Asus X99-Deluxe Review
For those looking to drop as many high-end graphics cards as possible into a new X99-based PC build, Asus’ X99-Deluxe is an excellent option. It has lots of forward-looking features, a bushel of accessories, and loads of SATA III and USB 3.0 ports.
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- Five PCI Express x16 slots.
- Ready for future storage, with two SATA Express connections, an M.2 connector, and an M.2 PCI Express adapter.
- Loaded with accessories.
At every car show, you’ll find a smattering of serious buyers who have the genuine interest—and the capital—to eventually buy some of the exotic wheels on display. But most of the folks are just there to look: kicking the tires, and fantasizing. Their best-fit daily driver is something closer to a Toyota Camry than a Testarossa. The Intel X99 CPU platform, new for 2014, is a bit like that. So are the top motherboards for it. We expect lots of oglers, fewer serious buyers.
That’s because the X99 platform is the new supercar of the desktop-PC world. If you’re dropping 1,000 or so on a high-end eight-core CPU like the new desktop speed leader, the Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition, and a few hundred dollars (at least!) on new quad-channel DDR4 memory for your X99-chipset-based monster machine, you’re the PC equivalent of that rarified buyer. And like that buyer, you’re not going to settle for the cloth seats, given all else that you’re splurging on: You almost certainly want a feature-packed motherboard to build your mega-PC on.
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While Asus’ X99-Deluxe is the first board we’ve tested built for Intel’s “Haswell-E” enthusiast platform, it’s safe to say it should be on your short list if an X99 build with multiple graphics cards is what you’re planning on. Or rather, it should be on your short list if your credit card isn’t already maxed out—because the X99-Deluxe has an MSRP of 399 (and was selling for no less than that online from various e-tailers when we wrote this).
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
Intel Core i7-7700K
Now, 400 is a lot to pay for a motherboard, to be sure. But X99 is a high-priced platform to start with, and it’s only really suited to extreme power gamers and those who know they need the most grunt possible with multi-threaded applications. If you fall into the gamer camp and you’re planning on dropping three or more high-end graphics cards into your system (this board actually has five PCIe x16 slots), then how much the motherboard costs is probably the least of your budget worries.
Even so, what does 400 worth of cutting-edge motherboard buy you here in late summer 2014? To say the Asus X99-Deluxe is overflowing with hardware features is hardly an exaggeration. Aside from the five graphics-card-capable slots (plus a PCIe x4 slot), this board has 12 total SATA ports (some of them overlapping with the emerging, high-speed SATA Express kind), and 10 USB 3.0 ports (with four more available via board headers). With eight RAM slots and the required chip coolers, the massive 2011-V3 socket, plus a collection of switches and headers, and a diagnostic LCD, this board is very dense—so much so that Asus mounted the M.2 high-speed-storage slot vertically, a first among boards we’ve seen. ( on that later.)
And while you won’t find a kitchen sink (or any USB expansion brackets) in the deep collection of accessories included in the box, it’s close. Among the many parts in baggies, you’ll find a unique one with this board: an add-in M.2 solid-state-drive (SSD) adapter card that you can drop in the PCIe x4 slot. (We’ll get into that later, too.)
The X99-Deluxe is feature overkill—and then some—for buyers who aren’t planning on installing a few high-end graphics cards and eight sticks of RAM. But for all the features it does pack into its standard ATX spread, the board feels well laid out. And while the plastic shroud around the I/O plate doesn’t serve much purpose other than aesthetics, the board’s white accents, set off against the black PCB, do look great in a white case with a window. It may well be the ultimate motherboard to date for an Imperial Stormtrooper-themed PC build.
The Basics: The X99 Chipset Emerging Storage
Before we get into the X99-Deluxe‘s features and layout, we’ll spend a few paragraphs discussing the X99 chipset itself, as well as outlining two rather new next-generation storage technologies we mentioned in the introduction: M.2 and SATA Express, both of which are available in full force on this board.
The most noteworthy addition with the introduction of the X99 chipset is indeed the move from DDR3 to DDR4 RAM. From a real-world standpoint, this won’t benefit consumers much in the short term. The quad-channel DDR3 memory that was used with the previous Extreme Edition chipset (and most mainstream ones these days, too) wasn’t exactly being saturated or throttling performance. So DDR4 certainly isn’t going to make your PC “feel” any faster by itself, at least until software makers find ways to take advantage of its massive bandwidth.
