With all the refreshed X99 based motherboards releasing due to the Broadwell-E launch we see a new contender from ASUS, their X99 Deluxe II. The original X99 Deluxe, then X99 Deluxe/U3.1, were range-topping motherboards for the ASUS Signature series and the new board is as well. Let’s take a look at all the features, both new and old, of the X99 Deluxe II before checking out the performance!
Specifications and Features
In one word… everything. ASUS put everything on the X99 Deluxe II. There’s a heck of a Wi-Fi module in here, Realtek ALC 1150 audio with a great SNR, Bluetooth v4.0, USB 3.1, Thunderbolt, another USB 3.1 from the Thunderbolt AIC, M.2, another M.2 via AIC, the fan extension, all PWM fan headers, onboard power/reset/diagnostics functionality, dual Gigabit LAN, RGB lighting, and even more. Check out the table for all the specifications, there’s no way I can rehash them all here and ever get to the testing.
The only thing I can’t find is a PLX chip, but this isn’t a big deal when you have 40-lane CPU’s available. If, by some miracle, you find something here they didn’t include and you need please put it in the comments because I’m curious to know what it is!
All specifications in the table below are provided by ASUS.
|ASUS X99 Deluxe II Specs|
|CPU||Intel® Socket 2011-v3 Core™ i7 Processors
Supports Intel® 14 nm CPU
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 3.0
* Refer to www.asus.com for CPU support list
|Memory||8 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 3333(O.C.)/3300(O.C.)/3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Quad 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.
|Expansion Slots||40-Lane CPU-
4 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (single at x16, dual at x16/x16, triple at x16/x16/x8, quintuple at x8/x8/x8/x8/x8 mode) *1
3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16, x16/x8, x8/x8/x8) *2
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x1 mode)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode) *3
1 x PCIe 2.0 x1
|Multi-GPU Support||Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology
Supports NVIDIA® 3-Way SLI™ Technology
Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
|Storage||New Intel® Core™ i7 Processors :
2 x U.2 port, support PCIe 3.0 x4 NVM Express storage
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with vertical M Key design, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (Support PCIE SSD only)
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)*4,
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology*5
|LAN||Intel® I218V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
Intel® I211-AT, 1 x Gigabit LAN
Dual Gigabit LAN controllers- 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) appliance
Support Teaming Technology
ASUS Turbo LAN Utility
ASUS LAN Guard
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz
Support ASUS Wi-Fi Go! Utility
Up to 1300Mbps transfer speed
|Audio||Realtek® ALC1150 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC featuring Crystal Sound 3
– Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
– High quality 112 dB SNR stereo playback output (Line-out at rear) and 104 dB SNR recording input (Line-in)
|USB||Intel® X99 chipset :
4 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (4 at mid board)
Intel® X99 chipset :
6 x USB 2.0/1.1 port(s) (4 at back panel, 2 at mid board)
ASMedia® USB 3.1 controller :
3 x USB 3.1 port(s) (3 at back panel, teal blue, Type-A)
ASMedia® USB 3.1 controller :
1 x USB 3.1 port(s) (1 at back panel, Type-C, Reversible)
ASMedia® USB 3.0 Hub :
4 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue)
|Back I/O Ports||2 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
3 x USB 3.1 Type-A
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
4 x USB 3.0 (blue)
4 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to USB BIOS Flashback)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
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 v4.0/3.0+HS)
|Internal I/O Ports||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: ,
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with vertical M Key design, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (Support PCIE SSD only)
1 x TPM connector(s)
8 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
2 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (2 x 4 -pin)
1 x S/PDIF out header(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 SLI/CFX switch (2/3-WAY adjustments)
1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
1 x DRCT header(s)
1 x MemOK! button(s)
1 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x CPU/DRAM overvoltage jumper(s)
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector
1 x Water Pump header (4-pin)
1 x High AMP Fan header (4-pin)
|OS Support||Windows® 10 , 64bit
Windows® 8.1 , 32bit/64bit
Windows® 7 , 32bit/64bit
|Form Factor||ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )
8 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x ASUS 2-Way/3-Way SLI bridge
1 x M.2 X4 bracket
1 x M.2 Screw Package
1 x CPU installation tool
1 x Supporting DVD
1 x ASUS 3T3R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compliant)
1 x HYPERM.2 X4 with M Key design, type 2230/2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (Support PCIE SSD only)
1 x Fan Extension Card (3 x 4-pin fan out)
1 x Thermistor cable(s)
|Note||*1:PCIe x16_3 shares bandwidth with M.2 and U.2_2. It runs at x16 mode by default. PCIe X16_5 shares bandwidth with U.2_1. It runs at x4 mode by default with U.2_1 enabled.
