The highs and lows of doing motherboard reviews

Subject: Motherboards | September 11, 2014 - 04:50 PM |
Tagged: magic smoke, linux, Intel X99, MSI X99S SLI Plus

It is inevitable that one will eventually come across hardware with a defect, either a flaw during its manufacture or because of shipping or user damage and when you do reviews the increased sample size pits the odds against you.  This is why Phoronix has not been able to publish results of the i7 5960X on an MSI X99S SLI Plus motherboard as magic smoke was released upon initial boot up.  The board has been RMA'd to NewEgg and MSI has contacted Phoronix directly to let them know they will be sending it off for analysis; a new motherboard and review should be up shortly.  It just goes to show you that this sort of thing can happen to anyone but if you keep your temper in check all it is is a small hurdle not a huge obstruction and you will get to where you wanted to go eventually.  Similar events involving mysterious smells and old UPSes have never occurred here at PC Perspective; especially not today.

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I feel fine!

"This weekend I was planning to publish the first Linux benchmarks for Intel's incredibly powerful Core i7 5960X Haswell-E processor with X99 motherboard and DDR4 system memory. Unfortunately, all I can tell you now is that it's smoking, quite literally!"

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Source: Phoronix

ASUS Announces the Z10PE-D8 WS

Subject: Motherboards | September 11, 2014 - 01:18 PM |
Tagged: Z10PE-D8 WS, C612, asus

Finally some new dual socketed goodness from Intel that can be used by prosperous enthusiasts.  For those who can afford the pair of Xeon E5-2600 V3 CPUs required to run a dual CPU system you can have 4 PCIe 16x slots running at full speed and compatible with both SLI and CrossFire.  The motherboard is more optimized for heavy productivity workloads such as graphics rendering but that is no reason not to use it to build the biggest and baddest gaming machine on the planet!

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Fremont, CA (10th September, 2014) - ASUS today announced the Z10PE-D8 WS motherboard based on the Intel C612 chipset and with dual processor sockets ready for the latest Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 v3 product families.

The new Server System Infrastructure Enterprise Electronics Bay (SSI EEB) motherboards have superb storage support, including the ASUS PIKE II (Proprietary I/O Kit Expansion) card and support for PCI Express (PCIe) 3.0 x4 M.2 (Next-Generation Form Factor, or NGFF). They benefit also from the ASUS Q-Code Logger for one-touch easy maintenance and a Dr. Power LED lamp to clearly indicate unusual power status.

Ultimate PCI Express 3.0 multi-GPU power
The Z10PE-D8 WS is equipped to provide the ultimate workstation graphics power, with support for up to four dual-slot graphics cards. Both 4-Way NVIDIA GeForce SLI and AMD CrossFireX are supported, so it is an excellent choice for professionals who depend on powerful graphics in areas such as design, modeling and medical research, as well as processing-intensive simulation and rendering applications.

With a total of seven PCIe 3.0 slots, the Z10PE-D8 WS offers ample room for RAID cards, PCI Express-based solid-state drives (SSDs), video-capture cards and other high-speed components.

Premium components for premium power efficiency
Z10PE-D8 WS benefits from premium components hand-chosen and carefully arranged by ASUS engineers to provide optimum power efficiency. These include integrated Driver-MOSFETs (Dr. MOS) to save space and reduce operating temperatures for more efficient operation, and ASUS-exclusive Beat Thermal Chokes II. The new Beat Thermal Chokes II design delivers up to 94% power efficiency and lower temperatures under normal operation.

ASUS is the world’s first server manufacturer to introduce 12K solid capacitors — the Z10PE-D8 WS has these ultra-resilient components on board. These Japanese-made capacitors are able to withstand up to 12,000 hours of temperatures as high as 105°C, far exceeding everyday demands. And at a typical operating temperature of 65°C, our 12K capacitors have an expected lifespan of 1.2m hours — or well over a century.

The Z10PE-D8 WS also employs ProCool power connectors. The ProCool design eliminates hollow areas associated with traditional power connectors, ensuring a close and secure connection with the PSU power connector pins. The flush connection enables lower impedance and better heat dissipation – helping to prevent connector burnouts.

Flexible fan speed control, flexible storage and easy maintenance
The new Z10PE-D8 WS motherboard offers flexible fan-speed controls, which can be managed manually or automatically. In automatic mode, the fan speeds are adjusted according to the processor temperature. In manual mode, the administrator can set a fan curve according to cooling requirements.

