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ASUS Z10PE-D8 WS Dual CPU (Intel C612) Workstation Motherboard Review

ASUS Z10PE-D8 WS Dual CPU (Intel C612) Workstation Motherboard Review

Is your single socket workstation motherboard no longer cutting it? Then look no further, the ASUS Z10PE-D8 WS has the looks and performance on hand.

@William_Harmon_
Published Thu, Dec 11 2014 9:10 AM CST   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 99%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Packaging

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VIEW GALLERY - 60 IMAGES

There are many dual processor workstation motherboards to choice from; some just get the job done, and others like the Z10PE-D8 WS do it in style. The new Intel Haswell-EP CPUs and C612 Chipset bring a lot of processing power to the table, and ASUS has taken these new systems, and designed an elegant solution that can fit into many high-end workstation applications.

The Z10PE-D8 WS motherboard is what every enthusiast dreams of running, and it does not let you down. The new colour scheme ASUS uses with light and dark grey sockets and motherboard, make this board look really nice. Throw in gold colored heat sinks, which give it nice contrast and added appeal, and you really have a looker.

We think many users would like to water cool this motherboard and video cards, and install them in a nice big-widowed case to show everything off. Yes, it looks that nice. However, looks are not everything, so let's get this board running, and see how it performs. First, let's look at the retail package to see exactly what you get.

Packaging

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Here we are looking at the front of the retail box for the Z10PE-D8 WS. Just like other ASUS products, the retail box looks very nice. The retail box is colored with a flat black ink that seems to scuff up a little with handling.

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Here we see the back of the retail box. The back of the box has plenty of information about the motherboard, so you can get a good overview of what features the Z10PE-D8 WS contains. The text is rather small, and hard to read in some cases, as they include a lot of information here.

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After flipping up the outer sleeve display panel, we can see the information shown. As we have said before, the retail packages for ASUS motherboards are very nice; the high quality and overall appeal makes for a professional display on retail shelves.

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When you open the box for the first time, the very first thing you see is the motherboard. The motherboard is sitting in a white cardboard tray that lifts right out to provide access to the next compartment.

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After lifting out the motherboard tray, we see the accessory compartments. These are two side-by-side compartments that hold all of the accessories. Below, you will find the full breakdown of all the accessories that are included in the retail package. Accessories listed on the ASUS website:

  • User's manual (our package did not come with a user's manual)
  • I/O Shield
  • 1x COM port cable(s)
  • 12x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
  • 1x 3-Way SLI bridge(s)
  • 1x 4-Way SLI bridge(s)
  • 1x SLI bridge(s)
  • 1x two-port USB 2.0 module(s)
  • 1x VGA bracket(s)
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Here we have the accessories that came in our retail box all laid out.

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The two driver disks included with our Z10PE-D8 WS are:

  • C61x Server Support DVD Rev 5.0 -this includes all of the drivers you will need to do a fresh install
  • S566 ASWM Enterprise SDVD Durian Edition Rev 5.0 - the enterprise drivers are located on this disk

PRICING: You can find the ASUS Z10PE-D8 WS motherboard for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Z10PE-D8 WS retails for $630.31 at Amazon.

Canada: The Z10PE-D8 WS retails for CDN$768.97 at Amazon Canada.

Specifications and Layout

Specifications

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The main items to note are the number of PCIe slots on the Z10PE-D8 WS motherboard; there are enough to run 4-Way SLI, or 4-Way Crossfire for graphics. This is a large amount of PCIe slots for a motherboard of this size. There are also a large number of SATA and USB ports on the Z10PE-D8 WS. There are enough SATA ports to connect a large RAID, and have plenty of USB devices attached.

There are only 8 DIMM slots on the Z10PE-D8, which limits the amount of RAM that can be installed. If you need more RAM, you would be required to move to larger capacity DIMMs.

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The block diagram for this motherboard is simple; you can see that the C612 handles all of the SATA and USB functions, and also includes the audio features.

Layout

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Here we get our first look at the Z10PE-D8 WS workstation motherboard. ASUS uses the same color scheme on this board that we saw with the X99-WS motherboard. The gold heat sinks look especially nice. This is a great looking and well laid out motherboard.