*2:PCIe x16_3 shares bandwidth with M.2 and U.2_2. It runs at x8 mode by default. PCIe X16_4 shares bandwidth with U.2_1. It is disabled by default.
*3: PCIe x16_2 shares bandwidth with USB3_34 and USB 3.1_EA34. It runs at x2 mode by default.
*4:Due to chipset behavior, The SATA6G_78, SATA6G_910 ports do not support IRST including RAID configuration.
*5:These functions will work depending on the CPU installed.
Up next we’ll take a high-level look at the features of the X99 Deluxe II, as if the specifications weren’t big enough! More details on the feature list can be found on the ASUS website.
First on the list is overclocking. ASUS has included their 5-Way Optimization on this motherboard. This includes a CPU performance boost, energy efficiency from the EPU which allows automatic disabling of add-on IC’s, a cool and quiet system via advanced fan controls through both the motherboard and the fan extension card, fully digital power delivery components for stable power, and the latest Intel Turbo functionality to give per-core frequency tuning.
The Wi-Fi module onboard isn’t just for receiving wireless, but it can also act as a hotspot! There are software features to easily access multiple cloud storage accounts at the same time, remotely control your desktop, set up file synchronization, and control media playback remotely.
All of the ASUS Q-Features are included here as well. These include the Q-DIMM which utilizes only one memory clip, the Q-Slot which has an over sized PCIe release, the Q-Connector so you can easily connect/disconnect the front panel connections, the Q-Shield which is a padded I/O shield, Q-LED to easily diagnose issues preventing booting, and Q-Code to diagnose POST status messages.
There is RGB lighting across the whole motherboard. Exact locations are underneath the audio section cover, at the upper edge of the chipset heatsink, and in each PCIe retention clip. At the bottom edge of the board, seen later, there is an RGB header where a standard RGB LED strip can be plugged in and controlled with the rest of the LEDs.
The next table lists the high-level feature set of the X99 Deluxe II. All images and descriptions provided by ASUS.
First impression, simple and clean. The front of the retail box shows a picture of the X99 Deluxe II itself, sports an overall black/silver/white scheme, and keeps clutter to a minimum. The rear of the box though, has loads of details. There’s also a front flap with even more details the back of the box just doesn’t get to.
Opening the retail box we see the motherboard nestled safely in its cardboard shell and ESD bag. The accessories are directly below it, in their own box with protective cardboard shells and ESD bags for the larger, more sensitive, accessories.
The first set of accessories are the M.2 AIC, the ThunderboltEX 3 AIC, and the Wi-Fi antenna. The Hyper M.2 x4 Mini Card supports up to 110mm M.2 devices and functions at speeds up to 32Gbps. The ThunderboltEX 3 has a Thunderbolt3/USB 3.1 Type-C port, a USB 3.1 Type-A port, and a Mini DisplayPort 1.2 input connection. The two AIC’s are available to purchase separately from this motherboard as well.
The DisplayPort IN connection on the ThunderboltEX 3 can be utilized to connect a Thunderbolt capable display to your system.
Up next in the accessories is the Fan Extension Card. This can be used to power three more fans than just the motherboard alone is able to handle. You still receive full PWM control based on system temperatures through the motherboard’s BIOS and/or software as well. Note there is a required external power connection (Molex) for the Fan Extension Card. Each fan can draw up to 12W (1A). There are also three thermistors (temperature sensors) here which can be utilized either on the Fan Extension Card or on the motherboard itself. Plug the two pin connection in and then place the sensor end on any component/position you wish to measure temperature.
