Review Index:

ASUS X99-E WS/USB 3.1 Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications


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Courtesy of ASUS

The X99-E WS/USB 3.1 is leading board in ASUS' Workstation line for the Intel X99 chipset with enhanced support for USB 3.1-based devices. The board features full support for all Intel LGA2011-3 based processors paired with DDR4 memory operating in up to a quad channel configuration. Priced at a hefty $539.99, the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board comes with an immense feature set to more than justify its massive price tag.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

Powering the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board is an 8-phase digital power system featuring high efficiency Beat Thermal chokes, Dr. MOS MOSFETs, and 12k rated solid capacitors. Additionally, ASUS integrated their CPU OC Socket into the board's design, ensuring board's overclocking potential. The integrated PLX chip enhances the board's graphics bandwidth, offering full x16 bandwidth with four card populated and x8 bandwidth with all seven PCIe x16 slots populated.

ASUS chose to integrate the following features into the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board: eight SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; two eSATA ports; Intel I218LM and I210-AT Gigabit NICs; seven PCI-Express x16 slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, MemOK!, Q-Code Logger, and BIOS Flashback buttons; TPU, EPU, Dr. Power, and EZ_XMP switches; Crystal Audio 2 audio subsystem; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A port support.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS X99-E WS/USB 3.1 motherboard!

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS integrated the latest revision of their consumer sound technology into the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 motherboard, Crystal Audio 2. Similar to previous generations of their Crystal Audio sound technology, Crystal Audio 2 integrates the audio components on a isolated PCB from the other main board components minimizing noise generation caused by those other integrated devices. ASUS designed the audio subsystem with high-quality Japanese-sourced audio and power circuitry, as well as 12k-rated audio capacitors, for a high fidelity audio experience.

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Courtesy of ASUS

Technical Specifications (taken from the ASUS website)

CPU Build in Intel® Socket 2011-v3 Core™ i7 Processors
Supports Intel® 22 nm CPU
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Intel® Socket 2011-v3 for Intel® Xeon® processor E5-1600 v3 product family
Intel® Socket 2011-v3 for Intel® Xeon® processor E5-2600 v3 product family

* The Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 support depends on the CPU types.

Chipset Intel® X99
Memory 8 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory *1
8 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 2133 / 1866* MHz ECC, Un-buffered Memory *2
8 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 2133 / 1866* MHz ECC, Register Memory *2
Quad Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

*1 When installing Intel® Socket 2011-v3 Core™ i7 Processors
*2 When installing Intel® Xeon® E5-1600 v3/2600 v3 Processor
* Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs.
** Refer to for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).

Multi-GPU Support Supports NVIDIA® 4-Way SLI™ Technology
Supports AMD 4-Way CrossFireX Technology
Expansion Slots 7 x PCIe 3.0 / 2.0 x16 (single x16 or dual x16 / x16 or triple x16 / x16 / x16 or quad x16 / x16 / x16 / x16 or seven x16 / x8 / x8 / x8 / x8 / x8 / x8)
Storage Intel® X99 chipset : *3
1 x SATA Express port, gray, compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
1 x M.2 x4 Socket 3, gray, with M Key, type 2260 / 2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode)
8 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), gray *4
Intel® Rapid Storage Technology supports *5

*3 Intel® X99 Express Chipset with RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and Intel Rapid Storage Technology 13 support
*4 8 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports* (4 x gray from controller 1, 4 x black from controller 2)
*5 These functions will work depending on the CPU installed

ASMedia® SATA Express controller : *6
1 x SATA Express port, gray, compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports

*6 These SATA ports are for data hard drivers only. ATAPI devices are not supported

ASMedia® SATA 6Gb/s controller :
2 x eSATA 6Gb/s port(s)compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports

LAN Intel® I210-AT, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
Intel® I218LM, 1 x Gigabit LAN, Dual interconnect between the Integrated Media Access Controller (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY)
Audio Realtek® ALC1150 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC featuring Crystal Sound 2
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking, Front Panel MIC Jack-retasking
- High quality 109 dB SNR stereo playback output (Line-out at rear) and 104 dB SNR stereo playback input (Line-in)
- High-fidelity audio OP AMP(s)
Audio Feature :
- DTS Ultra PC II
- DTS Connect
- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
- BD Audio Layer Content Protection
- Audio Shielding: Ensures precision analog/digital separation and greatly reduced multi-lateral interference
- Dedicated audio PCB layers: Separate layers for left and right channels to guard the quality of the sensitive audio signals
- Audio amplifier: Provides the highest-quality sound for headphone and speakers
Premium Japanese-made 12K hours capacitors
- Absolute Pitch 192khz/24bit true BD lossless sound
Separate layer for left and right track, ensuring both sound deliver equal quality
USB Ports Intel® X99 chipset :
4 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, +blue)

Intel® X99 chipset :
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 port(s) (4 at mid-board)

ASMedia® USB 3.1 controller :
2 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, teal blue)

ASMedia® USB 3.0 controller :
8 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, 4 at mid-board)

Workstation Feature 7 x PCIe x 16 slot(s)
ASUS Dr. Power
12K hours Capacitors
ProCool Power Connector
Q-Code Logger
ASUS PIKE SAS upgrade kit(Optional)
Special Features 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
- Whole system optimization with a single click! 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ Power Control, Fan Xpert 3, and Turbo App together, providing better CPU performance, efficient power saving, precise digital power control, whole system cooling and even tailor your own app usages.
- Auto Tuning
- GPU Boost
- TPU switch
- EPU switch
ASUS Digital Power Design :
- Industry leading Digital 8 Phase Power Design
- Industry leading Digital 4 Phase DRAM Power Design
- CPU Power Utility
- DRAM Power Utility
ASUS Exclusive Features :
- MemOK!
- AI Suite 3
- Ai Charger+
- USB Charger+
- M.2 & SATA Express
- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface
- USB 3.1 Boost
- Disk Unlocker
- Turbo LAN
- Crystal Sound 2
Interactive HomeCloud
- Media Streamer
- Precision Tweaker 2
- ASUS O.C. Tuner
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS
- ASUS EZ Flash
- ASUS USB BIOS Flashback
- Push Notice
ASUS Q-Design :
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-Code
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-Connector
Media Streamer
Special Memory O.C. Design
Turbo App
Fan Xpert 3
Operating System Support Windows® 8.1 x86 / x64
Windows® 8 x86 / x64
Windows® 7 x86 / x64
Back I/O Ports 2 x eSATA
2 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
2 x USB 3.1 (teal blue)
8 x USB 3.0 (blue)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
8 x Audio jack(s)
1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
1 x Q-Code Logger button
Internal I/O Ports 2 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
2 x SATA Express connector: gray, compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
1 x M.2 Socket 3 for M Key, type 2260/2280 devices
1 x TPM connector(s)
8 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 x -pin)
1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
1 x Thunderbolt header(s)
2 x 8-pin EATX 12 V Power connector
1 x 6-pin EATX 12 V_1 Power connector(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x EZ XMP switch
1 x Front panel connector(s)
1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
1 x DRCT header(s)
1 x MemOK! button(s)
1 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x TPU switch(es)
1 x CPU/DRAM overvoltage jumper(s)
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
1 x Dr.Power switch(es)
1 x 3-pin CHASSIS(Chassis intrusion) connector
Accessories User's manual
ASUS Q-Shield
1 x COM port cable(s)
12 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x 3-Way SLI bridge(s)
1 x 4-Way SLI bridge(s)
1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
1 x 2-port USB 2.0 module(s)
BIOS 128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.7, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.7, ACPI 5.0, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Quick Note, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, F3 Shortcut functions and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information.
Manageability WfM 2.0, DMI 2.7, WOL by PME, PXE
Support Disc
Drivers, ASUS Utilities, EZ Update, Anti-virus software (OEM version)
Form Factor CEB Form Factor
12 inch x 10.5 inch ( 30.5 cm x 26.7 cm )
Environment Operation temperature: 10C ~ 35C
Non operation temperature: -40C ~ 70C
Non operation humidity: 20% ~ 90% ( Non condensing)


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December 18, 2015 | 01:58 PM - Posted by YTech

Could you give more details on how the OC socket works and how well it performs compared to other competitor's approach for this?

