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ASUS X99-A II Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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The X99-A II motherboard is among the latest boards from ASUS, updating their existing product line with many new features including RGB LEDs and USB 3.1 support. The board supports all Intel LGA2011-3 based processors, including the new Broadwell-E processor, paired with DDR4 memory in up to a quad channel configuration. The ASUS-A II can be found in retail at an MSRP of $249, a virtual steal for the features and performance offered by this board.

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ASUS integrated the following features into the X99-A II board: eight SATA 3 ports; one SATA-Express port; one U.2 32Gbps port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I218-V Gigabit NIC; four PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; on-board power, reset, MemOK!, and USB BIOS Flashback buttons; Aura RGB LED 4-pin power header; RGB Q-Slot support; 2-digit Q-Code LED diagnostic display; Q-LED support; Crystal Sound 3 8-Channel audio subsystem; and USB 3.0 and 3.1 Gen2 Type-A / Type-C port support.

Continue reading our preview of the ASUS Maximus VIII Impact motherboard!

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For better configurability with the board aesthetic, ASUS integrated RGB LEDs throughout the upper surface of the board, including into the the PCIe slots. These LEDs can be configured to display any color desired as well as operating in one of nine modes: Static, Breathing, Strobing, Music Effect, Color Cycle, CPU temperature, Rainbow, Comet, and Flash and Dash. LED operation can be easily configured using the LED settings located on the Onboard Device Configuration page under the Advanced tab in the UEFI or via the Windows-based AURA control applet.

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Technical Specifications (taken from the ASUS website)

CPU Intel® Processors
Intel® Core™ i7 X-Series Processors on LGA 2011-3 Socket
Supports Intel® 14 nm CPU
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology

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

Chipset Intel® X99
Memory 8 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 3333(O.C.) / 3300(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2133 MHz Memory
Quad Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

** Refer to www.asus.com for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).
* Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs.

Multi-GPU Support Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology
Supports NVIDIA® 3-Way SLI™ Technology
Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
Expansion Slots 40-Lane CPU
3 x PCIe 3.0 / 2.0 x16 (x16 or x16 / x16, x8 / x16 / x8) *1
*1 PCIe x16_1 and PCIe x16_4 slots share the same bandwidth. PCIe x16_4 slot support up to x8 mode.

28-Lane CPU
3 x PCIe 3.0 / 2.0 x16 (x16, x16 / x8, x8 / x8 / x8) *2
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode) *3
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 (x1 mode) *3
*2 When using a 28-lane CPU, the PCIe x16_3 slot support up to x8 mode.
*3 The PCIe x16_2 shares bandwidth with USB 3.1 and PCIe x1_2 slot. By default, the PCIe x16_2 slot automatically runs at x1 mode.

Storage New Intel® Core™ i7 X-Series Processors :
1 x M.2 x4 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (Support PCIE SSD only)*4
1 x U.2 port, support PCIe 3.0 x4 NVM Express storage *4

*4 M.2 shares bandwidth with U.2, only one device can be activated at a time.

Intel® X99 chipset :
1 x SATA Express port, Compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
8 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s) *5
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology, Intel® Rapid Recovery Technology *6

*5 Due to chipset behavior, The SATA6G_78, SATA6G_910 ports (black) do not support IRST including RAID configuration.
*6 These functions will work depending on the CPU installed.

LAN Intel® I218V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
Audio Realtek® ALC1150 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC featuring Crystal Sound 3
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
- High quality 112 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 Connect
- DTS Studio Sound
- 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 audio capacitors: Provide warm, natural and immersive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity
- Unique de-pop circuit: Reduces start-up popping noise to audio outputs
- Top notch audio sensation delivers according to the audio configuration
- EMI protection cover to prevent electrical noise to affect the amplifier quality
- Power pre-regulator: Reduces power input noise to ensure consistent performance

USB Ports Intel® X99 chipset :
5 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (1 at back panel, blue, 4 at mid-board)

