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ASUS X99 Deluxe (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

ASUS X99 Deluxe (Intel X99) Motherboard Review

We take a look at our second Intel X99 chipset based motherboard; this time it's from ASUS, and carries some sexy, white highlights. Take a look now.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Fri, Sep 5 2014 1:10 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:33 PM CDT
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Package

Introduction of the ASUS X99 Deluxe

While we would've loved to have been further into our pile of X99 motherboards, the combination of new RAM hitting us alongside AMD's release of a new mid-range video card means we've been extremely busy here the past few weeks. However, over the next few weeks, you're going to see a number of DDR4 RAM kits, and X99 based motherboards, along with a couple of R9 285 2GB cards that we've received from partners.

Along with these products, we also hope that we can check out the other two Haswell-E based processors that launched alongside the very expensive i7 5960X EE. For now, though, it's all about another X99 motherboard that had me saying "wow" as soon as it was unboxed.

Today we're checking out the first ASUS X99 motherboard to come through our doors, the ASUS X99 Deluxe. This was a highly discussed motherboard leading up to the launch of Haswell-E, as companies said it was one of the most mature motherboards coming to the market. Today we're really looking forward to seeing if such praise rings true. ASUS has implemented some really cool features on this board, so let's not delay! Let's dive in closer to see exactly what's offered in the ASUS X99.

Package - What comes inside the box

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VIEW GALLERY - 45 IMAGES
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Looking at the front of the box, we get a really good idea of just what the motherboard looks like, as it takes up majority of the box. We'll cover the motherboard itself in more detail on the next page, though. As for the rest of the box front, you can see we've got the ASUS logo, model, mention of 5-Way Optimization, and the standard array of logos across the bottom.

Opening up the box, you can see we've got a ton of information across the top regarding to some of the main features that are being offered. The first bit explains the 5-Way Optimization feature, which brings a CPU performance boost, all-around energy efficiency, precise digital power, comprehensive cooling control, and turbo performance.

Below that information we have mention of Wi-Fi GO!, which allows total control and Media Streamer support, making your PC a digital hub. On the right hand side, you can see mention of Turbo App, which gives you the ability to overclock your CPU, and prioritize game data across your network. We've also got Crystal Sound 2 to improve audio, and we finish off with Turbo LAN via a Dual Gigabit Ethernet setup.

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With the box now open, we move to the bottom, which gives us our first look at the motherboard. Due to the anti-static back, though, we can't see too much. Turning the box over gives us another look at the motherboard, along with the main specifications. The right side gives us a brief run down on 5-Way Optimization. Below that, we have a bit on the new ASUS O.C. Socket, which is one of the bigger features being discussed. With a number of extra pins on the socket, ASUS says the new socket is specifically engineered to provide the ultimate performance with stable voltage to your CPU, maximum bandwidth for both your CPU and DDR4, and just the most extreme performance overall.

We're really looking forward to seeing just what kind of performance we're able to get out of this board. Looking to the right of the board, you can see via the CPU and DRAM boost, you can get an extra 60% and 12.5% boost respectively. Across the bottom of the box, we have some information on the fan extension hub, HYPER M.2 X4 Card, and Wi-Fi technology. We'll cover this in greater detail soon, as we're now opening the box and diving into the bundle.

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Opening up the box, you can see a pretty standard affair in terms of the bundle. We've got the normal paperwork included, along with a driver CD, and a quick installation guide. We've got a cool looking ASUS O.C. Adrenaline sticker, and below that you can see our rear I/O plate. Across the bottom, you can see eight SATA III cables are included in the bundle.

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Moving into the rest of the bundle, you can see a few new items that we haven't seen before. Starting from the right, the wireless antenna, 3-Way SLI Bridge, and EZ Connectors are all regular occurrences. Next to all of that, we've got a M.2 bracket, and we'll show you where this fits into the motherboard on the next page. Next to the M.2 bracket, we've got a cable and a fan extension hub, which go hand in hand.

