Motherboard – ASUS P9X79 WS
There’s no point in trying to match the Mac Pro’s highly modded enclosure. We found out how futile that was when trying to go with an mATX board. We lost verified compatibility with the 12 core Xeon and we could no longer use ECC memory, not to mention, less of it. So we’re going to try to match this machine spec for spec instead and the ASUS P9X79 WS is a great foundation with support for all Xeon processors and ECC memory with 8 DIMM slots to spare. We also get enough PCIe slots to mount two workstation GPUs and room left for the PCIe SSD that we ran out of room for in the previous top spec build. Unlike some of the dedicated workstation boards on the market, which are great by the way, you get many consumer oriented features in software and hardware that makes the user experience a little nicer.
The board will cost you around $379.99 US and is well verified for use with a wide range of professional level components.
Option: For additional cost savings, one could go for a workstation board based on an LGA1150 socket and an E5 series Xeon Quad Core CPU with the same clock speed. Keep in mind that this does limit you to quad core upgrades only and for the forseeable future. If you want more cores, you should stick with LGA2011. On the board alone, you’re looking about $100 saved, but you lose that upgradeability to more cores.
Let’s start plugging parts into our board and enclosure.