ASUS ROG STRIX X299-E Gaming Motherboard Review: Page 4 of 9
Posted by Damon Bailey on Monday, August 28, 2017 - 8:00am
A Closer Look
The long running ATX form factor probably won’t change anytime soon. Along the top (right in this picture) is Intel’s LGA2066 socket, flanked by 8 DDR4 sockets. The lower half of the board is dominated by three PCIe x16 slots, two PCIe x4 slots, and a single PCIe x1 slot.
The rear of the board is pretty clean with very few minor components on this side. The board name is silk screened on the back along with a nice ROG themed design over most of the board.
Rear I/O is composed of 2 USB 2.0 ports, one of which is used for USB BIOS Flashback by pressing the button to the left. Four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports sit under a single Intel Gigabit LAN port. Two USB 3.1 Gen two ports are up next, one a Type-A and one a Type-C. Two antenna ports connected the onboard 802.11AC and Bluetooth 4.2 to the world via the included antenna. And towards the bottom are the 8 channel audio ports along with an optical audio output.
Half of the board is dominated by the CPU socket and 8x DDR4 memory slots. Above the CPU is the VRM heatsink, and the ROG logo below lights up in any color or pattern you choose. The cover over the rear I/O also has an RGB accent.
The light up accent on the rear I/O cover looks quite nice.
The center logo also lights up and gives a really unique hologram look.
It can be a bit hard to see directly without the lights running, but the ROG logo is etched into a crystal to give that floating holographic effect.
The lower half of the board is a huge pile of connectivity, 6x PCIe slots in various sizes dominate the area, next to the large Chipset and M.2 drive combo heatsink.
The lower left corner gives your front panel audio connections, an analog RGB lighting port, and a single COM port. You might thing serial connectivity is an odd choice this day and age, but with the maker-space bringing a huge up rise to IoT and small microcontrollers, this is a very handy port to have for programming and interfacing with them.
Next up is the POST code readout, and a single power switch. An external fan expansion header is also here.
Closer to the front of the board we have a USB 3.1 gen one header, a USB 2.0 header, two 4-pin fan/water pump headers, the newer Digital RGB lighting controller port, and your front panel I/O connections.
Just above we’ve removed the M.2 heatsink cover to get a look at the 2nd M.2 port, as well as the pre-applied thermal pad to move heat from your M.2 drive to the heatsink.
The actual heatsink itself is held in place by 3 small screws. They are not captive, so be careful not to misplace them while you install your M.2 drive.
Going up the front edge of the board we have 8x SATA 6Gbps plugs, another USB 3.1 gen 1 header, and near the top is the usual 24-pin power connection.
Also along the front edge is the new USB 3.1 Gen 3 header, and a vertical m.2 port.
Just under the front most ram slots is the ASMedia ASM3142 controller for the front USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, providing up to 16Gbps total speed for this header.
Included in the goodies pile are the mounting bracket and everything you need to use this m.2 header. We have an Intel 600p series drive installed here to see how the mounting works.
The top right corner has 4 LED’s that you won’t likely notice until they come on, pictured here just above the white label. The color coded LED’s will lead you right to issues with CPU, RAM, and VGA. A final green BOOT led is akin to the old single beep that tells you everything is good to go. They normally flash for a few seconds during initial power on, but quickly disappear on a good boot, but one stuck on will indicate an issue with that sub-system so you can go investigate.
Along the top of the board are an 8pin EPS and 4 pin EPS power connection for the CPU. Near the rear is another analog RGB header, and 2 more four-pin fan plugs.
The VRM heatsink hides an 8 phase power delivery system for the CPU.
The VRM’s are controlled by the Digi+ EPC IC for enhanced voltage control and overclocking stability.
The Pro Clock 2 Base clock generator IC sits right next to the front ram sockets. Pro Clock works in tandem with the ASUS TPU which can control the CPU overclocking.
Both chips above work under control of ASUS’s TPU (TurboV Processing Unit) to provide whatever you put in here, the best voltage and clock control possible for maximum stable overclocks.