So I’ve been tossing around the idea of giving our Crush build an upgrade to one of the new Core-X CPUs and sadly the Asus Rampage VI Apex doesn’t fit so I reached out to Asus to see if they have anything that might fit the bill in their X299 boards. They had the ROG Stix X299-XE Gaming and I figured I should get it in and see just how it compares to all of the other X299 boards we have had in. I knew it fits the dimensions needed for the Case Labs case but is it going to be what I need otherwise? Well, I’m going to take a closer look at its features and then test it to see how it performs. Read on if you are interested in finding out what it has to offer. 

Product Name: Asus ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming

Review sample provided for review by: Asus

Written by: Wes Compton

Pictures by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Link: HERE

 

Specifications

CPU

Intel® Socket 2066 Core™ X-Series Processors

Chipset

Intel® X299

Memory

Intel® Core™ X-series Processors (6-core above)
8 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 4133(O.C) to 2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory 
Intel® Core™ X-series Processors (4-core)
4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 4133(O.C) to 2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory 

Multi-GPU Support

Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology

Supports NVIDIA® 3-Way SLI™ Technology

Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology

Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology

Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology

Supports AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology

Expansion Slots

44-Lane CPU-
Intel® Core™ X-Series Processors Family
3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16, x16/x16, x16/x16/x8) 
2 x PCIe 3.0 x4 (max at x4 mode) *1
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1 
28-Lane CPU-
Intel® Core™ X-Series Processors Family
3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16, x16/x8, x16/x8/x1) 
2 x PCIe 3.0 x4 (max at x4 mode) *1
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1 
16-Lane CPU-
Intel® Core™ X-Series Processors Family
3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16, x8/x8, x8/x8/x1) 
2 x PCIe 3.0 x4 (max at x4 mode) *1
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1

Storage

Intel® Core™ X-Series Processors Family : 
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
8 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology, Intel Rapid Start Technology
Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready

LAN

Intel® I219V

Anti-surge LANGuard

ROG GameFirst IV

Wireless Data Network

Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

Bluetooth

Bluetooth V4.2

Audio

SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A
- Dual Headphone Amplifiers
- Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
- High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR stereo playback input
- SupremeFX Shielding Technology
- Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback *2
Audio Feature :
- SupremeFX Shielding™ Technology
- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
- Dedicated audio PCB layers: Separate layers for left and right channels to guard the quality of the sensitive audio signals
- Premium Japanese-made audio capacitors: Provide warm, natural and immersive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity
- Sonic Radar III
- Sonic Studio III

USB Ports

ASMedia® USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller : 
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector port(s) 
ASMedia® USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller : 
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (2 at back panel, , Type-A + USB Type-CTM)
Intel® X299 Chipset : 
8 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (4 at back panel, +blue, 4 at mid-board)
Intel® X299 Chipset : 
4 x USB 2.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, , 2 at mid-board)

ROG Exclusive Features

ROG RAMCache II
ROG CPU-Z
ROG CloneDrive
Overwolf
GameFirst IV
ROG Aura
- Aura Lighting Control
- Aura RGB Strip Headers

Special Features

OC Design - ASUS PRO Clock II Technology
ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5 :
- 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Xpert 4, and Turbo Core App
AURA :
- Aura Lighting Control
- Aura RGB Strip Headers
- Aura Lighting Effects Synchronization with compatible ASUS ROG devices
- Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
ASUS Exclusive Features :
- USB BIOS Flashback
- AI Suite 3
- Ai Charger 
- Onboard Button : Power
- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface 
ASUS EZ DIY :
- ASUS EZ Flash 3 
- ASUS USB BIOS Flashback 
- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode
- Multi-language BIOS
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
Gaming Aesthetics :
- 3D printing friendly
- AURA-RGB Lighting
M.2 Onboard(The latest transfer technologies with up to 32Gb/s data transfer speeds)

Back I/O Ports

1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)

2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A + USB Type-CTM

4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (blue)

2 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to USB BIOS Flashback)

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

5 x Audio jack(s)

1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)

1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth v4.0/3.0+HS)

