Aside from server motherboards, the latest generation of workstation beasts are the most complex and comprehensive on offer. Nowhere does this everything-and-the-kitchen sink philosophy come into play more so than with the recent ASRock WRX90 WS Evo AMD Threadripper Pro 7000 Series Pro WX motherboard.
Availing the full roster of features, the board builds around the leading WRX90 chipset. These include eight-channel DDR5 memory and 148 PCIe 5.0 lanes. ASRock’s WRX90 WS Evo naturally supports only Pro WX chips right up to 96-core, 192-thread Pro 7995WX – regular Threadripper 7000 Series is consigned for TRX50.
Peering closer at the board during a visit to ASRock’s CES 2024 suite, a few things become readily apparent. The first is the sheer weight of the eATX behemoth. Copious amounts of cooling surround the extra-large CPU socket and eight DIMM slots.
Ultimate workstation potential
In particular, ASRock uses an 18+3+3 phase SPS Dr.MOS VRM design to deliver adequate power to chips spiralling to 350W in an out-the-box state. The board has overclocking options, meaning 500W is easily possible with frequency increases alongside a minor bump in voltage.
Unlike consumer models, however, ASRock plonks five 40mm fans on top of heatpipe-infused cooling fin-stacks situated either side of the board. They look identical to server fans cooling rackmount solutions. If it’s not clear already, stability is paramount, though we do question the need for so many active spinners. Surely taller, thicker heatsinks would have done the job.
Housing up to 2TB of DDR5 ECC memory across eight DIMM slots, there’s plenty of scope for building a comprehensive AI-optimised workstation majoring on running in-memory applications.
Expansion possibilities are at the forefront of the design, as seven physical x16 PCIe 5.0/4.0 slots line the left-hand side. Do recall that although the platform has a maximum 148 lanes, only 144 are usable. The board also features two SlimSAS (SFF-8654) ports and one MCIO connector.
With so much expansion possibility, it’s a shame that Thunderbolt 4 and USB 4 have not made the cut. Being an AMD board, both features are available via an Intel Maple Ridge chip (JHL8540), but I don’t see it anywhere.
On a more upbeat note, ASRock includes dual Intel X710 10GbE Ethernet ports and a reasonable amount of regular USB on the I/O section.
No word on pricing but considering the best chip to fit into this board costs $9,999, don’t expect it to cost less than $1,500.