At long last, Haswell-E is upon us—and it was worth the wait. Intel’s latest high-end desktop processor crams up to eight cores and 16 threads into a single socket. It has enough PCIe Gen3 lanes to fuel exotic graphics configurations, and it’s backed by quad channels of DDR4 memory. So, yeah, pretty awesome.
And the processor is just one part of the overall package. Haswell-E comes with a new chipset, dubbed X99, that replaces the aging X79 Express Intel has been milking since the Sandy Bridge era. This updated I/O hub brings native USB 3.0 support, provisions for next-gen storage devices, and more SATA ports than most cases have drive bays. After years of being tied to a middling chipset, Intel’s premier high-end desktop CPU finally has an appropriately over-the-top companion.
Motherboard makers have readied a range of X99-based products, each one with its own blend of special herbs and spices. The first to hit our labs is Asus’ X99 Deluxe.
As its name implies, the Deluxe is a decidedly premium offering. The board should start selling today for an eye-popping $399. That ain’t cheap, but neither is the thousand-dollar Core i7-5960X processor that caps the Haswell-E lineup. This is Intel’s high-end desktop platform, after all.
The Deluxe’s black tie motif seems appropriate given the price tag. The gleaming white trim looks great against the largely blacked-out board.
Much of the white is confined to a plastic cover that stretches up the left edge. This purely cosmetic piece is secured with just a few screws, so it’s easy to remove if you don’t like the look. Ditching the shroud should improve airflow to the VRM heatsink lying beneath. Asus recommends installing DIMMs in the gray slots first, which ends up blocking the main inlet, leaving only the virtual hood scoop at the top.
Eight memory slots let the X99 Deluxe accommodate up to 64GB of DDR4. The slots only work with 288-pin DDR4 modules; 240-pin DDR3 sticks need not apply. Don’t try to plug in an older LGA2011 CPU, either. Haswell-E uses a special “v3” version of the socket that’s incompatible with previous chips.
Between the DIMM slots and VRM heatsinks, the socket is packed tighter than the front row at Lollapalooza. Slim clearances are unavoidable with this much hardware squeezed into an ATX footprint. We can’t test whether every combination of components will fit, but we have taken a few key measurements that should be helpful.
Although the VRM heatsinks come closest to the socket, they’re relatively short compared to some of the oversized memory modules out there. Taller DIMMs pose the biggest threat to CPU coolers that branch out from the restricted zone surrounding the socket. Most coolers should get along just fine with standard-height modules, though, and closed-loop liquid coolers should be immune to motherboard clearance issues altogether.
The PCI Express expansion slots have enough breathing room to take two triple-wide graphics cards or three double-wide ones. Only the open-ended x4 slot is linked to the Gen2 lanes in the X99 chipset. All five of the x16s have Gen3 connectivity from the CPU, whose 40 lanes can be distributed in a litany of configs, including an even spread with eight lanes per x16 slot.
That’s how it works with 40-lane versions of Haswell-E, anyway. Intel’s annoyingly segmented lineup also includes a 28-lane variant, the Core i7-5820K, which forces the third and fifth x16 slots to trade their Gen3 links for sluggish Gen2 x1 connections to the chipset. The remaining x16 slots retain their Gen3 connectivity, which can be distributed in x16/x0/x8 and x8/x8/x8 configurations.
Those setups only add up to 24 lanes each, leaving four lanes untapped. The remainder is reserved for PCIe SSDs plugged into the Deluxe’s M.2 socket.
Most motherboards’ M.2 implementations are restricted to dual Gen2 lanes from the chipset. On top of that, they’re bound by limited interconnect bandwidth shared with the X99’s other I/O components. The Deluxe’s M.2 socket bypasses those handicaps by hooking directly into the CPU.
When installed, M.2 SSDs stick straight up instead of running parallel the PCB. The removable bracket holds drives securely, but the orientation still looks awkward. The positioning should also keep drives cooler than typical M.2 configs, though. M.2 SSDs usually hug the motherboard between expansion slots, a region that can get quite toasty with multiple power-hungry graphics cards installed. If temperatures rise high enough, they could trigger the thermal throttling mechanisms designed to keep some M.2 SSDs from overheating.
