Asus X99-Pro Review

Manufacturer: Asus
UK price (as reviewed):
£239.99(inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $329.79 (ex Tax)
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Our review of Asus's flasgship mainstream X99 motherboard saw it pick up our top award thanks to great looks, an excellent feature set and awesome performance and overclocking potential. It was a pricey bit of kit, though, but thankfully it has a little brother - the X99-Pro, which offers much of the same awesomeness, but for around £60 less.

That said, it's still going to set you back over £230 but even though the Deluxe has seen a small price reduction since launch, the savings could net you an all-in-one liquid cooler or larger SSD, for example. So what's the specification and how do the two differ? At face value, they're actually remarkably similar.

Aesthetically, they both sport the large, white I/O panel shroud and heatsink details, so are a refreshing change from the black and colour designs such as black and red for ROG or black and gold for its Z97-based offerings. However, it's in the finer core details that the Deluxe leaps ahead a little. The X99-Pro has four 16x PCI-E slots to the Deluxe's five, with one of these being limited to x4 speed, but there's still the option of three-way GPU setups, with 40-lane CPUs maxing out at x16/x16/x8.

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The X99-Pro also lacks the Deluxe's 16x PCI-E slot light indicators that show you which slots to use for two and three-way setups, but thankfully Asus has seen fit to allow you to double-space the first two GPUs into 16x PCI-E slots one and three. This means that dual-slot coolers have around 25mm of space between them, which should be enough not to hamper cooling. The same can't be said for some of the X99-Pro's cheaper competitors, nor the two micro-ATX X99 boards we've looked at either - ASRock's Fatal1ty X99M Killer and EVGA's X99 Micro.

There are also a few cutbacks in the storage department. The X99-Pro still boasts a healthy eight SATA 6Gbps ports, plus SATA Express and two M.2 ports - one on the PCB and the other using a x4 PCI-E adaptor card, both of which support up to type 22110 modules. The Deluxe, though, offers two SATA Express ports and four additional SATA 6Gbps ports, although only 10 of these are powered off the X99 chipset.

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Networking and sound are pretty much the same, though, with each offering both an Intel I218V Gigabit Ethernet port plus an onboard dual-band 802.11ac WiFi module with a magnetic antenna bundled in the box too. The same Realtek ALC1150 8-channel audio codec is here too with hgih-fidelity OP AMPs and a noise-isolated PCB and Asus claims 112 dB and 104 dB SNR for the line out and line in jacks respectively - identical to the Deluxe, while Asus's generous software suite is identical too.

Asus X99-Pro Review
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Overclocking tool-wise, you've got everything you need really - power and reset buttons, a POST code display, with the only things the Deluxe offering in addition to the X99-Pro being proper buttons - here you're left with the bog standard black buttons instead of anything more elaborate. Faulting the layout of the Asus X99-Pro is hard to do. Even though the PCB is packed full, there's little to worry about with the only snags appearing when you start loading the board full of graphics cards, which will eventually block the M.2 port (not rendering it useless but rather inaccessible), with the same being true for many of the SATA ports.

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Specifications

  • Chipset Intel X99
  • Form factor ATX
  • CPU support Intel Socket 2011-v3 (Haswell-E, Xeon)
  • Memory support Quad-channel, 4 slots, max 64GB
  • Sound 8-channel Realtek ALC1150
  • Networking Intel I218V Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac, Bluetooth v4.0
  • Ports 2 x M.2 (type 2242 - 22110), 1 x SATA Express, 8 x SATA 6Gbps, 10 x USB 3.0 (4 via header), 8 x USB 2.0 ( 4 x via header), 2 x LAN, audio out, line in, mic, Optical S/PDIF out
  • Dimensions (mm) 305 x 244
  • Extras Magnetic WiFi aerial, PCI-E M.2 card adaptor

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