The rise of AMD in the performance CPU market certainly got the attention of gamers, enthusiasts and of course, raised some eyebrows at Intel. Now that the new Intel SkyLake-X processors are out, we get to review the latest ASUS Strix X299-E Gaming motherboard with the Intel i7-7820X 8-core CPU.
Design and Features
ASUS doesn’t hesitate to add in new features and design aesthetics with every release of new generation motherboards and the new ASUS Strix X299-E Gaming motherboard looks like a beefed-up version of the ASUS Strix Z270E Gaming that we had reviewed earlier this year. The motherboard features the new LGA 2066 CPU socket is designed to house the latest Intel X-Series processors (SkyLake-X and KabyLake-X chips).
While there are a total of 8 DIMM slots, there are some limitations based on the processor used. For starters, using a 4-core X-series processor allows users to use a maximum of 4 DIMM slots and up to 64GB DDR4. This limitation only applies to the quad-core KabyLake-X chips. Using a 6-core or above SkyLake-X processors allows you to take advantage of all the eight DIMM slots and install up to a total of 128GB DDR4 RAM. Additionally, the slots accept memory speeds up to 4133 MHz (OC).
Apart from the AURA lighting LED that’s located on the chassis of the I/O back panel, there is also a solid block that sits between the CPU socket and the primary PCIe 3.0 slot. Not that it does any favor for performance but this block features a multi-color LED with a 3D-like ROG insignia when looked from above.
The three PCIe slots x16 slots (with support for x16, x16/x16 and x16/x16/x8) feature the ASUS SafeSlot shielding for providing 1.6 times stronger retention force and 1.8 times stronger sheering resistance while using multiple heavy graphics cards. You can also see the SupremeFX hardware and its shielding with the dual headphone amplifiers, capacitors and high-quality components.
There is also the Q-Code LED to check the system status incase of any errors, the AURA RGB headers, and the new AURA addressable header that’s next to the PCH heatsink. With the addressable header, users will be able to connect compatible lighting strips, LED fans, coolers, or even system case LEDs to sync the AURA RGB effects and illumination.
While most new motherboards come with M.2 slots, there has been one critical feature that has been missing. You see, while M.2 nVME drives feature very high speed read and write speeds, these tiny chewing gum-sized memories get hot very fast. The ASUS Strix X299-E Gaming solves this issue with its preinstalled M.2 heatsink.
Basically, ASUS simply extended the PCH heatsink towards the M.2 slot as a removable portion and holds a thermal tape underneath. ASUS claims that the heatsink brings down M.2 temperatures by 15 degrees and they're right. We installed a Samsung 512GB 960 Pro nVME SSD and the drive operated up to 47 degrees with the M.2 heatsink during high load. We also tried without the M.2 heatsink and the temperatures raised up to 66-degrees. Additionally, there is also a fan holder for the M.2 SSD if you’re up for 3D-printed add-on components.
Unlike normal 24-pin EATX power connectors, the ASUS Strix X299-E Gaming motherboard comes with the ProCool power connector that offers a stronger design with improved power efficiency and better heat dissipation. And to the left of the ATX connector is the second M.2 slot that mounts the drive upwards. There is also an 8-pin and a 4-pin power connector behind the heatsink.
The I/O back panel features one RJ-45 LAN, one USB 3.1 Type-A, one USB 3.1 Type-C, 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (the ones in blue), two USB 2.0 ports, one optical S/PDIF, five audio jacks, the USB BIOS Flashback button and the connections for the ASUS WiFi-GO module for 802.11 a/b/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. We also would like to mention that the Strix X299-E Gaming comes with tons of accessories such as the vertical M.2 heatsink, the M.2 screw kit and package, ASUS 2T2R dual-band WiFi antennas, an SLI HB bridge (good addition for those who wants to make full use of their SLi setups, Q-connector, ROG cable labels, extension cables ROG strips/addressable LEDs, and more.