Intel “Core-X” Core i7-7900X, Core i7-7820X, Core i7-7800X, Core i7-7740X, Core i5-7640X HEDT CPU Review on ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe Motherboard

Introduction

Over the years, Intel has undoubtedly taken control of the entire PC desktop market. They offer specialized platforms to both mainstream and enthusiasts consumers. Earlier this year, Intel released their 200-series platform for mainstream consumers and it turned out to be a modest jump in terms of performance and features, something that we have come to expect from Intel during the recent years.

While mainstream desktop buyers got their platform cycle refresh earlier this year, enthusiasts are receiving the update in the second quarter. In 2014, Intel released X99 and it was a big leap in term of features compared to X79. It was the first platform to feature support for DDR4 memory, some thing that mainstream consumers would get a whole year later. It was also the first platform that pushed the core count on Intel processors from 6 to 10. While expensive, the competitors had no answer to Intel’s enthusiast platform which gave Intel another market to take control over.

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Come 2017, three years after the launch of X99, Intel is offering another grand enthusiast platform. This time, it’s known as X299 and we can expect the same sort of updates that we saw from X79 to X99. Intel is offering processors with lots of cores, lots of PCIe lanes, lots of storage capabilities and very high clock speeds but there’s one issue as someone or something has definitely risen up.

In 2017, after a troublesome 6 years and lots of delays in the process, Intel’s only competitor in the PC desktop market has woken up. AMD is back and they have a new core known as Zen which has put them back in the competition with performance on par with Intel CPUs. The performance gap that was increasing slowly but gradually between Intel and AMD processors has worn out and AMD can now tackle Intel at multiple playing fields.

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AMD devised a pretty nice strategy to take on Intel. They first tackled the mainstream processors with their Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 processors, offering high core count processors on a fresh new platform and offering great multi-tasking performance at brilliant prices. Take for comparison a Ryzen 7 1700 with 8 cores, 16 threads for $329 versus the Core i7-7700K with 4 cores and 8 threads for $349. And the performance of that AMD processor is actually closer to an 8 core X99 part while featuring a much lower PC assembly cost. The difference is there and Intel is really taking the heat from AMD chips this time around.

Problem number two for Intel is that AMD isn’t just stopping at mainstream platforms, they are for the first time entering the enthusiast HEDT segment. Their new lineup is called Ryzen Threadripper and features up to 16 cores. Now let me tell you something about the Intel X299 platform and the Core-X family. The Intel Core-X family includes several processors based on two different Uarch’s. There’s Kaby Lake-X based on 14nm Kaby Lake and Skylake-X based on 14nm Skylake. The former is more of a budget aimed series while the latter is where the HE (High-End) part of the HEDT brand lies.

I had talks with many manufacturers working close to Intel about the Core-X family and X299 platform. Till the time the first rumors of AMD’s HEDT platform arrived, there were no plans for Intel to produce a chip with a greater core count than 10. When the rumor mill finally started reporting that AMD had plans to prepare a HEDT processor lineup with up to 12-14 cores, we started receiving information that Intel had asked their engineers to produce or in-reality, modify server level Xeon chips into Skylake-X parts with higher core counts.

That happened much later in the X299 production roadmap, to be precise, it was just few weeks before launch and Intel knowing that AMD won’t stop at 12-14 cores, and that they can re-purpose more higher core Xeon variants into HEDT parts, Intel gave the go ahead to their engineers. What does this show? Intel finally facing the heat of competition and it might turn out to be good for us all. Competition prompts companies to release products that are better than their competitors at great value and both Intel and AMD would try to best one another at this game in the long term. AMD has confirmed to release Threadripper chips in Summer but they haven’t been released yet

Today, we will be testing out all of the currently released Intel Core-X series processors on ASUS’s PRIME X299 Deluxe motherboard.

Intel X299 HEDT Chipset – The Top Brass of Intel’s 2017 HEDT Family

The Intel X299 HEDT chipset is powering the enthusiast platform this year’s launch. It’s easy to tell given the time frame these enthusiast platforms last that the chipset will run for at least 2-3 years before being replaced by a new one. Intel’s X299 chipset includes support for both Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors but some vendors have decided to restrict Kaby Lake-X support on their high-end X299 motherboards since it doesn’t make sense to go for a $499 US+ motherboard with chips that cost below $350 US.

There are also some various restrictions and features that are not available on Kaby Lake-X when compared to Skylake-X and those are detailed below.

Intel X299 PCH Features

Intel’s new X299 chipset will be the latest PCH to support the enthusiast processors. The X299 platform will be centered around the LGA 2066 socket which will be compatible with at least two generations of processors. In specs, the X299 chipset offers up to 24 PCIe Gen 3.0 lanes. The chip also offers up to quad channel memory with speeds up to DDR4-2667 MHz (native). Kaby Lake X series processors will only support dual channel RAM and will stick to the native speeds of 2667 MHz.

This difference is due to the IMC on the Kaby Lake-X chip architecture that only allows support for dual channel memory. Intel basically swapped the Kaby Lake die from the smaller mainstream chip to the larger enthusiast chip. This means that the underlying architecture remains the same.

Aside from that, Intel X299 has full support for CPU overclocking which is a bonus. While that’s a plus, independent testings performed prior to our review revealed that the chips don’t feature in chip soldering and use thermal paste as a layer that connects the die with the heatspreader. This may result in higher temperatures but we have to find that our in our own tests.

The Basin Falls PCH also offers maximum of 14 USB ports (10 USB 3.0 Max), 8 SATA 3.0, and Intel LAN (Jacksonville PHY) controllers. The chipset can also drive three M.2 drives with Intel RST tech. Additional features include Enhanced SPI, SPI, LPC, SMBus and HD audio which are integrated underneath its hood.