In the third picture of the accessories we find eight, yes eight, SATA III cables. If you need more than this, seriously consider buying a cable manufacturing facility. There is also the Thunderbolt header connector to be used with the ThunderboltEX 3, an RGB LED strip cable, a rigid 3-way SLI bridge, and a DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable. Of course, the DisplayPort cable is meant to go from your graphics card to the ThunderboltEX 3 to utilize the earlier mentioned Thunderbolt display.
Not quite there yet guys, this box was full of accessories. Here we see pictured the case badge, two software CD’s, the user manual, an installation guide, and the Fan Extension Card installation guide.
Last, but definitely not least, are the Q-Shield (padded I/O shield), CPU Installation tool, Q-Connector (easy front panel connector), and the M.2 bracket. You will see later why the M.2 bracket is critical.
The ASUS X99 Deluxe II
About all I can say here is… clean. The white/black/silver color scheme is build-agnostic and the RGB LEDs will allow it to match literally anything this motherboard is built in. The heatsinks are huge, you feel the weight immediately when the board is picked up, and the shrouds down the left keep things nice and tidy!
Taking a quick peek at the back of the motherboard, we find the two main PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (slot one and four) are soldered to x16. The others are soldered to x8 (slot three, five, and six). All heatsinks and shrouds are screwed down, not clipped, as expected on a board of this caliber. We see there is an additional cooling and support plate (yes, it does have a thermal pad as seen later) on the back of the VRM heatsink as well.
A Closer Look
Looking at the top edge of the X99 Deluxe II we find two PWM fan connections to use an AIO or dual fan heatsink on the CPU along with two CPU power connections, one 8-pin and one 4-pin. I’ll go in to detail about the power connectors in the VRM discussion. We also see the eight DDR4 DIMM slots. These are all single clip slots. You also get a great look at the VRM heatsink as it is mounted here as well. Finally, there’s an LED beside the 8-pin power connector to remind you if you haven’t plugged it in.
Turning the board slightly we find the 24-pin ATX power connection, the onboard M.2 connection (please use the included bracket here), one of the two U.2 connections, and a PWM system fan header. Another angle of the DDR4 DIMMs are shown here, this one from the side, better showing the singular clip used. One notable piece we don’t see on all boards here is the MemOK! button, which allows quick and easy diagnosis of memory causing boot problems. Behind the 24-pin power connector are four LEDs to assist in diagnosing boot issues. These LEDs are represent the CPU, DRAM, VGA, and BOOT in the POST process where, if an error is found, the corresponding LED will illuminate.
Moving down the right hand side of the X99 Deluxe II we find the rest of the storage connectivity options. A total of ten SATA III ports are found here, a pair of which double as a SATA Express connection. For current SSDs we find the second U.2 connection in addition to all the SATA connections. For further connectivity there are also front panel connections, a Thunderbolt header (use with the provided AIC), two USB 3.0 front panel connections, and a USB 2.0 front panel connection all in this corner of the motherboard.
There are a few overclocking features in the lower right corner of the board as well. First is the CPU_OV jumper which, as expected, allows higher CPU voltages! There is also an EZ XMP switch which, as the name suggests, allows enhanced DIMM speed and performance. There’s also a temperature sensor connection between the USB 3.0 front panel connectors and the chipset heatsink, it is a small two-pin connector. Last, there is a switch to guide the user to installing graphics cards in the proper PCIe slots for multi-GPU arrangements. In the far left position no slots illuminate, in the 2x position it shows the ideal locations for two cards, and in the 3x position it shows the ideal locations for three cards. The illuminated LED for each of these arrangements is underneath the PCIe release clip.
And now for the last, but not least, section we’ll look to the lower left area of the X99 Deluxe II. There are a load of miscellaneous connections here including the front audio connection, SPDIF_OUT header, TPM header, RGB LED header, and fan extension header. We find a power and reset switch, Q-Code display for diagnosing POST codes, and a CMOS clear button here as well. A closer look at the PCIe slots, with the transparent retention clips and shielding, can be seen here as well.
