Given that this is one of the very first ‘new’ X99 motherboards I’ve had the pleasure of looking at, I wasn’t all too sure what to expect. I had a feeling that it should be roughly the same as the older motherboards, for obvious reasons, but some things usually work better (or sometimes worse!) than the previous line of boards, even when using the same chipset. So, what did the motherboard bring to the table, and is it worth the price of £275.44 ($369.44 USD) for which it is currently on the market? Let’s break it down into our key areas of discussion – price, performance and design – and then try to decide from there.
I’ll begin by covering the whole design aspect of our three key areas, mainly as this is basically an X99 motherboard with fancy lighting and a few other features. The software which ASUS provides us with in order to control the LEDs, called AURA, is rather fitting given the whole idea behind it. AURA grants you full control over the LEDs as well as the external header for LED strings such as the NZXT Hue+ strips (or any which you fancy) which can make your rig look even more ‘blingy’ than ever before. The LEDs are subtle yet definitely noticeable, and they aren’t too overpowering to make it look tacky. You can of course turn them off entirely if that’s something you’d rather have turned off in your rig, LEDs and flashy showoff stuff isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Being able to change the colour of the decals on the motherboard adds yet another small but definite change to your system, allowing you to personalise it just a little bit more than ever before.
The performance is hard to compare given that we only have two motherboards to compare, and one of them is this one. It’s either a win or a lose situation, there’s no middle ground so to speak. It’s a bit of a shame, but so be it, that’s how it has to be when we start with a new CPU on a ‘new’ platform. So what we have here is a bit of a tough situation, in some benchmarks it wins and in others it loses. There’s no definitive way to draw a conclusion from this, but I can tell you that the STRIX is one tough competitor which continues to push through and give it the best it can against its competition. The performance is to be expected, and I can vouch for its ease of use when it comes to the software and the UEFI alike. It was pretty much unbreakable when it came down to overclocking, and although it is something I’ve become used to over recent years, it’s always good to see that things just work. I was able to hit the 3200 MHz proclaimed RAM capabilities of the motherboard with such ease, it was literally a case of selecting the multiplier and going. I did mention that the VCCSA (System Agent voltage) was a little too high for my comfort levels, but that is something that can be solved with an update. It set the voltage to 1.368v (read via the UEFI) which is painfully high. I was able to perform all tasks at 1.2 volts, which is 0.168v lower than the automatic voltage. That’s a lot, and is literally the difference between your memory controller living or dying. I will speak with ASUS and have an update for you if we can figure something out between us nerds.
Value? Well, at just shy of £275, it most certainly isn’t one that you might just rush out and buy without reading into it a little more, unless you are able to do so at least. It’s not the cheapest, nor the most expensive. It slots roughly into the middle of the bunch, whilst trying to offer features that tempt you to spend just a little more over a ‘basic’ X99 motherboard. So, what is it that justifies its price tag? That’s simple – all of the above! It’s a new design which ASUS have brought to the table and it also features some pretty top notch stuff. Whether or not the features are what you are looking for will, of course, depend entirely on your usage requirements, but the features which the STRIX does provide should entice a lot of people to consider this motherboard over the other options on the market around this price bracket. One thing to have the favour swayed into the STRIX’s court is the LED controls, both on the motherboard and off of the motherboard.
In order to round up the STRIX, I believe that the motherboard is worthy of our design award. It comes close to claiming a few others as well, but the design of the STRIX speaks out the most to me. The performance is definitely up there, but it just doesn’t perform quite as well as I had personally hoped. Nevertheless, the results are within a margin of error (as always, don’t forget) which means that this would make an ideal choice if you are after some of this latest RGB craze on the X99 market. Coupled with the rest of the features that come on the STRIX, and you’ll have a great board on your hands.
Special thanks go to ASUS for providing us with a sample to look at. We look forward to seeing more in the very near future.