The rest of the onboard storage is split between the X99 and a collection of ASMedia controllers. The chipset supplies all the individual SATA ports in addition to the two in the top SATA Express connector. SATAe devices plugged into that port connect to the chipset via dual PCIe 2.0 lanes, much like similar implementations on Z97 boards. This “flex I/O” configuration is officially endorsed on the Z97 chipset, where connected devices are managed by Intel’s Rapid Storage Technology driver. However, Intel doesn’t provide any support or validation for the feature on the X99. While motherboard makers are free to use the flex I/O port for SATAe or M.2 storage, Intel warns that some RST features may not work like they do on other 9-series chipsets.
The bottom SATA Express port is tied to an ASMedia controller that can switch between SATAe and SATA modes. Another ASMedia controller powers the two USB 3.0 ports on the left side of the rear cluster. The other eight ports are driven by just two USB connections in the chipset, each of which is shared via a four-way ASMedia hub. If you want a straight line to the X99’s SuperSpeed goodness, you’ll have to tap one of the four ports accessible via internal headers.
The X99 Deluxe covers all the networking bases. Wired options comprise dual Gigabit Ethernet jacks fed by Intel controller chips. On the wireless front, a Broadcom adapter brings 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The Wi-Fi is a dual-band “3T3R” implementation that Asus claims can hit speeds up to 1.3Gbps. Network traffic management software is also included in the box.
Integrated audio has become a hotbed for upgrades in recent years, and the Deluxe follows a familiar playbook. It has a high-end Realtek codec, fancy Nichicon capacitors, auxiliary amplification, extra shielding, and isolated routing for the analog traces. A couple of DTS features complete the package: DTS Ultra PC II, which enables surround sound virtualization for stereo speakers and headphones, and DTS Connect, which provides real-time encoding for multi-channel digital output.
The analog audio output sounds decent enough, with no evidence of distortion or buzzing during heavy system loads. Audiophiles or music lovers will probably want to use the digital out—or run a discrete sound card or USB DAC.
Asus peppers the X99 Deluxe with sensible extras that system assembly and maintenance much easier. There are the usual suspects, like the POST code display and onboard buttons, along with some less common touches, like the multi-GPU switch that lights up the correct PCIe x16 slots for two- and three-way setups. Port blocks simplify the wiring process for front-panel hardware, while the cushioned I/O shield ditches the annoying bits of sharp, pokey metal that line traditional I/O covers. The board also has a DirectKey header that, when connected to a typical case switch, boots the system directly into the firmware.
That’s just what’s on the board. Additional components lurk inside in the box.
The Hyper M.2 card is a full-sized adapter for mini SSDs. It has four lanes of bandwidth, just like the onboard slot, and it’s capable of operating at Gen3 speeds.
The other item is an expansion module that bumps the number of temperature-controlled fan headers from six to nine. Along with three extra fan headers, the module sports a trio of connectors for standard temperature probes. Attached thermistors supply reference temperatures to the fan control intelligence managed by the board’s firmware and utility software. We’ll dive deeper into fan controls—and tackle the X99 Deluxe’s tweaking options—on the next page.
A refined tweaking experience
Much of the X99 Deluxe’s firmware and software is inherited from Asus’ Z97 boards, but that’s hardly a disappointment. Asus routinely has some of the best motherboard firmware and software around.
The only thing that’s really lacking is the resolution of the firmware interface. It’s 2014, Asus; time to move beyond 1024×768. The GUI looks surprisingly good in spite of its limited pixel array, but the text and graphics just aren’t as crisp as on the 1080p firmware available with some competing boards. It sounds like Asus plans to surpass that resolution by scaling all the way up to 4K with its next-gen firmware. If that happens, there’s no guarantee the upgrade will trickle down to the X99 Deluxe.
What the firmware lacks in resolution it makes up in usability. The EZ interface pictured above contains a basic assortment of monitoring and control options along with shortcuts to key features like fan speed control and automatic system tuning. More experienced users should stick to the advanced interface, which has fine-tuning options for just about every system variable open to adjustment.
Multiplier, frequency, and voltage options abound in the advanced UI. The layout is logical, and users can roll their own custom assortment of options in the Favorites tab. They can also track changes using a “Last Modified” function that details adjustments made during the previous tweaking session. Upon exit, the firmware displays a list of changes made during the current session. Pretty slick.