DDR4 does use less power (1.2 volts, versus 1.5 volts with DDR3), but that’s hardly a concern for most enthusiasts who are already dropping in a host of high-priced, power-hungry parts. The biggest benefit of DDR4 in the long term is likely going to be its higher potential NAND density. RAM maker SK Hynix has already created DDR4 for servers that packs 128GB on a single DIMM (Opens in a new window). But don’t expect to drop in 1TB of RAM today, even if you could afford eight of those memory modules. For the moment, at least, the X99 boards we’ve seen top out at support for 64GB of memory.
In any event, you’ll need to factor the cost of this new memory into your overall budget when building an X99 system. Few if any users will already own any DDR4, and you’ll want to buy it in a configuration that maximizes the quad-channel design—which is to say, you’ll want to stock your board with four or eight identical DIMMs. In the case of the Asus X99-Deluxe, using just four of the eight slots will let you add another identical set of four down the road, employing DIMMs up to 8GB each.
Other features of X99 bring it to the very cutting edge of desktop computing. The platform natively supports up to 10 SATA III ports, six USB 3.0 ports, and—the biggest deal for gamers—40 PCI Express 3.0 lanes for multiple-video-card gaming systems. Intel’s more mainstream Z97 chipset, by comparison, supports just 16 lanes. That can cramp your style once you start installing multiple video cards and emerging PCI Express-based solid-state drives (SSDs).
Keep in mind that, while these are the specs for the chipset, actual boards may (and often will) have more ports than are listed here, as board makers frequently add more, supported by third-party chips and controllers. The Asus X99-Deluxe board we’re looking at here, for instance, goes well beyond the base specs by adding extra SATA and USB ports. Given the high-end nature of this platform, we expect many motherboards to add their own high-end features in this way to help justify the lofty board prices.
M.2 SSD: Next-Gen Storage, Part I
Earlier in 2014, M.2 drives made their mainstream desktop debut alongside SATA Express in Intel’s Z97 chipset. (We’d seen ports for M.2 drives on a few earlier motherboards, but it was rare.) Both formats are on the cutting edge of consumer storage, and they are capable of faster speeds than standard SATA III. M.2 SSDs are readily available, while internal consumer SATA Express drives have yet to show up on sale, at least when we wrote this in early September 2014.
The M.2 format is being groomed as the replacement for the tiny mSATA SSDs we’ve seen in plenty of ultrabooks, as well as in Intel’s NUC platform and other micro-PCs, such as the NUC-like Gigabyte Brix and Brix Pro models. (Under the Z87 chipset, a few Intel-based desktop motherboards supported mSATA with dedicated slots, as well.)
Here’s a look at the M.2 slot on this Asus board.
This slot is unusual in that it’s vertically oriented; all others we’ve seen have had the M.2 drive mounted parallel to the motherboard. Because this is an inherently unstable arrangement, Asus bundles a bracket that helps hold an installed M.2 SSD steady in the slot. Here is the bracket, with mounting holes and apparatus for M.2 SSDs of various lengths (42mm, 60mm, or 80mm).
UNBOXING E REVIEW FAVORÁVEL. PLACA MÃE ASUS X99 DELUXE
And here it is installed on the board itself, bracing an M.2 drive.
M.2 drives have already been employed in Apple’s late-model MacBooks and Sony’s (now defunct) VAIO Pro line. But Z97 and now X99 on the desktop looks to take these drives to a wider audience of gamers and enthusiasts, who will no doubt appreciate that M.2 drives are tiny, as well as potentially much faster than standard SATA SSDs.
In a desktop-PC environment, the M.2 size benefit is of minor importance; after all, you can cram as many 2.5-inch SATA SSDs as you can afford into most PC cases that can take an ATX motherboard like this one. It’s the speed that matters. M.2 drives can outrun standard SATA drives because they borrow bandwidth from the much faster PCI Express lanes, which are normally used for graphics and other expansion cards. (At least, M.2 PCI Express drives can; confusingly, you can find both M.2 PCI Express and M.2 SATA drives, which look alike and plug into the same kind of slot. Note that only the former kind will work in the X99-Deluxe‘s M.2 slot. It remains to be seen whether the latter kind will endure.)
