slots to others with support for a ridiculous amount of SATA ports, ASRock has jumped into the fast lane in the past few years with great motherboards that feature great connectivity options when it comes to fast storage. One of their latest Intel X99 boards proves to be no different. Today we are going to take a close look at a newly released workstation/server motherboard of theirs that continues to impress, the ASRock X99 WS-E. Best of all, this board will now be the heart of our new enterprise review bench!
Now, don’t get this board confused with its X99 WS-E/10G brother that was released a few months back as it doesn’t feature the same 10GbE connectivity, Rather, this board offers dual Intel server grade 1GbE ports allowing the X99 WS-E to be available at a much lower price point of $450 rather than $600-$650! This is great for those who want the same features and layout that the X99 WS-E/10GB offers, but don’t need its 10GbE connectivity…and for those who don’t want to fork over that much money on a motherboard.
SPECIFICATIONS, PRICING, AND AVAILABILITY
The ASRock X99 WS-E is a workstation board for those who need high performance as well as rock solid stability. Just the fact that the X99 south bridge heat sink utilizes a fan for extra cooling proves that this motherboard is built to work under high stress and not skip a beat.
It offers support for Intel i7 and Xeon E5-1600/2600 v3 CPUs (LGA 2011-3 socket), up to 18 cores and 160W. It powers this through its 12 power phase design with 60A chokes and Nichicon 12K platinum caps. You can throw quad channel DDR4 3200+ (OC) RAM in it with a maximum capacity support of 128GB. It also accepts DDR4 UDIMM ECC and RDIMM memory. Through the inclusion of the PLX 8747 bridge this motherboard can support up to 4-way SLI or 4-way CrossFireX x16 through four of its seven PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. It also comes with their Purity Sound 2 7.1 CH HD audio that features the latest Realtek ALC1150 audio codec.
The X99 WS-E also supports ASRock’s Full Spike Protection, APP Shop, and a full HD UEFI. There is OS support for Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2, and 2008 R2 as well as Windows 7 and 8/8.1. There are a total of 12 SATA 6Gb/s ports, one eSATA port, one 10Gb/s SATA Express port, one M.2 socket that supports up to PCIe 2.0 x4 and SATA 6Gb/s, a SATA and USB DOM port as well as support for up to 16 USB connections, 8 USB 3.0 and 8 USB 2.0. This motherboard is currently available and as mentioned earlier retails for about $450 and it comes with a 3-year warranty.
PACKAGING AND COMPONENTS
ASRock X99 WS-E motherboard packaging matches the color scheme of the motherboard and the front features a large X to denote the X99 chipset. Some images depict the motherboards features and support. On the back, the majority of the features and specifications are listed in detail.
Included in the package are a quick install guide, support CD, I/O shield, 6 SATA data cables, a SLI cable, 3-way SLI and 4-way SLI bridge cards, and a screw for the M.2 socket.
This is an eATX (Extended ATX) form factor motherboard with a sapphire black PCB. The board is accented nicely with blue and silver. In total there are seven fan headers on the motherboard. At the top right there are two CPU fan headers, one 3-pin and 4-pin. On the top and bottom of the SATA ports there two 3-pin fan headers and there is another on the bottom center and it is a four pin connection. There is also a 3-pin power fan connector to the bottom left of the left DIMM slots and the final connector comes pre-connected to the south bridge fan.
The rear CPU socket support plate is 3mm thick to allow this motherboard to fit in a 1U chassis if need be.
I respect that ASRock offered a solution to the small business users, selling this kind of boards is not easy, these aren’t boards that everyone needs, more marketing effort is needed.
– Thanks to PLX this board is extensible – here two SAS, data transfer is excellent while simultaneously having OpenCL load on dual graphic.
– It can run Xeon with or without ECC/REG memory, if used without ECC/REG overclock is easier, although some ECC/REG memory can be tweaked by lowering latency – so result is the same.
I don’t like too many integrated stuff on board (e.g Marvel, SAS) because replacement of board becomes expensive, and the choice is limited then. I find WS-E or 10G to have just enough extensiveness for business users, and the price is perfect. We’ve been using ASRock boards long time in 24/7/many years, and with decent memory, no crashes, no reboots needed ever. Good work ASRock.
Small hint: make sure that south-bridge fan is clean and operating perfectly, dust safe cases can help. I wish they made bigger sink with detachable fan blades for easyer maintenance !
Where do I buy the TDM module from? I haven’t found it anywhere… (in Europe)