I'm in the preliminary stages of planning out a new system to replace my 2015-era dual Xeon.
I'm considering a ASUS ROG MAXIMUS Z790 HERO ATX LGA 1700 but it is possible I don't need to spend that much on a motherboard.
I need only one gig ethernet port. I don't need wi-fi on board. I need lots of fast USB ports however. I don't want to pay extra for features I won't need or use.
The board must support 128GB RAM, as well as Intel Core i9-13900KS CPU.
I need lots of M.2 high speed SSD sockets. I also need lots of SATA ports. (I work with huge files and also keep a ready archive of projects on hot standby).
I don't need on board graphics but I guess they are included whether one needs it or not. I plan to use RTX4090 for graphics.
The priority is maximum speed and memory capacity and not bells and whistles. Is there another Asus model that is more suited than the one I listed?
Thanks in advance!
As far as "lots of M.2 high speed SSD sockets" goes, you're always fighting the fundamentals of the desktop platform CPUs for those. There are only 16 GPU lanes and 4 storage lanes on the CPU, any additional lanes have to go via the chipset over the shared x8 link between the CPU and chipset on z790 (the SATA and USB ports are also via the chipset, so also sharing that x8 bandwidth). Assuming you make running the GPU on x16 (rather than x8) a hard requirement, the desktop platforms only allow a maximum of 3 M.2 slots at simultaneous full speed, but 2 of those 3 are sharing bandwidth with USB and other general chipset IO. Breaking that limit requires moving up from the desktop platforms to HEDT or workstation platforms (Threadripper or Xeon workstation CPUs). Some desktop boards may offer you an extra slot or two, but it's always via some sort of bandwidth sharing.
For your bulk archive storage, it's worth considering a NAS (e.g. from ASUSTOR) connected over 2.5G or 10G Ethernet. Going that way lets you keep the limited local NVMe capacity for your most active data, while giving you unlimited expansion capacity via multi-gig Ethernet NAS boxes.
Thank you for clearing up the mystery about bandwidth of M.2 slots on this motherboard.
I will probably use three large M.2 drives and the rest would be slower SATA drives for less intensive and online archival stuff.
I tend to shun NAS drives. I do have one, but access speed is not as fast as internal M.2 and I only use it for backup and archiving.
My current workstation is getting long in the tooth, but is a Dual Xeon machine from 2015. Cost of building it was $17K, mainly due to cost of processors and graphics card. But it's time to upgrade and I'm trying to figure out which motherboard is going to perform without too many excess bells and whistles. For instance, I don't need wi-fi in the motherboard.
Yeah, NAS is slower unless you move up to megabucks enterprise storage systems. It is, however, very cost efficient in terms of $/TB for fault-tolerant storage (e.g. RAID 6 or RAID 10). If you use 10G Ethernet, you can expect bulk transfer speeds of around 1GByte/s. For context, that's around double what a single SATA port can do. That's often fast enough for many people to drag and drop stuff from the archive to local NVMe storage when they need/want to work on something at higher speed.
If memory serves, Linus Media Group run 10G Ethernet from their mega-NAS boxes out to their editing workstations. I think their NAS boxes have either multi-10G connections to their switches, or possibly 100G Ethernet (they keep upgrading it). They are doing 4K editing with that infrastructure. There are loads of videos on the main Linus Tech Tips channels showing their storage for their vast volume of video data and how it has evolved over the years.
There is no single "best" answer, so your preferences are perfectly valid if they work for your workflow.
Something to note is that Intel are reportedly going to be re-entering the HEDT market in the near future. So the old Core-X CPUs (e.g. 10980XE on X299) are coming back. It's sounding like they will be branding it as a HEDT tier of Xeon workstation, and unclear if the pricing will be similar to previous HEDT or more like the pro workstation segment. The old Core-X series were actually Xeon chips, just branded as Core-X; but it's looking like they are going to use Xeon branding this time around. You can expect AMD to release non-pro Threadrippers around the same time.
Looks like the new W790 boards are now on the market, if you did want more IO lanes:
The W-2400s are essentially the replacement for the Core-X 10900X/XE series on X299, and the W-3400s are the big Xeon pro workstations.
Our network is 1gb/s max speed. Transfers are realistically about 105mB/s.
I'm looking at the Pro WS 790 series now. One of the issues I have with my existing Xeon workstation is poor performance in Adobe Premiere, due to it's slow 3.6 GHz core clock (playback stutters with HD and above material). These CPUs in the top end of the Xeon line are even slower core clocks which concern me.
The memory at 2048GB looks good, that's 33% more memory than my current workstation supports.
Another concern is graphics card compatibility. For example, RTX3090 does not boot up in my Xeon motherboard. I am not sure if these server motherboards are designed to work with such GPUs.