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Asus Prime X299-Deluxe Motherboard Review

Our Verdict

If we could only choose between the Prime X299-Deluxe and today’s alternative competitor, we’d pick Asus.

For

  • Improved efficiency
  • Improved CPU Overclocking (clock) Stability
  • Advanced 802.11ad Wi-Fi, in addition to dual Gigabit Ethernet
  • Includes Thunderbolt 3 add-in card and four-fan extender card

Against

  • Not designed for 3-way SLI on 28-lane CPUs
  • Mediocre memory overclocking
  • Improved efficiency comes at the cost of a minor performance deficit
  • Expensive

Features & Specifications

Earlier, we reviewed the MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC. If you saw it, you've already seen some of our benchmark numbers. We'll present them again here, on page four. Where the MSI board will appeal to gamers, we think the Asus offering will find its best home with power users. Let's take a closer look.

Specifications

Features

The Prime X299-Deluxe carries forward the history Asus has of taking a bit of a kitchen-sink approach to the Deluxe-named offerings, equipping the board with dual Gigabit Ethernet and a dual-controller Wi-Fi solution that encapsulates 60GHz-band 802.11ad plus dual-band 802.11ac controllers. Yes, you get Bluetooth with that.

And if your needs are a little closer to home, the board even includes two of ASMedia’s latest dual-port USB 3.1 Gen2 controllers for its four 10Gb/s ports. You also get Type-C with that. Asus throws in a DTS license that adds live multi-channel encoding capabilities to the Digital Optical audio output, plus DTS Headphone X for synthesized 3D sound on two-speaker headphones.

The little black section in the center of the board (below the socket) is a tiny, verbose OLED display that scrolls system status messages. The Prime X299-Deluxe also includes the standard features of an enthusiast-class motherboard, such as the power/reset/CLR_CMOS buttons, which may explain why you also get the normal numeric code display along the bottom edge in addition to the verbose panel in the board’s center. We also find the normal Asus features, such as diagnostic LEDs that light up during component initialization and stay lit if that component fails to initialize. And, of course, there’s the MemOK button and EZ XMP switch that lets a builder underclock RAM if it fails to initialize, or overclock it to a manufacturer-programmed profile.

A third ASM3142 controller drives the new generation front-panel USB 3.1 Gen2 header, though users of 16-lane processors (Kaby Lake X) will find that it's shared with the second PCIe x16-length slot. Asus says not to put anything larger than an x4 card in that slot anyway due to bandwidth issues, and that’s far from the end of your woes if your CPU runs out of PCIe lanes. The fourth x16-length slot also shares its HSIO resources with SATA ports 5 and 6 when using either a 16 or 28-lane processor, and the only way to configure your legacy graphics cards for 3-way SLI is to get a full 44-lane CPU. The most recent generation of GeForce graphics cards only does 2-way SLI, and the GPUs are so much more powerful than their predecessors that anyone with the money for a 44-lane CPU will probably be using the most modern graphics cards as well.

Oh, and if you’re willing to settle for x1 slots to handle some of your non-graphics expansion needs, the HSIO resources of those two slots are shared with the Wi-Fi card’s Key-E interface and SATA port 7. Most of those sharing issues should be laid directly at the feet of Intel. From our vantage point, it would seem the company desires the potential profit of its partners selling upscale motherboards to mid-market CPU buyers, without regard for the losses sellers would surely incur as droves of customers attempted to return non-defective products. At any rate, these choices likely dissuaded Asus from using a CPU-fed PCIe hub (such as the PEX8717 switch) to drive the board’s extravagant features.

There isn’t much to complain about concerning layout, as the Prime X299-Deluxe has eight 4-pin fan headers around its edges, a regular RGB header (top edge), plus an addressable RGB header (bottom edge) for WS2812B or WS2812B based LED strips, and a U.2 port that’s disabled by default because it shares resources with the second M.2 slot. All ports and slots are tucked out of the way to avoid conflict with CPU coolers and graphics cards. The first M.2 port is stealthily concealed under a lower extension of the PCH cover, and the only real oddity is that the second M.2 slot is upright, between the 24-pin power header and USB 3.1 Gen2 front-panel header.

Builders still need to keep track of where they're putting things to maximize device support. One reason you’ll probably want to keep the middle slot open is that it makes a dandy place to put the included ThunderboltEX card, which includes both Type A and Type-C data connections and a DisplayPort input for graphics pass-through. It even includes the loop cable to connect your graphics card to its input. And since it’s on a card rather than on-board, builders can choose whether to stuff up the limited bandwidth of the PCH, or connect it directly to the CPU, depending on their graphics configuration and CPU choice.

The Prime X299-Deluxe includes a vertical M.2 screw set and bracket, driver discs, an I/O shield, six SATA cables, an Asus FanX card kit that supports four additional fans and three thermistors, an Asus Q-Connector lead bundler for front panel buttons and LEDs, HB-style and 3-way SLI bridges, a pair of antennas for 802.11ac standard and 802.11ad extensions, and the previously mentioned Thunderbolt add-in package.


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  • 489 dollars? lol
    Reply
  • Crashman
    19843269 said:
    489 dollars? lol
    I expect it to drop quickly to $459 if that means anything to you :D

    Reply
  • the nerd 389
    If the state of Skylake-X is any indication, I'd expect it to drop quite a bit lower than $459. Intel seems to be turning disappointing product releases into an art form.