Most enthusiasts expect that modifying one firmware setting won’t alter unrelated variables, so I have to point out that the X99 Deluxe boosts the CPU’s Turbo multipliers when the memory frequency is changed. This illicit overclocking is nothing new—motherboard makers have been doing it for years—but it’s still an annoying and ultimately undesirable trait. At least the firmware’s default configuration observes the CPU’s stock Turbo multipliers, which is more than can be said for some of the shadier overclocking schemes we’ve encountered.
Apart from the addition of more fan headers and temperature probes via the expansion module, the fan speed controls mirror those of Asus’ other 9-series boards. Three-pin DC and four-pin PWM spinners both work with the fan control logic, and there’s a built-in calibration routine to determine the exact speed range of each connected fan. Users can rely on pre-baked configs or create their own three-point profile with the easy-to-use GUI. Dipping into the advanced interface unlocks the ability to define the reference temperature associated with each fan.
The only catch is that the CPU and CPU_OPT headers share the same profile. That’s fine for push/pull fan duos, but it’s less ideal for pump-and-radiator combos, especially those that rely on a mix DC and PWM connectors. For water coolers with multiple components, Asus recommends plugging fans into the CPU headers and pumps into the chassis headers.
Motherboard firmware is a lot more approachable now than it was even a few years ago, but some users still prefer tweaking system settings from the familiar confines of Windows. There, Asus’ AI Suite software combines much of the firmware’s functionality along with a bunch of other perks.
The fan controls are bolstered by adjustable spin-up and spin-down times for each header. Increasing those intervals smooths out the fan response to changes in temperature, preventing brief spikes from producing audible oscillations in rotational speed. The name and location of each fan can also be defined, which should help to organize loaded rigs use all the available headers. Too bad AI Suite can’t alter the reference temperature for each fan header.
In addition to serving up fan speed controls, AI Suite is loaded with overclocking and power options. The CPU voltage options are presented particularly well, with visual graphs illustrating how prescribed offset and “OC” voltages are applied as the CPU’s Turbo multipliers engage. Other variables can be altered by dragging mouse-friendly sliders or inputting specific values directly with the keyboard.
The power controls cover functions like load-line calibration and current limits. As in the firmware, there are separate options for the circuitry feeding the processor and system memory. There’s even a GPU overclocking panel built in, though you’ll need a compatible Asus graphics card to take advantage of it.
If you’re shy about making changes manually, Asus’ auto-tuning wizard can take the reins. A version of it is included in the firmware, and the software implementation is even more robust. It scales up clock speeds iteratively and tests stability at each step, just like an enthusiast would. The auto-tuning engine is also highly configurable, with options to adjust temperature thresholds, voltage limits, and whether to start ramping up from the stock frequency or a higher speed. The duration and nature of the stress test can be altered, as well, and a strenuous AVX test has been added to the mix for the X99.
Saved profiles can be loaded manually or via Turbo App, which invokes them automatically based on application-specific preferences. Individual apps can be tied to a combination of performance, fan, audio, and networking profiles. The audio and networking settings are fairly simplistic compared to the other profiles, but they make Turbo App more of a full-fledged system tuner than a selective overclocker.
On the next page, we’ll explore the X99 Deluxe’s overclocking chops and performance characteristics.
Modern motherboards typically have less impact on peak CPU frequencies than the characteristics of individual chips and the effectiveness of the associated coolers. That said, mobos still determine how much effort is required to reach top speed—and how much cursing occurs along the way. To get a sense of the overclocking experience, we dropped in a Core i7-5960X processor, strapped on a mammoth liquid cooler, and pushed the CPU as far as we could.
Auto-tuning mechanisms are useful for establishing a starting point for manual overclocking, so we let Asus’ AI Suite software have the first crack at the CPU. The automated intelligence ramped the chip up to a peak Turbo speed of 4.5GHz on 1.3V. That speed applied only to single-core loads; with all eight cores occupied, the CPU ran at 4.3GHz.
The auto-tuned config survived our usual torture test, which combines the Unigine Nature benchmark with AIDA64’s CPU stress test. CPU temperatures hovered around 56°C, and there was no evidence of throttling. So far, so good.
Feeling cocky, we set the all-core CPU multiplier to 45X and fired up our torture test once more. Everything was OK for a few moments, but a BSOD error soon appeared, forcing a reboot. We had to nudge the CPU voltage up to 1.325V to get the system stable with the CPU pinned at 4.5GHz. At that speed, CPU temperatures crept into the 70-76°C range.
