Intel (INTC) might not have launched its new chipsets with support for the Sandy Bridge Xeon E3-series of processors yet, nor the processors in question, but details of upcoming motherboards keep trickling out and today we can give you the full specifications of Asus’ upcoming P8B WS boards. The WS moniker in the product name stands for Workstation and back in January we did a review of the P8P67 WS Revolution which is sort of the consumer version of the P8B WS, although the two boards are quite different.
The P8B WS sports Intel’s upcoming C206 chipset which is the only one of the three C200-series chipsets that offers support for Intel’s HD graphics which is found in some Xeon SKUs as well as all second gen Core i processors. Unlike the P8P67 WS Revolution, the P8B WS is not really intended for consumer PCs and as such it lacks most overclocking features that more traditional Asus boards offer. The P8B WS supports ECC memory, although as far as we know this only applies when a Xeon processor is fitted to the board. DDR3 1066, 1333 and 1600MHz DIMMs are supported, but that’s as good as it gets.
The slot configuration consists of four x16 slots of which the first and second one share bandwidth in a x8 configuration if both slots are utilized and the third and fourth ones offer four lanes worth of bandwidth each. There is also a single x1 PCI Express slot and a PCI slot. Asus hasn’t added any extra SATA ports to this board so you get four SATA 3Gbps ports and two SATA 6Gbps ports courtesy of the C206 chipset.
Around the back you’ll find a PS/2 port, six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a DVI port, a FireWire port, a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports and 7.1-channel audio jacks with optical and coaxial S/PDIF out. The board has pin-headers for four additional USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port and even a serial port. Asus has also added a pair of USB ports to the board itself, in a similar fashion to the P8P67 WS Revolution. Both of the Gigabit Ethernet ports are linked to Intel 82574L controllers which offer teaming and failover support.
Sadly we didn’t manage to dig up a good enough quality picture of the board to publish alongside this story, but we did dig up some pricing, even though it’s from European etailers. Most seem to be listing the board for around €170-180 ($240-255) which can’t really be considered cheap, but it’s still considerably cheaper than the P8P67 WS Revolution which retails for about €215-225 ($305-320), a board which is listed for about $280-290 in the US. The P8B WS will most likely arrive as Intel decides to launch the C200-series chipsets and accompanying Xeon E3-series processors.S|A
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