ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming Motherboard Review

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Next up in our line of updated/new X99 boards is the ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming motherboard. The Strix nomenclature is new to the ASUS motherboard lineup, but we are certainly familiar with it in the video card world. This board, like its GPU counterparts, appears to combine the power and overclocking capabilities of the ROG line of boards, along with some features to also make it a solid gaming board such as the Intel NIC (not really a gaming feature, but a good NIC is critical) and RGB lighting on the PCIe slot locks and the heatsink. Keep on reading for all the details and the results of our overclocking and performance testing!

Specifications and Features

Listed below are the specifications from the ASUS website for the Strix X99 Gaming. As most X99 boards boast eight slots in the DIMM department, so does the Strix X99 Gaming supporting up to 128 GB of DDR4. Speeds of 3333 MHz (Overclocked) can be reached on this board, and likely more if your IMC and memory can handle it. The board supports both CrossFireX technology as well as NVIDIA SLI both up to 3-Way. The 3x full length PCIe expansion slots break down as follows:

  • 40 Lane CPU – x16, x16/x16, x8/x16/x8
  • 28 Lane CPU – x16, x16/x8, x8/x8/x8

No PLX chip here folks, all native, all the time!

On the storage front, you have pretty much all you are going to need on a modern PC in the M.2 Socket 3 with M Key (fits types 2242/2260/2280/22110). There is even a U.2 port also based off PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe as well. Just a side note though, you are only able to use the U.2 port or the M.2 port, not both! I’d imagine this is a function of taking over the same lanes on the PCH. From the X99 chipset comes your SATA Express port along with a total of eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports.

LAN connectivity is handled by the Intel I218V Gigabit LAN controller, while wireless support is 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. The Wi-Fi is also dual band (2.4/5 GHz) and supports MU-MIMO. Last, but not least, is Bluetooth 4.1 capabilities.

Audio is managed by the ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC (Realtek ALC1150). The Realtek IC is covered with the Supreme FX labeled Shielding technology helping to keep EMI away. To that end, the board’s analog audio section is separated from the rest of the do-dads on the board also helping minimize EMI. The audio section also contains dual op-amps (Texas Instruments R4580s) to drive a set of headphones, ranging from 32-300Ω, and the front speakers along with using the premium Nichicon caps for a superior audio experience.

There are a total of eight USB 3.0 headers (5x from PCH, 3x from an Asmedia Controller) and there are an additional eight USB 2.0 ports from the PCH. Another ASMedia controller gives us two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports which come in Type-A and Type-C flavors.

ASUS built this board to be fairly theme agnostic with its look allowing itself to be changed by the RGB LED lighting and included heatsink plates. The board also has a port for additional RGB strips if you would like to compliment those on the board already. The onboard controllable LEDs sit in the I/O cover, next in the ROG box in the middle of the board, and the last are found in the three PCIe locks. All LEDs are controlled by the ROG Aura Lighting Control software so you can fit any theme with this good looking board.

I typically do not mention how many fan headers are on the board, however of the six total, one in particular (located Next to the left side set of DIMM slots just above the PCIe slot) is a high amperage header. It can deliver a whopping 3 A (36 W) compared to a typical header supporting up to 1 A (12 W). You can daisy chain in a couple/few fans on this header and have the board control it (via a mix of auto sense PWM or voltage controlled).

ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming Specifications
CPU

Build in Intel® Socket 2011-v3 Core™ i7 Processors
Supports Intel® 14 nm CPU
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology

Chipset Intel® X99
Memory 8 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 3333(O.C.)/3300(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
** Refer to www.asus.com for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).
* Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs.
Multi-GPU Support

Supports NVIDIA® 3-Way SLI™ Technology
Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
Supports AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology

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

Storage New Intel® Core™ i7 Processors :
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (Support PCIE SSD only)
1 x U.2 port, support PCIe 3.0 x4 NVM Express storage
Intel® X99 chipset :
1 x SATA Express port, Compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
8 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s),
Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology, Intel® Rapid Recovery Technology*2
LAN / Wireless / Bluetooth

Intel® I218V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz
Supports MU-MIMO