M.2 slots we’ve seen so far on the Z97 chipset top out at 1GB per second. But Asus labels the M.2 slot on this board as “M.2 x4,” so technically it should be capable of speeds up to 4GB per second. But since this is the first M.2 x4 slot we’ve ever seen, we wouldn’t expect to see drives that are capable of those kinds of speeds anytime soon. As a quick experiment, we tested a Plextor M.2 PCI Express SSD in the X99-Deluxe‘s onboard M.2 slot and on Asus’ provided M.2 PCI Express expansion card, and got roughly the same performance in both configurations using the AS-SSD benchmarking utility. The performance with that drive was also not appreciably different from what we got on our Z97-based testbed, using an MSI Z97 Mpower Max AC motherboard.
SATA Express: Next-Gen Storage, Part II
Then there’s SATA Express. We’ve seen some lower-end Z97-chipset boards that have SATA Express connectors, so we expect they’ll be common on X99 boards as well. A bit less far along in its development than M.2, SATA Express is a nascent storage interface that also borrows bandwidth from the PCI Express lanes. Theoretically, it can also deliver bandwidth close to 2GB per second. But seeing as you can’t buy a consumer SATA Express drive just yet, these are just claims so far.
As for how it’s implemented: So far, we’ve seen the SATA Express connectors bumped right up against the SATA ports on boards that support the technology. You can see them here on our review board, which has two SATA Express ports.
The SATA Express ports are all the way to the left of the ordinary SATA connectors here. Each SATA Express drive will make use of two ordinary SATA ports, plus the smaller SATA Express power port (under the text “45H1”) to the left of the pair. (The SATA Express connector is wide and will cover all three.) The extra connections are needed to provide the extra bandwidth over standard SATA III. So, despite the 12 physical SATA III ports and two SATA Express power connectors, using a SATA Express drive with the X99-Deluxe will reduce the effective total number of SATA drives you can connect here. Still, what you get on this board should be plenty for just about any conceivable build.
Board Features Layout
As we discussed in our review of the Intel Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition, it and its lesser Haswell E-based kin use a familiar-looking 2,011-pin LGA 2011 socket, much like the one on previous “E” grade processors. But this particular socket is not backward-compatible. The socket required by the Haswell-E processors is called “LGA 2011-V3.” It looks just like the older Socket 2011, but it’s electrically incompatible.
As a result, you can’t drop in previous-generation LGA 2011 CPUs, nor will the Haswell-E chips work in older boards. LGA 2011-V3 is what’s on the Asus X99-Deluxe, so you can use this board only with Intel’s new chips: the Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition, as well as the Core i7-5930K and Core i7-5820K.
The LGA 2011-V3 socket and the eight RAM slots on the X99-Deluxe take up roughly half the total space on the board. Add the trio of heatsinks (there’s one hiding behind the I/O plate), and there’s really not much room left over for onboard ports and headers.
Even so, Asus managed to find room for most of what we’d expect, plus a few surprises.
Along the upper edge of the board you’ll find two four-pin fan headers (with the CPU header clad in white to make it easier to find), as well as an eight-pin auxiliary power connector. In the upper-right corner is a “MemOK!” button (Opens in a new window) and LED that, when pressed after a boot failure due to memory issues, attempts to load fail-safe defaults. Enthusiasts who know what they’re doing won’t get much out of this feature, but given X99 is the first consumer chipset to support quad-channel DDR4 RAM (this board supports up to 64GB), it’s nice to know the feature is there.
Moving down the right of the board, you’ll find the ATX power connector, the vertically oriented M.2 x4 SSD connector we discussed earlier, and the bank of SATA ports. As noted earlier, the SATA ports will function at SATA III (6Gbps) speeds on their own, but the four nearest the bottom of the board can also function as part of two SATA Express connectors.
Also down here are two more four-pin chassis-fan headers. One sits above the larger cluster of SATA ports, while the other lives below the SATA ports. Both are near the edge for easy cable routing, like all five headers on the board are. Plus, a nice bonus: If you want or need more fan headers, Asus supplies an internal “Fan Extension Card” in the box.