The new Z10PE-D8 WS motherboard offers industry-leading storage flexibility, with a built-in M.2 connector supporting PCIe 3.0 x4 2260 (60mm), 2280 (80mm) and 22110 (110mm) devices, and support for the ASUS PIKE II (Proprietary I/O Kit Expansion) card for high-reliability, enterprise-grade 12Gbit/s Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) devices.

The motherboard also benefits from ASUS Q-Code Logger, an easy-maintenance button that records four-digit port 80 code logs to a flash drive with one touch, so administrators can diagnose problems quickly and easily. Similarly, the conveniently-located Dr. Power LED displays messages to clearly indicate a power fault.

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AVAILABILITY & PRICING
The Z10PE-D8 WS is priced at $599 and will be available soon at ASUS authorized resellers and distributors.

Source: ASUS

Intel Sent Us a Containment Chamber with Parts Inside

Subject: Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets, Memory, Storage | September 5, 2014 - 01:21 PM |
Tagged: X99-Deluxe, SSD 730, Intel, Haswell-E, ddr4, asus, 5960X

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I didn't know what I was getting into. When a couple of packages showed up at our office from Intel with claims that they wanted to showcase the new Haswell-E platform...I was confused. The setup was simple: turn on cameras and watch what happens.

So out of the box comes...a containment chamber. A carefully crafted, wood+paint concoction that includes lights, beeps, motors and platforms. 

Want to see how Intel promotes the Core i7-5960X and X99 platform? Check out this video below.

Our reviews of products included in this video:

ASUS' white knight for Haswell processors

Subject: Motherboards | September 4, 2014 - 06:15 PM |
Tagged: X99 Deluxe, X99, Haswell-E, asus

You can immediately spot the ASUS X99 Deluxe thanks to the unique white heatsink and shielding around the audio and peripheral ports but there is more to this board than just its looks.  The board is well laid out but due to the amount of features included there is a bit of crowding but you can still fit two triple-wide graphics cards or three double-wide on the board if you have a 40 lane PCIe CPU.  They have also come up with a different orientation for M.2 SSDs, which will sit vertically in a bracket freeing up space and getting them away from major sources of heat which could provide performance benefits.  To get the full list of features you will need to read through The Tech Reports full review right here.  Of course, that assumes you are already completely familiar with Morry's review.

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"Haswell-E is finally here, and so is a new wave of motherboards based on its X99 companion chip. We've spent some quality time with Asus' X99 Deluxe, which combines all the goodness baked into the platform with a luxurious array of additional features."

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Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The ASUS X99-Deluxe motherboard is among the initial offerings in ASUS' Intel X99 chipset board line. The board supports the latest Intel LGA2011-v3 socket processors as well as DDR4 memory modules. ASUS also integrated and improved upon many of the features from its award-winning Z97 board line into this product, making for a superior synthesis of technology and computing power. The board does not come cheap with an MSRP of $399.99, but its integrated feature set and performance potential more than justifies the X99-Deluxe's premium price.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS built the X99-Deluxe to take the punishment associated with a high performance system, integrating a 8+4 phase digital power system for the CPU and DDR4 DRAM power needs. Also integrated is the latest version of ASUS' Digi+ power power regulation circuitry along with 5k rated solid capacitors.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS X99-Deluxe motherboard!

ASRock Launches High End X99 WS E-ATX Motherboard For Workstations and Servers

Subject: Motherboards | August 30, 2014 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: xeon, x99 ws, X99, workstation, socket 2011-3, Intel, Haswell-E, asrock

Alongside the X99 Extreme6 for enthusiasts, ASRock has launched the X99 WS (E-ATX) motherboard for professional workstations and servers. The board uses a black PCB, blue aluminum heatsinks on the power phase and PCH areas, and gold colored caps. The E-ATX motherboard uses short screws and a thinner CPU socket backplate to allow it to fit into 1U server cases. You have ample PCI-E slots, DDR4 (and ECC RDIMMs), USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 2 (with an AIC), eSATA, M.2, and SATA III for connectivity. Power is regulated by a 12 power phase "Digi Power" design with high quality Ultra Dual-N MOSFETs, 60A chokes, 12K Nichicon capacitors.

The X99 WS also uses larger heatsinks, especially around the CPU area. The board features an Intel LGA 2011-3 socket that will accept Haswell-E or Xeon E5-1600/2600 v3 processors up to 18 cores and 160W TDPs. Eight memory slots surround the CPU socket and support a maximum of 128GB of DDR4 3200+ memory. Storage is handled by 10 SATA III 6Gbps ports and a single "Ultra M.2" slot that supports SATA III or PCI-E x4 controller equipped drives.