    Can you imagine trying to fit one of these CPUs into a 2U chassis? It would be a nightmare.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    19843785 said:
    If the state of Skylake-X is any indication, I'd expect it to drop quite a bit lower than $459. Intel seems to be turning disappointing product releases into an art form.

    Can you imagine trying to fit one of these CPUs into a 2U chassis? It would be a nightmare.
    I don't expect anyone to be shoving this board into a 2U chassis :D It's a premium board, you pay an extra $120 for all the stuff that comes with it.

    Now that whole Kaby Lake X nonsense makes even less sense, right?

    Reply
  • Tom Griffin
    This might be able to replace my ASUS X79 Pro and I7-3960x paid a grand for that proc with six cores etc; this 10 core beast might just fill the bill for my development workstation. Will have to wait and see about AMD and infinity fabric and Intel's mesh and firmware updates.
    Reply
  • drwho1
    I don't get this SATA sharing, In this motherboard as an example we end up with 4 usable SATA ports... I need a lot more SATA ports available for JBOD drives. At minimum 10 SATA ports, I wish I could find a board with 18 SATA ports to be honest.

    Anyway, I passed on this... We need a way for M.2, U.2 and PCI-E to NOT share SATA ports, same for any new tech... should find something else to make useless...
    Reply
  • Crashman
    19844684 said:
    I don't get this SATA sharing, In this motherboard as an example we end up with 4 usable SATA ports... I need a lot more SATA ports available for JBOD drives. At minimum 10 SATA ports, I wish I could find a board with 18 SATA ports to be honest.

    Anyway, I passed on this... We need a way for M.2, U.2 and PCI-E to NOT share SATA ports, same for any new tech... should find something else to make useless...
    Welcome to the world of Kaby Lake X. These are the workarounds Asus put into the board to support it. If you want a bunch of drives, you have to use an adapter card and give up 3-way SLI (on 44-lane CPUs) or SLI (on 28 or 16 lane CPUs).

    Reply
  • Dill3377
    Hopefully the FPS issues get worked out with the ASUS X299 deluxe board, was looking at getting a 7820X for gaming and light video editing for friends (yes I know it's crazy overkill, whole system is lol, it's a hobby), but that MSI board is killing it and I'm avoiding MSI if at all possible for mobo...
    Reply
  • the nerd 389
    19845970 said:
    Hopefully the FPS issues get worked out with the ASUS X299 deluxe board, was looking at getting a 7820X for gaming and light video editing for friends (yes I know it's crazy overkill, whole system is lol, it's a hobby), but that MSI board is killing it and I'm avoiding MSI if at all possible for mobo...

    It's not that it's overkill. It's actually not overkill at all. It's just very expensive, an epic pain to cool, and offers a dizzying array of incompatibilities and caveats for the price.

    Save your money for ThreadRipper, or stick to Broadwell-E. Skylake-X isn't worth the effort, confusion, noise, or cost that comes with the 2066 socket. If you really need the performance, grab a dual socket E5 setup before considering the X299 platform. It's easier to cool, makes system design simpler, and you'll end up with a quieter machine.
    Reply
  • Dill3377
    19846251 said:
    19845970 said:
    Hopefully the FPS issues get worked out with the ASUS X299 deluxe board, was looking at getting a 7820X for gaming and light video editing for friends (yes I know it's crazy overkill, whole system is lol, it's a hobby), but that MSI board is killing it and I'm avoiding MSI if at all possible for mobo...

    It's not that it's overkill. It's actually not overkill at all. It's just very expensive, an epic pain to cool, and offers a dizzying array of incompatibilities and caveats for the price.

    Save your money for ThreadRipper, or stick to Broadwell-E. Skylake-X isn't worth the effort, confusion, noise, or cost that comes with the 2066 socket. If you really need the performance, grab a dual socket E5 setup before considering the X299 platform. It's easier to cool, makes system design simpler, and you'll end up with a quieter machine.

    Yeah man I appreciate the advice and understand. Spent too many hours looking into all my options. To be frank, I don't think AMD will release an 8 core TR chip that's faster than the Ryzen 1700/1800 so as not to cannibalize their own product and the 7820x is performing 10-15% above the Ryzen chips for games. Money is not a factor for the most part, If I was interested in a single one of the other X299 chips I'd at least wait for TR4/Coffeelake, but the 7820x has no direct competitor, outside of Ryzen, and I don't think it will for a while. As for cooling, running custom water with a fairly beefy setup, not crazy worried about noise/heat (although I'm really unimpressed with how Intel has handled the heat..). OC3d is showing a 7820X running at 4.8Ghz at 1.22V with roughly 70 degrees under load. Even if he won the silicon lottery, I'd be fine with 4.5GHz at a similar voltage/temerpature. My 3570k runs at 4.6 at 1.2V and hits 65 under custom.

    As for purchasing it, I will definitely wait for more reviews and maturation before I do. To add, the anti-consumer things intel does, albeit a dick move, don't affect me. I don't RAID, I'll never SLI, I'm only going to be running 1 NVMe drive. This truly is just an overkill gaming rig and I won't 'upgrade' my 3570k to another 4 core option, so 8 it is.

    One last note: I am not trying to defend Intel at all and quite frankly, I want to give my money to team red, but I'm in a very specific boat and thus, not a lot of option left imo. I unfortunately/fortunately game at 144Hz and that 10% difference actually makes a difference lol, it's a vicious world. My 3570k is starting to hold my 1080ti in some games, so I've had to upgrade for a bit now.
    Reply