Thursday, October 11th 2018

ASUS Intros WS Z390 Pro Motherboard with Dual x16 PCIe Bridge Chip

ASUS expanded its Workstation motherboard series with the new WS Z390 Pro, a socket LGA1151 board based on Intel Z390 Express chipset, featuring out-of-the-box support for 9th generation Core processors. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of one 24-pin ATX, two 8-pin EPS, and an optional 6-pin PCIe power. A 10-phase VRM (likely 8+2 phase incorporating smart-doubling on the Vcore side). This board appears to be using a PCI-Express 3.0 x48 bridge chip to convert 16 gen 3.0 lanes from the CPU to two x16 downstream slots, which are further split to four x8 slots, depending on how you populate the slots. The slot configuration options are x16/x16/NC/NC or x16/x8/x8/NC or x8/x8/x8/x8. An additional open-ended x4 slot wired to the PCH makes for the rest of the expansion.

Storage connectivity includes two each of M.2-22110, and U.2 ports, each with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring; and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. Networking interfaces include two 1 GbE ports, one of which is driven by Intel i219-LM, and the other Intel i210-AT. USB connectivity includes six USB 3.1 gen 2 ports on the rear panel, from which one is type-C, two additional USB 3.1 gen 2 ports by header, and a USB 3.1 gen 1 2-port header. The 8-channel onboard audio solution combines an EMI-shielded Realtek ALC S1220A codec with audio-grade capacitors, a headphones amp, and ground-layer isolation. We expect a price of around $350 for this board.
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10 Comments on ASUS Intros WS Z390 Pro Motherboard with Dual x16 PCIe Bridge Chip

#1
GrandPhoenix
A bit disappointed with the USB 3.1 gen 1 front panel header like the Z270 WS, there is only one header. There should be 2 headers like the previous generation, Z97 WS and Z170 WS
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#2
Prima.Vera
"btarunr said:
The slot configuration options are x16/x16/NC/NC or x16/x8/x8/NC or x8/x8/x8/x8.
Hold on. The pictures clearly shows that there are 5 PCI-E slots not 4.
And how come you can only use 3 PCI-E slots if you install a videocard?!?
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#3
Dammeron
"Prima.Vera said:
Hold on. The pictures clearly shows that there are 5 PCI-E slots not 4.
And how come you can only use 3 PCI-E slots if you install a videocard?!?
It speaks of physical 16x slots - there are 4 of those. And You can assign max of 32 PCIe lanes, that's why You can use all four only when all of them work as 8x.
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#4
Prima.Vera
Sorry, but the pics CLEARLY shows a total of 5 PCI-E slots, 4 full length and 1 PCI-E 4x only...
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#5
Flaky
Yes, but the x4 does not affect other slots, because it comes from the chipset.

The physical x16 slots are rather routed as on most other 115x PLX boards, what means the following:
x16/x0/x16/x0
x16/x0/x8/x8
x8/x8/x16/x0
x8/x8/x8/x8
depending whether slot is occupied or not.
Posted on Reply
#6
Dammeron
"Prima.Vera said:
Sorry, but the pics CLEARLY shows a total of 5 PCI-E slots, 4 full length and 1 PCI-E 4x only...
Please read the part "It speaks of physical 16x slots - there are 4 of those." carefully.
Posted on Reply
#7
Assimilator
Why are motherboard manufacturers still putting U.2 ports on motherboards in 2018... why...

"GrandPhoenix said:
A bit disappointed with the USB 3.1 gen 1 front panel header like the Z270 WS, there is only one header. There should be 2 headers like the previous generation, Z97 WS and Z170 WS
Technically it does have two headers - one for USB 3.1 gen 2, one for USB 3.1 gen 1. The previous boards had none of the former and two of the latter.
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#8
GrandPhoenix
"Assimilator said:
Why are motherboard manufacturers still putting U.2 ports on motherboards in 2018... why...



Technically it does have two headers - one for USB 3.1 gen 2, one for USB 3.1 gen 1. The previous boards had none of the former and two of the latter.
I think the Gen 2 one is a must nowadays. But at some High-end case like Cooler Master Cosmos series and MasterCase series, there are more than 2 USB 3.1 gen 1 ports at the front I/O.
Posted on Reply
#9
ypsylon
On paper it's ideal for people who don't need million cores, but want useful workstation setup. However...

Considering the price of brand new platform (ignoring folks who just want to upgrade the board) it's stupid idea.

Especially now when you'll get 8/16 chip with 44 lanes on X299. You don't have to worry will my stuff work or not. How can I transfer my pooled storage to new platform, but just with 6 SATA ports on board. How lane switching will affect performance of my stuff? Etc, etc... Remember PLX are lane switcher unlike NF200 chips of old which added physical lanes on X58 platform. Especially for storage dependent task - like 4K coding/renders - it matters.

On balance I really don't see the point in this. Gamers will pick different boards. People with any kind of workload - if they can count to 3 - will select cheapest 8/16 CPU on X299 line.
Posted on Reply
#10
alchemist83
"ypsylon said:
On paper it's ideal for people who don't need million cores, but want useful workstation setup. However...

Considering the price of brand new platform (ignoring folks who just want to upgrade the board) it's stupid idea.

Especially now when you'll get 8/16 chip with 44 lanes on X299. You don't have to worry will my stuff work or not. How can I transfer my pooled storage to new platform, but just with 6 SATA ports on board. How lane switching will affect performance of my stuff? Etc, etc... Remember PLX are lane switcher unlike NF200 chips of old which added physical lanes on X58 platform. Especially for storage dependent task - like 4K coding/renders - it matters.

On balance I really don't see the point in this. Gamers will pick different boards. People with any kind of workload - if they can count to 3 - will select cheapest 8/16 CPU on X299 line.
Er no - a very close minded comment "count to 3". A lot us who can count to 10, avoid AMD like the plague. 24 lanes on Intel, is more than enough for most. Oh BTW, the next numbers are 4 & 5 - let me know once you've learnt them and I'll feed you some more. Baby steps...
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