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This worskation board takes advantage of the Extended ATX form factor to cram in additional PCI-E 3.0 slots versus the shorter X99 Extreme6. A PCI-E 2.0 x 16 slot sits directly below the CPU socket followed by the (mentioned above) M.2 slot and five PCI-E 3.0 x 16 slots. The five PCI-E 3.0 slots allow for 4-Way CrossFireX and 4-Way SLI multi-GPU setups. To take full advantage of this board, you will want to pair it with the higher end Haswell-E parts (5930K, 5960X, et al) with the full 40 lanes rather than the entry level 5820K with its limited 28 PCI-E lanes.

Using internal headers, the X99 WS supports a TPM module, two COM ports, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, and a Thunderbolt port (via an extra add-in-card). It features two CPU fan and three chassis fan headers as well.

The X99 WS features the following ports on the rear IO panel.

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • 4 x USB 3.0
  • 2 x Gigabit LAN
    • 1 x Intel I217LM
    • 1 x Intel I210AT
  • 7.1 Channel Audio (Realtek ALC1150)
    • 5 x Analog audio outputs
    • 1 x Optical audio output

The X99 WS is available now with a three year manufaturer warranty for $323.99. The price alone pushes this board well into the professional market, but gamers can get most of the way to the WS feature-wise with the X99 Extreme6. The WS goes up against the boards like the ASUS X99-Deluxe and MSI X99S XPOWER AC.

Source: ASRock

ASRock Shows Off Upcoming X99 Extreme6 Haswell-E Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 30, 2014 - 01:43 AM |
Tagged: X99, socket 2011-3, lga 2011, Haswell-E, atx, asrock

Today, ASRock unveiled the X99 Extreme6 motherboard, a high end board for enthusiasts featuring Intel's X99 chipset and support for Haswell-E processors and all of the latest connectivity options (short of SATA Express).

This ATX motherboard uses a black PCB, gold capacitors, and blue heatsinks to create an appealing color scheme. A 12 power phase "Digi Power" design feeds the LGA 2011-3 CPU socket. Eight total DDR4 memory slots surround the processor socket (four on each side) with support for up to 128GB of DDR4 running at 3000+MHz (w/ requisite CPU/IMC overclock).

The bottom half of the motherboard hosts the PCI-E slots, PCH, and 10 SATA 3 ports. Specifically, the X99 Extreme6 features three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (supporting Triple SLI or CrossFire), two PCI-E 3.0 x1 slots, a single Mini PCI-E connector, and one "Ultra M.2" PCI-E 3.0 x4 M.2 slot for SSDs. Ten right angled SATA III 6Gbps ports sit to the right of the southbridge.

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Using internal headers, users can add four USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, one Thunderbolt port (requires an add-on card to work), and one COM port(s) for additional connectivity and connecting case front panel ports.

Rear IO on the Extreme6 includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 6 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x eSATA
  • ​7.1 Channel Purity Sound 2 Audio (Realtek ALC1150)
    • 5 x Analog audio
    • 1 x Optical audio output
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports
    • 1 x Intel 1218V NIC
    • 1 x Qualcomm Atheros NIC

The X99 Extreme6 is part of ASRock's new "Super Alloy X99" lineup. It is available now from retailers for $279.99 with a three year manufacturer warranty.

Also read: Haswell-E: The Intel Core i7-5960X 8-core Processor Review at PC Perspective.

Source: ASRock

MSI launches 5 new mighty X99 motherboards loaded with impressive features

Subject: Motherboards | August 29, 2014 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: msi, X99, x99s sli plus, X99S GAMING 9 AC, X99S GAMING 7, X99S XPOWER AC, X99S MPOWER

MSI, world leading in motherboard technology, is pleased to announce the launch of the new MSI X99 motherboards line-up. Featuring 5 models, the X99S GAMING 9 AC, X99S GAMING 7, X99S XPOWER AC, X99S MPOWER and X99S SLI PLUS, MSI caters to everyone’s needs. With a long history of unique high performance motherboards under any condition, MSI X99 motherboards are based on Military Class 4 components and come packed with a freight train of features. All MSI X99 motherboards feature Turbo M.2 to maximize M.2 performance up to 32 Gb/s and SATA Express for the latest technology in data storage. MSI X99 also offers full support for Quad SLI and CrossFire configurations, whether you demand the highest performance when GAMING, Overclocking or rendering graphics.

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MSI X99 GAMING for the best gaming experience
Inheriting true GAMING DNA, years of building the best motherboards, closely working with world’s best gamers and collecting over 300 awards from worldwide media, MSI proudly presents the next generation of GAMING motherboards. MSI X99 GAMING motherboard comes equipped with the evolution of the best on-board audio solution called Audio Boost 2, Killer networking and support for Turbo M.2 32 Gb/s and SATA Express devices together with other key gaming features. Its masterpiece is Streaming Engine, featured on MSI X99S GAMING 9 AC, which is a dedicated onboard hardware streaming solution for streaming gaming activities at 1080p 60Mbps without impacting FPS. Time for hi-end GAMING with MSI.

