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EVGA X99 Micro Motherboard Review: Haswell-E And MicroATX

Getting To Know The X99 Micro

Intel’s X99 PCH is packed with enough features that most users won’t need a bunch of added-on controllers. Four of the chipset’s six USB 3.0 ports are found on the I/O panel, and two connect to a front-panel header. Perfectly adequate for things like game controllers, mice, keyboards and printers, USB 2.0 serves the other six I/O panel ports.

Nestled among those ports, a CLR_CMOS button helps overclockers get out of a mess.

The X99 Micro has only one front-panel USB 2.0 header though, and some of our machines have four ports (or two ports and a front-bay card reader). That means the only reason we might really need more USB 3.0 ports on the rear is to free up space for another USB 2.0 header internally. As an add-in, USB 3.0 is more fashionable than its elder sibling.

A status code display, Power, Reset and CLR_CMOS buttons along the X99 Micro’s front edge ease overclocking outside the case. EVGA also adds its Probe-It header, though this motherboard doesn’t output a voltage signal from any of the CPU’s internally-regulated circuits. Most important of those missing outputs, CPU core voltage can only be read from software.

A mere six SATA ports makes the X99 Micro appear as though it might be a revamp of an unreleased X79 design, since the former chipset had only six exposed ports. A closer look reveals that there just isn’t any room to break out the platform controller hub's remaining four ports along the front edge of a microATX motherboard. This isn’t even a limitation for most builders, since most microATX cases can’t hold more than six total drives.

We’d still have liked to see an M.2 storage slot on the board, if only to use up two of those leftover ports. We instead find a “Key-E” M.2 that’s compatible only with notebook-style Wi-Fi cards. In spite of its promise, M.2 turned out to be a cluster of conflicts.

The X99 Micro could potentially hold a pair of triple-slot cards, though SLI mode would require a 40-lane version of Haswell-E (Core i7 models -5960X and -5930K) to enable this mode through the third slot. And even then, the six slots those cards consumed would require a full ATX case. That kind of math leads me to not worry about whether a bottom-mounted graphics card would block the front-panel USB 3.0 header. Instead, I'll treat the X99 Micro as a two-slot solution that supports only double-slot graphics cards.

Other than a few SATA ports (hey, EVGA could have added eSATA), the only thing noticeably missing from the X99 Micro is the second set of memory slots. A quad-channel platform, placing only one 8GB DIMM on each channel still gets builders to 32GB.

The X99 Micro includes four SATA cables—the same number supplied with most full-sized motherboards—plus an SLI bridge, Probe-It connector cable for volt meters, I/O shield and cosmetic port cover. Made of black-anodized aluminum, the cover can only be seen from above the board (generally speaking, in a windowed case).

  • ohim
    the price is insane
    Reply
  • Crashman
    the price is insane
    It's X99, I don't think they could have shaved it by more than 20% even if it were produced by the tens of thousands in China. The question is, what do you think would be "sane"?
    Reply
  • Samer1970
    we need miniITX X99 motherboard ...

    for 6-14 cores compact system.
    Reply
  • ohim
    14433708 said:
    the price is insane
    It's X99, I don't think they could have shaved it by more than 20% even if it were produced by the tens of thousands in China. The question is, what do you think would be "sane"?

    Sorry .. for i don`t know what reason i saw a 485$ price tag initially ...that was an insane price.
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    Thanks for a good read, Thomas!
    Reply
  • Xivilain
    EVGA makes good motherboards. I love my X79 I purchased. But X99 for $485 is truly insane for any motherboard manufacturer. They're riding the Intel inflation wave.

    Also, Amazon is selling this board for $250 USD. (http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-Socket-2666Mhz-Motherboard-131-HE-E995-KR/dp/B00MY3SKEY) Lucky us.
    Reply
  • Lutfij
    http://www.evga.com/Products/Product.aspx?pn=131-HE-E995-KR - $250

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813188161&cm_re=X99_micro-_-13-188-161-_-Product $250

    List pricing is, on most occasions, marked up. As demand come into factor the prices drop gradually. Most often the consumers reaction causes manufacturers to convey a price drop in the hopes of retaining their client base/loyalty.

    Nevertheless, prices are within sanity now :)
    Reply
  • SU11YBEAR
    Got this board last month for a LAN build and am loving it so far (paired with an Evga 980 SC and 5930k, dual 240 rad and CPU/GPU waterblocks) board offers all the features I was looking for except the option for M2 storage which was slightly annoying but bearable, I consider the 4 slots of RAM a bonus, only going to use 4 anyways and frees up space for the smaller factor,
    Only real complaints I have with the board are 1) the IO backplate it came with was a plain silver and just looked cheap (painted it matte black to match the build) and 2) 2 of the fan headers are only settable via the bios and do not change (have used speedfan and bios for the PWM headers) so had to do some quick mods to make the rad fans run off two headers but not a huge deal,
    The IO shield is a cool little option unfortunately since I was doing liquid in a tight case (Corsair 350D) had to remove it to make the tubes reach the top rad, haven't OC it fully yet (just got 4GHz on the chip for now) but looking forward to opening it up :)
    Reply
  • Amdlova
    no way to get an x99 product with this ddr4 insane price.
    Reply
  • InvalidError
    14435806 said:
    no way to get an x99 product with this ddr4 insane price.
    Just about everything about LGA2011(-3) comes with insane prices anyway when compared against mainstream sockets. At least some 4x4GB DDR4 kits have already gone down by about $100 since Haswell-E's introduction.
    Reply