ASUS is launching their first set of C246-chipset based motherboards for Intel Xeon E processors. These are the WS C246 PRO and its micro-ATX variant, WS C246M PRO. As the name suggests, these units have the C246 Cannon Point-H chipset instead of Z370 for mainstream desktop. Using Intel Xeon E-2100 series processors, they are ideal for entry-level servers and workstation builds.
As a result, these are designed less for flashy aesthetic, but rather for pure functionality.In fact, the WS C246 PRO has four PCIe 3.0 x16 expansion slots, two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots, and has up to eight SATA storage devices. There is also a spot for up to two M.2 SSDs. The WS C246M PRO on the other hand has a single PCIe x16 3.0 port with a PCI-E Gen3 x8 (Gen3 x4 link) and PCI-E Gen3 x1 (Gen3 x1 link). Furthermore, ASUS is offering optional PIKE II 3008-8i eight-port SAS 12G RAID cards for those who plan to use SAS storage.
Both boards also come with Intel I219LM GbE PHY and Intel I210LM GbE PHY for Ethernet connectivity.
Despite their similarities, the two boards differ in layout. That is primarily because the micro-ATX WS C246M PRO uses a layout conducive for rack airflow efficiency. So the DIMM slots are located above the CPU socket. With the memory parallel to the expansion cards, airflow is not obstructed to the CPU socket.
ASUS did not release any pricing information yet. Although for comparison, the previous generation C236 chipset P10S WS is currently available for $213 USD. Meanwhile, the rack-optimizerd micro-ATX P10S-M WS/IPMI-O also costs around $199 USD.
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