Taking a gander back at the rear connectivity, we find a very full rear I/O section! For universal serial bus devices are are three USB 3.1 Type-A, a USB 3.1 Type-C, four USB 3.0, and four USB 2.0/1.1 ports. For network connectivity there are three Wi-Fi antenna connectors to interface with the included antenna and two Gigabit Ethernet ports. To get a bit of sound out of the board there are five 3.5mm audio jacks and an S/PDIF output. Last, but not least, is the CMOS Clear button. Notice we also see part of the VRM heatsink through here, above the USB 3.1 ports, a lot of planning went in to this area!
Stripping the X99 Deluxe II
Looking at the VRM we see eight dedicated phases for the CPU alone, with one MOSFET and one choke per phase. I’ll go in to detail about the MOSFETs later, but the chokes have cooling ridges on top. I don’t see any markings on the chokes, nor does ASUS give a current/power rating on them. Even so, this VRM is plenty to push you well past the limits of ambient cooling. We see two CPU power connectors, one 8-pin and one 4-pin, of which only the 8-pin is required. If you’re pushing the limits of the CPU then I recommend using both connectors to ensure stable power delivery.
In the pictures below we get a look at a few of the power delivery components on this motherboard. The Digi+ ASP1257 handles CPU VRM control, we know this is a fully digital PWM controller. Each of the eight phases for the CPU has an International Rectifier 3556 MOSFET. Of course we won’t use the whole range, but the MOSFET can output voltage from 0.25V up to 5.5V at a current of up to 50A. More than enough for our uses! The power going to the DIMMs is controlled by a pair of Digi+ ASP1250 which are, as before, fully digital PWM controllers.
ASUS laid a (figurative) ton of metal on the X99 Deluxe II for heatsinks. Notice there are only two contact points, the VRM and the chipset, but we still see heatpipes connecting to spread the thermal load. Heat soaking all of this mass will take quite a long time, even at high workloads.
There are also plastic covers for the I/O and audio sections of the motherboard, helping aesthetics in a windowed case. Notice part of the plastic I/O cover is cut out though? This is for a portion of the VRM heatsink to go under. Every bit of available space is used for cooling.
For the audio section a set of Nichicon capacitors paired with a Realtek ALC1150 achieve a SNR of 112 dB for the rear line out and of 104 dB for the recording line in. The separation of the audio section from the rest of the board and high-quality components all go toward achieving these high SNR’s. Plenty good sound quality for all but the highest level of audio enthusiasts.
As seen in the specification the X99 Deluxe II carries two Gigabit Ethernet connections. Both are Intel-based, the primary on the i218 chipset and the secondary on the i211 chipset.
Below are some thumbnails, click for a bigger view, of the other miscellaneous integrated circuit chips on the X99 Deluxe II. There are dual ASMedia ASM1142 controllers for USB 3.1 connectivity. The ASMedia ASM1074 is the functioning USB 3.0 hub. An ASMedia ASM1184e PCIe Packet Switch is used to take one PCIe 2.0 x1 and have it function as four PCIe 2.0 x1 lanes.
UEFI BIOS and Overclocking Software
The two pictures in this first of three slideshows show the EZ Mode BIOS screen and Main BIOS screen. EZ Mode allows the user to set XMP RAM configurations, choose the boot priority, change the CPU fan curve, and it shows some general system information as well. Pressing F7 takes you out of, or back in to, EZ Mode. Landing in Advanced Mode the first screen we see is “Main” which shows system info and allows setting date/time.
Here we also go through the AI Tweaker section which includes, but isn’t limited to, the DRAM Timing Control, External DIGI+ Power Control, and Tweaker’s Paradise BIOS screens. Here is where the magic will happen for overclockers and users chasing the ultimate stability. I’m not sure if there is anything you can’t control from this section of the BIOS. The options are extensive and almost daunting, even for advanced users.
Next up is the Advanced section. Here we find all the general system controls to enable/disable almost any system feature, selectively disable USB ports, and much more. Basically, if you need to find a setting on a motherboard component which isn’t the CPU or RAM, check here. This is also the section in which you control the RGB lighting on the motherboard.
