Author: AkG
Date: September 24, 2016
Product Name: ROG STRIX X99 GAMING
Warranty: 3 Years
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With the release of the next generation Intel Broadwell-E 2011-v3 processors - such as the 10-core Core i7-6950X - it should come as no surprise that ASUS would be at the vanguard of releasing second generation X99 motherboards that can take full advantage of these cutting-edge processors. Of course, as Intel did not feel the need to upgrade the nearly 3-year-old platform, motherboard manufacturers have been left in a tight spot as 'older' X99 2011-v3 motherboards only require a BIOS update to be compatible. From what we have been seeing online, many enthusiasts have done precisely that, and many more are thinking about just skipping this 'upgrade' cycle. As a result, in order to cajole consumers into parting with their hard-earned cash instead of just applying a firmware update, motherboard manufacturers have had to devise some unique and creative models.

Out of the numerous ASUS 2011-v3 refreshes, the ROG STRIX X99 GAMING really stands out as it is so chock–full of features that it makes even the recently reviewed MSI X99A Gaming Pro Carbon look dowdy in comparison. Much like the MSI Carbon, the ASUS STRIX starts with LED enhanced aesthetics, but unlike the competition the STRIX includes new features such as customizable color accents and effects, advanced controller software for the onboard LEDs, and a custom LED header that allows users to not only add more lighting to a system build, but that is also fully manageable via the aforementioned software solution.

This is not to say that the ROG STRIX X99 GAMING is a one trick pony, rather all the expected features are also covered, such as quad-SLI support, an onboard sound solution that has multiple op-amps and an ALC1150 controller, proper full-speed USB 3.1 10Gb/s ports, a four lane capable M.2 port with support for 22110-sized SSDs, and ten SATA 6Gb/s ports. These are all features we have come to expect from a reputable manufacturer like ASUS, but since this is a Republic of Gamer's model the designers and engineers has also included those little extras that make a RoG motherboard a RoG motherboard.

Touches like a U.2 32Gb/s port, an all-digital VRM design capable of handling massive overclocks, an additional 4-pin CPU power connector to ensure unlimited amounts of power on tap for said overclocking, and the ASUS OC socket to ensure that all that power is effectively used by the CPU. There is even dual all-digital controllers for the eight DIMMS, which allows the STRIX to boast DDR4-3333 support. In addition, unlike the even more expensive X99-Deluxe II, ASUS has included an 'armored' PCIe x16 slot that has been reinforced to be able to handle the weight of even the heaviest of video cards.

As you can see, this motherboard may indeed redefine the term 'value-added' for 2011-v3 socket motherboards. However, with an online average asking price of $335 (USD), the ROG STRIX X99 GAMING will have to not only outcompete previous generation X99 motherboards, but also new comers like the MSI X99A Gaming Pro Carbon, Gigabyte GA-X99 Phoenix SLI G1, and even ASUS' own Deluxe-II upgrade. That certainly is one tall order, but if there was a motherboard with the potential to do that it certainly is the STRIX. Needless to say, we have extremely high expectations for this motherboard and anything less than perfection will be a disappointment to us. So let's see if it can indeed live up to the excitement it instilled in enthusiasts when it was first announced!


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