Intel X299 Chipset Features:

Chipset Intel X79 “Patsburg” Intel X99 “Wellsburg” Intel X299 "Basin Falls" With KBL-X Intel X299 "Basin Falls" With SKL-X
SKU Focus Segment Enthusiast Desktop Enthusiast Desktop Enthusiast Desktop Enthusiast Desktop
CPU Support Sandy Bridge-E /
Ivy Bridge-E
Haswell-E / Broadwell-E Kaby Lake-X Skylake-X
CPU Core Options 4, 6 6, 8, 10 4 6, 8, 10, 12, 14,16, 18
Max Chipset PCI-E Lanes 8 8 24 24
Max CPU PCI-E Lanes Up To 40 Up To 40 Up To 16 Up To 44
Memory Type DDR3 DDR4 DDR4 DDR4
Memory DIMMs Quad Channel (8) Quad Channel (8) Dual Channel (4) Quad Channel (8)
Overclocking Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intel Turbo Boost 2.0 Support Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intel Turbo Boost Max 3.0 Support No No No Yes
Intel Optane Technology No No Yes Yes
Intel Rapid Storage Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intel Rapid Storage Technology For PCIe Storage Drive Support No No Yes Yes
RAID 0,1,5,10 Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intel Smart Response Technology No Yes Yes Yes
Integrated LAN Yes 1 GbE Integrated MAC Integrated MAC
Total USB Ports (Max USB 3.0) N/A 6 10 10
Total USB Ports (Max USB 2.0) 14 14 14 14
Max SATA 6 Gbps Ports 6 (2 Rated at Full 6 Gbps) 10 8 8
TDP 7.8W 6.5W 6.0W 6.0W

Intel LGA 2066 Socket – Supports All Intel Core-X Series Processors

On the socket front, Intel has finally replaced the older LGA 2011 with LGA 2066. The LGA 2011 saw several revisions as it was first featured on the X79 platform and slightly redesigned for X99 in the form of LGA 2011-v3. Enthusiasts running older HEDT Intel platforms cannot use a older processor on the new platform and would have to purchase a new one to allow compatibility.

The latest LGA 2066 socket features 2066 pins which support both Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X CPUs but doesn’t allow compatibility with Intel Xeon processors. The Intel Xeon class processors that are part of the Skylake-SP family will be featured on the much different LGA 3647 socket which is huge compared to LGA 2066.

Cooler Compatibility With LGA 2066 Socket

Since the change in number of pins is smaller, the socket remains as the same dimensions as the LGA 2011 and LGA 2011-v3 socket. This means that users can equip their older retention brackets from LGA 2011 socket coolers on the LGA 2066 socket with ease. The process remains largely the same.

On the cooler front, while Intel hasn’t historically offered any cooling solution on their HEDT CPUs, they do provide their own boxed solutions for users that are interested at a price ranging between $85-$100 US. The said cooler is Intel’s TS13X which is a liquid cooling solution and termed as a high performance thermal solution for enthusiasts. The cooler features a 120mm radiator fitted with a 120mm fan that operates at up to 2200 RPM. It’s a nice option but there are plenty more similar or better priced solutions in the market that are compatible with LGA 2066.

As detailed earlier, the initial launch would include the Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X processors. The Kaby Lake-X lineup features two models and are priced below $350 US. The Skylake-X family comes with up to 10 cores (initially) and priced up to $1000 US. Lastly, we have the XCC (Extreme Core Count) models which will ship with up to 18 cores priced up to $2000 US but launching during Q3 2017.

Intel is segmenting their ‘Core-X’ series family in three parts. These include the following:

There are some technologies that will be featured on Skylake-X processors but not on Kaby Lake-X series. These technologies are worth mentioning as they lead to better performance and efficient CPU functioning. Upgrades such as the new Mesh architecture interconnect and Turbo Boost MAX 3.0 have already been detailed, more details on them can be found in the links below:

Intel Core X Series Processor Family Specifications:

CPU Name i9-7980XE i9-7960X i9-7940X i9-7920X i9-7900X i7-7820X i7-7800X i7-7740X i5-7640X
CPU Process 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+
Architecture SKL-X SKL-X SKL-X SKL-X SKL-X SKL-X SKL-X KBL-X KBL-X
Cores/Threads 18/36 16/32 14/28 12/24 10/20 8/16 6/12 4/8 4/4
Base Clock 2.6 GHz 2.8 GHz 3.1 GHz 2.9 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.5 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.0 GHz
(Turbo Boost 2.0) 4.2 GHz 4.2 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.0 GHz 4.5 GHz 4.2 GHz
(Turbo Boost Max 3.0) 4.4 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.5 GHz 4.5 GHz N/A N/A N/A
L3 Cache 24.75 MB 22 MB 19.25 MB 16.5 MB 13.75 MB 11 MB 8.25 MB 6 MB 6 MB
L2 Cache 18 MB 16 MB 14 MB 12 MB 10 MB 8 MB 6 MB 4 MB 4 MB
Memory Quad DDR4 Quad DDR4 Quad DDR4 Quad DDR4 Quad DDR4 Quad DDR4 Quad DDR4 Dual DDR4 Dual DDR4
PCIe Lanes 44 44 44 44 44 28 28 16 16
Socket Type LGA 2066 LGA 2066 LGA 2066 LGA 2066 LGA 2066 LGA 2066 LGA 2066 LGA 2066 LGA 2066
TDP 165W 165W 165W 140W 140W 140W 140W 112W 112W
Price $1999 US $1699 US $1399 US $1189 US $999 US $599 US $389 US $349 $242

Intel Kaby Lake-X CPU Models (Up To 4 Cores, $389)

The Intel Core i7-7740X: Intel’s New Mainstream Quad-Core with 4 Cores / 8 Threads

Priced at $349 (you are paying $87.25 per core) and featuring the brand new KabyLake-X architecture, the Core i7-7740X is going to be Intel’s newest mainstream quad core offering. That said, the plus points of this particular processor might not appeal to everyone. For one, you are paying a significantly higher price per core and for not a lot of benefits. Secondly, this processor supports only dual channel DDR4-2666 and only 16 PCIe lanes. TDP has however been reduced to 112W, so power conscious buyers will like to go for this.

The Intel Core i5-7640X: Intel’s New Budget King with 4 Cores / 4 Threads

Priced at $242 (you are paying $60.5 per core) and featuring the brand new Kabylake-X architecture, the Core i5-7740X features just 4 Cores without Hyper Threading enabled. It features a 4.0 GHz base clock that can boost up to 4.2 GHz. 4MB of L2 cache is complimented by 6 MB of L3 cache. The processor supports Dual Channel DDR4-2666 and 16 PCIe lanes on the LGA-2066 socket. TDP is reduced to 112 Watts like its hyperthreaded brother. Unlike its hyperthreaded brother however, this processor actually offers a decent value proposition and should sell like hot cakes in the mid-end segment.

Intel Skylake-X CPU Models (Up to 10 Cores, $1000)

The Intel Core i9-7900X: Intel’s High End Enthusiast Class Flagship with 10 Cores /20 Threads

Priced at $999 (you are paying $99.9 per core) and featuring the Skylake-X architecture, the Core-i9 7900X is the first processor that is priced below the $1000 mark. This means that it will be one of the few broad-spectrum processors offered by this lineup. It features a base clock of 3.3 GHz as well as a Turbo Boost Max 3.0 of 4.5 GHz. It also supports conventional Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 4.3 GHz. 10 MB of L2 cache is complimented by 13.75 MB of L3 cache and features quad channel DDR4-2666 memory. It is the last processor of this lineup to feature 44 PCIe lanes. The TDP remains 140W.