Bluetooth V4.1

Audio ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
– Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
Audio Feature :
– SupremeFX Shielding™ Technology
– Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
– Audio amplifier: Provides the highest-quality sound for headphone and speakers
– Premium Japanese-made audio capacitors: Provide warm, natural and immersive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity
– Sonic Radar II
USB Ports Intel® X99 chipset :
5 x USB 3.0 port(s) (1 at back panel, blue, 4 at mid-board)
Intel® X99 chipset :
8 x USB 2.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, , 4 at mid-board)
ASMedia® USB 3.0 controller :
3 x USB port(s) (3 at back panel, blue)
ASMedia® USB 3.1 controller :
2 x USB 3.1 port(s) (2 at back panel, , Type-A + Type-C)
ROG Exclusive Features ROG RAMCache
Overwolf
GameFirst IV
ROG Aura
– Aura Lighting Control
– Aura RGB Strip Headers
USB BIOS Flashback
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

Internal I/O Ports

11 x U.2 port
1 x AAFP connector
1 x Aura RGB Strip Header
2 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.0 port(s)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
1 x SATA Express connector: , Compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key design, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (Support PCIE SSD only)
8 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
1 x CPU Fan connector(s)
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s)
2 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
1 x Thunderbolt header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x EZ XMP switch
1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector
1 x DRCT header(s)
1 x MemOK! button(s)
1 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x CPU OV
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
1 x Water Pump header (4-pin)
1 x ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header(s)
1 x 14-1 pin TPM connector
1 x COM port header
1 x High AMP Fan header (4-pin)

BIOS

– 1 x 128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI3.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 3.0, ACPI 5.0, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 3, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, F9 Quick Note, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, F3 Shortcut functions and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information.

Special Features 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors5
– 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Xpert 4, and Turbo Core App
Gamer’s Guardian:
– ESD Guards on LAN, Audio, KBMS and USB3.1/3.0/2.0 ports
– DRAM Overcurrent Protection
– Stainless Steel Back I/O
– Highly Durable Components
– DIGI+ VRM
ASUS Exclusive Features :
– USB BIOS Flashback
– MemOK!
– AI Suite 3
– Ai Charger+
– ESD Guards
– USB 3.0 Boost
– USB 3.1 Boost
– Disk Unlocker
– Mobo Connect
– PC Cleaner
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :
– ASUS Fan Xpert 4
ASUS EZ DIY :
– ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
– ASUS EZ Flash 3
– Push Notice
ASUS Q-Design :
– ASUS Q-Shield
– ASUS Q-Code
– ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
– ASUS Q-Slot
– ASUS Q-DIMM
– ASUS Q-Connector
RAMCache
AURA: RGB Lighting Control
Accessories User’s manual
I/O Shield
8 x SATA power cable
1 x ASUS 2-Way/3-Way SLI bridge
1 x M.2 Screw Package
1 x CPU installation tool
1 x Supporting DVD
1 x ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n compliant)
1 x Q-connector(s) (1 in 1)
1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s)
ROG Fan Label
1 x ROG Door Hanger(s)
1 x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)
Form Factor / OS Support / Notes AATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )
Windows® 10 , 64bit
Windows® 8.1 , 64bit
Windows® 7 , 32bit/64bi
**1 The PCIEX4_1, PCIEX1_2, and USB3.1_EC1EA2 connectors share the same bandwidth. By default, the PCIEX4_1 slot and PCIEX1_2 slot automatically run at x1 mode with USB3.1_EC1 and USB3.1_EA2 enabled for best resource optimization.
*2 These functions will work depending on the CPU installed.

ASUS has a list of many of their features on their website for the ROG Strix X99 Gaming. We touch on a few of them below. With the updates on the X99 platform, board partners are now able to add in the latest and greatest to the existing chipset to spice it up a bit for its new CPU in Broadwell-E processors. The latest connectors, U.2 and M.2 on PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe, are being added as well as getting the benefits of the USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C connectors for even more USB throughput.

ASUS’ focus on board aesthetics and what the market wants has really driven the direction of their market lineup. The creation of the ROG Aura Lighting Control software and adding RGB LED headers/controllers on the board for controlling it, takes some of the clumsiness out of external controllers and wires with a nicely integrated package. You are able to connect standard 12 V 5050 RGB LED with a maximum rating of 2 A) right to the motherboard and have the Aura Lighting Control Software tweak it to your hearts desires.

