ASRock E3V5 WS (Intel C232) Super Alloy Motherboard Review

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging


Today’s motherboard review lands right in the middle of everything. Not because it’s all over the place, but because it has a lot of usage scenarios and support for pretty much any setup. You could use ASRock’s E5V5 WS motherboard in a gaming system as well as in a server setup as both of those setups are fully supported, but its real area of operation is to act as the base for a powerful workstation.

The ASRock E5V5 WS uses an LGA 1151 socket and the board is compatible with both E3-1200 v5 processors such as the one I’ll be using later on in this review, but it also supports normal 6th Generation Intel Core processors – so basically the entire Skylake and Skylake-S line-up. As backbone behind the CPU that you end up using is the Intel C232 chipset that is perfectly tuned for workstation environments and a motherboard like this. Memory wise you can use normal DDR4 DIMMs as well as ECC UDIMM memory modules with a speed of up to 2133 MHz in the four DIMM slots with 15μ gold contacts for a total of up to 64GB RAM.

The gold contacts in the memory slots aren’t the only quality feature in this motherboard. The E3V5 WS motherboard is part of ASRock’s Super Alloy series and comes with premium 50A power chokes and is made of a high-density glass fabric PCB. It also features ASRock’s full spike protection that protects from sudden surges, lightning, and electrostatic discharges (ESD).

The network connection isn’t controlled by the average low-performance controller either and we find an Intel PHY i219LM controller on this motherboard. The Gigabit Ethernet controller supports Wake-On-LAN, supports 802.3az energy efficient ethernet and PXE. The Ethernet controller is one of the parts that is protected by the Full Spike Protection. The second part with protection is the USB. The ASRock E35 WS features two USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel and you can connect another four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports via headers. All of these are protected by the ASRock Full Spike Protection. The audio is also protected by this and we find a 7.1 channel HD Audio controller, the Realtek ALC892. It features Blu-ray audio support and uses ELNA solid audio capacitors. Last but not least, you also find legacy PS2 connectors for both your mouse and keyboard.

 

Internally we find good expansion options too. Since we are dealing with an Intel-based motherboard, we also get IRST for RAID setups across the six SATA3 6 Gb/s connectors. Supported modes include the normal RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 modes.

There are two PCIe Gen3 x16 slots that support both Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards as well as consumer graphics cards. There is also full support for the use of AMD’s CrossfireX technology for multiple graphics card usage. As I mentioned earlier, you can make a great workstation with this motherboard. There are three more PCIe Gen3 x1 slots available for further expansion and neither of them will be blocked by the use of two-slot graphics cards. Even with a CrossfireX setup, you’ll still have access to the three x1 slots.

Quality hardware and components are just one side of the story, we also need a good BIOS and proper software to have the best experinece. The E3V5 WS comes with both of those features too. The UEFI BIOS has the easy EZ mode dashboard besides the advanced setup pages, which contains multiple readings of the system’s current status. You can check the most crucial information of your system, such as CPU speed, DRAM frequency, SATA information, fan speed, etc.

Even better, you can reach the tech support purely from the systems BIOS, as long as the system has an internet connection. You can also install LAN drivers onto your windows installation directly from the BIOS.

The ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) technology allows you to establish an internet curfew or restrict internet access at specified times for your kids. Stay in control of their surfing times without yelling. This probably isn’t the most used function in a workstation system, but it could be used to shut down any connection attempts outside of office hours. Another useful feature is the USB Key function that can replace the password question when you log into windows. Do it by plugging a USB drive in instead.

The well-known ASRock XFast RAM and XFast LAN are also built into this motherboard. The XFast RAM feature allows you to fully utilize the memory space that otherwise can’t be accessed in 32-bit systems, among others. XFast LAN is a quality of service protocol that prioritizes the important traffic so you don’t have to wait for loading times. ASRock Live Update and APP Shop also help to make the maintenance easier.

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.

Key Features:

  • ASRock Super Alloy
  • Server-Grade LAN chip support
  • Supports the Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 Processor & 6th Generation Intel Core Processors (Socket 1151)
  • Supports DDR4 2133 & ECC UDIMM memory modules
  • 2 PCIe 3.0 x16 and 3 PCIe 3.0 x1
  • Supports AMD Quad CrossFireX
  • 7.1 CH HD Audio (Realtek ALC892 Audio Codec), ELNA Audio Caps
  • 6 SATA3 and 6 USB 3.0 (2 Front, 4 Rear)
  • Supports Full Spike Protection, ASRock Live Update & APP Shop
  • Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit, 8.1 64-bit, 7 32-bit, 7 64-bit, Server 2012 R2 64-bit, Server 2012 64-bit, and Server 2008 R2 64-bit support

Packaging and Accessories

A quality motherboard also deserves a great look package, and the E3V5 WS got that. The front makes no secret about the boards power.