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A new round of breaking world records
The Overclocking Champion returns. After generations of proven world class overclocking performance, MSI is proud to add the X99S XPOWER AC motherboard to this glorious family. Top overclockers around the world relying on nothing but the best were involved in its birth. With each model built with Military Class 4 components and specifically tuned for an overclocking segment, MSI’s OC Certified models deliver stability and top overclocking performance with the latest Intel HEDT CPUs.

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Clever solutions are once again handed to devoted overclockers to help break world records. DirectUSB is available for easy USB flashing and saving scores. This series features a new OC Backplate, a smart solution for overclockers to mount their LN2 pot, and Delid Die Guard to make mounting a cooling solution easier, safer and to help squeeze every last MHz out of the a delidded CPU. The next generation OC Engine is offers a dedicated Clock Generator for more flexible BCLK adjustments, from 100 / 125 / 167 MHz straps. Using these straps prevents system crashing while overclocking on the edge and opens doors to achieve the absolute maximum. The next generation chip offers even lower jitter and power consumption resulting in even higher stability under the most extreme conditions.

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Stable and highly efficient, packed with features
The new MSI X99S SLI PLUS motherboard presents an arsenal of new features and improvements as well as technical ingenuity. Offering reliable and fast Gigabit LAN from Intel and Nvidia SLI support for enthusiasts looking to pair up multiple graphics cards. Delivering speeds up to 32Gb/s, Turbo M.2 is more than 5 times faster than a regular SATA III 6 Gb/s connection. Turbo M.2 32 Gb/s is the successor to M.2 10 Gb/s, offering performance up to 3 times more performance. M.2 is packed in a small form factor and is compatible with 3 different sizes to fit all M.2 devices. SATA Express is supported up to 10 Gb/s. Gamers can enjoy blazing fast system boot up and loading of applications and games. GuardPro and Military Class 4 provide all the stability you need through carefully selected and thoroughly tested components and materials.

Source: MSI

ASUS Announces X99 Series Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | August 29, 2014 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: asus, X99, Rampage V Extreme, X99 Deluxe, X99-E WS

Fremont, CA (29th August, 2014) - ASUS today announced the X99-Deluxe, X99-Pro and X99-A, three new ATX motherboards based on the new Intel X99 chipset. Packed with exclusive technologies, including OC Socket and 5-Way Optimization, ASUS’ X99 motherboards ensure ultimate performance from the latest LGA 2011-v3 Intel Core i7 processors.

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The X99-Deluxe is the flagship model, with a bundled ASUS Hyper M.2 x4 expansion card for ultra-fast 32Gbit/s transfer speeds; onboard 3x3 antenna 802.11ac for ultra-fast Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1,300Mbit/s; and an ASUS Fan Extension Card for flexible cooling options.

All new X99 Series motherboards feature Crystal Sound 2 audio, Turbo LAN technology for lag-free online gaming, a plethora of advanced software features and our renowned UEFI BIOS for intuitive setup and platform control. With a refined look, the ASUS X99 motherboard lineup delivers the cutting-edge performance and style demanded by PC enthusiasts

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X99 Deluxe

OC Socket for extended overclocking headroom and ASUS 5-Way Optimization X99 Series motherboards are equipped with a brand-new ASUS innovation — our patent-pending OC Socket. This unique socket includes extra pins that connect proprietary circuitry to extra contacts found on Haswell-E's land grid array (LGA) and is 100% compatible with Intel’s new LGA 2011-v3 (‘Haswell-E’) processors. In combination with the ASUS UEFI BIOS, OC Socket enables higher DDR4 memory frequencies, lower memory latencies and enhanced stability while overclocking, extending all the way to extreme overclocking conditions, such as Liquid Nitrogen (LN2).Users are also able to increase DDR4 memory frequencies to 3200MHz and beyond, even with all eight DIMM slots populated.

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Rampage V Extreme

PC enthusiasts also benefit from exclusive 5-Way Optimization technology to dynamically optimize an X99-Deluxe, X99-Pro or X99–A based PC with one click. First up is Turbo Processor Unit (TPU), a custom microprocessor that provides automated overclocking and advanced voltage controls – catering for novice and advanced users. Then there’s Energy Processing Unit (EPU) to deliver system-wide real-time power savings, controlled via a simple onboard switch or the easy-to-use AI Suite 3 utility.

