not Optimus, but Prime / Motherboard

In the universe of robot transformers, with which cinematographers introduced well-known Hollywood director Michael Bay, the leader of Autobots Optimus Prime – not only the strongest transformer, but also the noblest knight. Showing an exceptional love for people and caring for them, Optimus Prime constantly strives to improve the world around us, as well as ASUS strives to improve its motherboards, including the same Prime series.

In the beginning of September we already tested ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe which turned out to be ideal in everything, except for the price. Today we will get acquainted with her younger and more accessible sister – motherboard ASUS Prime X299-A .

This model differs from the flagship by the absence of the U.2 port and the wireless network module – here only wired. Also, it has two smaller high-speed USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, there are few buttons on the PCB and a more modest backlighting. At the same time, the entire element base of the ASUS Prime X299-A is exactly the same as that of the Deluxe version, but the cost is immediately 35% lower. It seems that today we have a potential hit on testing. However, let's not run ahead.

Review of the motherboard ASUS Prime X 299- A

# T Technical characteristics characteristics and the cost of

ASUS Prime X299-A
Supported processors Intel Core X processors in the performance of LGA2066 (the seventh generation of the microarchitecture Core)
Chipset Intel X299 Express
The memory subsystem 8 × DIMM DDR4 unbuffered memory of up to 128 GB;
four- or two-channel memory operation mode (depending on the processor);
support for modules with a frequency of 4000 (O.C.) / 3600 (O.C.) / 2666/2400/2133 MHz;
support for Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile)
Connectors for expansion cards 3 PCI Express x16 3.0 / 2.0 slots, x16, x16 / x16 and x16 / x16 / x8 operating modes with 44-PCI-E processor; x16, x16 / x8 and x16 / x8 / x1 with a processor with 28 lines of PCI-E; x16, x8 / x8 and x8 / x8 / x1 with a processor with 16 lines of PCI-E;
2 slots PCI Express 3.0 x4;
1 PCI Express 3.0 x1 slot
Scalability of the video subsystem NVIDIA Quad-GPU / 3-way / 2-way SLI Technology;
AMD Quad-GPU / 3-way / 2-way CrossFireX Technology
Drive Interfaces Chipset Intel X299 Express:
– 8 × SATA 3, bandwidth up to 6 Gbit / s;
– support for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10, Intel Optane Memory, Intel Rapid Storage, Intel Smart Response, NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug.
– 1 × M.2 (PCI Express x4, Gen 3 / SATA), bandwidth up to 32 Gbps (supports types 2242/2260/2280);
– 1 × M.2 (PCI Express x4, Gen 3), up to 32 Gbps throughput (supports types 2242/2260/2280/22110 in vertical orientation)
Gigabit LAN controller Intel Gigabit LAN I219V (10/100/1000 Mbps);
Support for ASUS LANGuard and ROG technology GameFirst IV
Wireless network interface No
Audio subsystem 8-channel HD Sound Codec Crystal Sound 3 (Realtek ALC S1220A):
– signal-to-noise ratio on the linear audio output of 120 dB, and on the line input – 113 dB;
– Japanese audio condensers Nichicon premium;
– built-in headphone amplifier;
– food pre-regulator;
– isolation of the audio zone on the PCB textolite;
– the left and right audio channels are located in different layers of the printed circuit board;
– support for determining the type of the connected device, multi-streaming, reassigning the connectors of the front audio panel;
– support for DTS Headphone: X technology
The interface of the USB Intel X299 Express Chipset:
– 8 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (4 on the back panel, 4 connect to two connectors on the board);
– 4 USB 2.0 ports (2 – on the rear panel, 2 connected to the connectors on the board).
Two ASMedia ASM3142 controllers:
– 3 USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (Type-A and 1 Type-C on the rear panel, 1 port connector on the board for the front case panel)
Connectors and buttons on the rear panel Button USB BIOS Flashback;
2 USB 2.0 ports;
2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports and LAN LAN socket RJ-45;
2 USB ports 3.1 Gen 1;
2 USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (Type-A + Type-C);
optical S / P-DIF output;
5 audio connectors (Center / Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Side Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
Internal connectors on the motherboard 24-pin power connector EATX;
8-pin ATX 12V power connector;
4-pin ATX 12V power connector;
8 SATA 3;
2 M.2;
connector M.2_FAN;
4 4-pin connectors for case / processor fans with PWM support;
4-pin connector for PZM pump with PWM support;
High AMP-connector for the fan;
connector EXT_FAN;
2 connectors Aura RGB Strip;
2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 connectors for connecting four ports;
USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector for the front panel;
USB 2.0 connector for connecting two ports;
Thunderbolt connector;
connector for a temperature sensor;
the power button;
button MemOK !;
CMOS reset jumper;
jumper CPU_OV;
a group of connectors for the front panel
BIOS 128-Mb AMI UEFI BIOS with a multi-lingual interface and a graphical shell;
compatibility with ACPI 6.0;
support for PnP 1.0a;
support for SM BIOS 3.0;
support for DMI 3.0;
support for WfM 2.0;
support 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)
The controller of the I / O Nuvoton NCT6796D
Brand functions, technologies and features OC Design – ASUS PRO Clock II Technology;
ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5:
– 5-Way Optimization tuning key consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI + VRM, Fan Xpert 4 and Turbo Core App;
– Aura RGB Strip Headers;
– Aura Lighting Effects Synchronization with compatible ASUS ROG devices;
ASUS Exclusive Features:
– USB BIOS Flashback;
– MemOK !;
– AI Suite 3;
– Ai Charger;
– Onboard Button: Power;
– ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode featuring friendly graphics user interface;
– Turbo LAN;
– Crystal Sound 3;
– File Transfer;
– Cloud GO !;
– File Transfer;
– ASUS EZ Flash 3;
– ASUS USB BIOS Flashback;
– Multi-language BIOS;
ASUS Q-Design:
– ASUS Q-Shield;
– ASUS Q-Code;
– ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED);
– ASUS Q-Slot;
– ASUS Q-Connector;
Gaming Aesthetics:
– 3D printing friendly;
– AURA-RGB Lighting;
M.2 Onboard
The form factor, dimensions (mm) ATX, 305 × 244
Support for operating systems Windows 10 x64
The warranty of the manufacturer of of the manufacturer years 3
The minimum retail value * rub
40 0