Internal I/O Ports

1 x Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)

1 x AAFP connector

2 x Aura RGB Strip Headers

2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s)

1 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 2.0 port(s)

1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)

1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)

1 x COM port(s) connector(s)

8 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)

1 x M.2_FAN connector

1 x VROC_HW_Key

1 x CPU Fan connector(s)

1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s)

2 x Chassis Fan connector(s)

1 x AIO_PUMP connector

1 x W_PUMP+ connector

1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)

1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)

1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)

1 x Front panel connector(s)

1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)

1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector

1 x Thermal sensor connector(s)

1 x Power-on button(s)

1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)

1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector

1 x CPU_OV jumper

Accessories

User's manual

ASUS Q-Shield

1 x Vertical M.2 bracket set

4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)

1 x M.2 Screw Package

1 x Supporting DVD

1 x ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compliant)

1 x MOS Cooling kit (fan bracket and 40mm x 40mm fan)

1 x ROG addressable LED strip (30cm)

1 x Strix door hanger

1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)

1 x Q-Connector

1 x 10-in-1 ROG cable label

1 x M.2 screw kit (long screw and mount)

1 x Thermal sensor cable pack(s)

1 x Cable ties pack(s)

ROG Fan Label

1 x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)

1 x Extension cable for Addressable LED

1 x 3D printing mount package

BIOS

128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI3.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 3.0, ACPI 6.0, Multi-language BIOS,

ASUS EZ Flash 3, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information

Manageability

WfM 2.0, DMI 3.0, WOL by PME, PXE

Support Disc

Drivers

ASUS Utilities

EZ Update

Anti-virus software (OEM version)

Operating System

Windows® 10 64-bit

Form Factor

ATX Form Factor

12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

 


Packaging and Accessories

The Strix X299-XE Gaming would blend in with most other Strix boards on the shelf with its matching packaging. You have a picture of the board right on the front, something that I think everything should have. Then in the background is the ROG logo in an 80’s like neon look that you find on every Strix product. Down along the bottom, there is a long list of icons to show some of the features supported as well as show the Intel chipset and CPU supported. Then on the back of the box, Asus has two more photos of the board that help show both the top down and the rear I/O. Next to those is a short specification listing, then down along the bottom are a few other features highlighted with small photos. They show off the AURA sync, addressable header as well as the LED strip included for this, the M.2 heatsink, and the MDS Cooling Kit. 

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When we get inside of the board the board is up top wrapped in a static protective bag then there is a cardboard insert with a metallic welcome to the republic and the ROG logo. All of the accessories can be found in the tray up under the motherboard, so you have to pull that out to get to everything else.

image 21

Asus didn’t skimp on the accessories. So much so that it's going to take me a minute to touch on all of them. For one they included an external Wireless AC antenna and stand. Then in the bag to the right in the photo below they also slipped in a cool ROG themed GPU bracket. This is a first for me, support brackets for GPUs aren’t normally included with anything, even cases and this one looks good with that grey Strix theme.

image 22

Along with the user manual, you get a whole stack of other swag. You get a door hanger and a few of the round ROG stickers. There is a driver and software disk as well as SATA cable labels. Then they also slipped in a CableMod coupon code, I left ours uncovered to help one of you get a deal on cables or lighting for your build.

image 23

Speaking of CableMod with this being one of the first boards to support individually addressable RGB lighting it actually comes with a short strand of lights for you to use in your build. They are ROG branded both on the strip and the packaging but I do think these are made by CableMod. If you don’t know what addressable LEDs are, it basically means you can control the color of each individual LED on the strip to do cool lighting effects. Similar to most RGB keyboards where each key can be changed. The strip has magnets in it for easy mounting in most cases as well.

image 24

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image 26

The real I/O shield is blacked out with grey legends for a clean look. It has the foam backing on the back over the old school spring design, but one of the USB connections does have a single spring so be sure that doesn’t end up inside of the USB plug when you install the board.

image 27

image 28

For cables, you get a whole pile of them. There are extension cables for both the traditional RGB lighting and the new addressable lights. There is also a single thermal sensor that you can hook up to the board to keep an eye on ambient or the temps of a hard drive or anything else you can think of. For SATA cables you get four black cables with two having a single right-angled connection.

