Two Xeon CPUs Are Better Than One Intel P4 Extreme Platform

The Right Motherboard Format: ATX Or WTX

On the left, the big WTX format and on the right, the ATX format

Compared to standard ATX boards, Xeon workstation boards have considerably more units, including, for example, PCI64/X interfaces, two Southbridges, LAN chips, voltage regulators, CPU socket or an additional SCSI controller. In order to accommodate the higher number of components, larger boards in WTX standard are required. These have a 32.94% larger surface area, measuring 33 x 33.5 cm compared to the ATX boards (30.5 x 24.5 cm). Boards with a WTX form factor do not fit in a conventional home PC case. The manufacturers MSI and Tyan also offer motherboards without the additional components, such as P64H2 Bridge and LAN in an ATX format. At any rate, installing them in a conventional tower would not be a problem.

The Right Power Adapter: ATX Or EPS12V

Fully stocked Xeon system

Because we are talking here about a dual CPU platform, the processing unit's power loss is also doubled. The fastest Xeon models with a Prestonia 2-M core and 3.2 GHz speed have, as a pair, a maximum power loss of 184 watts. Added to that are board components (an average of 50 watts), a high-performance graphics card with 70 watts, and a large memory upgrade - all together, it quickly uses up 350 watts.

A 20-pole plug provides a motherboard with voltage

This overloads the power supply to the motherboard. As a result, the boards in WTX format have another power adapter standard, which goes by the name of EPS12V. They have connections with more power and mass cores, as well as wider plugs in order to distribute the load better. As with the ATX form factor, the power pins are also made of gold in order to attain a lower resistance and to therefore improve the quality of the signals.

A voltage adapter from a Tagan power adapter (TG480-U01)

Tom's Hardware News Team

Tom's Hardware's dedicated news crew consists of both freelancers and staff with decades of experience reporting on the latest developments in CPUs, GPUs, super computing, Raspberry Pis and more.