ASUS X99 MATX WS - RushKit
ASUS X99-M WS - RushKit
Published: 2nd September 2015 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
ASUS X99-M WS - Rushkit
A real sign of the times is how much power that we can place in increasingly small form factors, with premium GPUs like the R9 Fury X having a shorter PCB than previous flagship GPUs, Super fast SSDs being moved to the ultra small M.2 form factor and even seeing flagship motherboards coming in form factors that is smaller than traditional ATX or E-ATX form factors.
With Intel's X99 platform there are very few motherboards which are smaller than ATX, and even less which are validated for Workstation applications. Presenting the ASUS X99-M WS motherboard, one of the most compact X99 boards on the market, which sacrifices very little in order to achieve this form factor.
What ASUS have designed is a MATX X99 motherboard with no compromises, with the ability to accommodate Quad-Channel DDR4 memory, an M.2 SSD, up to 3 PCIe ports, USB 3.1, ASUS' OC socket and even up to 8 SATA 3.0 devices.
At this moment this motherboard is the only MATX motherboard that we know of which uses any form of OC socket, which should make this board have a distinct advantage when overclocking compared to competing X99 MATX motherboards.
Taking the motherboard out of the box we can see that the ASUS X99-M WS is a plain, dark and rather simple looking motherboard, free of all the usual gaming styling that we usually see with consumer motherboards. This is no doubt due to this motherboard's Workstation branding, which gives with it an assurance of workstation grade quality as well as giving us a atypical style.
Personally I really like the look of this motherboard, with it's all black finned heatsinks and its dark grey/black aesthetic. I think that this board would do a great job inside a all black stealth themes build, or any MATX X99 system really.
This motherboard does have the ability to use two GPU on 2x PCIe 16x lanes, though you will be limited to only slot GPUs and will be forced to run them right next to each other, which will make your GPUs run hotter. Alternatively you could use the bottom PCIe 3.0 slot, but here you will be limited to using 8xPCIe 3.0 lanes instead of 16x, which may have a negative impact on performance.
We can see on this board that it has only 4 memory slots, compared to 8 on many other X99 motherboards, but with 8GB and upcoming 16GB DDR4 DIMMs this will not be much of an issue for this motherboard.
We can see that on this motherboard that there is a single 6-pin PCIe power which is designed to help deliver power to the PCI lanes, though for general use this will have no affect on your components, so we recommend that you do not use it for the sake of tidier cable management.
On the rear IO of the X99-M WS we can see that this board is very well equipped, with dual USB 3.1 ports, 4x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports and even dual Gigabit Ethernet ports. This motherboard is also equipped with integrated WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 connections and all the typical audio outputs that you would expect form a modern motherboard.
on the board itself we have the ability to add two additional USB 3.0 ports, 4 additional USB 2.0 ports and an M.2 storage connector which is compatible with ultra fast NVMe storage. We also have 8x SATA 3.0 connections, which is more than enough for your general storage needs.
We always want to see bigger and more powerful PC being squeezed into smaller and smaller form factors but there is always a point where something has to give, yes there are smaller MITX X99 motherboards available but all they really do is take away all the major advantages of the platform, like quad channel memory and the ability to use more PCIe 3.0 connections.
MATX is really as small as X99 can go without real problems, as these CPU do require some beefy power circuitry even at stock and having quad channel memory takes up a lot of space on the motherboard. ASUS have done a great job of making this motherboard feature rich, giving this board full quad channel memory, an OC socket, an M.2 slot and pretty much all the features that you would expect from a full sized ATX X99 motherboard.
With an OC socket and some mice looking power circuitry this motherboard is likely the best overclocking board of it's size, since no other motherboard of this size has a similar overclock friendly socket design.
Yes this motherboard does have a few drawbacks, mostly when it comes to it's 4 DIMM slots and the fact that Crossfire or SLI GPUs need to be against each other with no gap, though this is a problem with the MATX form factor in general rather than this motherboar itself. The RAM problem is easily addressed by the fact that DDR4 memory is available in larger capacities per DIMM, with 8GB DIMMs being fairly common now and 16GB DIMMs already being available, so the fact that this board only has 4 DIMM slots is not really an issue.
If you are looking for a compact X99 based PC this motherboard is a great option, offering Workstation grade quality, a full X99 feature set and even a great deal of overclocking capability.