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ASUS ROG STRIX X99 GAMING (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 2011 in Motherboards | Posted: Jun 21, 2016 7:12 pm
TweakTown Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ASUS

ROG STRIX X99 GAMING Circuit Analysis Continued

 

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The STRIX X99 GAMING uses an ALC1150 Realtek codec along with two Texas Instruments R4580 amplifiers for the rear and front audio output jacks. There are also ten Nichicon Gold series electrolytic audio capacitors, a physical analog domain PCB isolation solution, and separate routing of left and right output signals to improve audio quality and reduce distortion and unwanted noise.

 

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The wired network solution is one from Intel; the integrated MAC in the PCH uses an i218v PHY to produce a 1Gbit NIC. ASUS's WIFI/BT solution is a Qualcomm QCNFA364A M.2 2230-type card that supports 2x2 Wireless AC with MU-MIMO support and Bluetooth 4.1. The WIFI/BT card uses the same 1x PCI-E 2.0 lane as the first PCI-E 1x slot so that you can use one or the other.

 

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For the USB 3.1 on the rear IO, ASUS is using the ASMedia 1142 and an EtronTech EJ179V type-C switch and power delivery chip. The two PCI-E 2.0 lanes that provide bandwidth to the ASMedia USB 3.1 controller also can be used for the PCI-E 4x slot if you don't want to use the USB 3.1 ports. There are four USB 3.0 ports on the rear IO. One of those ports is directly routed to the PCH, and the PCH also supplies one other USB 3.0 port to an ASMedia ASM1074 USB 3.0 hub that then provides three extra ports for the rear IO. Using hubs for expanding X99 USB 3.0 is very common, and most brands do it. The hubs actually can help with signal integrity for ports that are far away.

 

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I couldn't identify the IC labeled "SB3572U". I found resellers online but alas a datasheet alluded me. So, I traced the traces through the PCB and discovered that this chip is responsible for controlling the RGB LEDs. It would make sense that an RGB LED controller is being used because otherwise it is very hard to independently control RGB clusters. The chip labeled "BIOS" is ASUS's custom embedded controller used for the BIOS Flashback feature that allows the system to flash the BIOS with a file on a USB stick, even without the main system being active. A single 128Mbit (16MB) Winbond BIOS ROM is located in a DIP socket.

 

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The main SuperIO is a nuvoTon NCT6791D, and a UTC chip is used for the COM Port. ASUS has a lot of special ROG features that are executed and controlled by custom programmed microcontrollers. These chips just say ROG on them, and provide extra fan control, special OC features, and other non-obvious functions.

 

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I wasn't able to find what the chip labeled "1543" does, but I assume it's either a clock generator for the CPU or some power delivery chip for the extra pins. I wanted to show some of the quick switches on the motherboard; there is a healthy mixture of PCI-E 2.0 ASM1440s and PCI-E 3.0 ASM1480s used to switch around CPU and PCH PCI-E bandwidth.

 

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Someone had asked for close-up shots of the RGBs on the motherboard, and these RGBs are located below the "Republic of Gamers" block at the center of the motherboard.

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