Asus P5W64-WS Professional Motherboard - HotHardware

Asus P5W64-WS Professional Motherboard

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The call of most computing enthusiasts or workstation professionals has always been "more power, more bandwidth and more features, please".  The advent of serial PCI Express-based computer architectures was the foundation of an enabling technology that provided a much needed solution to the bottleneck problems associated with the aging PCI bus architecture.  Unfortunately, though NVIDIA heard the call and answered with their nForce 4 SLI X16 and nForce 590 chipsets recently, Intel hasn't yet seen fit to expand beyond the more limited PCI Express connectivity options in their 965 and 975X chipsets. 

Asus recently saw this hole in Intel's chipset line-up and in typical fashion were the first to blaze a trail with a leading-edge PCI Express motherboard implementation.  It's no wonder we evaluate so many new Asus products here at HotHardware.  The company is often the first to market with something new and interesting for the power user.  Today, we'll be taking you through the salient features and performance profile of the new Asus P5W64 WS Professional motherboard.  This product targets the workstation professional and enthusiast segments by offering four X16 PCI Express slots through the implementation of a 24-lane PCI Express Switch along with the Intel 975X chipset.  Versus the 40+ flexible lane configurations of NVIDIA's nForce line-up, Intel's meager 22 lane equipped 975X chipset looks a bit spartan.  Not content to settle for these inherent limitations, Asus took the 975X chipset from Intel to the next level with their P5W64 WS Professional motherboard.

Asus P5W64-WS Specifications & Features
Geared for High-Powered Workstations

CPU

  • LGA775 socket for Intel Pentium 4/Celeron CPU
  • Support Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition & Intel Pentium D Processor
  • Support Intel 65nm, Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme
  • Support Intel next generation Multi-Core CPU
  • Intel EM64T / EIST / Hyper-Threading Technology
  • Intel Hyper-Threading technology ready

Chipset

  • North Bridge: Intel 975X (support ATi CrossFire dual Gfx technology)
  • South Bridge: Intel ICH7R
  • IDT 89HA0324PS PCI Express Switch

Front Side Bus

  • 1066/800 MHz

Memory

  • 4 x DIMM, max. 8GB, DDR2 800/667/533, ECC and non-ECC un-buffered memory
  • Intel MPT (Intel Memory Pipeline Technology)
  • ASUS Hyper Path3

Expansion Slots

  • 4 x PCI-E x 16 slots
    (configurable in X8, X8,X4,X8 or X16, X0, X4, X0)
  • 2 x PCI 2.2

Storage/RAID Intel ICH7R controller:

  • 4 x SATA 150/300 (RAID 0,1,10,5) w/ Intel Matrix Storage Technology
  • 1 x UltraDMA 100/66/33

Marvell 88SE6145 controller:

  • 3 x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s
  • 1 x External Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s

Audio

  • ADI1988B, SoundMax 7.1 Audio codec Multi-Streaming Jack Sensing and Enumeration Jack Re-tasking S/PDIF Out interface
  • Coaxial and Optical S/PDIF out ports

LAN

  • Dual Gigabit LAN controllers
  • Marvell 88E8052+88E8001 Dual Gigabit LAN
    Supports teaming functions

Asus Special Thermal Features

  • Stack Cool 2
  • 8-Phase Power Design
  • Q-Fan 2
  • Asus Heat-pipe thermal Solution

Back Panel I/O Ports

  • 1 x Serial Port
  • 1 x Optical + 1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output
  • 1 x PS/2 Keyboard
  • 1 x PS/2 Mouse
  • 2 x RJ45
  • 4 x USB 2.0/1.1
  • 1 x External SATA port
  • 8-Channel Audio I/O

Internal I/O Connectors

  • 2X USB 2.0 connectors supports additional 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • 2 x IEEE1394a connector
  • 1X CPU Fan /  2 x Chassis(system) connectors
  • Front panel Audio connector
  • ASUS EZ-Backup jumpers
  • Chassis Intrusion connector
  • CD audio-in connector
  • 24-pin ATX Power connector
  • 4/8-pin EATX12V Power connector

BIOS

  • 8Mb flash ROM, AMI BIOS, Green, PnP, DMI, Wfm2.0, ACPI v2.0a, SMBIOS v 2.3, EZ flash, CrashFree BIOS2

Manageability

  • WOL by PME, WOR by PME, PXE & RPL, Chassis Intrusion

Support CD

  • Drivers
  • Make RAID driver Disk for Intel ICH7R
  • ASUS PC Probe 2
  • ASUS LiveUpdate Utility
  • InterVideo Media Launcher (OEM version)
  • Anti-virus software (OEM version)

Accessories

  • 1 x ASUS Q-Connector set (USB, 1394, system panel; Retail version only)
  • InterVideo MEDIA LAUNCHER Suite (OEM version)
  • 1 x Optional Fan
  • 1 x IEEE1394a port module
  • 4 x SATA cables
  • 4 x SATA power cable
  • 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
  • 1 x FDD cable
  • 1 x I/O Shield
  • 1 x 2-port USB2.0 module
  • User's manual

Form Factor

  • ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6"(30.5cm x 24.5cm)

    

A quick scan of the specs above shows this board as a full featured 975X offering with dual Gig-E, integrated 8 channel audio, Asus proprietary "Stack Cool" thermal management PCB design, as well as lots of the other integrated technologies associated with most higher end motherboards these days.  Where the P5W64 WS sets itself apart is through the use of a PCI Express switch from IDT that bolsters the board's PCIe expansion potential significantly.  We'll explore this particular feature in great detail in the pages ahead.

Beyond that, Asus nicely appoints the board with their usual connector and cable assembly flair providing the user ample access to all the board's integrated IO and storage functionality, in addition to their standard software bundle of WinDVD Creator and other Intervideo titles on the Asus Media Launcher CD.

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