07 Jun, 2016   Rakesh Sharma    Reviews .  ASUS ROG STRIX X99 Gaming Motherboard Review

Welcome to the re-birth of Intel X99 chipset, where every motherboard manufacturer is re-designing their old X99 board for the Intel’s upcoming Broadwell-E CPU. And we are happy to say that with the great support from ASUS India, we not only got the first on experience to see the performance of new Intel Broadwell-E chip and ASUS’s first STRIX line of motherboard, the ASUS ROG STIX X99 Gaming Motherboard, but we also got our hand dirty with Extreme Overclocking the Broadwell-E CPU on this X99 STRIX board way up to 5GHz using our custom made Single stage Phase Changer Cooling at -32C.

Beside the extreme OC capability and stability of ASUS ROG STRIX X99 Gaming Motherboard, the feature we liked the most is the Aura RGB illumination with great colour customization for everyone.

Now let’s see what ASUS ROG STRIX X99 board have for us.

Features

  • Intel® Core™ i7 X-Series processors on LGA 2011-v3 socket
  • Quad-channel DDR4 3333 (OC) support
  • OC Socket, 5-Way Optimization and second-generation T-Topology: Easy and stable overclocking
  • Aura RGB illumination, Aura 4-pin RGB-strip header and customizable color decals: True gaming aesthetics
  • SupremeFX and Sonic Radar II: Flawless audio with stealthy, game-dominating overlay
  • Top-speed protected networking: Intel Gigabit Ethernet, LANGuard and GameFirst technology
  • Gamer's Guardian: SafeSlot and smart DIY features
  • Ultra-speedy transfers for faster gaming: 2x2 802.11ac MU-MIMO Wi-Fi, U.2 and M.2, USB 3.1 Type A+C, RAMCache

    AURA LIGHTING CONTROL - Customize your own favorite LED effects with Aura, the intuitive lighting-control software, to cast a stunning multi-color glow across your build via the motherboard's powerful built-in RGB LEDs or attached RGB strips via the onboard 4-pin header, or both and in perfect synchronization! Fire up Aura and then enjoy the creative freedom of 10 different lighting schemes. You're even able to sync your lighting style with the ever-growing portfolio of Aura-capable gear, and mix and match your Aura effects with the included color decals!

    AURA 4-PIN RGB-STRIP - Forget the faff of external RGB controllers! With Aura RGB Strip header, it's quick and easy to cast brilliant colors across your rig and room: Just slide standard 12V RGB strips onto the 4-pin Aura RGB-strip headers, then weave your lighting any way you like.

    *The Aura RGB-strip header supports standard 5050 RGB LED strips with a maximum power rating of 2A (12V). For maximum brightness, strip length should not exceed 2m.

    *One extension cable is included. RGB LED strip need to be purchased separately.

    SUPREMEFX - SHIELDED AUDIO, SUPERIOR SOUND - SupremeFX technology delivers high-fidelity, near-lossless audio no matter how frantic your game becomes. The purity and stability of the remarkable 115dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is assured, with a shielded design, electromagnetic-interference (EMI) cover and voltage-protected 5V power supply. Supreme FX's superior components, including the trusted Realtek ALC1150 codec, maximize acoustic performance and eliminate interference – so you hear only the very best from your gaming headset or speakers!

    Unique Cache Bus Voltage Adjustment - The cache bus links areas such as CPU cores, DDR4 memory controllers, system agent and the shared L3 cache — so it's a critical interconnect for the whole CPU subsystem. A higher cache-bus frequency directly accelerates subsystem performance, so ASUS OC Socket exclusively provides an adjustable cache-bus voltage to reach higher cache bus frequencies.

    FANXpert4 - Advanced fan and water-pump controls for ultimate cooling and quietness. The latest ASUS X99 motherboards feature the most advanced cooling capability to date, controllable from both Fan Xpert 4 and UEFI.

    Patent pending SafeSlot - Protect Your Graphics Card Investment - SafeSlot is the PCIe slot reinvented by ASUS and engineered to provide superior retention and shearing resistance. Manufactured in a single step using a new Insert-molding process integrates the slot with the fortifying metal for an inherently stronger slot, which is then firmly anchored to the PCB through additional solder points.

    Beyond VR Ready - ROG Strix X99 Gaming isn't just VR Ready — it goes way beyond! The ASUS ROG Beyond VR Ready marque means that ROG Strix X99 Gaming has been tested with loads of class-leading components to ensure that your productivity, gaming and entertainment needs are tuned for maximum performance after you've taken off the headset. ASUS Beyond VR Ready opens up a new way to configure and build your dream system with total confidence.

    Specifications

    Package

    Board comes in a nice black cardboard box with model number, image of the board and details about supporting technology and features.

    Inside the box

    ASUS ROG STRIX X99 GAMING comes with very nice set of accessories.

    Looks

    Board made with a black PCB of size ATX (30.5 X 24.4 cm). A black STRIX plastic shield covers the back I/O connectors and audio section. The angular shape and lines give the heatsinks and whole board a rich gaming theme.

    Layout

    Detailed layout of board.

    1. ASUS custom LGA 2011-V3 socket (OC Socket)

    2. ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming is equipped with eight DIMM DDR4 memory slots supporting max. 128GB at 2133MHz in normal and up to 3333MHz when OC.

