Benchmarks & Conclusion
When coupled with the Core i9-7900X, the new motherboards outperform the old X99 platform across 3DMark and PCMark just slightly. Although it's far less expensive, the Core i7-7800X can’t stand up to the prowess of a 10-core CPU in 3DMark’s Physics test.
Our hopes that the moderately-priced i7-7800X would compete directly against the previous generation’s expensive 10-core CPU are extinguished in Sandra Arithmetic. However, the Core i9-7900X beats its predecessor by an even greater amount. Better still, the boards hosting these new processors are performing consistently so far.
Minor inconsistencies between Asus and MSI motherboards creep in starting with Sandra Multimedia. MSI appears to have slightly more aggressive memory settings, but Asus leads Cinebench.
The Asus Prime X299-Deluxe is bested by MSI's X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC across Ashes, F1 2015, and Metro. We always enable each CPU's full set of power savings features and disable non-stock turbo settings to make competitions fair, as we believe that overclockers prefer to choose their own settings. Perhaps some of Intel’s green technologies aren’t fully functioning on the MSI motherboard?
Talos rewards the Asus board, and punishes MSI, taking it down a notch due to the heavy load of its Nahimic software suite in this specific game. The faded bars show how the X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC performs with Nahimic Audio Solution disabled.
Less is more in timed application performance. Less encoding time means you get more work done.
The Asus Prime X299-Deluxe falls to MSI's Gaming Pro Carbon across our mixed workload, but climbs back in the lead in Adobe After Effects.
Power, Heat & Efficiency
We had suspicions about MSI’s potential power use after seeing it succeed too often in our benchmarks to call those wins coincidental, and the power chart confirms those suspicions. Full-load heat is also significantly higher.
Considering the balance, the X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC’s relatively consistent lead wasn’t large, unlike its increased power consumption. A retest may be required before comparing it to any future competitors.
While the Prime X299-Deluxe beats the X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC overclocking either processor, the reason for stopping is different. While the Prime X299-Deluxe experienced the traditional system crash when taking our Core i9-7900X from 4.3 to 4.4 GHz at 1.20V, that same CPU would throttle down its eighth core when pushed past 4.20 GHz on the X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC.
Surprisingly, the Prime X299-Deluxe switches positions in memory bandwidth against the X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC, depending on which CPU is installed. We’ll likely find more consistency as these boards mature.
The Prime X299-Deluxe costs more and provide more features, and disregarding those features results in less performance per dollar. Perhaps I should have used a cheaper X99 motherboard as the baseline, just to knock the X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC down a value peg?
Since we included several processors in these benchmarks, a processor-based adjustment reveals a little more about why a buyer who had not yet made the leap to a 6950X might be glad he or she waited for the 7900X. Value increases by nearly half when moving from the 6950X to 7900X, and by half again when scaling down from the somewhat-expensive 7900X to the mid-priced 7800X.
The value charts tell us less about the boards, since the difference in included features is vast. Including its second network controller, Thunderbolt 3 add-in card with DisplayPort cable, the additional components that make its Wi-Fi controller an 802.11ad solution, the OLED verbose status display, and even the extra fan module should add at least $100 to the price. It costs around $120 more than the X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC, so it should be close to par in value.
Unfortunately, both boards are slightly too immature to issue an award today. The Prime X299-Deluxe is closer to where we’d like to see an awarded motherboard be at launch, and for that it gets “the nod” in lieu of any award. And maybe a wink as well.
MORE: Best Motherboards
MORE: All Motherboard Content