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ASUS X99-A Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The X99-A is the base level board in ASUS' Intel X99 line of motherboard offering. Don't let the term "base level offering" throw you off though, ASUS put their best foot forward in designing this beauty. 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 competitive price point of $274.99, the X99-A gives the more feature-packed (and vastly more expensive) boards a run for their money.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

Just because the X99-A motherboard is designed to be the "entry-level" model of ASUS' X99 product line does not mean that they skimped on its design or features. The X99-A features the enhanced OC Socket and an 8+4 phase digital power system similar to that featured on its more costly siblings, centered around the Extreme Engine Digi+ IV solution. Extreme Engine Digi+ IV combines ASUS' custom designed Digi+ EPU chipset, IR (International Rectifier) sourced MOSFETs, high-quality chokes, and 10k Black Metallic capacitors for unrivaled power delivery capabilities. The board is further augmented by the integration of ASUS' Crystal Sound 2 audio subsystem for superior audio reproduction.

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

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS integrated the following features into the X99-A board: eight SATA 3 ports; one SATA-Express port; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I218-V Gigabit NIC; four PCI-Express x16 slots; two PCI-Express x1 slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, MemOK!, and BIOS Flashback buttons; EZ XMP, TPU, and EPU switches; Crystal Audio 2 audio subsystem; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

Technical Specifications (taken from the ASUS website)

CPU Intel® Socket 2011-v3 Core™ i7 Processors
Supports Intel® 22 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. 64GB, DDR4 3200(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Quad Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

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

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, x16/x16, x16/x16/x8) *1
1* The PCIe x16_4 shares bandwidth with M.2 x4. When M.2 socket is occupied, the PCIe x16_4 slot will be disabled.

28-Lane CPU-
3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 ( x16, x16/x8, x16/x8/x4) *2
2* The PCIe x16_4 shares bandwidth with M.2 x4. When M.2 socket is occupied, the PCIe x16_4 slot will be disabled.The PCIe x16_3 slot support x8 devices only.

1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode) *3
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 (x1 mode) *3
3* The PCIe x16_2, PCIe x1_1 and USB3_E56 connectors share the same bandwidth. By default, the PCIe x16_2 slot and PCIe x1_1 slot will automatically run at x1 mode with USB3_E56 enabled for best resource optimization.

Storage New Intel® Core™ i7 Processors :
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242 / 2260 / 2280 / 22110 storage devices support (Support PCIE SSD only)

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), *4
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology, Intel® Rapid Recovery Technology*5

4* Due to chipset behavior, The SATA6G_78, SATA6G_910 ports (black) do not support IRST including RAID configuration.
5* 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 2
- 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 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 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

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

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

ASMedia® USB 3.0 controller :
5 x USB 3.0/2.0 port(s) (5 at back panel)

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.
ASUS 5X Protection :
- ASUS DIGI+ VRM - 8 Phase digital power design
- ASUS Enhanced DRAM Overcurrent Protection - Short circuit damage prevention
- ASUS ESD Guards - Enhanced ESD protection
- ASUS High-Quality 5K-Hour Solid Capacitors - 2.5x long lifespan with excellent durability
- ASUS Stainless Steel Back I/O - 3x more durable corrosion-resistant coating
ASUS TPU :
- Auto Tuning
- GPU Boost
- TPU switch
ASUS EPU :
- 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 :
- 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 3.0 Boost
- Disk Unlocker
- Turbo LAN
- Crystal Sound 2
Interactive HomeCloud
- Media Streamer
ASUS EZ DIY :
- Precision Tweaker 2
- ASUS O.C. Tuner
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
- 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-DIMM
- ASUS Q-Connector
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 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
6 x USB 3.0 (blue)
4 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jack(s)
1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
Internal I/O Ports 1 x AAFP connector
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)
1 x SATA Express connector: gray,
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key design, type 2242 / 2260 / 2280 / 22110 storage devices support (Support PCIE SSD only)
1 x TPM connector(s)
1 x COM port(s) 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 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 EZ XMP switch
1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
1 x Chassis Intrusion connector(s)
1 x DRCT header(s)
1 x MemOK! button(s)
1 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x TPU switch(es)
1 x EPU switch(es)
1 x CPU/DRAM overvoltage jumper(s)
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector
Accessories User's manual
ASUS Q-Shield
4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x SLI bridge(s)
1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
Form Factor ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

 

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March 11, 2015 | 07:34 PM - Posted by John H (not verified)

Weakness:
No 3 way sli with 28 lane cpu due to lack of x8x8x8 support

March 12, 2015 | 12:46 PM - Posted by Ti133700N (not verified)

I'm like Allyn and wanted to upgrade from X58. I wanted to wait for the "second generation" X99 boards to come out to make sure to have a great implementation of this new chipset. Looks like I won't even need to wait for the higher end deluxe/ROG family to come out, this one has pretty much everything I could want. I'll need to check which waterblock I can fit there though to cool off the VRMs...

March 13, 2015 | 12:52 AM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla

another con: On Asus boards(unlike Gigabyte) sata ports which can be used in RAID and which cannot aren't clearly marked.

edit: Also port no 0,1 are separated from the rest which further leads to confusion. Asus should really change their naming scheme to clarify about which SATA Ports can be used in raid. (gigabyte uses SATA and sSATA to differentiate between two groups of ports).

March 15, 2015 | 06:34 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Those are not cons.. sata ports are clearly labeled and 3 way sli is silly.

May 22, 2016 | 01:53 AM - Posted by odius (not verified)

why don't you like sli

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