ASUS X99-PRO Haswell-E Motherboard Review
Over the last few months we've had the opportunity to test a few X99 motherboards from most of the major manufacturers, and it's been pretty clear to us that ASUS is leading the pack when it comes to this enthusiast LGA2011-v3 platform. Not only do they have the most polished BIOS and software package, but their overall overclocking advantage is sizeable.
This was first demonstrated by the flawless X99-Deluxe, and then reinforced by the unquestionably impressive Rampage V Extreme. Those are two very pricey models though, both featuring price tags well in excess of $400 up here in Canada. And a result, we thought that it would be interesting to see what ASUS is offering at a slightly lower price point. This led us to the X99-PRO, which is positioned right below the Deluxe and is in many ways a doppelganger to its pricier sibling.
Coming at around $310USD/$380CAD, this X99-PRO is only about $50-60 cheaper than the X99-Deluxe, but impressively you really aren't being asked to give up much when it comes to actual functionality, features, and even aesthetics. Since they both share the same futuristic looking black and white design, you would be forgiven for mistaken the two, even up close. This similarity extends to the specs list too.
To put it simply, the PRO is a Deluxe with one less SATA Express port, better M.2 slot placement, a different PCI-E slot configuration, a few less audio filtering capacitors, and a less complex wireless antenna. More specifically, the X99-PRO has four physical PCI-E x16 slots, 3-way CrossFire and 3-way SLI capabilities, two PCI-E x1 slots, two M.2 x4 connectors, one SATA Express ports, eight SATA 6Gb/s port (plus the two on the SATAe port), six USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0/3.0 headers, one Intel-powered Gigabit LAN port, Thunderbolt 2.0 header, a dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi module with Bluetooth v4.0, Realtek's latest ten-channel HD audio controller, and a bunch of onboard buttons and switches.
So at first glance this motherboard looks to be every bit as promising as the Deluxe, but while it looks great on paper we are going to find out if the X99-PRO can actually meet our lofty expectations.
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