ASUS puts their own software twist on the Realtek ALC1150 CODEC with their Supreme FX Audio solution. ASUS says “it delivers high-fidelity, near-lossless audio no matter how frantic your game becomes”. It plans to achieve such a thing with its 115 S/N ratio, the shielded design/EMI cover, voltage protected 5 V power, the Texas Instrument dual Op amplifiers, and premium Nichicon audio capacitors to help deliver the aural goods.

The Strix X99 Gaming uses the Intel I218V NIC to deliver you the best gaming experience. ASUS has their GameFirst IV software which optimizes network traffic for “faster, lag-free online gaming” by reducing CPU overhead and offering “exceptionally high” TCP and UDP throughput.

Getting the most out of your hardware used to be left up to those in the know. Now, it can take just hitting a few buttons within their Windows based software suite, AISuite 3. With the dashboard style control panel, you can control just about any feature on the Strix. You can choose between “performance, cooling, stability, efficiency and aesthetics — all via a simple and intuitive interface” says ASUS. I had very few issues with this software in the past. It tells you what you want to know, and lets you control plenty of things to get your fan settings, or overclock where it needs to be.

On this latest X99 board you are able to have the latest in connectivity on your board such as U.2, USB 3.1 type A+C, M.2 22110, and 2×2 WiFi with MU MIMO. About the only thing missing here is Thunderbolt, but, not entirely sure if it will take hold so nothing missed from my perspective.

Last up is the Gamer’s Guardian equipment to help protect the board. Features such as the ASUS SAFESLOT to help protect and support the PCIe slot with reinforced slot and more solder points and Digi+ VRM to help deliver smooth and stable power to the CPU. It has DRAM Over-current Protection; all connection ports and DRAM are protected against overcurrent and short-circuit damage by onboard resettable fuses. A CPU installation tool is included to help minimize the risk of installing the CPU and damaging the socket pins (did that once.. to a review item no less!). Meanwhile, Q-Slot, Q-DIMM, and Q-LED have you covered with locking the PCIe card in, single sided DIMM connector lock, and debug LED respectively.

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Superior Specifications

  • Intel® I218-V LANGuard GameFirst
  • 2xUSB 3.1 (1x Type-A + 1x Type-C)
  • 2×2 Dual Band Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Bluetooth 4.1
  • 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (CPU)
    1 x PCIe 2.0 x 16 slots (PCH)
    2 x PCIe 2.0 x 1 slots (PCH)
  • SupremeFX
    -SupremeFX Shielding
    -Dual Headpone Amps
    -Premium Audio Caps
    -Sonic Radar II
  • U.2 PCIe Gen3.0 x 4 NVME
  • M.2 Socket 3 Type M PCIe Gen 3.0 x 4 NVME
  • 8 x SATA 6 Gb/s
    1 x SATA Express
  • DDR4 3333 MHz+ (O.C.) 8 x DIMM, Quad –channel
    XMP Support
  • MemOK! Button
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Gaming Aesthetics

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 12 V 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 2 A (12 V). For maximum brightness, strip length should not exceed 2m.

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

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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 115 dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is assured, with a shielded design, electromagnetic-interference (EMI) cover and voltage-protected 5 V 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!

  • EMI Cover
  • Dual Op Amplifiers
  • Premium Nichicon Audio Capacitors
  • Audio Line Shielding
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INTEL GIGABIT ETHERNET

MORE THROUGHPUT, LESS CPU USAGE AND GREAT GAMING EXPERIENCES

ROG Strix X99 Gaming features the very latest Intel Ethernet (I218-V) for faster, smoother gaming — always. Intel’s LAN has the serious double advantage of reducing CPU overhead and offering exceptionally high TCP and UDP throughput. This significantly reduces the processor’s workload, so there’s more power for your game and your gameplay.

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LEVEL-UP PERFORMANCE

Maxed-out performance means maximum gaming thrills, and with ASUS exclusive OC socket and AI Suite 3’s dashboard-style control panel, you’ll fine-tune almost every aspect of your ROG Strix X99 Gaming -based system. Get the best balance between performance, cooling, stability, efficiency and aesthetics — all via a simple and intuitive interface.

