Right-Sizing For X99 Express
A great many enthusiasts once believed that enormous performance required an enormous case full of drives and add-in cards mounted to an ATX or even EATX motherboard. Then Y2K gave them something else to talk about.
That’s right, motherboard manufacturers have been able to deliver full-sized performance in mid-sized machines for the entirety of this millennia. You’ll still see some dinosaurs claiming that enthusiast-oriented machines need to be huge, but compact system builders have known for a long time that the performance of a PC isn’t always proportional to its size. Most of us use no more than two graphics cards and fewer than six drives to build gaming monsters. Some even try to squeeze all of that performance into single-card mini-ITX systems. Yet, practicality points towards the middle option. Supporting up to four total slots or two double-slot graphics cards, and with the same CPU area as a full ATX motherboard, microATX is the answer to a question many of us forget to ask.
How much PC do you really need?
EVGA hasn’t forgotten anyone. Following a path of mid-sized gaming boards blazed by products such as Asus’ Gene-series, its X99 Micro provides two true 16-lane PCIe 3.0 via Intel’s latest six- and eight-core processors in a 9.625”-square package. Yes, microATX is old enough to be based on fractional inches.
|EVGA X99 Micro (P/N 131-HE-E995-KR) Features|
|PCB Revision||1.0||Voltage Regulator||Six Phases|
|Chipset||Intel X99||100.0 MHz BCLK||100.19 (+0.19%)|
|I/O Panel Connectors|
|P/S 2||None||CLR_CMOS Button||1|
|USB 3.0||4||Digital Audio Out||Optical|
|USB 2.0||6||Digital Audio In||None|
|PCIe 3.0 x16 (5960X, 5930K)||3 (x16/x16/x8) SLI x3, CrossFireX x3||4-Pin Fan||5|
|PCIe 3.0 x16 (Core i7-5820K)||3 (x16/x8/x4) SLI x2, CrossFireX x3||3-Pin Fan||None|
|PCIe 2.0 x16||None||FP-Audio||1|
|PCIe 2.0 x1||None||S/PDIF I/O||Output Only|
|USB 3.0||1 (2-ports)||Internal Buttons||Power, Reset, CLR_CMOS|
|USB 2.0||1 (2-ports)||Internal Switch||None|
|SATA 6Gb/s||6||Diagnostics Panel||Numeric|
|SATA Express||None||Other Connectors||EVGA Probe-IT, M.2 Wi-Fi|
|Mass Storage Controllers|
|Chipset SATA||6x SATA 6Gb/s||Add-In SATA||None|
|Chipset RAID Modes||0, 1, 5, 10||USB 3.0||VL805 PCIe ASM1042 PCIe|
|Primary LAN||WGI217V PHY||Wi-Fi||None|
|HD Audio Codec||ALC1150||DDL/DTS Connect||None|
The X99 Micro even supports three-way SLI if you can find single-slot cards and SLI bridges to support it, and comes with a three-year warranty…if the firm chooses to honor it. I still have a P55 SLI replacement board that the company refused to service after it quickly succumbed to Foxconn’s infamous 1156 pin death while installed in a non-overclocked office PC.