image 29

Asus actually slipped in a small pack of zip ties to help keep things clean. In addition to that, you have screws for 3D printed designs that they have on their website that can customize your board. There is also an included fan and a fan mount called the MOS cooling kit that mounts to the topmost heatsink and adds a 40mm fan for additional cooling to help control the VRM overheating issues that X299 has when overclocking. Beyond that, they also have a tall bracket for a vertically mounted M.2 drive and a Q adapter to make connecting your front panel plugs easier.

image 30

Last but not least, Asus also includes a solid PCB black HB SLI bridge. With only dual SLI being supported we don’t get the whole variety of bridges anymore, but this is all you need. It has the ROG logo and the Nvidia logo in white to stand out from the black.

image 31

 


Board Layout and Pictures

So Asus has a very specific look going with all of their Strix boards no matter if they are AMD or Intel low or high end. The X299-XE Gaming is a high-end board but you get the same black and dark gray look. The good side to this is all of their boards look awesome and are color neutral. The downside, in this case, is that the X299-XE Gaming doesn’t really stand out nest next to cheaper boards. There are a few things that are different though, namely the crystal looking ROG logo down below the CPU that is backlit. Being an X299 board it also has two sets of quad memory DIMMs. One comes covered as a reminder that some of the lower end CPUs don’t support quad channel memory.

image 32

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Recently cooling has been less important and aesthetics have become more important. But after the X299 launch, we found out that with overclocking X299 needed more cooling on a lot of boards. The X299-XE Gaming doesn’t have the same level of cooling that the X299 Apex that I took a look at has, but Asus also didn’t completely skimp as well. Up above the CPU socket, you have a single inch thick aluminum heatsink for the VRM. If you plan on heavily overclocking a high-end CPU this might not be enough but for most CPUs and with the level of overclocking the average user might do this is more than enough.

image 1

Then down in the bottom right corner of the board is a dual function heatsink. This is where the chipset is. The heatsink is split into two parts and can be pulled apart. The top half has all of the aesthetics including the dual gray finish of the Strix look and a ROG logo on it. This is the M.2 cooler. Then up under that when you pull the top half off you can find another piece that covers the chipset. Given the split design, I’m not really sure how much cooling this really does, but the chipset doesn’t need much. For the M.2 drive, they at least have thermal tape to help transfer the heat.

image 3

image 6

Up under the CPU socket, Asus also slipped in another “heatsink” but it is more aesthetic than anything. This is the RGB backed ROG branding inside of a crystal block. I’m sure most of you have seen laser etched things before, when you put lighting under them it is a cool effect so this is something unique from Asus.

image 4

image 5

Being a higher end board I would consider it a requirement, but I was glad to see that Asus didn’t forget to include a rear I/O cover. This keeps the clean look by covering up the shiny I/O parts. The photo below though shows just how tight up against the left DIMMs the cover is though.

image 2

So starting up in the top left corner of the board we have already touched on a few of the biggest features in this area. You have the I/O shield that also runs down the left side of the board and the two heatsinks at the top and bottom of the CPU socket. Tucked up above the heatsink are two CPU power connections, you get an 8 pin and a 4 pin. Then next to that is a single RGB lighting header and two four pin PWM fan headers for the CPU. Also in this area, just under the left ram DIMMs are two more PWM headers as well.

image 8

image 16

So the top right corner is a little crowded as well with the second set of four RAM DIMMs but Asus did fit a few things here. You have the 24-pin motherboard power of course. Then below that is a vertical M.2 slot. Asus really likes this vertical design that uses an included bracket because it offers the best possible cooling for the drives and it takes up a lot less room on the motherboard. Of course, it also sticks up in your case so it could get in the way of water cooling. There is also a new style USB 3.1 Gen 2 header. Not many cases support this yet but with Type-C and Gen 2 connections becoming more popular it should improve this year.