Our test rig booted at 4.6GHz without complaint, but BSOD errors hit as soon as we launched any kind of multi-core load. Increasing the CPU voltage didn’t help, and neither did lowering it or adjusting other system voltages. Same deal with the power limits, which were mostly maxed out already. We even kicked the cooler into overdrive by ramping its 140-mm up to full speed, to no avail. 4.5GHz was it… or so we thought.
When we tried to grab some Cinebench scores, the dreaded blue screen returned. The multithreaded rendering benchmark is apparently more strenuous than our usual stress test—or just better at pushing hot-clocked chips over the edge. We had to dial back to 4.4GHz to get Cinebench working, which at least let us drop the voltage to 1.3V.
Asus tells us that 4.4-4.5GHz is an average overclocking result based on the pre-production chips it’s tested. Some of the company’s samples have gone up to 4.7GHz, while others haven’t made it past 4.3GHz. For what it’s worth, our Cooler Master Nepton 280L water cooler seemed up to the task of keeping thermals in check. Temperatures spiked up to 84°C at top speed, but there was no evidence of throttling.
Although I will admit that some colorful language escaped my lips after a few overclocking-induced crashes, the overall process was silky smooth with both the auto-tuner and the manual tweaking software. Overclocking with the firmware was pretty pleasant, too. The “auto” voltage and power settings did a good job of keeping up when we increased the CPU multiplier manually.
We intended to compare the Deluxe to another X99 board, but our second subject got stuck in customs and arrived far too late to test for this review. We had to switch to the next best thing, Asus’ X79 Deluxe.
The trouble is, we could only pair that motherboard with an older Ivy Bridge-E processor that has fewer cores, higher clocks, and a different architecture than the Haswell-E chip in our X99 rig. The X79 Deluxe uses different memory, too, and it has a different chipset. Those factors make it difficult to isolate the motherboard’s effect on system performance.
Scott’s Core i7-5960X review is a much better resource for information on how Haswell-E compares to Ivy-E; it’s loaded with far more application benchmarks and alternate CPUs than we include in motherboard reviews. We can, however, tell you a few things about how the X99’s peripheral performance compares to that of its predecessor.
USB transfer rates are faster, but that’s not exactly surprising. The X79 lacks integrated SuperSpeed connectivity, forcing boards to use third-party controllers. Auxiliary peripheral chips have traditionally been slower than Intel’s native implementations, and that dynamic has not changed with the X99.
The ASMedia chips on both boards deliver similar throughput—and much lower transfer rates than the X99’s integrated controller. We’ve seen a similar performance disparity when comparing the USB performance of Intel’s Z97 chipset to that of third-party controllers.
SATA performance is similar between the two Deluxes, whose chipsets both support 6Gbps speeds. Those results aren’t even worth graphing. Neither are the networking scores, which are nearly identical. (The X99 system exhibited slightly lower CPU utilization during GigE transfers, but it also has more CPU cores at its disposal, making the comparison a bit moot.)
There a slight difference in boot times, with the X99 Deluxe reaching the Windows desktop a few seconds after its X79 counterpart:
Both are fairly slow compared to the Z97 boards we’ve tested, which boot in just 14-16 seconds. The X99 Deluxe and its forebear spend almost that long just winding up before their initial splash screens appear.
We have more X99 motherboard reviews planned, so we’ll be able to assess the Deluxe’s performance against its true competitors soon. Don’t hold your breath for fireworks, though. Motherboards typically have a negligible performance impact when all other system components are the same.
Motherboards can influence total system power consumption, but the numbers we’ve gathered won’t shed light on that fact. They’re tainted by differences between the systems’ respective Haswell-E and Ivy Bridge-E processors and DDR4 and DDR3 memory. Again, Scott’s CPU review is a better source for power consumption data along those lines. Make what you will of the following figures.
The X99 rig consumes less power than the X79 at idle but not under load. The EPU power-saving measures on both boards have little effect on power draw at the wall socket.
We’re more interested in how the X99 Deluxe’s power draw compares to that of the Haswell-E alternatives. Stay tuned.