The first problem we had with this board has to do with the power connectors. You can see the two eight-pin power connectors spread out here on the right side of the motherboard. With some PSUs, this is not a problem, as these connectors are on separate power cables. However, the Thermaltake Toughpower 1500W Gold that we started using has both eight-pin power connectors connected to each other on one cable. The distance between the two connectors was not enough to reach both sockets on this motherboard.

The next problem is the six-pin power connector is way over on the right side of the motherboard, which might present cabling issues when installed in a case. Here is the full list of connections found on the Z10PE-D8 WS:

  • 1x AAFP connector
  • 2x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)
  • 1x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 2.0 port(s)
  • 2x SATA Express connector: gray, compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
  • 1x M.2 Socket 3
  • 1x TPM connector
  • 1x COM port(s) connector
  • 8x SATA 6Gb/s connector
  • 2x CPU Fan connector(s) (2 x 4 -pin)
  • 7x Chassis Fan connector(s) (7 x 4 -pin)
  • 1x S/PDIF out header
  • 1x Six-pin EATX 12 V_1 Power connector
  • 1x 24-pin EATX Power connector
  • 2x Eight-pin ATX 12V Power connector
  • 1x RAID key header
  • 1x VGA connector
  • 1x AUX panel header
  • 1x SMBus header
  • 1x System panel
  • 1x TPU switch
  • 1x Power-on button
  • 1x Reset button
  • 1x Clear CMOS button
  • 1x Dr.Power switch
  • 1x Serial Port header
  • 1x ASMB8-iKVM connector
  • 1x Six-pin EATX 12V_3 Power connector
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Here we see the PCIe slots, which are:

  • 4x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (dual x16 or quad x8; light gray)
  • 2x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (dual x16; dark gray)
  • 1x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (dual x8; dark gray)

We also see the Q-Code, LED, power, and reset buttons on the far left edge, which we really like.

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Now we are looking at the lower left side of the motherboard.

Intel C612 chipset:

  • 4x SATA 6Gb/s ports (gray)
  • 4x SATA 6Gb/s ports (black)
  • 1x SATA Express port (gray)
  • 1x M.2 Socket 3

These ports support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10.

ASMedia SATA Express controller:

  • 1x SATA Express port (black) - compatible with two SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
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Here we are looking at the upper right section of the motherboard. This is where the main I/O connectors on the back panel are located, and one of the eight-pin power connectors is just below the VRM heat sink.

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The lower right side of the motherboard has two eight-pin power connectors for the CPU, and the main 24-pin power connectors over on the bottom edge of the motherboard. There are also two CPU Fan headers located just to the left of the RAM slots.

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Now we are looking at the back I/O ports. At the left, we see a PS/2 mouse/keyboard port with two USB 2.0 ports below. The next stack has the Q-Code Logger button, and below that is the USB BIOS flashback button. Next is an Optical S/PDIF out port, and then we have two USB 3.0 ports. The next stack has a Gigabit LAN port with two USB 3.0 ports below. The following stack has a Gigabit LAN port, which can also be used as a BMC management port, and the final stack has audio output connections.

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The Z10PE-D8 WS uses Socket 2011-3 for the CPUs. This socket is slightly different from the normal Socket 2011, so v2 CPUs will not fit this. The heat sink mounts are the same; however, some older heat sinks for Socket 2011 will work fine.

BIOS and Software

BIOS

The Z10PE-D8 WS BIOS is typical for server motherboards.

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Here we are looking at the main screen when you enter the BIOS. You can see basic information about the motherboard, BIOS version, how much memory there is, and the date/time.

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The next screen is the AI Tweaker page. Here you can set the AI Overclock Tuner to manual, and adjust the BCLK of the CPUs; other options are for voltages of different kinds.

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The Advanced tab allows adjustments for Storage, PCI, Network, and many other settings.

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The IntelRCSetup menu has many changes for Memory, PCH, Processor, and other server configurations.

