The downtime caused by
faulty computer hardware can easily cost many more times than the hardware
itself. That's why businesses invest in "expensive" workstation and server
components. On paper the devices may look similar to their desktop counterparts,
but workstation peripherals go through stricter quality control standards.
Of course this increases the price of the hardware but
that's peanuts compared to the peace of mind that comes along with buying true
workstation hardware. The Asus P5W64 WS Professional retails for $340 CDN ($290
US, £148 GBP) which is exactly where we expected it to be. The motherboard comes
with all the onboard features a serious user needs; four PCI Express x16 slots
for connectivity for up to eight monitors,
dual Gigabit network cards for super connectivity, IEEE 1394a, plenty of SATA
(and eSATA) with Intel Matrix Technology RAID support, USB2.0 and a high
definition 7.1 channel Azalia audio codec.
It's possible to connect four independent videocards to
P5W64 WS Professional thanks to the IDT 89HA0324 PCI Express switch that's
hidden under the "Quartet" heatsink. Now before you get too excited, the P5W64
WS Professional is designed for multiple displays, not some insane four way ATi
CrossFire setup. Of course the four PCI Express x16 slots are not just limited
to videocard use and you can insert any PCI Express peripherals you choose
including SCSI controllers or 10Gb network cards. When running more than two PCI
Express cards, the PCI Express bus is split up into x8, x8, x4, x8 modes across
all four slots.
The P5W64 WS Professional motherboard is a breeze to
work with, and your IT tech will have no problems setting this system up and
running smoothly. The Gigabit network cards and additional Marvell 3.0GB/s
Serial ATA II controller both run thought the PCI Express bus, so neither will
run into bottlenecks.
The performance of the Asus P5W64 WS Professional is
very high, and it performs particularly well in workstation type tasks. If you
feel like playing a game or two when the boss is not around, the P5W64 WS
Professional is also good at that... assuming you have a sufficient videocard.
;-) While I highly doubt you'd be overclocking a workstation system like this,
if you decided to the board is up to the challenge. There are decent options in
the BIOS, and in PCSTATS case we reached 400 MHz.
The Asus P5W64 WS Professional is aimed at a very
specific market. It's designed for the user who requires a heck of a lot of
video outputs and requires mission critical stability. This platform is
compatible with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and XP
Professional operating systems. The Asus P5W64 WS Professional is a premium
motherboard, but when you buy a platform like this you won't have to give it
another thought for years to come.
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