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Asus Z9 PE-D8 WS / Dual Xeon E5 2687W / 64GB Kingston DDR3 Review

The Asus Z9 PE-D8 WS motherboard arrives in a large, attractively designed, heavy box with no images of the product on the front. There is a list of key specifications along the bottom.

The bundle is extremely impressive – Asus certainly haven’t skimped on supplying a full wealth of peripherals.

They include:

  • User’s manual
  • I/O Shield
  • 2 x COM port cable(s)
  • 8 x SATA 3Gb/s cable(s)
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
  • 1 x 3-Way SLI bridge(s)
  • 1 x 4-Way SLI bridge(s)
  • 1 x SLI bridge(s)
  • 1 x 2-port USB2.0 + 1394 bracket(s)

The Asus Z9 PE-D8 WS is built around a black PCB and isn’t one of the most attractive boards we have seen. That said, this is a Workstation board, so the emphasis on wacky and wonderful eye catching designs isn’t important – either for ASUS or the people buying it.

Technically, the engineering quality is beautiful – with a fantastic layout and two effective heatsinks close to each CPU socket. This board is passively cooled.

Asus have opted for the EEB form factor (30.5cm x 33 cm), which means it isn’t a dramatic size increase over a standard ATX board design (30.5cm x 26.4cm), fitting into most of the larger (super) tower cases available on the market today. We used the fantastic Lian Li X2000FN, and you can read our full review over here.

Asus recommend you use the following operating systems with this board:

  • CentOS 5.7/6.1 32/64-bit
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise 32/64-bit
  • Windows 7 (Ultimate SP1) 32/64-bit
  • RedHat Enterprise Linux Desktop WS 6.0 32/64-bit
  • RedHat Enterprise Linux AS5.7/6.2 32/64-bit
  • SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 11.2 32/64-bit
  • SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11.1 32/64-bit
  • VMWare ESX4.1/ESXi4.1

As you can see, the board is extremely well laid out with all the memory slot pairing uniform in position next to each CPU socket. The motherboard supports the latest Intel Xeon E5-2600 processor family with dual LGA 2011 sockets. Memory and PCI Express controllers are integrated alongside quad-channel 8-DIMM DDR3 memory and 80 PCI Express 3.0 lanes.

This board supports 8 DIMM’s, up to 64GB with 1066, 1333, 1600, 1866, 2133mhz speeds in a Quad channel architecture. It supports non ECC, unbuffered memory. Additionally it also supports registered memory up to 256GB in 800, 1066, 1333 and 1600mhz configurations.

The Asus Z9 PE-D8 WS supports both Nvidia 4 way SLI and AMD 4 way CrossfireX configurations. The four PCIE slots operate in the following configurations:

4 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (dual x16 or quad x8)
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x8 mode)

Users can count on up to four Tesla cards with dual Intel Xeon E5-2600 processors for intensive parallel computing and massive data handling capabilities, delivering nearly 4 teraflops of performance. This offers an excellent desktop replacement for cluster computing.

This motherboard has no less than 8 Fan headers scattered in all positions – ideal for controlling a large chassis with multiple fans. There are also two 8 Pin CPU power connectors – to offer enough power to both XEON processors. You will need to ensure you are using a capable power supply for this system build.

A list of internal I/O ports are:

  • 1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)
  • 2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
  • 2 x Vertical USB 2.0 port(s)
  • 2 x COM port(s) connector(s)
  • 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
  • 8 x SATA 3Gb/s connector(s)
  • 2 x IEEE 1394a connector(s)
  • 2 x CPU Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)
  • 6 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)
  • 1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
  • 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
  • 2 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
  • 1 x 4-pin EZ_PLUG Power connector(s)
  • 1 x RAID key header(s)
  • 1 x ASMB6-iKVM connector(s)
  • 1 x VGA connector(s)
  • 1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
  • 1 x AUX panel header(s)
  • 1 x SMBus header(s)
  • 1 x System panel(s)
  • 1 x Power-on button(s)
  • 1 x Reset button(s)
  • 1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)

We opted for a Seasonic 1000W Platinum modular unit – possibly the finest power supply on the market today. You can read our indepth review of this power supply over here.

The Intel C602 chipset is extremely capable and ASUS have included extra SATA 6GB/s ports with this particular board.

Intel C602 chipset :

  • 2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), blue
  • 8 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s), black

Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10

Marvell PCIe 9230 controller :

  • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), gray

Support Raid 0, 1, 10

Yes, thats a total of 14 SATA ports on this board. More than enough for any situation.

The back I/O panel offers:

  • 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
  • 2 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 6 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
  • 6 x Audio jack(s)

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