Intel just released the all new Haswell-E HEDT processors with the flagship featuring 8 cores and 16 threads. Haswell-E HEDT line up consists of Core i7-5960X, Core i7-5930K and Core i7-5820K. Its a totally new platform with revolutionary changes especially the introduction of DDR4 high-speed memory. Haswell-E HEDT processors are compatible with the LGA 2011-3 socket only and will require a motherboard based on the new X99 chipset. The X99 chipset is released along side the HEDT CPUs and supports DDR4 memory, SATA Express technology, 14 USB ports (ten USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0) and eight PCIe 2.0 lanes. Apart from this, X99 motherboards will feature PCIe 3.0 and M.2 PCIe x4 slots for small form factor SSDs and add-in boards such as WiFi/Bluetooth module. Now lets take a look at the X99 motherboards launched by ASUS, ASRock, GIGABYTE, MSI and EVGA.
ASUS X99 Motherboards
ASUS is the only company left to officially announce its X99 motherboards but that didn’t stop some major leaks to flow through. We already have information on the company’s flagship ROG X99 Rampage V Extreme, X99 Deluxe and X99-E WS motherboards. In terms of design there is no doubt that ASUS brings out the best and the X99 motherboards line up is not a disappointment at all. Before we continue, I would like to point out that the entry level Core i7-5820K features only 28 PCIe lanes compared to 40 lanes of the other two. All ASUS motherboards feature the 5-way optimization technology which increases the overall performance of the system.
ASUS Rampage V Extreme
Price: $499 (Amazon)
ASUS Rampage V Extreme is the flagship motherboard in the ROG line up and comes with many exclusive features. The motherboard comes in an E-ATX form factor with eight DDR4 DIMM slots, four PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, one PCIe 2.0 x4 slot, one PCIe x1 slot and a M.2 slot. In terms of storage, Rampage V Extreme features eight SATA 6 GB/s and two SATA Express ports. There are plenty of overclocking options on-board including PCIe on/off switches, LN2 switch, Debug LED etc. Rampage V Extreme features SupremeFX audio chip with dedicated headphone amplifier and 8-channel audio. The I/O shield consists of 10 USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, Clear CMOS button, PS2 port, 8-channel audio output and a 802.11 ac WiFi module. Rampage V Extreme is one of the most anticipated X99 motherboard and with its striking black and red color scheme it will surely attract a lot of buyers. The X99-Deluxe also ships with a large number of accessories, including a fan extension card for additional fan headers. There’s also a Hyper M.2 x4 adapter, which can be used to install a second M.2 SSD.
For more information, visit the product page.
ASUS X99 Deluxe
Price: $399 (Amazon)
Next in line is the flagship mainline X99 Deluxe motherboard. While the Rampage V Extreme is not everyone’s cup of tea because it comes with an outrageous price tag, the X99 Deluxe is a more affordable flagship model without any compromises. I absolutely love the design of X99 Deluxe with a beautiful blend of black and white. It comes with five PCIe 3.0 slots, one PCIe 2.0 x4 slot and a M.2 slot. There are eight SATA 6 GB/s and two SATA Express ports available for storage. The attractive white armor protects the I/O shield which consists of 10 USB 3.0 ports, dual LAN ports, a clear CMOS button, WiFi antenna connectors and 8-channel gold plated audio output. The white armor also protects the new Crystal Sound 2 audio module which features Japanese capacitors, EMI shielding, dedicated audio amplifier and an unique de-pop circuit. X99 Deluxe also features eight DDR4 DIMM slots with quad-channel support.
For more information, visit the product page.
ASUS X99 Pro
ASUS just released information on Rampage V Extreme, X99-E WS and X99 Deluxe so very scarce info is available on X99 Pro and X99-A motherboards. X99 Pro is the cut down version of X99 Deluxe eight DDR4 DIMM slots, four PCIe slots, ten SATA 6 GB/s ports, one SATA Express port, ten USB 3.0 ports and 802.11 ac WiFi module. The motherboard includes the 5-way optimization technology as well as Crystal Sound 2 technology. X99 Pro also comes with an Ultra M.2 slot for SFF solid state drives.
ASUS X99-A is the entry level motherboard but with adequate features for a budget user. We cannot find any images of the motherboard yet but we will update this article along with the product page links as soon as we find them. In terms of specifications, X99-A features four PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, ten SATA 6 GB/s ports, one SATA Express port and ten USB 3.0 ports. Since all ASUS motherboards feature the 5-way optimization, X99-A is no exception and it also comes with an eight phase VRM design for power delivery to the CPU.
ASUS X99-E WS
ASUS X99-E WS is one of the first work station motherboard with X99 chipset. It features eight DDR4 DIMM slots with 128 GB memory support. X99-E WS comes with seven PCIe slots for expansion out of which atleast three are full x16 slots. The motherboard is designed for work stations but does not supports dual-CPU configurations and comes with a single LGA 2011-3 socket. Dual-CPU configurations are not supported by the X99 chipset and the server grade motherboards with Intel’s C610 chipset will launch next month. Other features, Crystal Sound 2, eight SATA 6 GB/s ports, two SATA Express ports and ten USB 3.0 ports.