* According to the data of "Yandex.Market" on 19.10.2017.

U packing and configuration

The cardboard box, in which ASUS Prime X299-A is shipped, is designed in the same way as the Deluxe version, but it looks a bit brighter, as the attention of potential buyers here is accentuated by the AURA lighting system. The back of the box lists all the components of the board and separately describes its key features.

A traditional sticker with barcodes and numbers is placed on one of the ends of the box.

Complete with ASUS Prime X299-A modest. In addition to the card, in the box you will find only four SATA cables with latches, a rigid 2-way SLI connecting bridge, a cover for the back panel, screws and a vertical plate for mounting the M.2 drive. There is also a small connector for connecting cables.

Also included are installation instructions, a disk with drivers and utilities, and a small user memo.

There are no bonuses for ASUS Prime X299-A – not the price level, as you understand. The country of manufacture of a payment – China, the guarantee – 3 years. In our country, the fee can be purchased at a price of from 17,400 rubles and in foreign stores – from 218 euros (~ 14.9 thousand rubles.) Excluding the cost of delivery. Note that for a motherboard with a LGA2066 connector, this is a very democratic cost.

# D design and features

The ASUS Prime X299-A is made in the same color scheme as the Deluxe version, and in general looks very much like a flagship card. The layout of this model is classical, and quite a large part of the textolite on the front side is closed with a plastic casing and radiators.

There is nothing bright and radically different in design than what kind of seriousness of the product is emphasized. The board dimensions are 305 × 244 mm, that is, it refers to the standard form factor ATX.

The back panel of the ASUS Prime X299-A has a USB Flashback button, eight USB ports, including high-speed USB 3.1 Gen 2, one RJ45 socket and audio connectors.

There is still a lot of free space left.

Without a casing and radiators, which are fastened through the textolite with screws, the board looks like this:

Its ports and features are shown on the diagram from the ASUS website.

From there you can also download the user manual ASUS Prime X299-A, in which you will find a more precise and detailed designation of all ports.

The LGA2066 processor connector on the board differs from itself only with a hole for a temperature sensor in the center.

Of course, ASUS Prime X299-A supports all Intel processors in the design version LGA2066 released or planned for release in the near future and most of them – already with a fairly early BIOS version 0402 of June 20, 2017.

The eight-phase power supply system of the processor here is exactly the same as that of the Deluxe version – it consists of solid capacitors and chokes with a ferrite core.

The processor is controlled by the Digi + VRM ASP1405I controller.

Despite the significant price difference between ASUS Prime X299-A and ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe, the board retains the external clock generator of the base frequency – ASUS Pro Clock II.

Working in tandem with the Turbo Processing Unit (TPU) chip, ASUS Pro Clock II is able to automatically overclock the processor in theory and in theory provide the optimal combination of all parameters.