We saw this on the back of the box, and it's designed for people who require even more fan headers than what's offered on the board. It's a cool little addition to the motherboard, and while not for everyone, some people are going to appreciate an extension hub that can be located closer to their water cooling setter, especially in larger case.

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One of the big extras included in the bundle is the addition of the Hyper M.2 x4 card. Using the card in a PCIe x4 slot, you can add a M.2 x4 drive for some serious storage performance. Overall, ASUS has put together quite a nice bundle. Now, let's see what the board offers.

PRICING: You can find the ASUS X99 Deluxe for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The ASUS X99 Deluxe retails for $398.99 at Amazon.

Canada: The ASUS X99 Deluxe retails for CDN$559.54 at Amazon Canada.

Motherboard Details

Close up with the ASUS X99 Deluxe

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After pulling the X99 Deluxe out of the box for the first time, we were instantly taken back by the white highlights that ASUS has opted for. The highlights look truly awesome against the black board. Paired with a white case that has a window, you could create a stunning looking PC with a black and white color theme. This really is a great looking board, and the second one we've recently looked at, the ROG Maximus VII Formula, also caught our attention for all the right reasons. Still, let's move in a bit closer, and see just what we're dealing with here today.

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Taking a look at the expansion slots, you can see that ASUS offers five PCIe x16 slots, and a single PCIe x4 slot. As for the PCIe x16 slots, it's going to purely depend on the CPU you have, since Intel offers both a 40 Lane, and 28 Lane CPU. If you're using the former, your options are x16, x16/x16, x16/x16/x8, x8/x8/x16/x8, or x8/x8/x8/x8/x8. If you're using a 28 Lane CPU, then your options are 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 at x16, x16/x8, or x8/x8/x8 with two PCIe 2.0 x16 slots running at x1.

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Moving to the bottom of the board, we've actually got a fair bit going on here. Some of the highlights on the left hand side include the power and reset button, along with a clear CMOS button, and a LED debug reader between them. Here we can also see the header for our fan extension hub. We've also got a pair of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 headers, our main front panel header, and a couple of toggle switches for CrossFire / SLI, along with XMP, EPU, and TPU.

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Turning the corner, you can see we've got an absolute ton of SATA ports offered here. We've got two SATA Express ports, and eight SATA III ports that all run off the X99 chipset, while another four SATA III ports run off the ASMedia controller. We've also got a pair of CPU fan headers floating around here.

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As we head to the top half of the board, we get a closer look at those two SATA III ports, which sit alongside a M.2 x4 connector. While you might feel a little uncomfortable with your expensive new M.2 driving just popping out the motherboard, this is where the M.2 bracket that was mentioned in the bundle comes into use. Next to that, you can see we've got our main 24-Pin ATX power connector, along with our MemOK! button. Also, just around the corner you can see our 8-Pin CPU connector.

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Moving around to the CPU area, we get a better look at the white highlights ASUS has used, and we have to admit, we continue to be extremely impressed with what they're offering. Each side of the CPU sees four DIMM slots, with each slot bringing us to a total of eight; this offers us support for up to 64 GB of DDR4 ranging from 2133MHz DDR, all the way up to 3200MHz DDR via overclocking.

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Finishing our look up at the motherboard, you can see an absolute sea of blue. Starting from the left, we have a BIOS reset button, and next to that we've got total of ten USB 3.0 ports that run off the ASMedia controller. Sitting on top of these ports, we have two USB 2.0 ports, and two Gigabit networking ports; both of these ports run off Intel chips -one the I218V, and the other the I211-AT.

Heading over to the far right hand side, we've got three points for our wireless antenna, and finally we finish off with five auxiliary ports, and an optical out port, which all run off the Realtek ALC1150 JD Audio Codec that features Crystal Sound 2.

