Asus X99-Deluxe II Review

Manufacturer: Asus
UK price (as reviewed):
£378.99 (inc VAT)
US price (as reviewed): $419.99 (ex Tax)

Asus X99-Deluxe II ReviewWe have to say that Asus's Deluxe boards have been pretty impressive the last couple of years. The Z170-Deluxe and original X99-Deluxe are packed with features and have been nibbling away at some exclusive ROG offerings too, such as RGB lighting and EFI-based secure erase.

There's also something exciting about opening the box of one of these boards, especially the X99 variety. The reason why they cost so much is that they're loaded with features and come with a ton of accessories too.

Take the X99-Deluxe II, Asus's refreshed X99 board that we're looking at today, for example. You get an Intel Thunderbolt 3 PCI-E card, which sports Intel-powered USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C ports as well as a mini-DisplayPort header for Thunderbolt output courtesy of an included mini-DisplayPort to Displayport cable.

There's also a PCI-E M.2 adaptor for PCI-E based SSDs plus a fan extension card with four 4-pin fan headers and three 2-pin thermal probe headers, all of which are controllable via the EFI. You get a desktop magnetic WiFi aerial, an RGB LED cable extension and an Asus 3-way SLI bridge too.

Asus X99-Deluxe II Review Asus X99-Deluxe II Review
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Of course, this could be considered tat if you won't be using it, but if you have a need for two M.2 drives (there's another PCI-E based port on the PCB itself) or need more fans or the benefit of Thunderbolt 3, then it has you covered. Thankfully, these aren't the only things that are here to explain the slightly eye-watering near-£400 price tag.

Asus X99-Deluxe II Review Asus X99-Deluxe II Review
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You get everything you need in terms of overclocking and testing tools - LED POST code display, power, reset and CMOS clear buttons and Asus has added a three-way switch that illuminated the right PCI-E slots to use for single, dual and triple GPU setups, plus there's an XMP-enabling switch too.

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It's a decidedly busy PCB and once again we're presented with an extremely awkward primary 16x PCI-E slot lever that's practically hidden by the mid-board heatsink - good luck with that one. Thankfully, Asus has at least double-spaced this and the secondary 16x PCI-E slot so using two air-cooled graphics cards, even with rear backplates, shouldn't hamper cooling and result in throttling.

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One area that usually sees improvement if you start spending more with X99 boards is storage, and it's no different with the X99-Deluxe II. You get two M.2 Socket 3/M Key ports for PCI-E M.2 SSDs - this makes sense as there's little point using a SATA-compatible M.2 SSD in a PC unless in super-small form factor builds. There are also two U.2 ports, although it's worth noting that one of these and the PCB-based M.2 port use vertical mounts.

Asus X99-Deluxe II Review Asus X99-Deluxe II Review
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The M.2 port especially can look quite unsightly and we also found it easy to knock - heaven forbid you should snap your Samsung SSD 950 Pro in half, although vertically mounting it is likely to improve cooling. That said, this and one of the U.2 ports do share bandwidth with the secondary 16x PCI-E slot, which will see its speed cut from x16 to x8 - this will only be an issue if you're using two graphics cards though, but there are more severe bandwidth changes if you don't use a 40-lane CPU .

Asus X99-Deluxe II Review
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Asus X99-Deluxe II Review
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RGB lighting is here again, although it's fairly limited compared to some of the board's we've seen recently, being reduced to the lower half of the PCB and around the PCH, PCI-E slots and audio circuitry.

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Specifications

  • Chipset Intel X99
  • Form factor ATX
  • CPU support Intel Socket 2011-v3 (Broadwell-E,Haswell-E, Xeon)
  • Memory support Quad-channel, eight slots, max 128GB
  • Sound 8-channel Realtek ALC1150
  • Networking Intel I218V, Intel I211-AT, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Ports 1 x M.2 32Gbps, 2 x U.2 32Gbps, 1 x SATA Express 10Gbps, 8 x SATA 6Gbps, 3 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 8 x USB 3.0 (4 via header), 6 x USB 2.0 (2 via header), 2 x LAN, audio out, line in, mic, Optical S/PDIF out
  • Dimensions (mm) 305 x 244
  • Extras 2-way/3-way SLI bridge, PCI-E to M.2 x4 adaptor, Asus 3T3R dual-band Wi-Fi moving antennas, fan extension card, thermistor cables

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