P8C WS Workstation Asus P8C WS motherboard target Xeons with the C216 chipset

It's easy to forget that the LGA-1155 platform is also home to Intel's E3-series of Xeon processors and Intel recently updated its entire E3-series of Xeon's to Ivy Bridge. To go along with the new CPUs Intel also released a new chipset, the C216 and Asus has produced a new motherboard based on this chipset called the P8C WS where WS stands for Workstation.

It's easy to forget that the LGA-1155 platform is also home to Intel's E3-series of Xeon processors and Intel recently updated its entire E3-series of Xeon's to Ivy Bridge. To go along with the new CPUs Intel also released a new chipset, the C216 and Asus has produced a new motherboard based on this chipset called the P8C WS where WS stands for Workstation.

Unlike the previously launched P8Z77 WS, the P8C WS is actually a fairly basic model that lacks features like a PLX bridge chip, extra SATA/eSATA controllers and so forth and it's actually a fairly basic motherboard. The choice of chipset makes this more of a workstation board though, mostly due to certification which will make this an approved motherboard for a lot of businesses.

Unlike its consumer siblings, the Xeon E3 processors have 20 lanes of PCI Express bandwidth, but it doesn't looks like Asus has taken this to heart with the P8C WS as it sports two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots that operate in dual x8 mode, two PCI Express x4 slots – one via the CPU and one via the chipset, as well as a single x1 PCI Express slot and a single PCI slot.

P8C WS Workstation Asus P8C WS motherboard target Xeons with the C216 chipset

As mentioned, Asus didn't add any additional SATA controllers and as such the board only has four SATA 3Gbps and two SATA 6Gbps ports via the chipset. Other on board connectors consists of a single USB 3.0 pin header, two internal USB 2.0 ports, one USB 2.0 pin header, one FireWire pin header and a serial port, a parallel port and TPM module pin header.

The rear I/O could've been a lot better considering the target market, as Asus has simply gone with the same layout as for the P8Z77WS and dropped a couple of features. The good news is that the dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers are still in place, but beyond that you only get six USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 port, two USB 3.0 ports, a FireWire port, 7.1-channel audio with optical and coaxial S/PDIF out and a single dual-link DVI port. What we're really missing here is a DisplayPort connector, or two at that considering the target market and the ability of this motherboard to drive up to three displays and we feel Asus missed out here.

The only real tangible benefit of going for the P8C WS over the P8Z77 WS is the support for the extra four PCI Express lanes from the CPU rather than having to rely on a PCI Express bridge to be able to take advantage of all four slots, but you also miss out on extra SATA, eSATA and USB 3.0 ports to mention only a few features that aren't included. The P8C WS is at least a fair bit cheaper to reflect this as it looks like it'll retail for around US$240 (S$305) compared to about US$340 (S$435) for the P8Z77 WS which might still make it a worthwhile purchase for some.

Source: Asus