BIOS Images and Information

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Heading into the BIOS, you're initially greeted with the EZ Mode version of the BIOS. While you've got a few options here, you'll more than likely want to head into the advanced area of the BIOS to really get down and dirty with it. However, if you're looking at doing a bit of basic overclocking, you can simply press the F11 button and use the EZ Tuning Wizard.

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If you do hit the F7 button and head into the Advanced Mode, you'll more than likely be heading straight to the Ai Tweaker section of the BIOS. Here you'll find all of the overclocking options that you've become accustomed to seeing. You can overclock via XMP, or you can do it manually like we'll be doing today. We'll take a closer look at just how we went about the overclock when we move to the next page.

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Moving through the rest of the BIOS, you can see all the standard options that you'd expect here. We've got our monitoring area to check the temperature of key components, along with our main boot selection. The other main place you may head to is the Tool section, which is where we flash the BIOS and save our overclock settings.

Test System Setup and Overclocking

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital, MemoRight, and Corsair.

We've got a bunch of boards in our graphs here today. On the X99 front, we've got the ASUS X99 Deluxe, which we'll be running at both stock and overclocked, alongside the ASRock X99X Killer -the first X99 motherboard we looked at. From there we include a few Z97 boards with ASRock Z97X Killer, ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VII FORMULA, and GIGABYTE Z97X GAMING G1 WIFI-BK Black Edition all using the i7 4790K. Along with all of those, we've also got the ASRock Z87 Killer, which uses the older i7 4770K processor.

As always, before we get into the performance side of things, we want to cover what went on with overclocking. Heading into the BIOS, we found ourselves a bit more relaxed. This is probably due to us having a bit more time in comparison to our original review of the ASRock X99X Killer, where we used the 4.4GHz preset to achieve the overclock.

Today, we wanted to start messing around with the settings a bit more to see just what kind of performance we could get out of our i7 5960X EE via the ASUS X99 Deluxe. Heading into the BIOS, we went to a 44x Multiplier, and proceeded to mess around with the voltages. This was working without an issue, so we moved up to 45x with a 100 BCLK.

Heading into Windows and running MediaEspresso to see how the stability was, we saw everything again was working without an issue. Since that wasn't a problem, we headed back into the BIOS and moved to a 46x Multiplier. While we got into Windows without a problem during our MediaEspresso encode, we got a BSOD, and our system rebooted. We proceeded to mess around with the voltages a little to see if we could get it stable, but it just didn't want to be.

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After moving back to the 45x Multiplier, we messed around with the BCLK a little to see if we could get some more performance, but we just couldn't get a MediaEspresso encode to finish. In the end, we finished up with the 45x Multiplier and a 100 BCLK, which resulted in a clock of 4498MHZ, or 4.5GHz as shown in our graphs today.

CPU & System Benchmarks

CPU Test - HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99

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CPU Test - AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

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Starting with HyperPi, you can see that out of the box, the X99 based boards don't perform as well as the higher clocked Z97 offerings with the i7 4790K. While overclocking does help close the gap and line up performance, it's still not quite where we'd like it to be.

On the other hand, AIDA64 paints a very different picture, showing just how much extra grunt is available; between the two X99 offerings, you can see that the ASUS does manage to come out ahead of the ASRock offering out of the box. Throwing overclocking into the mix, you can see performance jumps right up across the board, with some massive CPU numbers being seen.

System Test - PCMark 8

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04

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System Test - MediaEspresso

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.5 / 7

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Looking at PCMark 8 numbers, you can see performance is quite similar on all setups across the board, and overclocking does very little to add extra performance. Looking at MediaEspresso, you can see that performance is a little bit quicker at stock. Overclocking helps shave a solid two minutes off the encode time, which equates to nearly 20%.

Starting today, we've also added MediaEspresso 7 into the mix, and we will slowly transition into it. You can see it's significantly faster, with stock performance coming in at the mid ten minute mark, and overclocked performance being just over eight minutes. Over the coming weeks as we test more and more motherboards, we will slowly begin to phase v6.5 out and replace it with v7.

