Squeezing a lot of power into a small package is something that we've been after for a while with PCs, and Asus' latest motherboard follows that trend with the workstation-class X99-M WS. This isn't a teeny Mini-ITX board, but rather a proper high-end Micro-ATX X99 motherboard.
At the center of the board is an LGA2011-3 socket, which is flanked by four DDR4 memory slots. There are also three PCI-Express x16 3.0 slots, and Asus said that it is its first Micro-ATX motherboard that will have 16 lanes enabled on each of those slots, if you use two for a dual-GPU setup. (Of course, you do need a CPU that hosts enough lanes). The third PCI-Express slot is electrically only wired to 8 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes. For storage connectivity, Asus packed the board with eight SATA3 (6 Gb/s) ports, along with a single M.2 slot.
Rear I/O connectivity is where things get particularly interesting. Aside from the usual stuff, Asus packed the board with dual gigabit Ethernet (which is expected for a workstation motherboard), 1300 Mb/s wireless AC connectivity, and most notably, two USB Type-A 3.1 ports. Asus did not implement a USB Type-C port, although it may have made that decision because Type-C is quite new to the market and appears to be mostly geared towards consumer devices and laptops.
The board comes with Crystal Sound 2 audio hardware, Asus' 5-way optimization technology, and a sleek professional appearance. The heatsinks on the VRM circuitry are connected with a heatpipe, and there is a small heatsink on the chipset.
Asus priced the board at $279.99 and announced immediate availability through its usual retailers.