This is basically an internal fan hub, much like the ones we have often seen on NZXT’s better PC cases. It draws power from a Molex power connector, and it can power and control up to seven fans. modest builds probably won’t need this accessory. But if you’re loading the board up with eight sticks of RAM, four graphics cards, and a mega-CPU like the i7-5960X, and overclocking some or all of it (which is the kind of thing LGA 2011 aficions are known to do), you may need all the fans you can get. There are also pins here to add additional temperature sensors. Along with the card, Asus supplies supporting cables and a double-sided sticky pad for mounting.
Before moving to the bottom of the board, it’s worth discussing the expansion slots. As we mentioned in passing earlier, you get a plethora of PCIe x16 slots here—five of them, to be exact.
Now, before you go thinking about five-way SLI (Penta-SLI? —Ed.) or CrossFire, that’s not supported (by this board, or any other). However, you can drop four Nvidia graphics cards into this system and add a fifth dedicated just to PhysX acceleration. We’re not suggesting that’s something you should do, unless you happen to have a very, very generous gaming benefactor. But it’s the kind of setup that this board (and the X99 chipset) was built for.
Keep in mind that the X99 chipset has 40 total PCI Express 3.0 lanes, at least if you’re using it with one of the two higher-end Haswell-E CPUs at this writing, the Core i7-5960X or the i7-5930K. So, if you drop in five cards, they’ll all be running at x8 speeds. With three cards, you’ll get two running at full x16, plus one at x8. Given that PCI Express 3.0 is generally twice as fast as 2.0, you shouldn’t see much, if any, limitation on performance so long as you don’t drop any cards down to x4 speeds.
Rather than list all the possible card configurations and speed combinations here, we’ll point out that the X99-Deluxe‘s BIOS has a nice graphical setup that shows you which cards are running at what bandwidth, and allows you to choose (within the chipset’s limitations) which setup you want. Also keep in mind that while the chipset and board support 40 lanes of throughput, not all the Haswell-E CPUs do. The lowest-end one, the Core i7-5820K, drops PCI bandwidth down to 28 lanes. So know that if you want to maximize graphics performance with three or more cards, you’ll need to opt for either the high-end Core i7-5960X or the six-core Core i7-5930K.
Then there’s that PCIe x4 slot below the top graphics-card slot. Provided your graphics cards aren’t large enough that they block this slot, you can use the slot to connect an M.2 drive should you not want to use the vertically oriented slot on the right edge of the motherboard. (Of course, you could use it for any ordinary PCI Express card, as well, such as a sound card.) As we mentioned earlier on, Asus supplies a PCI Express adapter card (dubbed “Hyper M.2 X4”) just for this purpose.
You’d mount your M.2 PCI Express SSD of whatever length right onto this card, then drop it into one of the free slots.
Keep in mind, though, that using either M.2 option with this board—the M.2 slot on the motherboard, or the adapter card—will set aside four of those 40 PCI Express lanes for the SSD. So again, if your dual priorities are graphics performance (employing more than two video cards) and the speediest possible SSD setup, you may want to consider running two identical SATA SSDs in a RAID 0 array, rather than opting for an M.2 one.
So much for the slots. The bottom edge of this board is no less complex, home to more headers, switches, and buttons than you’re likely to see on almost any other ATX board.
Moving from right to left, you’ll find the front-panel connectors in the bottom corner, followed by two USB 2.0 headers and two USB 3.0 headers, as well as a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header.
Also down here is the external fan header for connecting up the previously mentioned Fan Extension Card, as well as power, reset, and clear CMOS buttons. The two-digit LED readout here displays codes for boot problems; after the POST process, it displays the running CPU temperature.
Last, above the USB 2.0 headers, is a bank of small switches for various purposes. Among them, the SLI/CFX switch is a brilliant touch.
As you can see, it’s labeled “2X” and “3X,” which indicates the number of video cards installed. Depending on the setting, it lights up LEDs that indicate which of the PCI Express x16 slots you should use, depending on your desired graphics-card configuration.
There’s also an EZ XMP switch, designed to make loading RAM XMP profiles simple. The other switches are for TPU (basically, automatic overclocking) and EPU (a power-saving mode). The last two likely won’t find much use among enthusiasts, as manual overclocking should yield better results. But the SLI/CFX switch and LEDs should make it easier to set up multi-GPU systems without having to dig in the manual to discern which of the five x16 slots to use.