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The IntelRCSetup Processor Configuration menu has options for Hyper-Threading, VMX, SMX, and other options.

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Power Technology menu allows you to set different power saving features; these will adjust different P States for controlling how the system will respond to different uses, like Energy Efficient or Max Performance.

The rest of the BIOS screens shown are typical for many server motherboards.

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Software

The C61x Server Support DVD Rev 5.0 has the basic drivers that you need to get this board up and running.

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After inserting the driver disk, we come to the first screen, which shows the options available for this disk. Clicking on each of these sections listed will begin the installation of the selected drivers.

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At the top of the list, you can see "ASUS Install"; clicking that will bring up the next screen. This will install all of the needed drivers for you, so you do not have to click each one.

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Here is the list of utilities that you can install:

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The Make Disk menu has options for creating a driver disk to support different RAID systems.

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The Manual menu has PDF files for all of the different manuals that you will need.

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The Contact menu has basic information on how to contact ASUS if you need to. Next is the S566 ASWM Enterprise SDVD Durian Edition Rev 5.0 support DVD, which will have server related drivers.

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Test System Setup

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We would like to thank ASUS, Crucial, SanDisk, Yokogawa, Thermaltake, Noctua, SPEC, Passmark, Primate Labs, and AIDA64 for their support in providing parts for our test system.

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The processor we will be using is the Intel Xeon E5-2698 v3, which features 16 cores with hyper-threading, and will supply the processing power.

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The Intel C612 Chipset will have provided support for up to 18 core processors.

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In our tests, we will be using the new Crucial DDR4 memory, which has a speed of 2133 MHz, and is rated at CL15. We will use eight 16GB sticks of these kits, and that will bring us to 128GB of RAM. We have already taken a look at these memory kits, and you can find our review here: Crucial DDR4-2133 DRx4 RDIMM Memory Review - Testing up to 256GB.

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Here we can see the timings of the Crucial DDR4 memory that we will be using in our tests.

CPU Benchmarks

Cinebench 11.5

CINEBENCH is a real-world, cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. The test scenario uses all of your system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene. This scene makes use of various algorithms to stress all available processor cores. You can also run this test with a single-core mode to give a single-core rating.

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Here we are looking at our CINEBENCH 11.5 tests; the Z10PE-D8 WS shows a good score here, but scores slightly behind the others in the multi-core tests. The Z10PE-D8 WS does have a slight lead in single-core tests, which makes us think the BIOS is optimized for single-threaded workloads.

Cinebench R15

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The Z10PE-D8 WS has a good score in CINEBENCH R15, which shows very good performance. The Z10PE-D8 WS does show strong single-threaded results that compare to other motherboards we've tested.

wPrime

wPrime is a leading multi-threaded benchmark for x86 processors that tests your processor performance. This is a great test to use to rate the system speed, and it also works as a stress test to see how well the system's cooling is performing.

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In wPrime, the Z10PE-D8 WS shows good scores, but falls behind when compared to other motherboards. As we said before, these small score adjustments are not much to be concerned about in these tests.

Memory & System Benchmarks

AIDA64

AIDA64 memory bandwidth benchmarks (Memory Read, Memory Write, and Memory Copy) measure the maximum achievable memory data transfer bandwidth.

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Memory bandwidth for the Z10PE-D8 WS is looking very good. These numbers are about half of what a dual CPU system would get; it does show good bandwidth with this setup, and compares well with other motherboards.

LINPACK

Intel Optimized LINPACK Benchmark is a generalization of the LINPACK 1000 benchmark. It solves a dense (real*8) system of linear equations (Ax=b), measures the amount of time it takes to factor and solve the system, converts that time into a performance rate, and tests the results for accuracy.

LINPACK is a measure of a computer's floating-point rate of execution ability, measured in GFLOPS (Floating-point Operations per Second); ten-billion FLOPS is equal to ten GFLOPS. LINPACK is a very heavy compute application that can take advantage of the new AVX2 instruction. Since it puts a very high load on the system, it is also a good stress test program.

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In LINPACK, the Z10PE-D8 WS motherboard shows average bandwidth compared to other motherboards.