Intel® X99 chipset :
8 x USB 2.0/1.1 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue, 4 at mid-board)

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

ASMedia® USB 3.0 controller :
3 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s)

Special Features 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
- 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Xpert 4, and Turbo Core App
ASUS 5X Protection II :
- ASUS LANGuard - 2.5X higher surge tolerance
- ASUS Overvoltage Protection - World-class circuit-protecting power design
- ASUS DIGI+ VRM - 8 Phase digital power design
- ASUS DRAM Overcurrent Protection - Prevents damage from short circuits
- ASUS Stainless-Steel Back I/O - 3X corrosion-resistance for greater durability
ASUS TPU :
- Auto Tuning
- GPU Boost
ASUS EPU :
- EPU
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 :
- Remote GO!
- USB BIOS Flashback
- MemOK!
- AI Suite 3
- Ai Charger+
- USB Charger+
- M.2 & SATA Express
- Anti-Surge
- Onboard Button : Power/Reset
- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface
- USB 3.1 Boost
- Turbo LAN
- Crystal Sound 3
- EZ XMP ASUS Exclusive Features
- Mobo Connect
- PC Cleaner
Remote Entertainment
- Media Streamer
- HyStream
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :
- ASUS Fan Xpert 4
ASUS EZ DIY :
- Precision Tweaker 2
- ASUS O.C. Tuner
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 3
- ASUS USB BIOS Flashback
- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode
- 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-DIMM
- ASUS Q-Connector
Special Memory O.C. Design
AURA: RGB Lighting Control
Special Memory O.C. Design
Turbo App
Operating System Support Windows® 10, 64bit
Windows® 8.1 x86 / x64
Windows® 8 x86 / x64
Windows® 7 x86 / x64
Back I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
2 x USB 3.1 ()Type-A + Type-C
4 x USB 3.0
4 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jack(s)
Internal I/O Ports 1 x U.2 port
1 x AAFP connector
1 x RGB Header(s)
2 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.0 port(s)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
1 x SATA Express connector: , Compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
1 x SATA Express connector: Compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key design, type 2242 / 2260 / 2280 / 22110 storage devices support (Support PCIE SSD only)
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)
2 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (2 x 4-pin)
1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
1 x Thunderbolt header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x EZ XMP switch
1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector
1 x DRCT header(s)
1 x MemOK! button(s)
1 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x CPU OV
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
1 x Water Pump header (4-pin)
1 x 14-1 pin TPM connector
1 x COM port header
Accessories User's manual
ASUS Q-Shield
4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x M.2 Screw Package
1 x CPU installation tool
1 x Supporting DVD
1 x SLI bridge(s)
1 x Q-connector(s) (1 in 1)
1 x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)
Form Factor ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

December 28, 2016 | 03:41 PM - Posted by Isaac Johnson

I just skip to the conclusion to see if 'CMOS battery placement' is listed as a strength or a weakness. That's pretty much all I need to know about a motherboard.

December 29, 2016 | 10:59 AM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla

Same here although, I can count no of times I changed CMOS battery on fingers of my hand. Still I look for CMOS battery placement on any motherboard.

December 29, 2016 | 03:50 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Windows only is major weakness to me.

December 29, 2016 | 03:38 PM - Posted by rjdriver (not verified)

Do I notice a new (at least to me) type of release lever for the pcie 16 slots? How is this one activated?

If a MB maker anywhere has designed a release lever that does not require losing the skin on your hand to remove a graphics card, I would love to know about it.

December 29, 2016 | 04:35 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I had an old motherboard with an AGP retention mechanism that was essentially 2 zip ties that stood up along either side of the video card, molded into the plastic slot if I remember correctly, and then a little plastic "8" went over both to cinch down the pcb.

December 29, 2016 | 10:48 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

newish, of a sorts.  It the same standard push-down release (triangular in shape) at the lower end of the PCIe slot with an embedded LED for RGB "glowy" support.  Thus, the clear color of the plastic tab :)

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