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Is EVGA's X99 FTW K Motherboard Designed For Overclockers?

EVGA released its new X99 FTW K motherboard, which is targeted at the overclocking community. The motherboard has a number of attractive features that are important to system builders, but the board specs really don’t support EVGA’s claim that the board is “Engineered for the enthusiast.”

What’s Wrong With The Board?

In truth, the board is capable of overclocking and will likely be used as such by some enthusiasts, but EVGA’s description oversells the X99 FTW K. On an enthusiast overclocking motherboard, the power regulation system is probably the most vital component. High-end overclocking motherboards have numerous power phases with beefy heatsinks. The heatsinks are often cooled by fluid-filled pipes, and it is not uncommon for OEMs to include fans to further help keep the power system cool.

The X99 FTW K, though, has just eight power phases covered by a relatively small heatsink. There isn’t any additional hardware included to help keep the power system cool. This is adequate for basic overclocking, but anyone looking to really push their CPU hard will want something akin to Asrock’s X99 Extreme4, which has 12 power phases, a larger heatsink and a lower cost.

Connectivity

Turning to the board’s other features, the X99 FTW K appears to really be designed more like a server or database motherboard. There is a total of 10 SATA-III ports to support a large number of high-capacity storage drives. EVGA added Key-M support for an ultra-fast SSD device as well, but there is only one of these ports; many competing boards offer two or three.

The X99 FTW K has one advantage compared to the other motherboards in EVGA’s product lineup in that it is the only X99 E-ATX board to feature USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) support. The board has two Type-C ports; one uses USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps), and the other is USB 3.1 Gen 2. One of the many Type-A ports on the back of the board also uses USB 3.1 Gen 2.

EVGA X99 FTW K Motherboard
CPU SupportHaswell-E And Broadwell-E
ChipsetIntel X99 Express
RAM Support8 x DDR4, Up to 128 GB
Storage10 x SATA-III (6 Gbps)1 x M.2 (32 Gbps)
EthernetKiller E2400 NICIntel NIC
AudioRealtek ALC1150 HD Audio Codec
USB4 x USB 2.04 x USB 3.0 (3 x Type-A, 1 x Type-C)2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (1 x Type-A, 1 x Type-C)
PCI-E5 x PCI-E X161 x PCI-E x1
Price$299.99

Other Features

To help increase network performance, EVGA opted for two NICs--one is made Intel, and the other is a Killer E2400. The company also used a relatively high-end Realtek ALC1150 audio codec to provide a decent audio experience.

There are a few safety features, too, such as a dual-BIOS switch in case one of the BIOSes is damaged. There is also an LED debug light that doubles as a CPU temp monitor once the system has booted.

The EVGA X99 FTW K is available now from EVGA’s website for $299.99. Now that it has been released, it effectively replaces the older EVGA X99 FTW, which shared many of the same specs and had the same price, but lacked USB 3.1 support.

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Michael Justin Allen Sexton is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware component news, specializing in CPUs and motherboards.