We’ve hit the X99 motherboard motherlode. You won’t find a more feature-packed slice of circuit board this side of Johnny Five. In a world where the mobo has less and less import thanks to so much logic being integrated into the CPU package, we’ve seen many sparse boards recently, with a wasteland between their PCIe slots and dead air around the socket. That’s certainly not the case with Asus’ top of the line X99 offering, the X99 Deluxe. It’s packed from corner to corner with components, expansion slots and features, all in the most pleasing design Asus has ever dropped onto its consumer range of boards. Gone are the faded blue of the X79 and the gold of the Z97s; now it’s all stormtrooper white with black lowlights.
And the kitchen sink
We could give a full rundown of this board’s entire feature set, but we’d overrun this page considerably if we did. Suffice to say that if there’s a high-end feature that stands out for the X99 platform then the Asus has it. And probably two of them. From the packed-out back panel to the vast array of storage options, the Deluxe is more than just a clever name. This is the board you’ll use to power a computing behemoth, though it’s a more generalised mobo than something like the Gigabyte X99-SOC Force or even the crazy-expensive RoG Rampage V Extreme.
Those are more keyed to extreme overclocking – they’re boards designed to sit on a test bench drowning in liquid nitrogen. The X99 Deluxe is more of an all-round performer, offering the sort of connectivity you’d expect of a mini server board, which is essentially where it’s come from.
The serious memory performance, twin SATA Express ports and lack of extraneous features like voltage checkpoints are testament to that. Which isn’t to say this isn’t still a seriously quick, powerful board, up there with the performance metrics those more extreme X99s are capable of. The Deluxe is still using the same OC Socket Asus has packed its X99 range with, so this is the only other board in the test capable of offering overclocking support up to the 3,000MHz our Corsair memory kit is rated at.
It’s also the most capable standard overclocker of the bunch – not necessarily in the overall CPU clockspeed, but in the actual benchmarked performance at its maximum overclock. We must stress though that’s only in terms of the rather basic, liquid-cooled overclocking us norms are capable of, not the LN2-sniffing that something like Gigabyte’s impressive X99-SOC Force caters to.
The only disappointment with the Deluxe is, like its Asus stablemate, in the gaming performance. The fact that the Asus boards are around the bottom, albeit in only a single benchmark, is a surprise. Even the likes of ASRock now post higher average frame rates. But that’s a rather intangible smudge on its report card; the Deluxe is the board we’d want as the basis of any X99 computing workhorse. It’s one of the most expensive in the test, but the connectivity, feature set and overall performance you get go a long way to making it worth it.