We’ve covered most of the X99 Deluxe already, but here’s the full spec sheet in case we missed anything.
|Platform||Intel X99, socket LGA2011-v3|
|DIMM slots||4 DDR4, 64GB max|
|Expansion slots||5 PCIe 3.0 x16 via CPU
1 PCIe 2.0 x4 via X99
|Storage I/O||1 M.2 type 2242-22110 via CPU (PCIe only)
1 SATA Express via X99
10 SATA RAID 6Gbps via X99
1 SATA Express via ASMedia ASM1065E
2 SATA RAID 6Gbps via ASMedia ASM1065E
|Audio||8-channel HD via Realtek ALC1150
Real-time digital encoding via DTS Connect
Surround virtualization via DTS UltraPC II
|Wireless||Dual-band 2.4/5GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi via Broadcom adapter
|Ports||2 USB 3.0 via ASMedia ASM1042
8 USB 3.0 via X99 and 2 x ASMedia ASM1072 hub
4 USB 3.0 via internal headers and X99
2 USB 2.0 via X99
4 USB 2.0 via internal headers and X99
1 Gigabit Ethernet via Intel I218-V
1 Gigabit Ethernet via Intel E211-AT
1 analog front/headphone out (amplified)
4 configurable analog ports
1 digital S/PDIF out
|Overclocking||All/per-core Turbo multiplier: 31-80X
Min/max CPU cache ratio: 12-80X
CPU strap: 100, 125, 167, 250MHz
Base clock: 80-300MHz
Base:DRAM ratio: 100:100, 100:133
CPU voltage: 1.0-2.0V
CPU cache voltage: 1.0-2.0V
System agent voltage: 0.8-2.0V
CPU input voltage: 0.8-2.7V
DRAM A/B voltage: 0.8-1.9V
DRAM C/D voltage: 0.8-1.9V
PCH core voltage: 0.7-1.8V
PCH I/O voltage: 1.2-2.2V
VCCIO CPU 1.05 voltage: 0.7-1.8V
VCCIO PCH 1.05 voltage: 0.7-1.8V
VTTDDR A/B voltage: 0.2-1.0V
VTTDDR C/D voltage: 0.2-1.0V
PLL termination voltage: 0.2-2.1938V
|Fan control||2 x CPU, 4 x SYS, 3 x EXT fans:
Standard, silent, turbo profiles
Manual profile with three temp/speed points per fan
DC and PWM fan support
The PCIe configurations are for 40-lane CPUs. See the first page of the review for the skinny on how things work with neutered 28-lane processors.
Our testing methods
We upgraded our motherboard test rig with a couple of new components just for this review. The first is Cooler Master’s beastly Nepton 280L water cooler:
With dual 140-mm fans and a fat radiator, the Nepton is fairly extreme as far as liquid coolers go. It sells for $139.99 at Newegg right now, and it seems to do a good job of keeping our Haswell-E processor cool. However, we’ve had some issues with the pump not turning on properly on boot, which sends CPU temperatures skyward. This only happens intermittently, but we’ve observed it on a couple of different motherboards. Seems like we might have gotten a unit with a wonky pump.
The other addition to our test rig is some swanky DDR4 memory from Corsair:
These Vengeance LPX modules have standard-height heat spreaders that steer clear of potential cooler conflicts. The quad-channel 16GB kit is rated for speeds up to 2800MHz with 16-18-18-36-2T timings. Asking price: $399.99 at Newegg.
All of our testing was conducted with the memory running at 2800MHz, and none of our usual benchmarks complained. We had to adjust the system voltages by a smidgen to get the machine stable in Prime95, though. Upping the DRAM voltage by 0.05V and the CPU System Agent voltage by 0.025V did the trick. We’re still investigating whether the CPU, memory, or motherboard is at fault there.
If you’ve made it this far, you may be curious about what the rest of our test system looks like. We’ve posed it for your viewing pleasure.
We used the following configurations for testing.
|Processor||Intel Core i7-5960X||Intel Core i7-4960X|
|Motherboard||Asus X99 Deluxe||Asus X79 Deluxe|
|Platform hub||Intel X99||Intel X79 Express|
|Chipset drivers||Chipset: 10.0
|Audio||Realtek ALC1150||Realtek ALC1150|
|Memory size||16GB (4 DIMMs)|
|Memory type||Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 SDRAM at 2800MHz||Corsair Vengeance DDR3 SDRAM at 1800MHz|
|Graphics||Asus GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II with 340.52 drivers|
|Storage||Corsair Force Series GT 120GB
Samsung 840 Series 256GB
|Power supply||Corsair AX850 850W|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 8.1 Pro x64|
Thanks to Intel, Corsair, Samsung, and Asus for providing the hardware used in our test systems. And thanks to the motherboard makers for providing those.