image 9

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Down in the bottom right portion of the Strix X299-XE the chipset heatsink that also doubles as an M.2 heatsink takes up most of the space. On the right edge, you do have two sets of right-angled connections. There are eight SATA connections along with a USB 3.0 header. The USB headers rarely are right-angled light this and it can be good or bad for your wire management depending on your case layout but this is one of two headers so it is nice to have the option. The M.2 that is hidden under the heatsink does support SATA or PCI drives with PCI drives having up to x4 bandwidth for the fastest of drives. Then down on the bottom edge, this is where Asus tucked in most of the other connections. There was a fan header just under the SATA ports as well as two down on the bottom. They are all four pin PWM headers and the pump header is designed for higher amperage as well for better support of water pumps. In the corner the long header has all of the front panel connections, Asus included that nice adapter cable to make plugging everything in easier, but if you do it old school they are also printed below on the PCB. The white header is the addressable RGB header and then over on the left, we have a USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0, both facing up this time. 

image 10

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In the bottom left section, Asus has carried connections on down along the bottom. There is an external fan header along with a power button. Then next to that is an LED debug so you can see where you are in the boot process, diagnose boot issues, and see your CPU temperatures when your PC is up and running. There is the second white regular RGB header and next to that is the front panel audio connection. You can see that Asus has tried to split the PCB up a little here to keep audio cleaner and they did go with high-quality caps. They also covered up the audio circuitry with a metal cover to help keep interference down as well. Being an X299 board the Strix X299-XE does, of course, have a lot of PCI lanes, Asus took advantage of this to give you three x16 length slots, two x4 length slots, and one x1 length slot. The shorter slots all run at there normal speeds. For the x16 slots, the top slot is always x16 and the bottom two can run at x16 if you are only using one of the two but when you fill them both they share that x16 to give each x8.

image 11

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So the rear I/O has that fancy cover on it but at first glance, you would think that a board like this would have filled up all of the available space. What you end up getting is a normal 5 plus optical sound layout on the far right. Then the board does have built-in wireless with an 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Intel card that also has Bluetooth v4.2. The red NIC is an Intel I219V and being red shows that it has Asus’s Anti-Surge protection built in. I was surprised that there was only one NIC, though I never use the second one when I have it. Then for USB, you get two black USB 2.0 ports on the left for your mouse and keyboard. The four blue ports are all USB 3.1 Gen 1 running on the Intel controller. The red port is a Type-A USB 3.1 Gen 2 port and the Type-C connection below it is also USB 3.1 Gen 2 (the faster standard), both running on an ASMedia controller. Last but not least is the BIOS reset button over on the left, I love that this is included. I feel like just slipping in four more USB 2.0 ports would fill up the extra space and help give more needed connections to power users.

image 17

The back of the board gives a much better look at the weird striped layout that Asus printed on to the black PCB. I personally like a nice clean black board and I think the striped look kindof clutters up the board. But I’m sure some will like it. Beyond that, you can see the fat backplate for the LGA-2066 socket. The back also gives us a better look at how the audio chipset is split, some companies fake it and looking at the back is a dead giveaway I’m glad to see Asus didn’t do that.

image 18

 


BIOS

Rather than get a whole bunch of screenshots of the BIOS, I put together a simple video. This way we get a full look at every option available and still get a feel for what Asus has going on with their BIOS. Strix is a ROG brand so the overall theme is the same red and gray look that Asus has used for years. I wouldn’t mind it having more of a Strix look personally, but this setup has worked well. This BIOS comes with an EZ Mode but for some reason, they don’t have you booting into it, so anyone who doesn’t know their way around the BIOS is never going to find the easier to use mode made specifically for them.

Everything is split up into a few different tabs. There is a Favorites tab that you can save different features to have quicker access to them. This is really only ideal if you need to change something often and only overclockers will be doing that. But they have already made things centralized in the Ai Tweaker tab with all of your CPU and memory overclocking options and being a ROG board you get a lot of them!

The Main tab just has your system information and options to change the language and time. Once past all of the overclocking options, everything else related to the chipset and peripherals is in the advanced tab. Inside of this one you get a full page full of additional pages to dive into all of the features. Next is the Monitor tab, this gives you a long list of readouts for every sensor, fan speed, and temperature on the board. The Boot tab is exactly what it says it is, you can change a few bootup options and then get into things like boot order and even boot overrides if you need to force a one time book to a different drive or device.