The Intel Core i7-7820X: Intel’s High End Gaming Powerhouse with 8 Cores / 16 Threads

Priced at $599 (you are paying $74.875 per core) and featuring the Skylake-X architecture, the Core i7-7820X is a processor that is all set for mainstream success. Priced at the mainstream high end price of $599, this particular CPU will take on the Ryzen high end lineup which also features 8 cores and 16 threads. It has a base clock of 3.6 GHz and a Turbo Boost Max 3.0 of 4.5 GHz. This is a higher boost clock than what Ryzen can currently achieve. It can also conventionally boost up to 4.3 GHz (using Turbo Boost 2.0). It will feature only 28 PCIe lanes as well as 140W TDP.

The Intel Core i7-7800X: Intel’s Mainstream King with 6 Cores / 12 Threads

Priced at $389 (you are paying $64.83 per core) and featuring the Skylake-X architecture, the Core i7-7800X is something that is within the reach of the usual mainstream market. Consumers who would have previously gone for a Core i7 processor with only 4 cores and 8 threads can now enjoy the benefits of a 6 core – 12 threaded processor courtesy of competition from AMD’s Ryzen. It can Turbo Boost (2.0) up to 4.0 GHz and features a base clock of 3.5 GHz. 6 MB of L2 cache is complimented by 8.25 MB of L3 cache and is the last processor to support 28 PCIe lanes in this lineup. TDP remains locked at 140W.

Intel Skylake-X Extreme Core Count CPU Models (Up to 18 Cores, $2000)

The Core i9-7980XE: Intel’s Unbeatable Flagship ‘Skylake-X’ Processor with 18 Cores / 36 Threads

Priced at $1999 MSRP (you are paying $111.11 per core) and featuring the Skylake-X architecture, this beast of a processor will be the ideal go-to processor for content creators that want the maximum throughput in terms of rendering performance. This is a processor that will almost certainly be overkill for gaming (unless you are running some sort of CaaS enterprise).

It has 18 cores and 36 threads and features Intel’s new Turbo Boost Max 3.0 technology which can boost up to 4.5 GHz (the base clock is unknown at this point). The CPU features an L2 Cache of 18 MB (1 MB per core) as well as an L3 cache of 24.75 MB. Quad channel DDR4 up to 2666 MHz is. The processor has a TDP of just 165W and is housed on the LGA 2066 socket like the rest of the lineup.

The Core i9-7960X: Intel’s 16 Cores / 32 Threads Offering That Will Take On AMD’s ThreadRipper Platform

Priced at $1699 and featuring the Skylake-X architecture, the Core i9-7960X has the exact same core count as AMD’s highest end Threadripper CPU (thought to be called the Threadripper 1998X) and that’s not a coincidence. Intel has put this particular CPU to take on the Threadripper platform in all its glory (and core count) and features the Turbo Max 3.0 technology just like its bigger brother. It will feature an L2 Cache of 16 MB (1MB per core) as well as an L3 cache of 22MB. Memory support is the same for all Skylake-X processors and remains quad channel DDR4-2666. The wattage is also locked at 165W. At the moment, the base clock of this variant is unknown.

The Intel Core i9-7940X: Intel’s 14 Cores / 28s Thread Processor For Serious Content Creators

Priced at $1399 (you are paying $106.18 per core) and featuring the Skylake-X architecture, the Core i9-7940X is one of the higher end offerings of this lineup and aimed dead center at content creators. Since no gamer is going to need more than 8 cores (and even that is debatable!) this entire lineup is targeted at the content creation industry which needs to do compute intensive tasks. The Core i9-7940X features a Turbo Max 3.0 Boost of 4.5 GHz (with unknown base clock). It features 14 MB of L2 cache as well as 19.25 MB of L3 cache. All other specs including quad channel DDR4 and TDP remain the same.

The Intel Core i9-7920X: Intel’s 12 Cores / 24s Threads Processor for Content Creators

Priced at $1189 (you are paying $99.083 per core) ) and featuring the Skylake-X architecture, the Core i9-7920X is one of the more value oriented offerings for VR and content creators. Priced at a relatively affordable level and still offering almost 3 times the core count of what you would usually get from a mainstream Core series (till the last generation), this particular processor is going to be a fan favorite. It features a Turbo Boost Max 3.0 of 4.5 GHz (same as its elder siblings) and an unknown base clock. 12 MB of L2 cache is complimented by 16.5 MB of L3 cache. It features 44 PCIe lanes as well as quad channel DDR4-2666. The TDP is lowered to 140W.

The ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe motherboard is a very high-end, enthusiast grade motherboard and costs $499 US which is a very steep price, even for a HEDT product. The motherboard comes with all the latest tech wizardry you can expect of. We will be talking more about these ahead and as for the specifications list, you can check them out in the table below:

ASUS PRIME X299-A Deluxe Motherboard Specifications:

Chipset Intel X299
Memory Intel® Core™ X-series Processors (6-core above)
8 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 4133(O.C.)/4000(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Intel® Core™ X-series Processors (4-core)
4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 4133(O.C.)/4000(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Multi-GPU Support Supports NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI Technology
Supports NVIDIA 3-Way SLI Technology
Supports NVIDIA 2-Way SLI Technology
Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technology
Expansion Slots 44-Lane CPU-
3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16, x16/x16, x16/x16/x8)
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode) *1
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1 *2
28-Lane CPU-
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16, x16/x8)
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode) *1
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1 *2
16-Lane CPU-
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x2 mode) *1
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1 *2
Storage Intel X299 Chipset :
1 x M.2 x4 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
1 x M.2 x4 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)*3
7 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)*4
1 x U.2 port
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Supports Intel Smart Response Technology
Intel Rapid Storage Technology 15 support
Support Intel Rapid Storage Technology enterprise 5.1 for X-Series(6-core and above) CPU RAID
Intel Optane Memory Ready
LAN Intel I219V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s), featuring Turbo LAN
Intel I211-AT, 1 x Gigabit LAN, featuring Turbo LAN
Dual Gigabit LAN controllers- 802.3az Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) appliance
ASUS Turbo LAN Utility
ASUS LAN Guard
Wireless Data Network Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac+ WiGig 802.11ad*5
Supports MU-MIMO
Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz+ 60GHz
Up to 4600Mbps transfer speed
Bluetooth Bluetooth V4.1
Audio Realtek ALC S1220A 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
- Internal audio Amplifier to enhance the highest quality sound for headphone and speakers
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
USB Ports
ASMedia USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller : *6
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector port(s)
ASMedia USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller :
3 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (Type-A)
ASMedia USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller :
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (1 at back panel, , USB Type-CTM)
Intel X299 Chipset :
5 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (1 at back panel, , 4 at mid-board)
Intel X299 Chipset :
6 x USB 2.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, , 2 at mid-board)
ASMedia USB 3.1 Gen 1 Hub :
3 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (3 at back panel, )
Special Features OC Design - ASUS PRO Clock II Technology
5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
- 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Xpert 4, and Turbo Core App
ASUS 5X Protection III :
- ASUS SafeSlot Core: Fortified PCIe Slot prevents damage
- ASUS LANGuard: Protects against LAN surges, lightning strikes and static-electricity discharges!
- ASUS Overvoltage Protection: World-class circuit-protecting power design
- ASUS Stainless-Steel Back I/O: 3X corrosion-resistance for greater durability!
- ASUS DIGI+ VRM: 8 Phase digital power design
- ASUS Enhanced DRAM Overcurrent Protection - Short circuit damage prevention
- ASUS ESD Guards - Enhanced ESD protection
AURA :
- Aura RGB Strip Headers
- Aura Lighting Effects Synchronization with compatible ASUS ROG devices
- Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
ASUS Exclusive Features :
- USB BIOS Flashback
- MemOK!
- AI Suite 3
- Ai Charger
- Onboard Button : Power/Reset
- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface
- Turbo LAN
File Transfer
- Cloud GO!
- File Transfer
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :
- Stylish Fanless Design with M.2 Heat-sink solution
ASUS EZ DIY :
- ASUS EZ Flash 3
- ASUS USB BIOS Flashback
- ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode
- Multi-language BIOS
ASUS Q-Design :
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-Code
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED, HDD LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-DIMM
- ASUS Q-Connector
M.2 and U.2 Onboard (The Latest Transfer Technology with up to 32Gb/s Data-transfer Speeds for M.2 and U.2)
Back I/O Ports 2 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
3 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB Type-CTM
4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1
4 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to USB BIOS Flashback)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jack(s)
1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac+ WiGig 802.11ad and Bluetooth v4.1)
Internal I/O Ports 1 x Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
1 x AAFP connector
1 x Aura RGB Strip Header
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
7 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
1 x M.2_FAN connector
1 x VROC_HW_Key
1 x CPU Fan connector(s)
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s)
2 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
1 x W_PUMP+ connector
1 x AIO_PUMP connector
1 x Thunderbolt header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x EZ XMP switch
1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector) (Chassis intrusion header is inbuilt)
1 x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector
1 x MemOK! button(s)
1 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
1 x U.2 connector
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector
1 x CPU_OV jumper
Accessories User's manual
ASUS Q-Shield
1 x Vertical M.2 bracket set
6 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x M.2 Screw Package
1 x Supporting DVD
1 x ASUS WiGig 802.11ad moving antenna *7
1 x ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compliant)
1 x Fan Extension Card (3 x 4-pin fan out)
1 x Fan Extension card screw pack
1 x Fan Extension card cable
1 x ThunderboltEX 3
1 x mini DisplayPort Cable
1 x ThunderboltEX 3 GPIO cable
1 x 3-Way SLI bridge(s)
1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)
1 x Q-Connector
1 x Extension cable for Addressable LED
3 x Thermistor cable(s)
BIOS 128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI3.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 3.0, ACPI 6.0, Multi-language BIOS,
ASUS EZ Flash 3, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information
Support Disc Drivers
ASUS Utilities
EZ Update
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
Form Factor ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe Motherboard Features Deck:

ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe Motherboard Features:

ASUS PRIME X299 DELUXE Motherboard Product Gallery:

The ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe motherboard comes inside a hefty, rectangular shaped package. This package is very heavy compared to some normal motherboards but it shows that ASUS has packed a lot of goodies aside from the board inside the box.

The Front has various marketing material. The board name is listed boldly on the front along with the company title “ASUS – In Search of Incredible”. There are other marketing logos that include Intel X299 Inside, Intel Core-X series, NVIDIA SLI, AMD Crossfire, dts Connect, dts Headphone, ASUS Aura Sync and 3D Printing Friendly Design.

The back of the box contains all the marketing details along with product specifications. Most of the marketing tags have already been detailed by us in the “Features” section above. As can be seen, this board is loaded in features.

There’s even a flip cover on the front that reveals motherboard specific features that are scattered across the product. Some of these include Front USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, Wi-Fi 802.11ad (WiGig), M.2 heatsink, LiveDash OLED, AURA Sync, U.2/M.2 and Realtek S1220A audio codec featuring crystal sound 3.

The motherboard is housed in a separate compartment within the box. You can note that the Anti static shielding is covering the motherboard to protect it from electrical and static shocks during shipping.

Out of the box, the motherboard is a very elegantly designed product. It’s surprising that ASUS has managed to cram so much stuff inside a standard ATX form factor. The motherboard comes with a lot of goodies that we are going to talk about but first, let’s take a look at the accessories that are included inside the package.

There are so many accessories inside the Deluxe that we literally had to make a separate section dedicated to them.

First up, we are greeted by the standard X299 /ASUS Driver disk, a Thunderbolt EX 3 driver disk, a copy of DIY Guide booklet that also includes the manual and instructions for installing the board, a user guide for the ThunderboltEX 3 expansion card, a fan extension card installation guide and a 20 percent discount voucher on Cablemod cables.

Moving on, we have three packets of SATA cables with each containing two cables. These total up to 6 in the package. There’s also ASUS Q-Shield, three Thermistor cables, 1 extension cable for RGB LEDs, 1 Q-Connector, 1 SLI HB Bridge for 2-Way SLI, 1 3-Way SLI Bridge (Non-HB), 1 Mini DP cable, 1 ThunderboltEX 3 GPIO cable and a screw pack for the fan extension card.

The motherboard comes packed with three additional accessories that you wouldn’t find inside a normal high-end product. These include a Fan Extension Hub, ThunderboltEX 3 and 802.11ad (Wi-Gig) On-board LAN.

The Fan Extension Hub is a really cool PCB that allows you to connect three extra high-speed fans. The board can be mounted easily inside the case and is powered by a 4-pin connector. The PCB also allows for PWM fan control which is an essential feature on a high-end board like this.