ASUS PIONEERED OC SOCKET – DRIVE CPU AND DDR4 PERFORMANCE BEYOND ALL EXPECTATIONS

Designed to break performance barriers, ASUS OC Socket utilizes extra pins to connect a proprietary circuit to contacts found on land grid array (LGA). Combined with our customized UEFI, this exclusive feature enables higher DDR4 memory frequencies, lower latencies and enhanced stability while overclocking, extending all the way to extreme overclocking conditions, such as liquid nitrogen (LN2). OC Socket is 100% compatible with all LGA 2011-v3 CPUs, ensuring the ideal combination of overclocking performance and compatibility.

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Superb Connectivity

  • U.2
  • USB 3.1 type A+C
  • M.2 22110
  • 2×2 WiFi with MU MIMO

 

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GAMING GRAPHICS3-WAY SLI™ /CROSSFIREX™ SUPPORTS

With support for both NVIDIA® SLI™ and AMD CrossFireX™ 2/3-WAY configurations, ROG Strix X99 Gaming motherboards enable multi-GPU setups so you can harness the full power of the latest graphics technologies to drive games at 4K and beyond.

  • (40 Lane Processor) 1 GPU @ 16x, 2 GPUs @ 16x + 16x, 3 GPUs @ 8x + 16x +8x
  • (28 Lane Processor) 1 GPU @ 16x, 2 GPUs @ 16x + 8x, 3 GPUs @ 8x + 8x +8x
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GAMER’S GUARDIAN FOR REAL-WORLD PROTECTION

Protect your back in the game and let ROG Strix X99 Gaming protect all sides in the real world! Motherboard self-protection with loads of brilliant defenses, including our unique smart DIY features ensures long-term gaming is in your future.

  • SAFESLOT – 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.

  • Digi+ VRM – Digi+ VRM voltage-regulator module (VRM) is one of the finest in the industry, ensuring ultra-smooth and ultra-clean power delivery to the CPU at all times!
  • DRAM Over-current Protection – All connection ports and DRAM are protected against overcurrent and short-circuit damage by onboard resettable fuses, extending your motherboard’s life.
  • CPU installation tool – protection from socket-pin damage
  • Q-Slot – to swap or secure your graphics card
  • Q-DIMM – clips mean handling memory modules is a cinch — super simple and super secure.
  • Q-LED – Indicates problems with the CPU, memory, graphics card or boot device for quick diagnosis.

Retail Packaging and Accessories

The retail packaging is largely a black box with a picture of the Strix X99 Gaming on the front right of it, while ‘Strix’ is written at an angle in a rainbow of colors down the left hand side. The ASUS name and ROG symbol grace the cover along with some high level features such as the Aura lighting, SLI/CFx support, and Windows 10 ready. The back side of the box shows a picture of the board, the rear I/O area, the flexibility in the color scheme, as well as the RGB LED connection among a few other features. Plenty to get you drooling over the possibilities! The sides of this box are more boring than most without even a serial number sticker gracing them.

When you open up the box, you are presented with another box where the motherboard and accessories reside. In this setup, the motherboard is on top in its antistatic bag, while the accessories sit below them and are pictured in the last slide here.

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A Closer Look

Our first look at the board shows it’s pretty basic black all around outside of the I/O cover and PCH which, out of the box, sports the orange coloring. Remember, there are four other colors included to replace those existing plates to help with system/theme integration (along with the RGB LEDs on board). It’s a fairly typical setup here with four DIMM slots on each side of the massive CPU socket. The Strix X99 Gaming has a total of four full length PCIe slots with good spacing for dual cards (slots 1 and 3), but get a little tight with slot 4 as the option for the third card. The first slot has ASUS’ SafeSlot technology which intends to provide superior retention and shearing resistance with the metal around the slot and additional solder points.

Nothing too exciting on the back except perhaps the PCIe electrical configuration noting slots 1/3 are x16, while slots 2/4 are x8 (slots = PCIe 16x/full length). There is also a back side support/heatsink on the back of the VRMs as well.

ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming - Front

ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming – Front

Back

Back

Alternate 1

Alternate 1

Alternate 2

Alternate 2

Alternate 3

Alternate 3

The bottom portion of the board shows the covered SupremeFX audio chip and the Nichicon capacitors on the bottom left corner. The top PCIe slot has the Safeslot on it while the rest do not. I’m a bit surprised at least the second slot didn’t have one as well. The PCIe x1 slots sit between slot one and two, while the second is between slot three and four. Also between slots three and four the M.2 Key M would extend out. It starts under the PCH and ends at the battery. Below the PCIe slots are the basic power and reset buttons as well as the debug LED. The PCH heatsink is small, but effective. If the ‘default’ color on top, orange, doesn’t match your theme, simply switch it out with one of the four included colors, change the RGB LED colors, and voila! Instant theme matching!

