ASUS STRIX X99 Gaming Broadwell-E Motherboard Review
John Williamson / 8 months ago
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
The X99 platform was recently refreshed with Intel’s Broadwell-E range of processors designed to offer content creators and professionals working with multi-threaded workloads the absolute best performance. Those with deep pockets now have the opportunity to deploy the world’s first 10-core processor outside of the Xeon family. From what I’ve seen so far, the new architecture hasn’t enticed existing users to upgrade due to the hefty pricing and value of the 5280K on the second-hand market. Nevertheless, it’s encouraged motherboard vendors to unleash new products which contain more gaming-orientated features. This is mainly because Broadwell-E motherboards are compatible with previous generation processors like the 5820K and 5930K. In particular, the 5280K became a firm favourite among high-end consumers due to the 6-core, 12-thread configuration which only cost slightly more than the i7-6700K. In theory, this should broaden the appeal of Broadwell-E motherboards sporting fresh and exciting designs.
ASUS has gained a lot of consumer confidence over the past decade and continues to innovate in the motherboard market. They’ve just compiled the first STRIX motherboard which retails at the very competitive price of £279.99 and looks absolutely stunning. As you might expect, the ASUS STRIX X99 GAMING utilises premium components and supports the spectacular Aura RGB lighting system. Additionally, it’s capable of housing three graphics cards in either an SLI or CrossfireX setup. On another note, the motherboard can reach WiFi speeds up to 867Mbit/s and push NVMe storage devices to their maximum potential. Given the exceptional specification and marvellous aesthetics, I’m expecting the ASUS STRIX X99 Gaming to excel in every department.
Packaging and Accessories
The motherboard box displays the quintessential Strix logo and an attractive snapshot of the product. This vivid combination of colours is wonderful and I hope ASUS continues with a similar approach on future STRIX motherboards.
The back section outlines a number of extraordinary features such as the Aura lighting technology, integrated RGB strip header and much more. Also, there’s a clear and concise motherboard layout diagram which always comes in handy especially if you’re new to building a PC.
In terms of accessories, the motherboard is bundled with a user’s guide, drivers/software disk, cable labels, WiFi antennas, I/O shield, ROG fan labels, layout diagram, RGB LED extension cable, CPU Installation Tool, SLI bridge and Q-Connectors. I’m particularly fond of the CPU Installation Tool which employs an anti-static sheet to prevent the end-user from making direct contact with the pins. When using such an expensive processor like the i7-6950X, it’s imperative to take every possible precaution.
That’s not all though because the motherboard comes with cable ties, a safety information document, four SATA cables (two with right angled connectors) and a variety of stickers to customise the motherboard’s appearance. This is an inventive idea and I really like the option to mould the motherboard’s visuals based on your own personal taste. This in tandem with the Aura lighting system is nothing short of stunning.