The second main accessory is the ThunderboltEX 3 expansion card which offers Thunderbolt support through three I/O ports. These include a USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 3.0), USB-Type A and a single Mini Display Port. These high-speed I/O ports allow for 40Gbit/s bi-directional speeds.

And finally, we have the ASUS WiGig 802.11ad moving antenna and ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas. These offer wireless connections support with up to 4.6 Gbps speeds . You can select from both antennas but can only use one at a time. Both antennas have a very angular and aggressive design scheme which looks great. It would have been fantastic if these antennas had come with magnetic support on the bottom stand but unfortunately that’s not the case here.

The ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe motherboard is styled in a very beautiful white, silver and black color combination. It’s a very expensive motherboard and so far, it doesn’t comprise on the package and its looks so we are hopeful it delivers a great impression in terms of performance too. The board comes in the standard ATX form factor and there are a lots of features to talk about so let’s get started.

The board uses the LGA 2066 socket to support Intel Core-X series processors. The socket is compatible with both Intel Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors. You can note that while the total pin count has increased, the socket dimensions remain largely similar to the previous LGA 2011 socket. The socket has a protective cover out of box which can easily be removed when installing the processor.

The motherboard packs a 8 Phase Digital Power design to power the socket. The motherboard is outfitted with ASUS’s 5-Way Optimization system and ASUS PRO Clock II technology which help deliver better performance in standard and overclocked configurations. Features like overvoltage protection, enhanced DRAM over current protection and ESD guards are implemented across the board. The motherboard features the ASUS Digi+ VRM EPU “ASP 1257 – NSG7 – N410P” controller that delivers real-time control over voltage droop, switching frequency and power efficiency setting and allowing fine-tune of CPU voltage regulation.

The CPU is supplied power through a 8+4 Pin power connector configuration. This will feed the CPU with up to 200 Watts of power. Most Intel CPU’s will be shipping with TDP’s of 140W but that changes when users overclock, that changes power limit based on applied voltages and clock speeds.

The VRMs are covered by a single, dense aluminum heatsink . The heatsink is colored silver and is very beefy but there are reports that some manufacturers have not tested the heatsinks during the qualification process, resulting in higher VRM temperatures. We will test this in the power and thermal tests, if the VRM is able to provide stable operation under load scenarios.

The motherboard has a total of eight DDR4 DIMM slots which can support up to 128 GB (Quad Channel) and 64 GB (Dual Channel) Non-ECC, un-buffered memory. These slots are rated to support XMP profiles up to 4133 MHz. Each slot is labeled, making it easier to install DIMMs in the proper orientation. Unlike other motherboard manufacturers, ASUS is sticking with the normal DIMM design and not implementing steel shielding or RGB LEDs which may seem like a down side.

Expansion slots include four PCI-Express 3.0 x16, two PCI-Express 3.0 x1 and dual M.2 slots. The board can support 4-Way multi-GPU (CrossfireX / SLI). The M.2 slots are rated to support NVMe PCI-e Gen3 x4 and Intel Optane series memory. Only a CPU that offers 44 lanes can deliver full x16 operation on two SLI or Crossfire configured discrete GPUs.

ASUS has featured their SafeSlot technology on the expansion slots. There are three expansion slots that make use of this technology to offer 1.6 times stronger retention force and 1.8x stronger shearing test. Such slots are ideal for modern generation of graphics cards such as the MSI GTX 1080 Ti Lightning X which takes up three slots and puts a lot of weight on the PCIe slot.

The supported types for the M.2 socket are 22110, 2280, 2260 and 2242. M.2 slots offer up to 32 GB/s link speed compared to just 6 GB/s on SATA 3 bus. Do note that the top most M.2 port can be configured in SATA and PCIE 3.0 x4 mode (depending on the available lanes) while the bottom M.2 port runs at PCIE 3.0 x4 mode, natively.

The X299 PCH is housed beneath a large heatsink with ASUS logo and label embedded on it. There are some key features of this heatsink as it includes ASUS AURA support, features a M.2 heatsink and a OLED Dash display which looks impressive.

Storage options include seven SATA III ports rated to operate at 6 GB/s. These can support 7 different storage devices at a single time. There is also a single U.2 port. The motherboard supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 configurations but to enable that, you have to buy a separate RAID key from Intel and supported only on Core i9 series processors that can address up to 20 bootable drives.

The motherboard has multiple temperature sources and dedicated ICs for smart protection that protect each fan header from over-temperature and over-current. A total of seven 4-pin PWM/DC fan headers are located on the board (3 more with the fan expansion card) while dedicated header for AIO pump and Water pump are located on the board too.

Inside the motherboard, ASUS has equipped a USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector which offers support for next-generation PC cases and devices.

The ASUS Prime X299 Deluxe utilizes a unique audio codec designed in close collaboration with Realtek — the Realtek S1220A. It also features an unprecedented 120dB signal-to-noise ratio for the stereo line-out and a 113dB SNR for the line-in, providing pristine audio quality. Additionally, a new impedance-sensing circuit automatically adjusts gain to ensure the optimal volume range for your headphones. The audio PCB features power pre-regulator, audio-shielding, integrated amp and premium Japanese made audio capacitors.

On the bottom of the motherboard, we can spot the Power On/Off, Reset, Mem Ok, EZ-XMP switches along with the Debug LED and an addressable RGB LED strip header. You can also tell that the motherboard has dual USB 3.0 front panel headers, a single USB 2.0 front panel header and a header for the ThunderboltEX 3 expansion card that goes on one of the expansion slots.

The PRIME cover on the I/O panel looks superb. There’s no cooling mechanism involved with the cover as it’s just for visuals and mostly hollow from the inside. But it does add to the overall looks of the product and that’s it’s main purpose over here. There’s also ASUS AURA integration within this part which adds to the looks of this high-end product.


The I/O on the motherboard include 2 LAN (RJ45) ports, 3 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, 1 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 4 USB 2.0 ports (one port can be switched to USB BIOS Flashback), 1 Optical S/PDIF out, 5 Audio jacks, a USB BIOS Flashback button and a ASUS-Wi-Fi GO! Module that supports the Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac+ WiGig 802.11ad and Bluetooth v4.1 compatible antennas.

ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe Motherboard Picture Gallery:


Since this is a full Intel Core-X CPU lineup review, we used all the latest Intel processors in this range which have been launched. These include the Core i5-7640X, Core i7-7740X, Core i7-7800X, Core i7-7820X and the Core i9-7900X.

