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ASUS X99-PRO Motherboard (Intel X99) Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: May 8, 2015 9:10 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: ASUS

Circuit Analysis






The CPU VRM on this board consists of 8 true phases. I am not sure about the specifications on the inductors, I would guess they are rated around 40-60A, and they have ridges to expand surface area to lower temperatures as inductors get hot. ASUS is using 10K Nichicon FPCAP solid capacitors on the entire board. The CPU VRM has 8x 560uF of the 10K capacitors for a total of 4480uF. The PWM is an 8 phase PWM, most likely an International Rectifier IR3580.




Each phase consists of a single dual N-Channel MOSFET from ON Semiconductor, the NTMFD4C85N. Each of these dual MOSFETs has a high-side MOSFET capable of 25A and a low-side MOSFET capable of 49A, and those current rating are at 3.1W, which can be found in their datasheet. These are very high quality power MOSFETs. Since this MOSFET package doesn't have integrated drivers, ASUS adds eight IR3535, popular single phase drivers, on the back of the board.




Each memory VRM is powered by a rebranded ASUS PWM, which supports at least two phases for the two IR3553 40A integrated PowIRstages from International Rectifier. The VPP supply for each set of DIMMs (the second one is not shown in the picture on the right) comes from a GSTek 8A integrated buck, the GS9238.




A single TPS51362, which is a 10A buck converter, is possibly being used to power the PCH. The other IC is possibly a secondary clock generator or some special IC for the extra pins in the socket, as I couldn't identify it (but its placement hints towards something to do with the CPU and possibly DMI bus).




ASUS is using the i218v, Intel's latest PHY for the 1GBit LAN. For the WIFI/Bluetooth ASUS is using an AzureWave Broadcom BCM94352HMB 802.11/ac/867Mbps WLAN + BT4.0 Half Mini PCI-E card.




ASUS's Crystal Sound 2 consists of a Realtek ALC1150 which works with the integrated Intel Azalia HD audio processor in the PCH. ASUS optimized the trace paths for the left and right audio outputs to reduce crosstalk, implemented a de-pop circuit, and isolated the analog audio domain from the digital domain of the rest of the motherboard. ASUS added in seven Nichicon audio capacitors and added a Texas Instruments RC 4580 audio amplifier for the front panel audio output.




ASUS is using an ASMedia ASM1042AE to provide two extra USB 3.0 ports for the backpanel (located under the RJ-45 LAN port) and an ASMedia ASM1074 1-to-4 USB 3.0 hub for the other four backpanel USB 3.0 ports.




ASUS is using the popular nuvoTon NCT6791D for the SuperIO chip which also supports the PS/2 on the backpanel. The X99-PRO has a single 128Mbit(16MB) BIOS ROM located in a DIP socket in case you need to replace it. ASUS's BIOS flashback is also included, and I think the BIOS chip located in the image on the right is responsible for that functionality.




The image on the left shows three ASM1440 PCI-E 2.0 quick switches and the image on the right shows a single ASM1440 and two ASM1480 which are PCI-E 3.0 quick switches. All of these switches are used to switch around PCI-E lanes (mostly PCH lanes) to allow for more expansion possibilities mentioned earlier.




Two TPU ICs, one located on the back and the other on the front side are embedded controllers which control overclocking features.

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