As with just about every board on the market today, the P7P55 WS SuperComputer is an ATX form factor. It comes complete with all the advantages and disadvantages of this style of build.
Most companies have vastly improved on the ATX design by increasing the number of board layers. This allows the traces to be laid out in better isolation. This prevents high-speed cross talk and interference between the traces and increases stability. The addition of copper in the layers also acts as an additional signal dampener (in addition to added cooling).
ASUS went with a more functional design with the WS. Here you do not need fancy heatsinks or lights and whistles. Instead the design seems to convey durability. This is a board intended to last and work hard.
The CPU/Memory area is laid out in a very familiar way. You see the now standard one-armed RAM slots as well as numerous fan headers. A serial port header is placed in this area for some reason (maybe for a front header) while the 8-pin 12V Aux connector is sandwiched in between the top edge of the board and the upper VRM heatsink.
The lower half of the board shows us the multiple PCIe slots for use with Tri SLI or multiple Tesla cards. It is the support for Tesla in a multi-GPU configuration that lends the SuperComputer its name.
Another feature that is very workstation is the inclusion of two board mounted internal USB 2.0 ports. These are along the bottom edge and are intended for items like Encryption Keys and Security Dongles. As you can see in the image below, we used it for our LightWave 3D Dongle. This is nice as it puts these expensive and important devices safely inside a case and out of plain sight (and you can always get a case with a lock on the side panel).
As with other workstation boards from ASUS, we find that the handy diagnostic add-on fits right at the bottom edge of the board. Interestingly enough, it plugs into a slot labelled TPM. TPM stands for Trusted Platform Module, yet there is not a TPM chip on the diagnostic board. This little oddity will not affect performance and also will not stop you from using Bit Locker encryption; it is just one of those things I found odd about the board.
The ports on the P7P55 WS SuperComputer are fairly typical even if there are a tad more USB ports than you would normally see. The two LAN ports also stand out.
Overall I found the P7P55 WS SuperComputer to be a fairly well laid out board for the workhorse it is intended to be. I am not saying it is perfect, just that it is a little better than most when it comes to layout.
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Canada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon Canada's website.
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