In one of the board’s few layout stumbles, the front-panel audio header is near the left corner, along with the S/PDIF-out header.
In an ideal world, we’d like to see the audio header on the opposite corner of the board, closer to the front of the case. But the board’s audio circuitry occupies the lower-left corner, as evidenced by the cluster of copper-colored Nichicon audio capacitors, which is likely why Asus placed the audio headers here.
The inclusion of dedicated audio capacitors is a feature that became very common with the introduction of the Z97 chipset, a few months before we wrote this review. Considering this is a higher-end platform than Z97, we’re not surprised to see the same attention to audio quality here, as well.
Asus calls the audio on the board Crystal Sound 2 (and it has labeled the white shroud covering the area as such). The audio circuitry is built around Realtek’s high-end ALC1150 codec (Opens in a new window) and includes now-familiar features like EMI shielding and a dedicated amp to go along with the dedicated capacitors.
Overall, while we’ve seen similar audio features on boards that cost less, almost all consumer motherboards cost less than 400. The audio features here are at least good enough that most users should be happy with the sound output without having to opt for a dedicated audio card.
One slightly odd thing about the audio section of the board, though: Like most of the Z97 boards we’ve seen, the X99-Deluxe has built-in lighting (white, on this model) running along the audio section of the board to indicate the isolated audio area. Here, though, Asus has shrouded the area with a piece of white plastic, which means most of the light leaks out of the back of the system, around the slot expansion area.
As we couldn’t find an easy way to turn this lighting off, you’ll have to live with white light shining out the back of your case whenever the system is powered on.
The rear I/O section of the X99-Deluxe is packed with ports, but don’t expect anything dated or marginal here, such as PS/2 or eSATA.
ASUS X99 Deluxe & Intel 5960X. PC4TV ep1 Keddr.com
All that blue means lots of USB 3.0. There’s no Thunderbolt on this board, though. On the networking front, you get two Intel Gigabit Ethernet ports, plus a wireless module that delivers Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi module is dual-Band and three-stream (3×3), supporting speeds up to 1.3Gbps (provided, of course, you have a recent high-end router and excellent signal strength). It works with a bundled external antenna that connects to the three gold jacks on the I/O plate.
Also on the port plate, you’ll find a BIOS-flashback button and the standard analog and optical audio jacks we’d expect from a high-end board.
The rest of the space on the I/O plate is taken up by USB ports. Two are standard black 2.0 ports (a good place to plug in your keyboard and mouse), while the 10 remaining blue ones are all USB 3.0. If 12 USB ports isn’t enough for you (you wild man, you —Ed.), you can add up to eight more via the onboard headers. You’ll have to provide your own expansion brackets, though, as you won’t find any in the box.
Needless to say, we couldn’t spot them among the thousands, so we’ve had to reproduce Asus’ marketing splash about them here. While we can’t measure exactly how much this helps stability, we can say that we had no real problems pushing our Core i7-5960X Extreme Edition chip in this board up to a stable 4.2GHz (over the stock 3GHz), and that without exotic cooling or extreme measures. If a maximum overclock is on your list of X99 must-haves, you may want to consider opting for a board with this feature.
We’ve already discussed the most significant chunks of the accessory bundle that come in the box with the X99-Deluxe, including the M.2 SSD expansion card and the vertical M.2 SSD bracing bracket, as well as the Fan Extension Card.
That’s not nearly all you get, though. The compact antenna we mentioned earlier for the Wi-Fi module also comes in the box, as do eight SATA cables and a three-way SLI connector. Here’s the whole lot, laid out.
About the only thing we’d like to see here that’s absent is an expansion bracket to make use of at least one of the USB 3.0 or even 2.0 headers. Even so, the 10 ports on the board will likely be plenty for most users—especially if you connect one of the headers from your PC’s case to add more USB 3.0 ports to the front of the chassis.
As we’ve seen with most Asus boards we’ve tested in recent years, the X99’s graphical BIOS is feature-rich and well laid out. You’ll find more features here than most users will ever tweak (or, for that matter, even understand).
For starters, it’s a small detail, but we do like the BIOS’s built-in Quick Note notepad for saving your scribbles about settings tweaks you have made—sort of an in-BIOS Post-It Notes feature.