Most of those options can be found on every motherboard (with the exception of some of the overclocking options) but the tool page is where Asus really stands out from the competition. You can secure erase drive, play with overclocking profiles, and even see more details on your GPU. But it’s the EZ Flash 3 utility that I like the most. You can update your BIOS right from here and you don’t even have to save the new file to a flash drive. You can actually navigate your installed drives to find where you downloaded the file or use an online tool to download the file. The online option doesn’t work as well for me most of the time but I love not having to format a thumb drive to an old format then copy the file over.

Also in the BIOS but not in the tools page, up top you have an EZ Tuning Wizard for a quick automatic overclock. Asus also has their Qfan control up on the top of every page as well. That one lets you run an auto tune on your fans so the fan profiles work better and then if you need it you can customize your own fan profile. Also on every page, over on the right, is a few important bits like your clock speeds and voltages to help when overclocking.

 


Test Rig and Procedures

Intel X299 Test System

CPU

Intel Core i9-7900X

Live Pricing

Cooling

Noctua NH-U12S for cooling

Noctua NT-H1 Thermal Paste

Live Pricing

Live Pricing

Memory

Kingston HyperX FURY DDR4 16GB Kit 2666MHz

Live Pricing

Storage

Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD

Live Pricing

Video Card

Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti

Live Pricing

Power Supply

Thermaltake 850w

Live Pricing

Case

Microcool Banchetto 101 Test bench

Live Pricing

OS

Windows 10 Pro 64-bit

Live Pricing

Motherboard Testing

Passmark Performance Test 9.0

Overall PCMark score

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 standard test, not the quick or extended versions

3DMark

We run the 2013 Fire Strike test on the performance setting

In Game Tests

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

In game benchmark, ultra setting, 1080p

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands

1080p, built-in benchmark run at the high setting

Subsystem Testing

Passmark

Passmark Advanced network test

 


Performance

For performance testing, I’ve mentioned it a lot in the past but its always good to post up a reminder. The performance between different motherboards really isn’t big unless you have one company overclocking or underclocking the CPU. So most of the testing below is just to keep everyone on the up and up and make sure there aren’t any issues. That said this is also a great look at what to expect for performance if you go with a 1080 Ti and a 7900X. First though, here are our CPUz readouts so that everyone can see our exact configuration and BIOS revision.

cpuz 1

cpuz 2

As for our test results, what did we end up with? Well the Strix X299-XE Gaming paired up with the 7900X and the 1080Ti is actually a bit of a monster. Performance in all of the tests is up there, at least until the next generation of GPUs hits the market. 3DMark and PCMark were both in line with everything else tested within margin. Passmark was a little higher than most of the other boards tested, but in range of what the Gigabyte board did so no issues there. Then the two games tested at highest settings were MORE than enough and perfect for today's higher refresh monitors, not bad for a single card setup. The network performance test is really the only place I see big variations and this is because some motherboards use different network chipsets and on the wireless side each company also has their own antenna design. Asus went with the Intel I219V for the hardwired NIC and its performance was right up there. I was surprised they didn’t stick with Intel on the wireless NIC like they normally do, but they went with the Realtek 8822BE that they also used on the Apex board. Its performance was better than the non-Asus boards tested mostly due to their antenna design that has given me fewer issues than the others.

