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Asus Introduces Z97 WS Workstation Motherboard

Asus has announced a very fancy Z97 motherboard – the Z97 WS. This is a workstation class motherboard built on the Z97 platform, with support for the fifth generation of Core series processors from Intel that drop into the LGA1150 socket.

Power delivery for the CPU is taken care of with an elaborate VRM circuit that draws its power from not one, but two 8-pin EPS power connectors. Power is also brought to the motherboard through a single 24-pin ATX power connector as well as a single 6-pin PCIe power connector. Why, you might ask? Well, that's because the motherboard has a grand total of four PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, which if all populated, will obviously draw a little more power.

The motherboard also has two PCIe 1x slots along with a single PCIe 4x slot. Storage connectivity is achieved by four SATA3 (6 Gb/s) ports, along with two SATA-Express connectors, which if either is unused will bring two additional SATA3 available. The motherboard also has the M.2 slot found on most Z97 boards.

Regarding overclocking, the motherboard also has some pretty serious hardware. Onboard there is a reset switch, power switch, along with TPU, EPU switches, as well as a clear CMOS button and Dr. Power switches. The motherboard also has an EZ XMP switch, which will make installing RAM with Intel XMP profiles a snap.

External connectivity is handled by two USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports (with another four available through internal headers), dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet, eSATA, DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, as well as an optical Toslink output accompanied by, lastly, 7.1 channel analog HD audio.

All in all, this is a serious motherboard from Asus that reflects in the price tag. It's just shy of $300 on the street and is available immediately.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • ssdpro
    How can I get a job here? I could also read articles other websites posted a few days ago and rewrite them here. Heck I might even be able to do it later that same day or next day :) You have my email!
    Reply
  • DookieDraws
    "It's just shy of $300 on the street and is available immediately." You left out ugly! :)

    Would love to see an all black & white color scheme for once. Would probably be too difficult to do, though.
    Reply
  • lp231
    Their WS heatsink rarely changes, it's almost similar dating back to the fossil ages of socket 775.
    Looks like those USB ports found on the WS are no longer there, but there are 2 internal USB 3 headers, good if your case has 4x front USB 3. The other board that has this was their P8Z77-V Pro. Not even the deluxe has 2 internal USB 3 headers.
    Reply
  • Draven35
    Too bad they skipped Thunderbolt. No thunderbolt *and* no firewire means its not a first choice as a DAW motherboard, or for serious video editing.
    Reply
  • SirKnobsworth
    A lot of PCIe lanes used there - I'd imagine there are two PLX switches to accommodate all that (one from the CPU and one from the chipset).
    Reply
  • Draven35
    Ok, research on Asus' site shows it *does* have firewire, and has a (displayport) header for their Thunderbolt expansion card.

    Can't tell if there are PLX switches sorry.
    Reply
  • thefiend1
    Im surprised they didnt add more ram slots. Being a workstation board, the more ram the better. Also, I would like to see a Micro Atx board geared towards WS needs... Lets start getting boards the size of the new mac pro that can scream!
    Reply
  • COLGeek
    No sure what some folks are looking at, but the specs are pretty darn impressive:

    http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Z97WS/specifications/

    Keep in mind, this is a WS class mobo. It isn't intended to be as "flashy" as a gaming rig component. "Beauty" is in the eye of the beholder.
    Reply
  • TeamBLU 4K
    Too bad they skipped Thunderbolt. No thunderbolt *and* no firewire means its not a first choice as a DAW motherboard, or for serious video editing.

    Indeed, it's too bad ASUS stopped putting on Thunderbolt 2.0 connectors on their Z97 motherboards. Big drawback just as Intel announced 10Gbps Thunderbolt networking.
    I will be going for GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD7 TH which does have Thunderbolt 2.0
    Reply