AMD's Ryzen Threadripper Pro CPUs for workstations are prohibitively expensive due to their exclusive capabilities and positioning. Asus this week announced the pricing of its AMD WRX80-based motherboard, and unlike the processors, the platform isn't too costly by today's standards. In Europe, it will carry a price tag that is significantly below a psychologically important €1000 level.
The Asus Pro WS WRX80E-Sage SE WiFi is set to be one of a few retail motherboards carrying AMD's WRX80 chipset as well as sWRX8 socket that exclusively support AMD's Ryzen Threadripper Pro CPUs. The platform will be available sometime in the first quarter for €868, including VAT, according to a press release published by Hardware-Inside.
Given the price of the Pro WS Sage SE in Europe, it is logical to expect the motherboard to carry an $880 ~ $900 MSRP in the U.S., which is not cheap but is still well below the price of high-end platforms mainstream platforms, like Z490 or Z590, for overclockers and enthusiasts. Comparatively, you get a lot more bang for your buck with this board – especially if you're looking for the ultimate workstation platform.
The Pro WS WRX80E-Sage SE WiFi from Asus is indeed the mother of all motherboards as it has a complete roster of features found in workstations, servers, and enthusiast platforms, all wrapped in a 12-pound package.
The E-ATX monster comes in black and does not have any RGB LED bling. But to ensure absolute stability and reliability, the Pro WS WRX80E-Sage SE WiFi is equipped with a 16-phase voltage regulating module (VRM) for the CPU that gets power from three EPS-12V connectors (i.e., the mobo will require an advanced PSU). The VRM is covered with two massive all-black aluminum heatsinks (one of which has a fan), which is adjacent to heatsinks covering the chipset (which is also actively cooled) as well as M.2 slots for SSDs. To further improve cooling and add some rigidity to the mainboard, it has a rather huge backplate.
AMD's Ryzen Threadripper Pro CPUs support up to 1TB of DDR4 memory as well as 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes, so the board carries seven PCIe x16 slots, three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, and two U.2 ports. In addition, the Pro WS Sage SE has eight SATA ports for those who need high-capacity local storage.
As far as connectivity is concerned, the Pro WS WRX80E-Sage SE WiFi is a no-compromise product. The motherboard is equipped with a Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth adapter (the Intel AX200), two 10GbE ports controlled by the Intel X550-AT2 chip (one of which connects to a baseband management controller), seven USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A connectors, one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, one USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C port, and a 7.1-channel audio subsystem.
As the name of the motherboard suggests, it is positioned for professional workstations, yet ASUS stresses that the Pro WS WRX80E-Sage SE WiFi is DIY friendly. Whether or not a lot of DIY enthusiasts decide to build a professional workstation with all of its attributes is something that remains to be seen, but at least it is safe to say that they will have such an opportunity when the platform hits the market this February or March.