On the rear of the box, you will find a detailed photo of the motherboard itself as well as feature highlights and specifications.

Inside the box is a user manual, a driver disk, two SATA cables, and an IO shield besides the motherboard itself.

GIGABYTE Reveals C230 Series Server & Workstation Motherboards

GIGABYTE is ready for the new Intel Xeon E3 1200 V5 processors and they’re releasing four new motherboards for them today, all based on the new Intel C230 series chipsets. The new addition to the lineup consists of two workstation motherboards and two server motherboards. The new 14nm Skylake microarchitecture CPUs bring some new features to the single socket motherboards, mainly the switch to DDR4 memory with increased speed and maximum capacity. The other main new feature is the increase of the number and speed of PCIe lanes available from up to 8 Gen2 lanes to up to 20 Gen3 lanes.

The first new workstation motherboard is the MW31-SP0 and it comes in the normal ATX form factor. It features dual Intel Gigabit LAN with expansion abilities through the mezzanine card slot that can be used for additional network connections, but also for an extra M.2 slot or Thunderbolt port. It supports 2-way SLI and CrossFireX and has the 8 SATA3 ports that the chipset provides. Additionally it also has an M.2 storage port and onboard audio with 5 audio jacks and S/PDIF out on the rear plus onboard headers. You can pack this motherboard with up to 64GB DDR4 ECC memory.

The second workstation motherboard is the MW21-SE0 and it is a microATX form factor board intended for entry-level builds. With minimal specifications, it’s perfect for users looking for a simple and affordable yet highly durable solution to access the features of the new Xeon family.

The MW21-SE0 features a single Gigabit Ethernet LAN port, four USB 3.0 ports, a COM port, and a D-Sub VGA connector. You can connect up to six SATA3 drives to the onboard connectors. This motherboard can also equip up to 64GB ECC memory.

The GIGABYTE MX11-PC0 is a compact NVMe enabled server board designed for high density or low-profile server integration. The component placement is rackmount optimized and there are plenty of features despite the small size.

It is the first GIGABYTE server motherboard to be released with a mini-SAS HD connector capable of connecting to one NVMe drive. With higher IOPS, lower latency, and lower power consumption, the NVMe technology is perfect for this scenario. It features two Intel i210 Gigabit Ethernet controllers, four SATA3 ports and an onboard AST2400 for remote management (IPMI).

 

The MX31-BS0 is an entry-level microATX server board with rackmount optimized component placement and all the features required to integrate a standard server system based on the new Intel Xeon CPUs. It features two Intel GbE LAN ports, one M.2 slot, six SATA3 ports, and onboard IPMI 2.0 via an AST2400 chip. So despite being called an entry-level motherboard, it features quite a lot.

 

Intel Releases Xeon E3-1200 V5 Greenlow Processors

The release of Intel’s Greenlow platform has been anticipated for a while and now it is finally upon us. Intel announced the official release of the first Xeon E3-1200 V5 Greenlow processors that support the new C236 chipset. The new CPUs are designed for the low-end workstation area more than the microserver area where its predecessors were targeted.

Intel released a total of 11 new Xeon E3-1200 processors and all of them have four cores, no more dual-cores. Most of these new processors have Hyper Threading and it is only three of them that come without. The base clock ranges from 2GHz to 3.7GHz while the turbo clock ranges from 3.0GHz to 4.0GHz. The TDP is 80W on eight of them, one comes with a 45W TDP, and two with a low 25W TDP. Four of the new CPUs also have an HD P530 iGPU. You can check the summary in the chart below or head over to Intel’s ARK for the complete specifications of all the new chips.

The new processors support both ECC and non-ECC DIMMs with a capacity up to 16GB per modules. When it comes to the iGPU, we get a 4K 60Hz capable output with 350MHz base frequency and a maximum shared memory up to 1.7GB. It is fully DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.4 compatible while supporting up to three displays simultaneously. The SATA connection count also got upped a bit over the predecessor, the new processors now support up to 8 SATA3 drives on Greenlow, from the previous 6 on the predecessor chips.

Manufacturers of motherboards are naturally ready for this release, so we can expect a lot of new C230 based motherboards to hit the market very soon.