USB 2.0, USB 3.0 & SSD Benchmarks

USB Test - AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

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USB 2.0 and 3.0 performance is pretty solid, and lines up with the best of the boards. Overall, you can see our ASUS X99 Deluxe board sits towards the top of the pack here.

SSD Test - AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: v4.30.2900

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SSD Test - PCMark 8

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.0.191

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SSD Test - HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 5.50

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SSD performance on the ASUS X99 Deluxe is solid, with some great numbers being seen under AIDA64. PCMark 8 sees all of the boards sit fairly close together, while HD Tune Pro numbers sit toward the top of the pack again.

Memory & Gaming Benchmarks

Memory Test - AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

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While DDR4 Quad Channel memory performance is much higher when compared to the Dual Channel DDR3 setups; you can see that overall, both X99 boards perform quite similar to each other. Overclocking has not really changed anything, as memory clocks remain the same.

Gaming Test - 3DMark Fire Strike

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0

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Gaming Test - Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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When it comes to gaming performance, you can see that the stock version ASUS X99 Deluxe comes out a little ahead in 3DMark. Overclocking helps push those scores up slightly, but the biggest gains from the overclock come under Sleeping Dogs at 1680 x 1050, where the CPU continues to be a limitation.

Temperature & Power Testing

Power Consumption Test

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At stock, power draw numbers see the idle sitting towards the middle of the pack, and the load sitting at the top with 395 watts being drawn. Overclocking increases both of those as the idle climbs over 100 watts, and the load number tops over 450 watts.

Core Temperature Test

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Temperature numbers are solid with the out of the box ASUS X99 Deluxe numbers lining up with the ASRock offering for the most part. Overclocking doesn't change the idle temperature much, and only provides a small, one degree Celsius bump. We do see the load number jump up from 29 C to 74 C. Overall, though, the new i7 5960X EE runs fairly cool when overclocked compared to the i7 4700 series.

Pricing, Availability, and Final Thoughts

Beauty doesn't come cheap. With a price tag of roughly $400, this is not only an expensive motherboard, but one of the most expensive X99 motherboards on the market. At the moment, just three motherboards sit at a price point higher than this one, with the most expensive one being a ROG based ASUS board that carries a $500 price tag.

Although, we don't have a problem with expensive motherboards if the price can be justified. So, can this massive price tag be justified? Absolutely. This is one beautiful motherboard. If looks could kill, I wouldn't be able to finish writing this sentence. Outside of a stunning look that had both me and my partner saying "WOW" the second it was pulled out of the box, the performance on this board as fantastic. Not to be outdone, though, the list of features on this board is also fantastic.

First off, you've got those ASUS extras that include the new O.C. Socket, additional M.2 support via the Hyper M.2 X4 card, along with the fan extension hub. ASUS' 5-Way Optimization also brings a number of benefits, along with Turbo App and LAN to complement Crystal Sound 2.

The performance of the board is fantastic. Looking at AIDA64, you can see that out of the box, the X99 Deluxe offers a bit more bandwidth than the ASRock X99 board we looked at the other day. When it comes to overclocking, the performance numbers look great at 4.5GHz. Manually overclocking on ASUS boards is an absolute breeze thanks to the change in color in voltages when you hit a point that isn't safe. When you're dealing with a new platform like this, sometimes the small come in very handy.

While I would normally write for a bit more to wrap everything up, it really feels unnecessary here. Simply put: This is a fantastic motherboard. The decision to buy it will ultimately come down to your budget. At $400, it's a little scary to think that there are more expensive boards out there. The good news for us is that we have two out of those three more expensive boards. We're really looking forward to seeing just what that extra money gives you.

PRICING: You can find the ASUS X99 Deluxe for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The ASUS X99 Deluxe retails for $398.99 at Amazon.

Canada: The ASUS X99 Deluxe retails for CDN$559.54 at Amazon Canada.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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