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X99-E WS

5-Way Optimization technology also encompasses tuning of the Digi+ voltage-regulator module (VRM) to enhance performance, increase efficiency and ensure reliability, and Fan Xpert 3 for peerless fan calibration and control. Completing the 5-Way Optimization technology line-up is Turbo App, an intuitive tuning panel to tailor and boost all parts of the system for specific games or programs.

Loaded with extreme hardware for extreme builds
The X99-Deluxe is a high-end motherboard loaded with extras for the ultimate in enthusiast PC builds. The bundled Hyper M.2 x4 expansion card gives users flexibility to equip their systems with up to two M.2 devices - providing transfer speeds of up to 32Gbit/s. Hyper M.2 x4 supports M.2 devices from the smallest 30mm (2230) to full-length 110mm (221100) cards.

The supplied ASUS Fan Extension Card provides flexible additional cooling in the shape of three 4-pin/3-pin fan headers. As with all fan headers on ASUS X99 motherboards, the Fan Extension Card features hardware-level PWM or DC control modes – for setting the best control curve for high performance or “silent” PCs.

The X99-Deluxe also features super-fast 802.11ac wireless connectivity on board. The 3x3 antenna configuration enables wireless speeds of up to 1,300Mbit/s. In common with the other X99-series motherboards, the X99-Deluxe supports the ASUS ThunderboltEX II expansion card. This gives users the freedom to add Thunderbolt 2 connectivity to X99-Deluxe at any time for bi-directional transfer speeds up to 20Gbit/s — that's four times (4X) faster than USB 3.01.

AVAILABILITY & PRICING
The X99-Deluxe is priced at $399 and will be available now at authorized ASUS resellers and distributors. The X99-A lands with an MSRP of $279 and will be available from early September, while the X99-Pro is expected in early October, price TBD.

Source: ASUS

Corsair and ASUS Join Forces to Create World’s Fastest Production DDR4 Memory Kit

Subject: Motherboards, Memory | August 29, 2014 - 12:25 PM |
Tagged: X99, ddr4, corsair, asus, Dominator Platinum, X99-Deluxe, Rampage V Extreme

PAX Prime, Seattle —August 29, 2014 — Corsair, a worldwide leader in high-performance PC components and ASUS a worldwide leader in motherboards, today announced the availability of the Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 memory kits in 3300MHz, 3200MHz and 3000MHz speeds – the world’s fastest production memory kits. Corsair developed the new high-speed DDR4 memory in close collaboration with ASUS, tuning and validating the memory timings to take advantage of the optimized DRAM layout and UEFI firmware of ASUS’s new X99 motherboards. The new Dominator DDR4 memory kits, when paired with the ASUS X99 Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme motherboards, creates some of the fastest, most stable enthusiast PC platforms available for the new Intel Core i7 processors (codenamed Haswell-E).

“Our rigorous validation with ASUS has enabled us to make Dominator Platinum 3300MHz the fastest desktop DDR4 memory available at launch,” said Thi La, Chief Operating Officer at Corsair. “Our OC team and engineers are excited to see such performance headroom the new Intel platform and are looking forward to releasing even faster kits in the near future.”

“It is always exciting when two companies renowned for being at the forefront of innovation and pushing performance boundaries work together to create new products for end-users. The combination of ASUS X99 motherboards with Corsair Dominator Platinum ushers in a new era of memory performance and stability for enthusiasts,” Joe Hsieh, ASUS Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Motherboard and Desktop System Business Unit.

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Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR Memory
Dominator Platinum memory kits have a striking industrial design for good looks, patented DHX technology for cooler operation, user-swappable colored “light pipes” for customizable downwash lighting, and Corsair Link compatibility for real-time temperature monitoring. Dominator Platinum memory is built with hand-screened ICs, undergoes rigorous performance testing, and incorporates state-of-the-art cooling for reliable performance in demanding environments.

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The ASUS X99-Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme
The ASUS X99-Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme feature an enhanced CPU socket and DRAM trace layout to improve signal integrity, providing increased overclocking headroom and stability over reference designs. This is coupled with a highly customized and refined UEFI firmware that allows easy setup and tweaking – perfect for getting the most from Corsair Dominator Platinum memory.

Availability and Warranty
The DDR4 memory kits are available in Corsair’s Vengeance LPX and Dominator Platinum lines. The memory kits are available immediately via Corsair’s worldwide network of authorized distributors and resellers and are backed by a lifetime warranty.

The ASUS X99-Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme motherboards are available now at ASUS authorized distributors and resellers worldwide. Both motherboards are covered by a three year warranty with advanced replacement in the first year.

Source: ASUS