PCMark8

PCMark 8 is the latest version in the series of PC benchmarking tools by Futuremark. It is fully compatible with Windows 8, and can be run under Windows 7.

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Our PCMark 8 tests were completed on a basic system; we used only one NVIDIA Quadro K5000 here. Using more video cards would increase this score a great deal, so this is only for reference.

SPECwpc

SPECwpc_v1.0.2 is a workstation benchmark that measures key aspects of workstation applications.

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These tests do put a huge load on the system, and take approximately eight hours to run on this system. SPECwpc puts a heavy load on the GPU.

Even small increases in scores show a big improvement in performance. Certain parts of this test rely on storage, so using setups with SSDs and RAID 0 would increase those scores.

Geekbench - Stream

Geekbench 3 is Primate Labs' cross-platform processor benchmark with a new scoring system that separates single-core and multi-core performance, and new workloads that simulate real-world scenarios. It also includes STREAM based memory tests, which we will include in our reviews.

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Here we are looking at the single-core STREAM memory tests. Bandwidth shows above average results. The Z10PE-D8 WS shows strong memory optimization, and appears well tuned for memory bandwidth.

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Now we are looking at multi-core STREAM tests. The Z10PE-D8 WS again shows strong memory bandwidth results in this test.

UnixBench and SPEC CPU2006v1.2

UnixBench 5.1.3

UnixBench has been around for a long time now, and is a good general-purpose bench to test on Linux based systems. This is a system benchmark, and it shows the performance of single-threaded and multi-threaded tasks.

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Synthetic benchmarks only show part of the performance of a motherboard. When using tests that are more complex, we will start to see a different trend in the scores. UnixBench shows average results for the Z10PE-D8 WS and E5-2698 v3 in this test.

SPEC CPU2006 v1.2

SPEC CPU2006v1.2 measures compute intensive performance across the system using realistic benchmarks to rate real performance.

In our testing with SPEC CPU2006 we use the following basic commands to run these tests:

" Runspec --tune=base --config=tweaktown.cfg ," then " int ," or " fp ."

To do multi-threaded, we add in " --rate=32 ."

When SPEC CPU first came out, these tests could take up to a week to run, but as computers become faster, our tests now take up to four days for a full run, and even less on some systems. The user can do many things to effect the results of CPU2006 runs, including compiler optimizations, add-ons like Smartheap, and different commands used to start the tests.

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This benchmark has many different commands to use depending on what the user is looking for. For our tests, we used basic commands that run a full test with a base tune. Here you can see the SPEC scores after full runs for Integer (int) and Floating Point (fp) tests. Single-core runs show how fast (speed) a CPU can perform a given task. In the multi-core runs, we set SPEC CPU2006v1.2 to use all threads to measure the throughput of the system.

The additional cores/threads of this system have a huge impact on performance in these tests and really show the amount of horsepower that a single socket motherboard has. Single-threaded results are still very important, but when you need many single-threaded apps to run; moving to a CPU with more cores is the way to go. This is where the Z10PE-D8 WS and Dual E5-2698 v3's starts to shine, multi-threaded interger workloads.

CPU2006 shows strong multi-core results on the Z10PE-D8 WS. Let's take a look at the individual test result scores.

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Looking at the results of single-threaded integer runs, we can get an idea of speed at which the Dual E5-2698 v3's can crunch through the different integer tests. Not all CPUs are equal here, and ones that have a higher speed will perform these tests faster. Naturally, using an overclocked system, or CPUs with a higher stock speed will generate higher results.

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Now we run the test using all 32 cores/64 threads on the Dual E5-2698 v3 processors to measure the throughput of the system. In this test, more cores/threads will have a greater effect on the outcome.

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Just like the integer tests, we now run the floating-point tests in single-threaded (speed) mode.

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Here we see the results of the multi-core floating-point run that uses all 32 cores/64 threads on the Dual E5-2698 v3 processor motherboard. Like the multi-threaded integer test, more cores/threads will have a greater impact on the test.