Intel did not contact us or provided NDA for testing of their Core-X series processors. Our review is based purely on fact and precision. The full test setup configuration can be seen in the provided list below:

ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe Test Setup:

Processor Intel Core i9-7900X
Intel Core i7-7820X
Intel Core i7-7800X
Intel Core i7-7740X
Intel Core i5-7640X
Intel Core i7-6950X
Intel Core i7-6900K
Intel Core i7-6800K
Intel Core i7-7700K
Intel Core i5-7600K
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
Motherboard ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe
Gigabyte GA-X99-UD7
Gigabyte AORUS Z270X-Gaming 8
ASRock X370 Killer SLI/AC
Power Supply Corsair RM 750X Gold Plus
Solid State Drive Samsung SSD 960 EVO M.2 (512 GB)
Hard Disk Seagate Barracuda 1 TB 7200.12
Memory G.SKILL Trident Z RGB Series 32 GB (4 x 8GB) CL16 3600 MHz
Case Corsair Graphite Series 780T Full Tower
Video Cards ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti STRIX OC
Cooling Solutions Corsair H115i GTX
Deepcool Captain 120 EX
Cryorig R1 Ultimate
OS Windows 10 64-bit

I would like to thank G.Skill for providing the Trident Z RGB memory, ASUS for providing the GTX 1080 TI STRIX OC and PRIME X299 Deluxe Motherboard and DeepCool for providing the Captain 120EX for this review. Out of all the coolers we listed, only the Corsair H115i which I personally bought was the most adequate at overclocked loads so I resorted to using it for the entire test procedure.

3DMark Time Spy CPU Performance

3DMark Firestrike is the widely popular video card benchmark test for Windows that is designed to measure your PC’s gaming performance. While the overall benchmark is great, the utility also provides a good indication of the CPU performance.

3DMark Firestrike CPU Performance

3DMark Firestrike is the widely popular video card benchmark test for Windows that is designed to measure your PC’s gaming performance. While the overall benchmark is great, the utility also provides a good indication of the CPU performance.

Blender

Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.

Cinebench R15

CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more.

Cinebench R11.5

Cinebench is based on Maxon’s Cinema 4D. It is used to compare graphics as well as processor performance. We are using the CPU performance numbers for our comparison.

HandBrake

HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs.

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 is a complete PC benchmarking solution for Windows 10. It includes several tests that combine individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. Specifically designed for the full range of PC hardware from netbooks and tablets to notebooks and desktops, PCMark 10 offers complete Windows PC performance testing for home and business use.

POV-Ray

The POV-Ray package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package.

SuperPI

Super PI is used by many overclockers to test the performance and stability of their computers. In the overclocking community, the standard program provides a benchmark for enthusiasts to compare “world record” pi calculation times and demonstrate their overclocking abilities. The program can also be used to test the stability of a certain overclock speed.

WinRar

WinRAR is a powerful archive manager. It can backup your data and reduce the size of email attachments, decompress RAR, ZIP and other files downloaded from Internet and create new archives in RAR and ZIP file format.

X264 HD Encode Benchmark

This benchmark measures the encoding performance of the processor. It offers a standardized benchmark as the clip as well as the encoder used is uniform.

Intel Core-X Single Core Clock-To-Clock Performance Results:

I also tested the various chips of the same tier at adjusted clock speeds to note down any IPC improvements. It looks like that Core-X maintains the same IPC as Skylake and Kaby Lake main stream processors with only minor improvements that come from more stabilized clocks. The clock speeds used are listed as:

 

ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe – Ashes of The Singularity

Stardock’s Ashes of the Singularity RTS title is a new take on the historic genre. The game incorporates several things that many pc gamers have been curious about and anxious to try for themselves such as Explicit Multi-Adapter Support and full Asynchronous Compute under DirectX 12 API. We tested the game at 1440P with 4x MSAA on Crazy Settings under DirectX 12.

 ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe – Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 is the kind of game that doesn’t need any real introduction. The latest installment of the Battlefield series is as beautiful as anyone would expect and comes right out of the gate with full DX11 and DX12. EA and DICE did a fantastic job with their AAA WW1 shooter this time by implementing some key gaming technologies. We tested the game at 1440P using Ultra settings and DirectX 11 API.

ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe – DOOM

In 2016, Id finally released Doom. My testing wouldn’t be complete without including this title. It’s a hell fest featuring fast paced FPS action and tons of demons to kill. The latest title is based on both Vulkan and OpenGL APIs that take advantage of the latest multi-core and multi-GPU upgrades.

ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe – GTA V

GTA V is one handsomely optimized title for the PC audience. It’s scalable across various PC configurations and delivers an impressive frame rate. Rockstar did an amazing job with the PC build of GTA V and it comes with a large array of settings that can be configured by PC gamers. We tested the title at 1440P with everything set to Ultra and 4x MSAA.

ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe – Mass Effect Andromeda

Being a huge fan of the Mass Effect series, I was highly anticipating the arrival of Andromeda to store shelves. Now that it’s here, I put the fastest gaming card to the test. Using Frostbite, the latest Mass Effect title looks incredibly gorgeous and the open world settings on the different planets immerses you a lot.

ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe – Rise of the Tomb Raider

The latest Rise of the Tomb Raider title  gets lots of graphical enhancements added by Crystal Dynamics and Nixxes, including hardware tessellation, increased anisotropic filtering, additional dynamic foliage, increased LOD, additional PureHair strands, sun soft shadows, and improved bokeh DOF. We tested the game at 1440P under DirectX 12 API.

ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe – Sid Meir’s Civilization VI

Civilization VI is the pinnacle of the series. It’s featured huge, sweeping changes, and nothing was left out. Everything has found a purpose, they all work together in tandem but also have a reason to stand alone. It uses a more fleshed out engine that now supports DirectX 12 capabilities. We tested the game with every setting maxed out (4x MSAA, 4096×4096 shadow textures) at 1440P in DirectX 12.

ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe – Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 once again takes us on a hacking tour, but this time in the city of San Francisco. Using a very evolved version of the OPUS engine the developers should have a better grasp on things this go around than they did with Watch Dogs. The new engine incorporates several NVIDIA Gameworks technologies and is seen as one of the most graphics intensive titles to launch this year. We tested the game on a mix of Ultra and high settings at 1440P (Temporal Filtering Disabled).

When it comes to power consumption, there are a few things we should take note of. First of all, Intel has focused over efficiency for several years but as we have seen, they are starting to loose rapidly at this front. The Intel Core-X processors are based on the new 14nm processors and we know this that Intel generally has a better fabrication process compared to their rivals. AMD is also using a 14nm process from Global Foundries on their Ryzen, Ryzen Threadripper and EPYC chips.

