Friday, October 3, 2014

Asus X99 LGA2011-v3 Enthusiast Test Rig

The Rig Foundations

Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 16GB Quad Channel Kit

Beautifully dressed in full matte black, matching low profile heatspreaders and PCB too. Small discrete brand and part spec labels complete the stealth image.



The Mobo 

X99 delidded... the mobo that is, for the sleeker full black look & for better cooling, hopefully.

Or perhaps, you prefer the stock look with its original white stickers...


8 layer PCB on this enthusiast class model


Storage options in abundance - SATA3, SATA Express and M.2 ports (up to 22110 format)


Onboard sound isolation & LEDs which can be toggled in the BIOS

Onboard Goodies

Onboard Power & Reset buttons, numerous switches & debug LED

CPU Socket

A Foxconn socket for this model

Asus OC Socket Technology

With X99, Asus surprised its competitors with their OC Socket feature which can be easily seen here by comparing the sockets side by side paying attention to the areas marked by red boxes. Note the extra pins which make the Asus OC Socket appear clearly more dense.

Close up of the X99-A OC socket (click on it to enlarge)

Photo provided by Asus

For more information on this, click here
ASUS & ROG X99 Exclusive: OC Socket – Extra Pins, Extra Performance!


Checking out the amount of contact & the specific components lying beneath the sinks.

The top heatsink lacks the connecting heatpipe seen on the Deluxe model and consequently seems to be purely decorative... oh Asus, you could have cut down on stickers and implement the immeasurably more practical heatpipe. lol

CPU Mounting Bracket Preparation (Optional: for custom cooling)

Dismantling the bracket and subsequent reassembly for thru' hole long mounting screws

Torx M3 needed

Note unbroken plastic insulator

Intro 22G needle

Follow thru' with M3 driver

Tada, all 4 mounting holes accomplished!

Next, reassemble mounting bracket back onto mobo...


Quite clearly, the Asus UEFI BIOS remains the best in the business so far

Test Rig Setup

 ★ Asus X99-A | i7-5820K | Corsair Vengeance LPX 2666 16GB Kit | Plextor M6 Pro SSD | NiCu HK 3.0-GTX360 | AMD R9 290 | Corsair RM850 PSU ★

Ambient 31C open air

24/7 Safe Voltages?

Comparing HW-E VID specs - with currently available info from Intel, keeping ~1.30V seems resonably safe enough for the long run
i7-5820K (no VID info given)
Xeon E5-1650 v3 (VID 0.65–1.30V)

Do note also that AVX voltages and clocks have been tweaked in newer Intel processors
Tech Report

Intel LGA2001v3 Datasheet

Safe DDR4 Voltages - 1.35v or lower (Intel)

Overclocking & Results

Despite being a total X99/DDR4 noob, I did manage to acheve a most satisfying stable overclock out of the rig within a few hours of setting it up. With more time and effort (or volts) invested, I am sure most can do a better job. :)

Intel XTU

Asus Realbench 2.2

HyperPi 32M


Mo' bigger synthetic numbers for whatever it is worth... still a very nice tool  for sharing subtimings



Cinebench 15

Cinebench 11.5


3DMark Fire Strike Extreme

The nearly inevitable synthetic gaming benchmark that some ask for

Alien Isolation Benchmark
Currently the latest game with a built-in real world gaming benchmark at the time of this testing


flac to mp3 audio encoding easily hitting over 600x


DVD to mp4 transcoding

Freemake Video Converter


Did one successful trial followed by a sequential batch run


DPC Latency

Simply Surfin' & Muckin' Around

Monitoring parameters after a couple of hours just web surfing, downloading, unRARing etc... ie. relatively non-CPU intensive usage

Choice Of CPU

On the Asus supported list of CPU models, the X99-A supports processors all the way up to the monstrous Xeon E5-2699-v3 (18C, 36T)
Asus Support

And if you are considering the i7-5960X, perhaps take a look at this interesting post
OCN post - i7-5960X vs Xeon E5-1660v3

Choice Of Motherboard

Guess which is currently the only brand of X99 motherboards qualified/recommended for overclocking to  DDR4-3200 RAM speeds?
Answers here.... & here...

Meanwhile for survey lovers, check this out cos there seem to be lots of Asus supporters in that influential mega- forum with members from across the world
OCN Forum X99 Survey

As of 15/10/14 (date of writing this), results are as follows

Tips From The Asus Guys

Notes So Far

  • An affordable 6 core 12 thread Intel processor with lots of crunching power, finally! 
  • 22nm Haswell-E class fluxless soldered processor runs relatively cool even when overclocked
  • X99-A motherboard has straight drop in upgrade path to Xeons with mucho moar coars eg. E5-2699-v3 
  • Well built motherboard with 8 layer PCB
  • Well equipped with functional features on the current lowest end Asus X99 model
  • Top class well featured Asus UEFI
  • Runs stable, some minor early BIOS issues
  • Overclocks well and easily, usable overclock achievable in just a few hours
  • Slow POST (like its X79 predecessor) with cold double initialisation issue
  • DDR4 pricing and nascent availability issues

Updated USB 3.1 Onboard Model

Just a quick snapshot with my lowly Lumia handphone, note the distinctive Asus teal coloured USB3.1 ports


ASUS X99 Thermal Control Tool -

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