Beyond that, the board defaults to EZ Mode for casual users. It delivers a well-designed, easy-to-comprehend system overview. It’s one of the cleanest such designs we’ve seen to date.
Within EZ Mode, you can do some basic, wizard-based system tweaking (via the EZ Tuning function), switching your PC easily among Normal, Optimal, and Power Saving modes at the BIOS rather than OS level.
Otherwise, to get serious, you can shift into Advanced Mode, where the real tweaking can begin.
Once in Advanced, the basic system-monitoring details get shunted over into a neat column down the right side of the screen.
In Advanced, the options for controlling the minutiae of CPU, RAM, and voltage settings are as extensive as you’d expect from a high-end board like this one.
And with that in mind, Asus includes an overclocking profile function (under the Tool tab) that lets you save multiple sets of overclocking settings for easy recall.
Similarly deep are the cooling controls. The Q-Fan Control BIOS sub-utility, for example, is reachable via F6 and lets you manually shape, for each fan, the fan-speed-versus-temperature graph, or use presets.
Given the complex expansion-card situation on this board, in this BIOS you also get a handy graphical layout that shows the graphics-card slot settings and which slots are occupied.
On the whole, this board makes tweaking more accessible and less intimidating than most. Plus, if you want to work within Windows on your tweaks, you can make use of the extensive AISuite 3 software, for monitoring and tweaking.
The X99-Deluxe is the first X99 board we’ve gotten our mitts on (several others are en route to us), so we don’t have a tangible X99-based alternative to compare it to. Still, apart from the price, and the fact that it lacks Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt 2 ports (which probably doesn’t matter to most potential buyers, and is fixable via an add-in card like Asus‘ own ThunderboltEX II/Dual (Opens in a new window) ), we have no major complaints about it.
However, like the Core i7-5960X Haswell-E processor and the X99 platform in general, it’s not for everyone—not by a long shot. It’s a premium board that really only justifies the outlay when used with multiple PCI Express 3.0 graphics cards. Unless you’re planning on installing several such high-end cards, you should opt for something with fewer PCI Express x16 slots and a lower price.
Otherwise, though, the rest of this board’s long list of features doesn’t feel superfluous, and that’s not always the case with high-end motherboards. You may not need the 802.11ac Wi-Fi module if you’re using the dual LAN ports (or vice versa), but the wireless module also adds Bluetooth and WiDi (Intel’s wireless-display technology), so you aren’t paying extra just for network connections you won’t be using.
And though 400 is plenty to shell out for any motherboard, an X99 board is not likely to be your biggest overall expense in an X99-based build, given the chip and RAM you’re likely to drop into such a system. Also, even in these early days of X99, we’ve spotted a couple of X99 boards that cost even more.
MSI, for one, offers the X99S Gaming 9 AC (Opens in a new window) for about 430. It’s a large Extended ATX board that has a built-in AverMedia encoding chip designed to allow you to convert and stream your gaming antics on the fly, without affecting CPU or GPU performance. And Asus itself sells an even pricier X99 motherboard, the 500 Rampage V Extreme X99 (Opens in a new window). which comes with a module that can be used as either a front-panel bay device to monitor and control temperature, fan speed, and base clock speed, or a as wired remote overclocking module and fan controller.
These pricier boards have features that will appeal to some but are overkill for most. The X99-Deluxe, while still aimed at those building very high-end systems, feels like a better balance of features and price. Still, if you aren’t planning on installing three or more graphics cards or pushing clock speeds as high as possible without a custom cooling setup, good options are available for a lot less. ASRock’s X99 Extreme3 (Opens in a new window). for instance, while it has “only” four quad-channel DDR4 RAM slots and a trio of graphics-card slots, currently sells for 210, making it the lowest-cost X99 board available, at least according to Newegg.com pricing when we wrote this. So while you certainly can’t get off cheap building a Haswell-based X99 system, you can pay a good bit less than 400 for the mobo.
That said, if you’re in the market for the X99 platform in the first place, you probably fit one of two profiles: You need its performance to make your living, or you crave it for PC gaming and have the means to indulge. Especially for buyers in the latter camp, who want to maximize graphics performance with an array of video cards they own now (or expect to own later), the X99-Deluxe will serve as a very able base for a next-gen PC. But so long as you can afford it, this board shouldn’t disappoint for practically any usage case.