All Intel Core-X “Skylake-X” chips are rated at 140W while the Core-X “Kaby Lake-X” chips are rated at 112W. While one can conclude that the Skylake-X chips have higher TDPs due to their HEDT aim, the Kaby Lake-X chips have the same die structure as the mainstream parts with only a 100 MHz clock increment. Yet this results in a TDP increase from 91W to 112W which is a big difference and something to worry about. Intel states that the higher TDP not only compensates for higher stock frequencies, but should also provide stable overclocking performance. The latter was true in our testing but we saw higher figures when we ran overclocking. Regardless, you can see the entire system power consumption numbers in the chart below:

The Core-X series processors don’t only consume higher power, they also release huge amounts of heat. It’s well know that Intel is using a TIM based solution between the IHS and die rather than a proper soldered solution like AMD uses on Ryzen. Intel used proper soldered designs on their last generation HEDT processors but they have done away with it. This will lead to improper dissipation of heat resulting in higher temperatures. I had to use the highest end liquid cooling solution for proper testing. Even a triple fan Cryorig R1 Ultimate air cooler wasn’t able to cool these beasts down so I had to put the Corsair H115i over these bad boys. Results can be seen below:

Intel Core i5-7640X Processor

The Intel Core i5-7640X might seem like a weird option for the Core-X family but after testing it, I think it was a right choice to add this processor to the HEDT platform. The reasons are plenty and for starters, it’s perfect for those who want to get the features of X299 platform at a lower cost. It’s the cheapest HEDT processor at just $242 which is the same price as the mainstream Core i5 part.

The additions are that the Core i5-7640X has faster clock speeds than the mainstream parts, clocks better when overclocked and we hit a surprising 5.1 GHz with just 1.28V on a Corsair H115i liquid cooling solution. It offers great gaming and application performance for a quad core chip and ideal for those who are aiming the huge upgrade path of the X299 platform. In terms of temperatures and power consumption, this chip performed well compared to others but was slightly higher due to its 112W TDP.

The Intel Core i5-7640X seems to be the perfect value option for those who want to take advantage of the plentiful features that the X299 platform has to offer.

Intel Core i7-7740X Processor

The Intel Core i7-7740X is another Kaby Lake architecture based processor which is almost identical to the Core i7-7700K. It costs $339 US which for starters is a tad bit lower compared to the desktop mainstream part. Like the 7640X, it has higher frequencies out of box, overclocks great and is very stable.

The processor also has the same reason to be in the lineup as the other Kaby Lake-X part which is to offer something a bit faster than a simple quad core to users who plan on taking advantage of the features that X299 has to offer. The quad core design with hyperthreading allows for increased performance and I achieved a good 4.9 GHz on my chip. I was expecting a bit more from the CPU but I would take the clock I got as it was with a measly voltage push of 1.26V, lower than what was required on the Core i5.

It shows that Kaby Lake-X may look like the least interesting parts of the HEDT family but offer some great incentives and upgrade paths to value users who are planning to build setups based around the X299 platform.

Intel Core i7-7800X Processor

The Intel Core i7-7800X falls in the Skylake-X family and is the least expensive part, retailing at just $383 US. For the said price, you get 6 cores and 12 threads. Now, technically, this part should be compared against the Ryzen 5 1600X which has 6 cores and 12 threads too but the price difference is big. At $249 US, the Ryzen 5 1600X is the better value while the Ryzen 7 1700 with 8 cores and 16 threads ships for $329 US. The faster Ryzen 7 1700X is just $20 US more expensive which makes it a more viable option, specially considering the platform cost which is higher on X299 compared to X370.

If we compare performance, the Core i7-7800X is definitely faster than Ryzen 5 1600X and Ryzen 7 1800X. When it comes to application performance, the Core i7-7800X is largely comparable to the Ryzen 7 1700X which shows that both processors are neck to neck. The Ryzen 7 1700X has a higher core count advantage but performance still ends up faster on the 7800X which is a good feat. All is not great however, power consumption is really high on the Skylake-X platform and temperatures soar past 60C in nominal loads which is worrisome. Overall, the Core i7-7800X is a very decent option in the lineup and is the winner of the bang for buck award.

Intel Core i7-7820X Processor

In response to AMD’s 8 core options, Intel has the Core i7-7820X. This is their latest and most cheapest 8 core processor to date which is faster than the Core i7-6900K and AMD’s Ryzen 7 offerings with 8 cores. The chip is a good deal for just $100 US more than the Ryzen 7 1800X, offering good gaming and application performance. Intel’s last 8 core chip was $999 US while 7820X is retailing for $589 US. The Ryzen 7 1800X launched at $499 US and disrupted the whole market segment with such competitive prices.

While a good deal, Intel still believes that people will see the performance advantage of their Core-X processors over rivaling chips and pay the extra price rather than going for chips that focus more on the value proposition. But Intel should know that Ryzen series isn’t only competitively priced but they also offer competitive performance.

In this way, the Core i7-7820X is a great improvement by Intel over its predecessor, the 6900K, offering faster performance, great features at almost half the price.

Intel Core i9-7900X Processor

Lastly, we have the Core i9-7900X. This is Intel’s fastest chip available as of right now and it’s a huge update over last year’s Broadwell-E. Compared to the Core i7-6950X, this 10 core and 20 thread cpu is almost $700 US cheaper than its predecessor. And it doesn’t lack in terms of performance at all. The performance results show that the 7900X is the fastest processor to date for $999 US that will be eventually succeeded by the Core i9-7920X in August and Core i9-7980XE in October. There’s no issue in terms of performance, you get the fastest for paying the most but there are some issues in terms of power consumption.

Almost 500 Watts at stock and a whooping 550W+ when overclocked is what this chip demands. That’s only while testing it with a GTX 1080 Ti STRIX OC. A dual SLI setup put the load consumption north of 650W. I was planning to do Tri-Sli with this chip but that seems like a no go unless I update my power supply. Temperatures are also very bad on the 7900X with the chip crossing 80C when loaded on stock speeds and over 95C when loaded on overclocked speeds. It seems like the board VRMs were at war at most times as there was visible throttling after overclocking.

This was the first chip I booted on the motherboard and neither my Cryo rig R1 Ultimate nor the Deepcool Captain 120 EX was able to keep up on overclocked speeds. Discovering that Skylake-X chips will be hotter than previous generation offerings, I decided to use the Corsair H115i across the entire processor lineup which resulted in stable temperatures.

