ASUS TUF X299 MARK 1 Motherboard Video Review
Even though it’s been well over a year since we last saw a TUF laden motherboard from the guys at ASUS (check out our ASUS Z170 Sabertooth Review here), we got to grips with one of the latest TUF boards designed for Intel’s Skylake-X X299 chipset in the way of the TUF X299 MARK 1! Give the video review above a watch, or/and read below for the lowdown on this gorgeous looking motherboard from the guys that bring you Republic of Gamers!
ASUS TUF X299 MARK 1 Features & Highlights
So what’s the deal with the TUF X299 MARK 1? Well, it features a deluge of gunmetal gray plastic armor which although gimmicky in my opinion, really looks fantastic if you’re into sweet, clean and simple motherboard aesthetics. The X299 TUF themed MARK 1 motherboard sports 3 x PCIe x16 lanes, as well as 2 x PCIe x4 slots and supports SLI/Crossfire multi-GPU configurations, as well as a dedicated PCIe M.2 port with a heatsink which is integrated into the PCH heatsink for maximum heat dissipation; this is on top of an additional hybrid SATA/PCIe port depending on how many PCI lanes your processor has.
Focusing on memory support, the X299 TUF MARK 1 has 8 DIMM slots and supports quad & dual channel memory up to speeds of 4133MHz OC, with a maximum of 128GB of total system memory supported; XMP 2.0 support is featured on this board along with all other X299 motherboards.
Storage options include 8 x SATA3 ports with RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 being supported, alongside that dedicated PCIe M.2 port for the fastest NVME enabled drives on the market. This is in addition to a secondary SATA/PCIe port and it’s worth mentioning that the TUF X299 MARK 1 motherboard supports Intel’s new Optane Memory!
Even though virtually all of the Intel X299 motherboards rock the Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, ASUS has gone all out with Dolby DTS Connect and DTS Headphone X for the best possible experience for users looking to make use of the onboard sound. Capacitor placement looks good to me and listening to music with my Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO’s with DTS Headphone X made all the difference in comparison to other brands boards I have used thus far.
If you haven’t watched the video above, then you’re missing out (literally!); the board in the flesh looks absolutely glorious with it’s tidy, but elegant RGB LED placement. Performance is on par with other boards tested, so that’s certainly no cause for concern and overall, it does well; especially when compared to other boards at a higher cost.
What is The Difference Between The ASUS TUF X299 MARK 1 & MARK 2 Motherboards?
The main benefits of choosing the TUF X299 MARK 1 over the cheaper, but similar MARK 2 motherboard are as follows:
- The MARK 1 features 2 x RJ45 LAN ports over the MARK 2’s single port
- The MARK 1 has a BIOS Flashback feature
- The MARK 1 features an RGB header for additional RGB lighting, where as the MARK 2 does not
- The MARK 1 X299 motherboard has two extra SATA3 ports (8 in total)
- The MARK 1 model has USB 3.1 Type A & Type C ports (powered by ASMedia), where the MARK 2 only features 2 x Type A Gen2 ports
The above in my opinion makes the TUF X299 MARK 1 a much more worthwhile purchase, even though it’s only £50 more expensive; although if you’re not bothered about the above, then the MARK 2 is still a solid option if that’s the avenue you want to go down. Both boards look gorgeous and are certainly among some of the best looking Intel X299 motherboards currently on the market.
Performance & Design
The performance of the ASUS X299 TUF MARK 1 motherboard is on par with other boards we have tested and sits pretty well in our testing. Thanks to plenty of native SATA3 ports, 2 x M.2 ports (PCIe & SATA) and dual RJ45 LAN ports, virtually everything about this board is well laid out and did I mention it’s one of the sexiest on the platform? Yes, well I said it again! I’m a huge fan of TUF clad motherboards and although the TUF armor itself is somewhat of a gimmick, it does add a new dimension to the aesthetics that even other manufacturers are implementing on their I/O shield covers.
The gunmetal gray finish on the plastic TUF armor looks sound and overall, the board itself is very aesthetically pleasing. I personally like the way ASUS has integrated the M.2 heatsink into the PCH heatsink for the best possible performance; this should hopefully limit throttling/heat bottlenecking when using the fastest NVMe enabled M.2 SSDs.
Value & Final Thoughts
You can pick up the X299 TUF MARK 1 motherboard for around £270/$300 depending on your preferred retailer, and I feel the board itself represents good value for money overall. It performs as well as the ROG RAMPAGE VI APEX on ambient cooling in our testing, as well as the ROG X299-E STRIX and MSI X299 GAMING PRO CARBON AC which all come in at a higher price point. The only negative in this in contrast to the X299-E STRIX from ASUS ROG themselves is the noticeable lack of gaming related software and features, which is too be expected as ASUS are clearly separating their motherboard brandings from enthusiast/budget and gaming; this makes it easier for consumers to distinguish between the different range as opposed to just having GAMING this, GAMING 7 that etc.
At the end of the day, the ASUS X299 TUF MARK 1 board is a fine example of a motherboard and when paired with our Intel Core i9-7900X processor, it kicks proverbial buttocks! If you’re not a fan of flashy gaming focused branding, but care a lot about aesthetics without sacrificing on feature and performance, make sure you put the TUF X299 MARK 1 on your shortlist!
- Clean looking gunmetal grey TUF armor looks amazing
- Performance is on par with more expensive X299 motherboards
- Plenty of connections including 8 x SATA3 ports and 3 x PCIe x16 lanes
- Features 2 x RJ45 LAN ports as opposed to a single port featured on the MARK 2 version
- Fantastic price point for an enthusiast level board on a HEDT platform