We expected an abundance of new X299 Basin Falls motherboards here at Computex 2017, and Asus didn't disappoint. The company released seven new motherboards in the ROG, TUF, and Prime families. The company also noted that overclockers recently used its Rampage VI Apex to break eight world records and 20 global records with Intel's new Core-X lineup (clocks topped out at 7.56GHz).
This diverse line-up of high-end desktop motherboards brings all the features you’d expect from a mobo based on the X299 chipset to the company’s ROG, Prime and TUF families. The chipset supports Intel's new Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors, which can sport as many as 18 cores and 36 threads and utilize up to 44 PCI Express 3.0 lanes for NVMe SSDs and graphics cards. Any unused PCIe lanes can be dedicated to storage with Intel's VROC, which combines multiple M.2 SSDs into a bootable RAID array that is connected directly to the processor. All the motherboards listed here support three-way graphics card configurations (two x16, one x8), and SafeSlot reinforced PCI-E slot technology that prevents damage from moving a system with heavy graphics cards.
ROG Rampage VI Extreme
The ROG Rampage VI Extreme is geared toward enthusiast gamers and overclockers alike. With support for Intel's new Core-X processors, this motherboard is designed for use with multiple graphics cards and a whole slew of NVMe SSDs. There is a large heatshield emblazoned with the ROG logo attached to the motherboard covering the area between the PCIe slots. The large backplate provides added rigidity that helps prevent the motherboard from warping under the weight of heavy CPU coolers and graphics cards. The included low-profile GPU holder provides additional support for heavy graphics cards with enough clearance for SLI bridges. The four x16 PCIe slots provide adequate space for up to four dual-slot graphics cards.
The X299 platform allows for the use of multiple onboard M.2 drives in RAID, SupremeFX integrated audio, onboard 802.11ad Wi-Fi, Intel Gigabit networking, Intel Optane support, USB 3.1 Gen2 with Type-C ports, embedded RGB LEDs, and multiple RGB LED headers for compatible lighting strips and devices.
Despite the fact that the Prime series of motherboards is the company’s entry level offering, it doesn’t skimp on features. In addition to the three-way graphics card support with SafeSlot technology, the Prime X299-Deluxe has dual M.2 Slots and a single U.2 Slot for storage, integrated 802.11ad Wi-Fi capable of 4.6Gbps, Realtek S1220A, Intel Optane memory support, and RGB LED headers with Aura Sync compatibility. Even the large chipset heatsink has RGB lighting effects. Not bad for an "entry level" offering.
TUF X299 Mark 1
In addition to the many X299-specific features found on the aforementioned motherboards, the TUF X299 Mark 1 has its own distinct feature set, including its trademark reinforced armor. The updated armor design utilizes what the company calls a "Fortifier" backplate that prevents the motherboard from warping and helps dissipate thermal energy. The protective cover has an integrated fan that moves air across the primary M.2 slot. The TUF X299 Mark 1 also includes a removable GPU holder to help support the weight of heavy video cards. The low profile design guarantees compatibility with SLI bridges as well.
To keep temperatures and noise levels low, the TUF X299 Mark 1 utilizes additional temperature sensors to monitor different zones on the motherboard. The included Thermal Radar 3 software analyzes that data on the fly to manage temperatures and fan speeds.
Additional features include USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A, reversible Type-C, and an internal header, dual Intel LAN controllers and a glowing logo at that changes color based on the current load on your system.
ROG Strix X299-E Gaming
The ROG Strix X299-E Gaming is the company’s entry point into the Republic of Gamers series.
Gamers looking for an ATX motherboard packed with features such as three mechanical PCIe x16 slots, 8-phase digital CPU power, eight SATA 6Gb/s ports, dual M.2 slots for NVMe SSDs, Intel Gigabit networking, onboard dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, a single USB 3.1 Gen2 header, two USB 3.0 headers, and one USB 2.0 header.
The ROG Strix X299-E Gaming shares the same monochrome color scheme as the Rampage VI Extreme and TUF X299 Mark 1 but differs in the style and size of the heatsinks used. The Strix X299-E Gaming has headers liquid cooling and RGB lighting for both standard and addressable LED strips.
In addition, ASUS also introduced the Rampage VI Apex, Rampage VI Extreme and the Strix X299-E. The Rampage VI Extreme comes with 10GbE.
Information on pricing and availability was not available at press time. We expect more details to emerge before Computex 2017 draws to a close.