To wrap up the BIOS tour we’ll go through the Monitor, Boot, Tool, and Exit sections. As expected, the Monitor section allows you to view system temperatures, system voltages, and fan speeds. This section also contains all the Q-Fan controls which dictate the function of each fan/pump header on the motherboard; it conveniently allows you to select voltage or PWM control. The Boot section allows users to set the boot order, enable/disable boot devices, and configure boot methods (UEFI, Legacy, etc). The Tool section has the functionality to flash the BIOS (there is a nice network flash option), secure erase an SSD, and view detailed SPD/graphics information. Lastly, the Exit section. This screen is very self explanatory.
The bundled software with the X99 Deluxe II is AISuite III, ASUS’ long running software. This software will basically control/monitor your whole system and more. I’ve included a screenshot of the overclocking portion of the software below, but it is seriously in-depth these days so I didn’t try to capture everything. As seen, the overclocking controls within AISuite allow changing speed for the BCLK, CPU Multi, CPU Cache Multi. A few other notable features are the fan control and BIOS flashing from this software.
Below is the ASUS AURA software which is used to control all the RGB LED functions from within the operating system. This software is incredibly straightforward and easy to use, I like it.
Test Setup, Benchmarks, and Overclocking
Listed below is the test system used for benchmarking.
|CPU||Intel 6800K @ Stock (for the motherboard – 3.4 GHz), 4.5 GHz for Overclocking|
|Cooler||CoolerMaster Glacer 240L|
|Motherboard||ASUS X99 Deluxe II|
|RAM||4×4GB DDR4 GSKILL RipJaws4 @ 3000MHz 15-15-15-35 2T 1.35v|
|Graphics Card||EVGA GTX 750Ti FTW|
|Solid State Drive||Samsung 850 Pro 256GB|
|Power Supply||EVGA SuperNova G2 850W|
|Operating System||Windows 10 x64|
We’ll perform our usual set of benchmarks which tests rendering, memory performance, and single/multi-threaded CPU performance. For 2D benchmarks we’ll use SuperPi 1M and 32M, wPrime, and Intel XTU. For rendering it’s Cinebench R11.5 and R15. Memory performance is checked against AIDA64. For encoding, we use x265 (HWBOT Version) and PoV Ray. A more real-world test is included in 7zip. Stock testing is performed with the BIOS as you get it out of the box, which will vary from motherboard to motherboard. When overclocking, a CPU speed of 4.5GHz will be used for testing purposes. Memory speed is unchanged.
Memory Bandwidth and Throughput Benchmark – AIDA64
CPU Rendering Benchmarks – Cinebench R11.5 and R15
Single Threaded CPU Benchmarks – Super Pi 1M and 32M
Multi-Threaded CPU Benchmarks – WPrime 32M and 1024M, x265 (HWBOT Version), PoV Ray R3.73, 7Zip, and Intel XTU
Here’s a quick set of graphs comparing the Gigabyte X99 Designare EX and the ASUS X99 Deluxe II. This set of comparison models will grow more, very soon! Overall, the results seemed to be in line with the expected performance of a top-tier motherboard.
Pushing the Limits
The X99 Deluxe II hit 4,645 MHz on the CPU. It seems to be fairly stable at this level, running Cinebench R15 without issue. Booting 4,667 MHz happened, but I couldn’t complete R15 at this speed. This is slightly lower than I was able to push the X99 Designare EX even though I tried setting all the same speeds and voltages as I did previously.
The only con for the X99 Deluxe II is the slight lack of top-end overclocking in the PTL section from what I’ve seen before. The board is built for the limits, it may have just been a singular setting I couldn’t get ironed out keeping me from the edge.
Revisiting the positives, I could go on and on for a whole review’s worth. The features are all there; add in cards, loads of USB connectivity, RGB lighting, plentiful heatsinks for cooling, and more. Performance in both the stock 3.4 GHz and overclocked 4.5 GHz testing was at or higher than expected. As always the ASUS BIOS was easy to navigate, boasted extensive options, and was incredibly responsive to keyboard/mouse input. The board’s color scheme is build agnostic, yet still very attractive.
The MSRP though, it hurts. Coming in at $419.99, for which it is currently selling at Newegg and Amazon, this is no two pence board. Other boards in this price range have similar feature sets so, even though it’s high, I would say the price is in line with competition. This definitely gets the Overclockers Approved stamp.
Click the stamp for an explanation of what this means.