Today we have the opportunity to dig on the ASUS ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming. Gaming XE differs from non-XE by adding a larger VRM heatsink and includes a 40mm fan and mounting hardware to help further cool the VRM. A number of companies are releasing the 'XE' model with larger heatsinks, although the fan will be an interesting addition.
ASUS ROG Strix X299-XE overview
ASUS started the line of Strix hardware a few generations ago and have now expanded many of their product lines including headsets, mice, keyboards, mousepads, sound cards, graphics cards and motherboards. Initially, it was a 'zero decibel silent' brand, which focused on the GPU, but is now more suited to budget gaming brands and spreading to several categories. According to ASUS, the word Strix is derived from the ancient Romans and Greek words for owls, which means sharp hearing and sharp eyesight - a feature desired and / or required by gamers.
To that end, the line of Strix is in accordance with the Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand. ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming offers 3-way SLI and Crossfire support, Intel NIC, an ASUS that tweak Realtek ALC S1220A audio, and focus on larger heatsinks to help cool down power delivery.
ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming comes out due to the clutter due to the general pervasiveness of weak power delivery X299, and more specifically, the weak heatsink cools the VRM. While most will do an acceptable job at a high price and a light overclock, when things really push some boards have problems in certain test situations relating to thermal runaway. ASUS and ASRock have updated several boards for the XE model, and ASUS gives the same ROG Strix lump heatsink to support the 165W flagship section as well as peace of mind when overclocking.
Overall, the default performance on ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming averages slightly below average due to lack of Multi-Core Enhancement - to ease some of the issues at X299 launch, ASUS has moved MCE to disabled by default, yet offers a feature when XMP enabled. So, in the case of the Strix we have, the CPU drives all cores to 3.6 GHz during testing. The result may be related to how the board ramps up and down the frequency in my current test environment. The boot time is square in the center of the pack while power usage is on the lower side compared to the previous board we have tested. While in most other tests, this is the middle or lower half compared to other boards. Overclocking results are the same as other boards that are above 4.5 GHz and reach our temperature limit.
The Strix ROG Board allows users to have almost all storage connectivity. There are eight SATA ports (a maximum of chipsets), and two M.2 slots - one horizontally under a heatsink chipset, and one vertical by a DRAM slot with its own support bracket. The first M.2 slot, under the chipset, supports both PCIe and SATA drives, although it will share with some SATA ports while in SATA mode. The vertical M.2 slot only supports PCIe-based modules.
There are a total of six PCIe slots with positions 1, 4, and 6 (top to bottom) of all CPUs connected and intended for video cards. PCIe 2 (x1), 3 (x4), and 5 (x4) slots are all connected through the chipset. For connectivity, there is a Type-C and Type-A USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) port on the rear panel that is fed from the ASMedia 3142 controller. There are four other 5 Gbps ports on the back as well as two USB 2.0 ports. Also on the back panel there are five pairs of audio plugs plus SPDIF, 802.11ac Wi-Fi mount point, Intel NIC, and BIOS flashback button. Not many USB ports, but should be enough for most users.
ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming is currently priced at $ 369.99 in Newegg and Amazon. Pricepoint slot board in the middle of the pile of ASUS products with Apex, Prime Deluxe and RVIE on it. The non-XE version of this board comes at a price of $ 320 and a price increase of almost $ 50. Compare with Taichi ASRock and Taichi XE is $ 20 apart (the latter is not accompanied by a fan, note), it is a significant price spike for the heatsink Larger VRM and fan, so users should be sure that the use case will be profitable before spending cash
ASUS X299 Strategy
ASUS brings together a total of eight X299 boards at this time to choose from: ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme builds home in the Republic of Gamers (ROG) fan segment along with ROG Rampage VI Apex and ROG Strix X299-E Gaming and Strix X299-XE Gaming (soon to be reviewed! ).
The Main Segment consists of two boards in Prime X299-A and Prime X299-Deluxe. The TUF arrangement also consists of two boards, the TUF X299 Mark 2, and TUF X299 Mark 1.
Information about Intel X299 and our other reviews
With the launch of Intel's Basin Falls platform, which includes the new X299 chipset and LGA2066 socket, a new generation of CPUs called Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X are also being launched. Skylake-X CPUs range from 7800X, hex-core parts, to the 7980XE multitasking 18-core giant. Between the CPU bookend is the other five that increase in core count, as in the table below. The last HCC model will be launched in 2H in 2017.
Board partners have launched dozens of motherboards on this platform, some of which we will get a chance to look around in the coming weeks and months.
X299 Motherboard Review Notice
If you have been following the little things of the X299 motherboard, you may have heard some problems regarding power delivery, overclocking, and the ability to cool the processor to avoid power consumption. In short, get down to this:
- Skylake-X spends a lot of power on the peak (150W +),
- The thermal interface inside the CPU does not require much CPU cooling,
- Some motherboard vendors implement a Multi-Core Turbo that increases power consumption and voltage, aggravating the problem
- VRM has to deal with more power, and because of the losses, the rise in temperature
- Some motherboards do not have adequate VRM cooling without active cooling
- This causes the CPU to decompose or suppress the heat state in order not to lower the component
- This results in performance degradation, and the overclocked system is more affected than usual
There have been some good work done by Igor Wallossek at Tom's Hardware, with thermal probes, thermal cameras, and performance analysis. The bottom line is that motherboard vendors should be careful in terms of default settings (if MCT is enabled by default) and provide adequate VRM cooling in all scenarios - heatsinks are heavier and heavier or move back to active cooling.