OS Support - No Windows 10 :P
Wow - eSATA ports are back :)

December 18, 2015 | 02:33 PM - Posted by kunglao

First. Thanks for the review. This is a great looking board and Beast like you said. My only gripe is since this is the EXREME platform using the H100i which clearly is not enough for more aggressive overclocking just like you said in the reveiw that it was maybe holding it back. Question is when using Ek Predator or H240x from Switech with a real copper Radiator if it is possible to reach 4.5 Ghz or not ? I am maybe nitpicking but like I said 5960X and a 550$$ motherboard deserve to get the best cooling out there to be tested on in my opinion !

December 18, 2015 | 04:29 PM - Posted by YTech

I used the EK's cooling results to compare various AIO options and the H100i displayed roughly 1-2 hotter temps then their EK option.

Per this review and your comment, I believe an AIO solution may not be enough to cool the 5960X further. However, from various reviews; 4.3GHz to 4.6GHz is found to be the common stable OC range for the 5960X.

If your build allows, I would go with the Predator from EK. Not only is it an AIO option, but the larger rad allows for better cooling and if you want to convert to a full water system, the Predator has the adaptors for it.

December 18, 2015 | 05:08 PM - Posted by kunglao

No I am talking for the Review so Morry does not have to build a custom loop every time and I would NEVER use an AIO cause I am hardcore water cooler m8 ;) = AI not AIO = ALL IN = ME :D :D :D.

December 19, 2015 | 11:36 AM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

In previous reviews, the Corsair H100i was plenty capable of keeping my 5960X cool and stable at 4.5GHz.  With this review, I think the Corsair cooler was having problems because of age more than anything.  You have to realize that I've used and abused that AIO cooler for years with 10's if not closer to 100 mounts and dismounts, so I would chalk the issues up to the cooler going bad rather than a board issue.

That said, I am using a custom loop for both my test benches now to ensure that the cooler does not become a bottleneck for board testing...

December 24, 2015 | 02:26 AM - Posted by kunglao

All right my man...Nice

December 18, 2015 | 03:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The link on the front page to this article is wrong.

December 19, 2015 | 06:25 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Only ONE M.2 slot on this workstation mainboard? But on Z170 gaming boards there are 2 or 3 M.2 slots? WTF?

December 24, 2015 | 02:47 AM - Posted by Hakuren

Relax. It is an old board (much older than Skylake chipsets) just with USB 3.1 added. Asus would be mad to rework whole board just to add 2 USB ports and another quirky M.2. Want more M.2 go with newer Skylake.

IMHO WS board don't need M.2 whatsoever. You have RAID AICs for that. At least I know I have, because RAID 0 is no RAID at all.

December 19, 2015 | 11:24 AM - Posted by fvbounty

Not very good reviews from Newegg and Amazon...

December 21, 2015 | 12:22 PM - Posted by -- (not verified)

dual 8 pin CPU power... how many watts ?!@?!?

December 22, 2015 | 09:57 AM - Posted by cosmicvibes

Note: you need to fix the "Continue reading our preview of the ASUS X99-E WS/USB 3.1 motherboard!" link on this post.

December 22, 2015 | 02:15 PM - Posted by Jeremy Hellstrom

Got it, thanks.

December 29, 2015 | 11:57 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No PS/2 port? It's useless!

December 29, 2015 | 07:03 PM - Posted by MRFS (not verified)

Ditch the SATA-Express ports and
support at least 4 integrated U.2 ports.

See photos of the ASUS Z170 Premium:
by removing the 2 SATA-Express ports,
there's plenty of room for 3 more U.2 ports.

Yes, I realize this shifts the bottleneck
to the DMI link, so let's start talking
about higher upstream bandwidth too.


December 29, 2015 | 07:11 PM - Posted by MRFS (not verified)

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