Closer Look: ASUS X99-DELUXE
Unlike some of ASUS’ X79 motherboards, the X99-DELUXE is a standard ATX form factor. If you’ve seen X79 motherboards, the X99-DELUXE layout will be familiar, with a giant, twin-lever CPU socket surrounded by four DDR4 DIMM slots on either side. Unlike the “thermal armor” used on ASUS Sabertooth family of motherboards, the white plastic shrouding on the X99-DELUXE is purely cosmetic.
A huge accessories bundle includes a three-pole external 802.11ac antenna (making this the first on-board 802.11 system that supports 3-way beam-forming), a flexible tri-SLI bridge (but, strangely, no two-card SLI bridge), an I/O panel backplate, ASUS’ Q-connectors, manuals, and a gaggle of SATA cables. Last, there’s a vertical bracket for mounting m.2 SSDs in a socket just to the left of the ATX power connector. ASUS says this bracket will accommodate m.2 SSDs in form factors 2242 to 22110, which completely covers Intel’s road map.
This pre-production board did not include a driver/utility disk.
But that’s not all: ASUS also includes a PCI-E m.2 mounting card which, like the vertical m.2 mounting bracket, supports form factors 2242 to 22110. As you might expect from the “x4” appended to each m.2 mounting system, you get 4 PCI-E lanes for these devices, which should provide much higher performance than SATA.
…and a “fan extension card”. This allows you to connect up to three additional fans that can be controlled by the motherboard just the same as fans connected directly to the motherboard headers. This includes the ability to adjust the fans’ performance automatically with the Fan Xpert 3 utility. Note the two-pin connectors by each three-pin connector: these are for optional temperature probes that Fan Xpert 3 can use to control the associated fans.
The rear I/O panel comprises two gigabit Ethernet ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and no fewer than 10 USB 3.0 ports. All of the rear USB 3.0 ports are courtesy of an ASMEDIA ASM1042AE controller and an ASM1074 USB 3.0 hub.
Next are the antenna connectors for the 802.11ac wireless system, and the audio panel. Gone are legacy ports such as PS/2 connectors and FireWire, although I’d really expected to see onboard Thunderbolt ports on a board at this level. If you want Thunderbolt, you’ll need to invest in ASUS’ separate Thunderbolt card, which occupies a PCI-E slot and attaches via a small cable to a dedicated port on the motherboard.
As with the X97 motherboards, the X99 gains direct support for SATA Express.
Let’s take a closer look at the some of the hardware details of this board in the next section.