Just like the integer multi-threaded tests, the Z10PE-D8 WS and Dual E5-2698 v3 combo really takes off here.

Power Consumption & Final Thoughts

Power Consumption

We have upgraded our power testing equipment, and now use a Yokogawa WT310 power meter for testing. The Yokogawa WT310 feeds its data through a USB cable to another machine where we can capture the test results.

To test total system power use, we used AIDA64 Stability test to load the CPU, and then recorded the results. We also now add in the power use for a server from off state, to hitting the power button to turn it on, and take it all the way to the desktop. This gives us data on power consumption during the boot up process.

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The X99-E WS uses ~100watts at idle on the desktop, and it peaks at ~455watts under full load. The power use is slightly higher than regular workstation motherboards because we have the extra NVIDIA Quadro K5000 installed on our motherboard.

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With the Z10PE-D8 WS, we see peak power use of only ~275watts during the boot up process. The system then settles down to ~100watts after the boot up is completed.

Final Thoughts

Back in March, we took a look at the ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS workstation motherboard, which, at the time, was ASUS's top offering for dual CPU workstation motherboards.

Since then, we have had a chance to see many different motherboards using the new Intel Haswell-EP E5-2600 v3 processors, and now we have the latest dual CPU workstation motherboard from ASUS to test.

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In our testing, we find that the Z10PE-D8 WS stacks up fairly well against the other motherboards, but there is room for improvement in some benchmarks. The Z10PE-D8 WS did very well in our CPU2006 tests, and even surpassed other motherboards in performance; this is good since CPU2006 has more real-world workloads than many of the synthetic benchmarks.

The Z10PE-D8 WS is also one of the few dual CPU systems that can overclock the processors. The amount of overclock is limited to BCLK only, and only by a small amount. In our testing, we found that a BCLK of 104 was the max without raising any voltages. It was rather simple to do; just keep everything on Auto, enter a 104 BCLK, and reboot. On the ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS, we had a limit of 106 BCLK, which again, is not much, but the new Haswell-EP processors performance gains negates even that running at stock settings. So, whether or not to overclock these systems for such a small amount is debateable, but if you need even a small amount of performance edge, then go for it.

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We consider the Z10PE-D8 WS workstation motherboard the go-to board for dual CPU enthusiast types. ASUS has changed color schemes on this board to give it a nice high-end look; the aesthetics of this board are really striking. Many users might consider water cooling this setup, and adding all kinds of fancy bling in a nice decked-out case. This motherboard looks very good with the light and dark gray color scheme, and gold-colored heat sinks, which makes it a nice system to deck out.

We also have the ability to run Quad SLI, or 4-Way Cross Fire for graphics to give this board the edge on graphics power. Furthermore, the added storage abilities give this motherboard excellent ability to store and process large files, and do so quickly and efficiently.

We are impressed with the new design for the new Intel Haswell-EP E5-2600 v3 processor platform that ASUS has come up with; it packs just about every feature you could want on a high-end platform, and does so with a no-compromise design.

PRICING: You can find the ASUS Z10PE-D8 WS motherboard for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Z10PE-D8 WS retails for $630.31 at Amazon.

Canada: The Z10PE-D8 WS retails for CDN$768.97 at Amazon Canada.

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking w/a)99%
Quality including Design and Build99%
General Features99%
Bundle and Packaging99%
Value for Money98%
Overall99%

The Bottom Line: Processing power, quad video card support and plenty of storage options, the ASUS Z10PE-D8 WS motherboard has it all, and looks great at the same time.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

William Harmon started working with computers back in 2005 and began overclocking all kinds of different setups. My focus back then and even now is extreme cooling using Single Stage Phase units, Cascades and Liquid Nitrogen. During this time I was also in several competitions that GIGABYTE had sponsored, GOOC 2009 and 2010. Using technics in overclocking and cooling that I have learned over the years I started building high speed workstations and servers for clients who needed higher performing systems. Many of these systems are used in high frequency trader companies and work stations used in all kinds of professions. At TweakTown, I provide and develop accurate test and benchmark methods for servers and other equipment to help make purchasing decisions easier.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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