3DMark

Motherboard

Overall Score

Graphics Score

Physics Score

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe

19867

23755

24113

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

20474

23567

26871

MSI X299 SLI Plus

19153

23712

25345

EVGA X299 Micro

19437

23604

23848

Asus ROG Rampage VI Apex

19418

23821

22881

Asus ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming

19737

23762

23709

PCMark 10 Score

Overall Score

Essentials

Productivity

Content Creation

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe

6475

9145

8486

9496

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

6402

9193

7932

9764

MSI X299 SLI Plus

6304

9355

7834

9277

EVGA X299 Micro

6527

9493

8775

9060

Asus ROG Rampage VI Apex

6354

9330

8106

9206

Asus ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming

6374

8954

8758

8960

Passmark PerformanceTest 9.0 Overall Score

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe

5924.0

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

6042.2

MSI X299 SLI Plus

5816.2

EVGA X299 Micro

5948.9

Asus ROG Rampage VI Apex

5830.3

Asus ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming

6013.4

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands Average FPS

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe

113.64

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

115.88

MSI X299 SLI Plus

113.58

EVGA X299 Micro

112.29

Asus ROG Rampage VI Apex

113.32

Asus ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming

113.88

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Average FPS

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe

94.3

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

96.9

MSI X299 SLI Plus

98.7

EVGA X299 Micro

94.8

Asus ROG Rampage VI Apex

96.5

Asus ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming

96.8

Average Network Speed

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe - Intel I219V NIC

918.2

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe - Intel I211-AT

942.0

Asus Prime X299 Deluxe - Wireless AC

211.8

Gigabyte X299 Aorus Gaming 3

936.6

MSI X299 SLI Plus

927.1

EVGA X299 Micro – Intel I219v3

923.8

EVGA X299 Micro – Intel Wireless AC 8260

176.7

Asus ROG Rampage VI Apex - Intel® I219V

915.4

Asus ROG Rampage VI Apex – Realtek 8822BE

207.5

Asus ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming - Intel I219V

927.3

Asus ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming - Realtek 8822BE

204.1

 


Overall and Final Verdict

It feels like Asus has got the formula down for solid motherboards. Their BIOS’s and software are always a step above everyone else, then add to that the Strix styling with its color neutral theme and you already have a decent motherboard even before adding in features. The ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming has everything you would expect from any X299 board including PCI and M.2 configurations that take advantage of all of the PCI lanes that the higher end CPUs have. They also made sure you get a lot of the new USB 3.1 Gen 2 connections with a few on the rear I/O and one internal header as well. Being a Strix board it does have all of the addressable RGB lighting on the board including a unique etched block in the middle with ROG etched inside. But it’s the multiple normal RGB headers and the new addressable RGB header that is going to please those who need that RGB goodness. Addressable LEDs are a big step forward because you can now control each LED on the strip independent of the others. So you can do some unique effects, turn off some to cut back on brightness, or just about anything else you can think off. Asus even includes a strip with the board.

Now performance was good in our testing, especially with the wireless, though I would still run wired if possible. But there were a few things I would love to see improve. The biggest to me was the number of USB ports on the rear I/O. You get those fast gen 2 ports but just filling in all of the extra space with more USB 2.0 ports would go a long way in leaving connection options for people like me who run too many devices off their PC. The other thing was a bit of a nitpick because I do like the way this board looks. But considering where this is in the market, it hardly looks any different than cheap Strix boards with the exception of that etched part.

My last concern was with the overall price. If you look at the MSRP of 369.99 independently it is a little crazy. AM4 and Z370 boards with similar features don’t run this high. But we have to remember that X299 as a whole is a more expensive platform so all of the boards are more expensive. The Strix X299-XED is actually an upper mid-range priced board when you look at what else is on the market and at its price it compares well to what else is on the market. The ASRock X299 OC Formula, for example, has the same issue with too few USB ports, has fewer ram DIMMs, and lacks the Asus software and Asus Aura functionality.

So is this the board to pick up? Well for starters, I think X299 as a platform is only good for some specific situations. AMD has done really well to snatch up a lot of the potential market share of enthusiasts with Threadripper being much cheaper, not to mention memory prices really limiting one of X299’s biggest features (quad-channel memory). But if you are locked in on X299 this isn’t a bad board. I would also suggest checking out the Asus Prime X299-A as its available right now in an open box at entry level (for X299 lol) prices. The X299-XE bridges the gap between the cheapish X299 boards and the cool boards like the Prime Deluxe. For me though, I think this might be the perfect board to give our Crush build an upgrade. I prefer Asus’s software and it has more USB 3.1 Gen 2 connections as well as the addressable RGB LED header for me to get a little crazy with my lighting.

fv5

Live Pricing: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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