Now coming to the value proposition, you are paying $999 US and getting the fastest processor available right now. Great? Not at all. The $1000 US price would have been awesome if there was no competition and that has arrived in a fierce way. AMD has announced pricing of their Ryzen Threadripper prices with the 1920X 12 core retailing for $799 US and the 1950X 16 core model for $999 US. These are 16 cores for a grand whereas Intel is asking the same price for a 10 core model while their 12 core model will be priced even higher at $1200 US. We can only expect Intel to have a lead with their architecture in single and some multi-tasking workloads otherwise AMD will have marked a home run with Threadripper.

Summing it up, the Core i9-7900X is the fastest chip to buy with great performance and more value over its predecessor but is plagued with power and temperatures issues plus the imminent threat of AMD’s Threadripper HEDT CPUs.

ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe

While there are so many good things to say about the ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe, there are also some down sides. First of all, it’s a $499 US motherboard and this is a really big price tag we are talking about. When you pay something like half a grand for a motherboard, you would expect it ready and in very finished state. Throughout my testing, I really enjoyed the new platform but it also showed signs that this platform was clearly rushed and after talking with a few AIB partners, this can be confirmed.

So the ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe supports both Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X chips, it offers great memory support and has a butt load of I/O and connectivity options. I was clearly impressed by ASUS’s new color scheme for their Deluxe motherboard and the addition of RGB lighting to the product. When it comes to memory, the motherboard offers support for up to 4000 MHz (O.C+) DIMMs and we were able to boot our TridentZ RGB kit to 3600 MHz without any issues. Even an overclock of 4000 MHz was successfully achieved with manual tuning.

When it comes to expansion slots, the motherboard can support up to two discrete cards in full x16 mode. I tested a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti configuration on my sample board and it ran fine. I had plans to go ahead for 3-Way SLI but was a bit worried that the PSU on the test rig wouldn’t be able to with stand the load power consumption. That brings us to the next part of this review, the VRMS.

The board has an 8 phase VRM design that is supplied power through a 8 and 4 pin connector. It may seem fine at first but this delivers 200W of power while the CPUs themselves are rated with a TDP of 140W. So that means that the VRM design is clearly inefficient and it’s not confirmed yet if the current boards are feasible enough to support the upcoming range of 12, 14, 16 and 18 core processors which will feature higher TDPs. Furthermore, the VRM heatsinks on most boards are a mess. The ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe VRM heatsink on our test bed hit temperatures beyond 100C which clearly showed an inadequate design and testing process from ASUS. Such scenarios could lead to efficiency and inadequate power being delivered to processors for stable operations. This was one of my major disappointments from the board as it costs so much yet returns so less to a enthusiast.

Problems in terms of hardware design are one thing but the ASUS shipped BIOS is also at a very early stage showing the rush that went into launching X299. The difference between the stock and release BIOS is very huge but some applications still show performance issues and ASUS is yet to issue a update on the BIOS front since release.

But for those who have already bought this motherboard and an accompanying Core-X CPU, there is no need to return it back. The PRIME X299 Deluxe issues are mostly those that can be fixed via a BIOS update. ASUS had similar issues with power management on AMD’s Ryzen platform but were fixed by BIOS updates. Users running high-end air cooling and liquid cooling setups can also get a better experience while running stock and overclocked configurations. A few things were rushed so we can hope future updates will fix these issues soon.

Regardless, if you want a really high-end board that packs a universe of connectivity, I/O features and fully supports Intel’s Core-X processors with high pace DDR4 memory, look no ahead of the ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe.

What does all of this mean for Intel?

The whole scenario within the desktop CPU market is a huge wake up call for Intel. While they have produced a new generation of HEDT processors, the did so in a rush and it may backfire really hard. In Intel’s defense, I could say that Ryzen was rushed too but after months of updates, the value and performance proposition has massively increased compared to Intel. Intel on the other hand is trying really hard to compete in the mainstream segment and now trouble looms in their HEDT segment too.

The announcement of Ryzen Threadripper and EPYC has really shook Intel’s client desktop and server segments. The company has been at the helm of these segments and their sluggishness resulted in this day. For years, Intel focused at efficiency rather than IPC improvements for their cores and look at how that has hit them back. Their processors are consuming more power, run hot. Their modern day core is comparable to Zen in terms of IPC which runs efficiently and cooler while the processors based on Zen are cheaper and perform great. This depression can be seen in Intel’s latest slides which they issued in response to EPYC and that’s just a sad coming from some one as big as Intel.

In short, the Core-X series isn’t that bad of a lineup. Intel just needed to give it and most importantly, their partners some time to polish it up. Unfortunately, knowing that they wouldn’t most likely be able to sell as much processors or keep the halo product tag to themselves if they had launched the HEDT family after Threadripper, Intel messed up what could have been a great processor family. The pricing structure which could have been great is also a mess as Intel is pricing their halo i9-7980XE product at a mind boggling $2000 US. With just 2 core advantage over the 16 core 1950X which costs $999 US, it just shows that Intel is believing in themselves and not what the customer wants.

It’s by no means the end of X299, just like Ryzen, we can expect Intel and their partners to fix up most of the issues. We can expect refined variants of the X299 boards available in the coming quarters but for those who have already got their products, the former is their key to survival. In short, I would like to say this as an ending note that users who are planning to buy X299 and Core X series processors should wait for the platform to mature a bit more and obviously wait for Ryzen Threadripper as an alternative to Intel’s HEDT offering. Those who cannot wait would see multitudes of performance at the cost of more power consumption, higher temperatures and higher prices.

Source: ASUS Prime X299 Deluxe Official Page

8.8

The ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe is a true high-end desktop board that looks gorgeous, features tons of connectivity and I/O options and has decent overclocking potential. ASUS just needs to sort out their BIOS which is very buggy at the moment and can result in higher power draws and performance deficit in various applications with the Core-X processors.

Performance8.2
Value7.3
Design & Aesthetics10
Features10

Pros

  • Beautiful Design
  • Tons of Features
  • Tons of Connectivity and I/O Option
  • Supports all Intel Core-X processors
  • Fast DDR4-4000+ MHz Memory Support
  • 5 GHz band for wireless connectivity
  • On-board audio is very high quality
  • Dual Ethernet LAN ports are a plus for HEDT users
  • M.2 heatsink provides decent cooling on PCI-e NVMe storage devices
  • RGB Lighting looks great, ASUS keeps things modest here

Cons

  • X299 Platform Not Fully Optimized At The Moment
  • Power Delivery System Is a mess, New BIOS may fix
  • VRM Heatsink is inefficient at cooling
  • Very buggy BIOS, new release is expected
  • Requires good cooling systems for optimal working
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