The DIMM and socket area shows us the eight total DIMM slots flanking the CPU. There are three fan headers (of six total on the board) located above the left set of DIMM slots. These 4-Pin headers support the CPU, Pump, and CPU Optional. This way you can run a traditional heatsink with two fans, or you can plug in your pump and two fans for control through the motherboard. Above the 8-Phase VRMs are the CPU power leads. An 8-Pin is required, but the 4-Pin is optional (used for sub-ambient overclocking). In the upper right hand corner we find the small MemOK! button to assist with memory overclocking failures or instability. To the south of that sits the 24-Pin ATX power lead. Below the 24-Pin, is a curiously placed set of two SATA ports… separated from its pals down the board in their more typical location about ‘PCH high’ on the board.

Audio, PCIe, and PCH (Bottom) of Board

Audio, PCIe, and PCH (Bottom) of Board

DIMM and Socket Area (Top) of Board

DIMM and Socket Area (Top) of Board

The back I/O holds your various inputs and other features. From left to right you have the CMOS reset switch, an old school PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, and four USB 2.0 ports. Next you see the Intel NIC on top of two USB 3.0 ports along with two more USB 3.0 ports next to it. The red port to the right is the USB 3.1 G2 Type-A port with the Type-C below it. Next up is the Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module with its gold antenna connections sticking out (antenna included). Last is the audio section with its its five 3.5 mm plugs and SPDIF.

The storage area of the board consists of the new U.2 port along with four SATA 6 Gbps (black) followed by two SATA Express ports (or four SATA ports if you do not use the SATAe). Separated from the rest of these ports via a mounting point on the motherboard and a USB front panel header, are the last set of SATA ports, totaling eight.

Back I/O

Back I/O

SATA

SATA

The last picture is a closer shot of the socket area showing off its 8-Phase VRM north of the socket under the heatsink.

Socket Area - 8-Pin required, 4-Pin Optional

Socket Area – 8-Pin required, 4-Pin Optional

UEFI BIOS / Aura Lighting

Below is a slideshow of the ASUS UEFI BIOS. It is a bit different than the other BIOS not on the ROG line with its mostly black, some red, theme. You start off in the BIOS on the EZ Mode which presents the information to you in a dashboard like manner. It displays which board, CPU and its speed, as well as how memory capacity and speed in the upper left. Also found on the EZ Mode screen are the fan control and profile screens allowing you to control each of the fans mounted on the motherboard. ASUS includes an EZ System Tuning panel as well to simply hit a button and get more performance out of the CPU. EZ Mode was well put together with essential system status information and functions all on one page.

After pressing F7 to get into advanced mode, you are greeted with a more familiar and detailed setup with your menu items spread across the top. By default you start out in Main. I showed My Favorites first as it holds a lot of the basic overclocking and motherboard functions without getting into the nitty gritty. Beyond that Main is more of a system summary page while Ai Tweaker is where all the overclocking magic happens (more of those in the next slide).

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The next slideshow details the incredibly comprehensive Ai Tweaker section for the enthusiast to extract every last MHz out of their CPU and memory. While I can’t say the ROG BIOS is my favorite, it was easy to reacquaint myself to where everything I need (and more) was in the BIOS.

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Pictured below is the Aura Lighting Software from ASUS used to control the RGB LEDs on the board as well as any attached with the onboard connector.

