Our recent focus on AMD’s TRX40 platform has blessed us with 56 PCIe 4.0 lanes connecting cards and drives directly to the CPU and another sixteen on the chipset, but that is also not to say that the i9-10980XE isn't enough for a power user. Plenty of devices are still stuck at PCIe 3.0, and the CPU’s 48 lanes are enough to suit most builds without relying heavily on the chipset’s 32Gb/s CPU interface.
We reviewed Asus' original ROG X299-E Gaming back in 2018 and were disappointed with its PCIe routing, but impressed with the rest of its design and performance. Now with the 10th Gen refresh, Asus has made some improvements in a new version that comes at a steeper price.
|Chipset||Intel X299 PCH|
|Voltage Regulator||12 Phases|
|USB Ports||10Gb/s: (3) Type-A, (1) Type-C, 5Gb/s: (2) Type A; (4) USB 2.0|
|Network Jacks||2.5GbE, Gigabit Ethernet, (2) Wi-Fi Antenna|
|Audio Jacks||(5) Analog, (1) Digital Out|
|Other Ports/Jack||BIOS FlashBack|
|PCIe x16||(4) v3.0, (CPU @48: x16/x16/x8); (CPU @44: x16/x16/x4); (CPU @28: x16/x8/x4);|
|PCIe x4||(1) v3.0|
|PCIe x1||(1) v3.0 *shared with front panel USB3.2 Gen2|
|CrossFire/SLI||3x / 3x|
|DIMM slots||(8) DDR4|
|M.2 slots||(2) PCIe 3.0 x4*, (1) PCIe 3.0 x4 / SATA (M2_2 and M2_3 only available with 44 and 48 lane CPUs)|
|SATA Ports||(8) 6Gb/s|
|USB Headers||(1) v3.x Gen2, (2) v3.x Gen1, (2) v2.0|
|Fan Headers||(7*) 4-Pin|
|Other Interfaces||Node, FP-Audio, (2) Aura RGB, (2) Addressable RGB, TPM, VROC, Therm Sensor, Overvolt Jumper|
|Diagnostics Panel||LiveDash and Numeric|
|SATA Controllers||Integrated (0/1/5/10)|
|Ethernet Controllers||Intel® I219V Realtek® RTL8125-CG 2.5G LAN|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||Intel® Wi-Fi 6 AX200 / BT 5.0|
|USB Controllers||(2) ASM3142|
|Audio Codec||SupremeFX S1220A|
|DDL/DTS Connect||DTS® Sound Unbound|
The contents of the box are a shocking downgrade in this reviewer’s opinion, with the bare minimum of SATA cables, antennas, and some RGB extenders and a thermal sensor. Given the price, at least include braided SATA cables and one of the polished USB driver drives instead of a CD.
The back panel is a refreshing enhancement from the previous board, with access to four USB2.0, two USB 5Gbps, and four USB 10Gbps. Not to be outdone, a Realtek 2.5Gbps network controller is included along with the Intel I219V. Rivaling some of the other vendors, Wi-Fi 6 is also included on this board which helps keep the feature set in line with other top-tier X299 boards. As for audio, the SupremeFX 8-channel hardware is provided but does not support 32-bit/192kHz sources due to HDA limitations.
Asus' pedigree for overclocking shows in its "mid-range" board, with access to seven four-pin fan headers and a beefed-up 12-phase voltage regulator with an active cooler. Its fan is programmed to only engage when the regulators reach 60C, which will come in handy for extreme workloads and overclocks. Though not as outfitted as the Rampage boards, we still have the pleasure of some thermal sensors, BIOS Flashback, and a power button. Debug features also include a numeric LED as well as their LiveDash display directly above the primary PCIe slot.
If you're unaware, the latest Intel 10th Gen X series processors enable 48 lanes of PCIe, which is four more than their 9th Gen predecessors. Thus, IO configurations get a bit complicated but are far more optimal than the older ROG X299 board. 10th Gen processors enable full access to all devices, 9th Gen only has four lanes removed from the bottom x16 slot, and 28-lane processors also see the second slot drop to an x8 configuration.
However, NVMe is a different story and the board-level M.2 slots are only available to 9th and 10th Gen parts. Lower-model processors can only use vertical M.2 which is not preferable. Builders can use the full eight SATA ports available which gives us a sigh of relief for our previous review.
The ROG branding and aesthetics are out in full effect while providing ARGB and Aura RGB connections for additional lighting. The back integrated IO plate is covered by a programmable illuminated graphic. Stylized silkscreens adorn the board on front and back, so this board feels misplaced inside of our windowless Thermaltake F51 Suppressor.
Besides the vertical M.2, this board shares similar gripes with our previously reviewed X399 Zenith Extreme Alpha. With the beefier VRM heatsink, removing DIMMs from the system can be problematic and the top side of the board continues to be a pain for installation. Other than that, angled headers on the right side of the board, clearly labeled connectors, and independently removable M.2 covers make this a very straight forward installation.
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