We used the following versions of our test applications:
- 7-Zip 9.20 64-bit
- TrueCrypt 7.1a
- Chrome 34.0.1847.131
- x264 r2431
- DiRT Showdown demo
- CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3b
- FRAPS 3.5.99
- RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.2.5
- Cinebench R15
- Unigine Valley 1.0
Some further notes on our test methods:
- All testing was conducted with motherboard power-saving options enabled. These features can sometimes lead to slightly slower performance, particularly in peripheral tests that don’t cause the CPU to kick into high gear. We’d rather get a sense of motherboard performance with real-world configurations, though; we’re not as interested in comparing contrived setups with popular features disabled.
- DiRT Showdown was tested with ultra detail settings, 4X MSAA, and a 1920×1200 display resolution. We used Fraps to log a 60-second snippet of gameplay from the demo’s first race. To offset the fact that our gameplay sequence can’t be repeated exactly, we ran this test five times on each system.
- Power consumption was measured at the wall socket for the complete system, sans monitor and speakers, using a Watts Up Pro power meter. The full-load test combined Cinebench’s multithreaded CPU rendering test with the Unigine Valley DirectX 11 demo running in a 1280×720 window. We reported the peak power consumption during the Cinebench run. Our idle measurement represents the low over a five-minute period sitting at the Windows desktop.
- The Force GT 120GB SSD was used as the system drive for all tests. The Samsung 850 Series 512GB was connected as secondary storage to test Serial ATA and USB performance, the latter through a USAP-compatible Thermaltake BlacX 5G docking station. The Samsung SSD was secure-erased before each test that involved it. The Corsair drive was also wiped before we loaded our system image.
- Ethernet performance was tested using a remote rig based on an Asus P8P67 Deluxe motherboard with an Intel 82579 Gigabit Ethernet controller. A single Cat 6 Ethernet cable connected that system to each motherboard.
- Analog audio signal quality was tested using RMAA’s “loopback” test, which pipes front-channel output through the board’s line input. We tested while the system was loaded with Cinebench’s multithreaded rendering test, the Unigine Valley benchmark, and a CrystalDiskMark 4KB random I/O test running on the Samsung SSD attached via USB 3.0.
The tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. All tests except power consumption were run at least three times. Unless otherwise indicated, we reported the median result for each test. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.
Haswell-E and its X99 sidekick are all about giving users more. This dynamic duo has more CPU cores, more memory bandwidth, more PCI Express lanes, and more chipset I/O than Intel’s standard desktop gear. It’s only fitting, then, that the X99 Deluxe embodies the same philosophy. The Deluxe is more motherboard than we’ve ever seen squeezed into an ATX form factor.
A lot of the goodness comes from the CPU and chipset. Asus takes full advantage of everything baked into the platform, and it does a particularly nice job with the processor’s PCIe payload, which is split between x16 slots for multi-GPU graphics and a four-lane M.2 socket for wicked-fast SSDs. Hanging M.2 drives off the CPU avoids the chipset interconnect bottleneck and provides Gen3 connectivity for next-gen hotness, while the adapter card imparts additional flexibility.
The Deluxe excels in other areas, such as networking, where it combines multiple GigE controllers with top-notch wireless options. Then there’s the DTS-infused audio and the assortment of builder-friendly features. And don’t forget the auxiliary fan module, which extends Asus’ already excellent fan management profiles to even more headers and temperature inputs.
Everything is tied together with highly polished firmware and software that’s approachable enough for newbies yet powerful enough for seasoned enthusiasts. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but the fact is that the last few generations of Asus boards have shown more firmware and software refinement than competing products. Even if that attention to detail hasn’t led to higher overclocks or faster performance, it has made life easier for tweakers trying to get the most out of their systems.
Now, we haven’t spent enough time with other X99 boards to know how the Deluxe stacks up against its immediate competition. The bar has been set very high, though. The X99 Deluxe is easily one of the most luxurious motherboards we’ve ever tested. It will be a very tough act to follow.