Intel has lifted the embargo on the Core X-Series LGA2066 processors and the accompanying X299 chipset that is required for them to work. This new platform brings unprecedented power to professional content creators, hardcore gamers or anyone that demands serious performance. The new Intel Core X-Series processors are available with up to 18 cores and support 128GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory and multiple graphics cards and PCIe NVMe SSDs thanks to 44 PCIe lanes on the CPU and even more from the chipset.
ASUS today announced that they will be offering Intel X299 based boards in three motherboard series; Prime, TUF, and ROG. All three of these series feature dedicated pump headers for powering custom loops and all-in- one coolers, plus intelligent fan controls for quiet and efficient system cooling. All of the Intel X299 boards have RGB LEDs that make up the ASUS Aura Sync lighting ecosystem and solid audio thanks to SupremeFX integrated audio graphics. ASUS X299 boards also support Intel VROC technology that can be combined with ASUS’ optional add-in M.2 card to enable insane M.2 RAID arrays made up of a stack of parallel drives with a direct line to the CPU. This means you can hit ludicrous speeds of over 10,000 MB/s on sequential Read and Writes with the right drives!
Let’s take a closer look at the ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe that was designed for high-end builders who want it all.
The ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe motherboard is a standard sized ATX board that supports three-way graphics configurations from NVIDIA or AMD. The three main x16 slots feature ASUS SafeSlot technology that have structural reinforcements to ensure the slots don’t get damaged over the years with heavy graphics cards.
You won’t find any SATA Express slots on this board, but you will find a U.2 port for enterprise-grade SSDs! We are glad to see SATA Express slots go after all these years as we never used one and never got a retail product to test for the site. When it comes to M.2 PCIe slots the Prime X299-Deluxe comes with dual M.2 slots for gumstick-sized NVMe drives. The primary (main) slot sits under the chipset heatsink, which ASUS says reduces drive temperatures, while the secondary one mounts drives vertically near the DIMM slots, where they can be exposed to airflow generated by system fans. These M.2 slots will work with a bootable RAID array, so get ready to see some wicked fast storage solutions on the Intel X299 platform. On the ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe we have been told that ASUS went with Realtek S1220A codec paired with an amplifier for the SupremeFX audio solution.
When it comes to networking performance ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe motherboard has an integrated 802.11ad Wi-Fi module. The dual-band solution can push wireless rates up to 4.6Gbps—several times the speed of most wired connections. And the Deluxe has you covered on the wired front, too, with dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers delivering fast and reliable connectivity. We were hoping to see something beyond Gigabit for wired LAN on this generation, but that didn’t happen on this board/ If you want 10G ethernet you’ll need to move up to the ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme.
ASUS ran out of room on this standard size ATX board, so they included a daughter board called the ThunderboltEX 3. This add-in card features two USB Type-C connectors and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector for 40Gbps of bandwidth to external peripherals. ASUS didn’t give us a photo of the Fan Extension card that is also included that adds additional fan headers and temperature sensors to the ones already on the board.
The ROG Strix X299-E Gaming is the lowest priced Republic of Gamers (ROG) board in the X299 series for ASUS and they say that they didn’t have to sacrifice the looks and features to do so. This standard ATX sized board features dual M.2 slots for PCIe NVMe SSDs, Intel Gigabit networking, onboard Wi-FI, USB 3.1 Gen2, SupremeFX audio technology with Sonic Studio III and RGB lighting options with Aura Sync.
ROG Rampage VI Extreme, Rampage VI Apex and ROG Strix X299-E Gaming motherboards will be available in North America starting in late June with the STRIX series arriving first. ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe, Prime X299-A and TUF X299 Mark 1 motherboards will be available in late June as well. Suggested MSRP pricing will be announced on 6/26/2017, so we expect that to be the day the ASUS STRIX X299 model will be launched.