    3. ATX Power connector (24-pin EATXPWR)

    4. ATX CPU Power Connector 8-pin and 4-pin ATX12V_2x4.

    5. Back I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s), 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s), 1 x USB 3.1 (red)Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 (black)Type-C, 4 x USB 3.0 (blue), 4 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to USB BIOS Flashback), 5 x Audio jack(s), 1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s), 1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth v4.0

    6. 7. 10.1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin), 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin), 4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 x 4 -pin)

    8.MemOK! Button when pressed automatically pick up the necessary parameters of the memory for a successful system boot.

    9. M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (Support PCIE SSD only)

    11. U.2 port, support PCIe 3.0 x4 NVM Express storage and 1 x SATA Express port, Compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports, 8 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)

    12. 13.2 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)

    14. System Front panel(s) (Q-Connector) , Thunderbolt header, EZ XMP switch, Thermal sensor connector and 1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector

    15. USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s), ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header

    16. 14-1 pin TPM connector, Reset button, Power-on button and ASUS Q-Code display

    17. Aura RGB Strip Header

    18. Front panel Audio connector and COM port header

    19. Expansion Slots - 3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 ( x16, x16/x16, x8/x16/x8 mode with 40-LANE CPU; x16, x16/x8, x8/x8/x8 mode with 28-LANE CPU), 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode), 2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 *1

    Removing Heat-sinks

    Heatsinks are made up of dense aluminum with thermal pad installed, giving great passive cooling to VRM MOSFETs and x99 chipset. Along with STRIX I/O shield with LED PCB mounted under.

    Component Layout

    Let’s now see what all components ASUS have planned for this board.

    1. 2. Digital 8-phase CPU Power VRM Section controlled with ASP1257 controller with International Rectifiers IR3535M Integrated PowIRstage is a synchronous buck gate driver IC with co-packed control and synchronous MOSFETs and Schottky diode with up to 60A of output current capability each, 60A Ferrite Chokes, and 10K Black Metallic Capacitors.

    3. 4. Two separate DRAM Power section using pair of 97374 Ti MOSFETs and PWM controller is DIGI + VRM ASP1250 chip

    5. GB LAN-controller is Intel WGI218V

    6. USB 3.1 Gen 2 support with ASMedia ASM1142 chip

    7. ASUS WCBN808A Wi-Fi Go card.

    8. THA 1601 controller used to switch buses for M.2 slot.

    9. Two ASmedia ASM1480 chips switching PCI-e lanes between M.2 and U.2 port.

    10. Intel X99 Express Chipset.

    11. 12. 13. Asmedia ASM1480 PCIe bus switch chips and UEFI BIOS is stored in a Winbond 25Q128fV 128MB 8-Pin DIP Package chip, installed in a DIP socket 8-Pin for easy user replacement.

    14. Asmedia ASM1074, the four downstream ports USB3.0 HUB Controller

    15. Multi I/O capabilities are based on NUVOTON NCT6791D chip which controls the operation of the system fans, as well as provides the monitors.

    16. ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming audio subsystem is based on Realtek ALC1150 that supports 2/4/5.1/7.1 sound systems with 115dB Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) playback (DAC) quality and 104dB SNR recording (ADC) quality.

    A semi-transparent line on motherboard separates the whole audio section from the rest of the board in order to minimize interference. Audio section is having premium Nichicon Gold Capacitors for audio filtration. In addition ASUS used TI R4580I Op-amp for rear audio amplification.

    RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) suite is used for testing test ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming audio against Asus Xonar DX Sound card. You can see clearly the difference between Noise level, dynamic rang and Total harmonic distortion percentage produced by on-board audio.

    RMAA Asus Xonar DX

    RMAA ASUS Audio

    18. ICS P7129 used for COM Port communication.

    19. 20. ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming uses two custom TPC chips

    Testing

    CPUIntel Core i7 6900K
    Board ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming
    RAM4 X 4GB Corsair DDR4
    SSDKingston SV300 120GB
    CoolerCM Nepton 240M
    GFX ASUS STRIX GTX 950
    PSUCorsair RM650x
    DisplayAcer S220HQL
    OS Windows 10

    BIOS

    Bundled Softwares

    Benchmarks

    Overclocking

    Extreme Overclocking

    Power Consumption

    Wattage reading as per displayed by APC Pro 1000VA (Model no. BR1000G-IN) UPS.

    Pros

    • Full black PCB with great looks
    • Great performance and stability
    • RGB LED on board and External RGB LED Support.
    • 2x2 Dual Band WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1
    • Great Overclocking

    Cons

    • With AURA software, implementing white, yellow and red colour was very difficult and are not getting reflected perfectly on RGB LEDs… a Software / firmware update will resolve the issue.

    Conclusion

    Asus have always impressed me with the build quality and design of their products and same goes true with ASUS ROG STRIX X99 Gaming Motherboard. With the new Broadwell-E CPU this board was solid stable and gave a great overclocking headroom. With AIO cooling solution we were able to OC Core i7 6900K CPU up to 4.4GHz and when going extreme OC with our custom Single stage Phase change at -32C we maxed out up to 5GHz.

    Being a modder, I really like how ASUS has incorporated the RGB LED support On-board as well as via external RGB LED strip, on to this board, giving everyone an option to customize their case colour lighting.

    Finally, considering its looks, design, features and Overclocking capabilities, we found ASUS ROG STRIX X99 Gaming motherboard a real impressive beast. ASUS really managed to make a STRIX motherboard capable to catch the attention in the enthusiasts, gamers and modders, worthy of our PC TeK REVIEWS CHOICE Award.

    Manufacturers Info

    Site Link

    Thanks.

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