ASRock X99 WS-E/10G Review

👤by Richard Weatherstone Comments 📅16-02-15
Conclusion

The ASRock X99 WS-E/10G is a monster of a motherboard. It has more features than you can shake a stick at that's for sure! The main feature of the ASRock X99 WS-E/10G and partial justification for the astronomical price is the ability to team not two but four LAN ports. In a server environment this feature promises to excite and provide a host of benefits over your standard motherboard with, if you're lucky, just two GBit ports. The sad truth is though that few home users will see any tangible benefit in this unless using the mainboard in a VM network heavy scenario which diminishes the mass appeal of such a product. While we couldn't test this area ourselves, we have no reason to doubt ASRocks claims as the math does add up and should you require such throughput then this is certainly a feature you will make great use of. For the rest of us it is bragging rights with very little useful benefit.

Of course, that isn't the only great feature of the ASRock X99 WS-E/10G. It has full fat quad SLI/Crossfire capability thanks to the addition of two PLX chips which will give you 4x 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes and if you are worried about the amount of power available to your GPU's then fear not because the board has an extra 2 MOLEX power points in addition to the 24+8pin ATX power giving you ample overhead for even the most demanding multi-GPU setup.

Being a server mainboard you would expect there to be a multitude of storage ports and again, the ASRock X99 WS-E/10G does not disappoint with 14 main ports, m2 SATA along with eSATA too. We tried out a PCIe SATA card and this too worked fine so your options here are pretty much limitless.

We hoped the 12 phase power design would allow us to push the previous 4.8GHz maximum stable overclock of our test CPU but sadly we could quite hit that level, much less surpass it. Still, it was thereabouts equal with dedicated overclocking mainboards on the market so unless you are going for the absolute cream of overclocking records we wouldn't dissuade you from this mainboard because of the overclocking results.

Overall, we really liked this mainboard, despite not being able to fully test out all of it's features. The onboard buttons were useful as were the dual BIOS arrangement but we also felt that it was trying to cover both bases, home and workstation. On the one hand having the X540 Intel chip would be extremely useful teaming those ports controlled by that chip teamed up with regular GIGABIT Ethernet ports in a server environment but would a server need 4xSLI? Conversely, would a home gaming platform require the teaming of 4 LAN ports? We think not. Sure it gives the end user the flexibility of having both areas covered but it seems to us you would be better off buying a cheaper high end unit and adding your own compatible NICs should you want this multi-NIC teaming feature in the future. ASRock to their credit give you both options in one solution but it is unlikely you would use both in the same system scenario meaning you are spending a lot of dough for little benefit regardless of which side of the fence you find yourself.



ASRock do however deserve ample credit for this attempt as it will suit both purposes extremely well. We are just not sold that you would need both at the same time! It would be easy to give this board our top tier platinum award because it does everything you could possibly want and does it very well but we would find it unlikely to be found in a gamers machine simply because there are other boards that offer the same features for a lot less money. That said, there can be no doubting that this is perhaps one of the best, all-round motherboards that you are likely to find on the X99 platform and for this reason it can be proud of our Elite award because price aside, it is an outstanding product.

A monster Workstation and gaming motherboard that will surpass your expectations whether you're a gamer or intend to use it in a server environment. Sadly, it also has a price to match.

Pros
+ 4 Port Teaming
+ Quad graphics card compatibility
+ Great BIOS
+ Good Overclocking

Cons
- Price
- Basic packaging




Click here for an explanation of our awards at Vortez.net.
Our thanks to ASUS, Corsair and Intel for providing some of the components crucial to this review


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