ASUS Aura Lighting Software

ASUS Aura Lighting Software

strixlit

The Strix lit up in default Orange (one PCIe slot LED is not working)

Test Setup and Results

Test Setup
CPU Intel i7 6950X
CPU Cooler Custom Loop with EK LTZ CPU Block, Swiftech MCP655 Vario,
Swiftech MCR320 + PA 120.2, 3x Yate Loon High @ 1K RPM
Motherboard ASUS X99 Strix
RAM GSkill Trident Z 4×8 GB DDR4- 3.2K 14-14-14-34 @ 3K MHz 15-15-15-35
Graphics Card MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X 8G
Hard Drive Intel 750 Series 400 GB SSD
Power Supply SeaSonic Platinum-1000
Operating System Windows 10 Pro x64 (Fully Updated)
Benchmarks AIDA64 Engineer
Cinebench R11.5 and R15
x265 1080p Benchmark (Hwbot)
POV Ray
Intel XTU
Super Pi 1M/32M
WPrime 32M/1024MB
7Zip
Equipment
Digital Multimeter

Motherboard Comparison

The graphs comparing motherboard performance are heavily multi-threaded benchmarks covering compression, rendering, and encoding. Per usual, we do not see a big difference in results here everything being within 2% of each other, mostly less than 1%, truth be told.

7Zip, POVRay, Cinebench R11.5 and R15

7Zip, POVRay, Cinebench R11.5 and R15

4ghz-7zp-58794 4ghz-x265-4105 4ghz-povr-416664 4ghz-cine115-2269 4ghz-cine15-2110

Moving on to our more synthetic benchmarks for the benchmarking crowd, not much changes here either. All boards are incredibly close again.

Intel XTU, WPrime 32M/1024M, Super Pi 1M/32M

Intel XTU, WPrime 32M/1024M, Super Pi 1M/32M

4ghz-xtu-2562 4ghz-wprm-2469-66036 4ghz-spi1m-9204 4ghz-spi32m-480776

Last up in our benchmarking suite is AIDA64 Memory Benchmark. In this test, the results were again pretty close outside of the EVGA FTW K still running away with copy performance.

AIDA64

AIDA64

AIDA64 Memory Benchmarks – Raw Data (MB/s)
Motherboard Read Write Copy Latency (ms)
ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming 65424 67765 62135 58.1
EVGA X99 FTW K 64468 68593 67418 56.5
MSI X99A Gaming Pro Carbon 66568 64543 65491 56.5

Pushing the Limits

When I cranked down on the board and CPU we have again ended up right where I was with the EVGA board sitting at 4.5 GHz and 1.374 V with the memory sitting at XMP of 3200 MHz CL14. At these speeds we were able to knock out some quick, but hard hitting multi-threaded benchmarks in Cinebench R15, Hyper Pi, WPrime 32M/1024M, and 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme. Voltages held stable with LLC on auto so I didn’t have to mess with that. I am able to boot at 4.6 GHz and 1.40 V but cannot test much with it that is more than single threaded. I couldn’t on any board yet… I think I just need to stop being such a wuss and just give it more voltage. That aside, I wouldn’t worry about the Strix X99 Gaming being the limiting factor in your overclock. It ran Realbench for an hour at 4.4 GHz and 1.343 V, so it is close to being pretty stable.

4.5 GHz 1.374V

4.5 GHz 1.374 V

Conclusion

The ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming really set out to impress both the Gaming crowd with its use of the Intel NIC as well as having control over the aesthetics of the board via the Aura Lighting Control. The boards built in RGB LEDs (don’t forget it has an RGB LED header!) on the I/O area as well as the PCIe latches can play together in any color to support your theme. There are no concerns on the gaming front with the ability of the board to handle up to three AMD or NVIDIA cards in SLI/CrossfireX. The ASUS ROG line has always been synonymous with superior overclocking capabilities and that doesn’t change with the Strix X99 Gaming either. The board will easily handle any ambient clocking and even take you over to the ‘cold side’ without breaking a sweat.

Overall I enjoyed working with the board and looking at it with its pulsing lights, and black and orange theme out of the box (again easily configurable via software). On my sample one of the LED slots wasn’t lighting up, but I am confident such an occurrence is a one off. The BIOS was easy to navigate and find anything I needed to in order to set things up right. There are enough options in the Ai Tweaker to make even the most advanced overclocker happy.

Pricing on the ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming comes in at $338.99 from Newegg.com. This puts the board in company with a board I have on hand, the X99 Gaming Pro Carbon, and happen to own in the ASRock X99 OC Formula. There is some pretty stiff competition in this market segment as the price tends to fetch some great features from all parties for both the gamer, and the enthusiast. The ASUS ROG Strix X99 Gaming should be high on your list when looking in the $300 range for a gaming or overclocking motherboard.

What Does This Mean? Click to Find Out!

What Does This Mean? Click to Find Out!

– Joe Shields (Earthdog)

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