Now that Intel has announced its workstation-grade Sapphire Rapids CPUs, we’re beginning to see the arrival of the motherboards they will plug into. The first out of the gate is Asus, with a pair of “Pro” motherboards containing more ports and connections than the West Coast. The company has unveiled its Ace and Sage SE models, which are ready for the W-3400 and W-2400 CPUs. Pricing is unknown at this time, but judging by their specs, they’ll cost a pretty penny. By glancing at these motherboards, we get an idea of what the final builds will be for Intel’s newest CPUs.
Both LGA4677 motherboards allow either the “expert” W-3400 or the “mainstream” W-2400 CPUs. However, the Sage SE has more of everything than the Ace, so it seems clear which CPUs will go in which boards. For example, the Sage has seven PCIe 5.0 x16 slots, compared with five on the Ace. The Sage also offers eight memory channels compared with four on the Ace. Despite the difference, both support a maximum of 2TB of memory, though the W-3400 can support up to 4TB.
The Sage also has two M.2 PCIe Gen 5 M.2 ports, compared with the Ace’s lone slot. SATA ports are also doubled between them, with eight and four on each board. Both have a handful of SlimSaS ports as well. Another big difference is the Sage is a 12 x 13″ EEB form factor. The Ace has a 12 x 10.5″ CEB form factor, so both are wider than standard ATX.
Both motherboards allow overclocking, tons of I/O options, and remote management. The Sage can be maintained remotely. That includes updating its BIOS, receiving critical patches, or having its hardware reset. The ACE board allows remote monitoring and management with the addition of an IPMI expansion card. Both motherboards also support ASUS Control Center Express, remote management software for IT admins.
It’s unclear when these mainboards will be available for sale, but Intel originally said systems would be available in march. Glancing at their specs, they will certainly be capable of some truly wallet-busting builds with many options for expansion, GPUs, and storage. We’re currently waiting for third-party benchmarks for the new CPUs, which we expect to see this month.
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