For our part, we note that up to the accuracy and the results that can be obtained when manually adjusting the system parameters during overclocking, this tandem of controllers is still quite far away.

The board is powered by a 24-pin, 8-pin and optional, 4-pin connectors.

All eight slots for RAM modules lack a metallized shell and a reinforced key jumper, but are equipped with latches only on one side and in pairs are painted in different colors.

Depending on the type of CPU installed on the board, the maximum memory capacity on it can be up to 64 (Skylake-X) or 128 GB (Kaby Lake-X). With a list of supported memory frequencies, the situation is interesting in that only the following frequencies are indicated in the board characteristics: 4000 (O.C.), 3600 (O.C.), 2666, 2400 and 2133 MHz. At the same time, at least twice as many memory frequencies are available in the BIOS – from 2133 to 4133 MHz in 133 MHz increments. That is, in fact, and there are no differences from the Deluxe version. Support for working with XMP profiles (Extreme Memory Profile) is also certified for this board list of memory sets.

Note the button MemOK! next to the memory slots, near the upper right corner of the textolite.

As we have recently seen, this button is not available on all cards manufactured by a Taiwanese company.

The ASUS Prime X299-A is equipped with six PCI Express 3.0 slots. Three of them have the metallized SafeSlot shell.

It strengthens these slots 1.8 times for fracture and 1.6 times for pulling.

The board can simultaneously work with two or three video cards in AMD CrossFireX or NVIDIA SLI modes. As you probably already know, the performance of such links will depend directly on the processor installed on the board and the number of PCI-E-lines in it. All possible variants are given in three tables from the instruction manual.

Like almost all motherboards of this class, multiplexers ASM1480 are responsible for the distribution of PCI-E lines to ASUS Prime X299-A.

According to the official Intel site, the cost of the chipset Intel X299 Express which is the basis of all cards with the LGA2066 processor socket, is 74 US dollars.

It turns out that everything else on the motherboard ASUS Prime X299-A costs about 140 US dollars.

The ASUS Prime X299-A is equipped with eight SATA III chipsets with a bandwidth of up to 6 Gbps.

Besides them, the board has two M.2 ports with a bandwidth of up to 32 Gb / s. The main one, M.2_1, is located in the zone between the second and third PCI Express x16 slot – it can work with both SATA- and PCI Express-drives up to 80 mm in length.

The second is oriented vertically, in which the drives are fixed using the supplied ASUS Hyper M.2 x4 plate. This port supports only PCI Express drives, but up to 110 mm in length.

In total, the ASUS Prime X299-A has 15 USB ports. The Intel X299 Express chipset provides 12 ports, 8 of which are related to USB 3.1 Gen 1 – they are equally divided between the back panel of the board and internal connectors on the PCB. Four more USB 2.0 ports are distributed on the board in the same way as USB 3.1 Gen 1.

The high-speed USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports on the ASUS Prime X299-A are three pieces, and all of them are implemented by ASMedia ASM3142 controllers (re-marked ASM1142 ). Two are connected to the rear panel (Type-A and Type-C connectors), and one, internal, is for the front panel of the chassis of the system unit.

The throughput of these three interfaces can reach 10 Gbit / s.

The network controller on ASUS Prime X299-A has only one – a gigabit Intel WGI219-V with ASUS LANGuard integrated protection against electrical overload.

Supports the Turbo LAN function with cFosSpeed ​​network traffic management technology, which reduces access time and increases the connection speed.

The board is equipped with an eight-channel HD-codec Crystal Sound 3, based on the Realtek ALC S1220A chip, shielded by a metal casing

The audio system includes five "audiophile" Japanese-made Nichicon capacitors, a built-in headphone amplifier and a power pre-controller. In addition, the left and right channels are spread over different layers of textolite, and the entire audio zone on the board is isolated from the other elements by a conductive strip.

All these optimizations allowed the manufacturer to achieve a signal-to-noise ratio on the linear audio output of 120 dB, and at the line input – 113 dB. In addition, the technology of surround sound DTS Headphone: X is supported.

There are no features in the ASUS Prime X299-A Super I / O controller – this is the familiar Nuvoton NCT6796D.

The board supports simultaneous connection and management of 7 fans. One of the connectors has increased power and is able to provide demanding pumps for liquid-cooling systems.

There is on the board and a connector for connecting an external controller of fans and temperature sensors – the Fan Extension Card. By the way, one connector for an external temperature sensor is directly on the board.

На нижнем крае текстолита платы, помимо привычных разъёмов, отметим кнопку включения и индикатор POST-кодов.

Там же можно найти один из двух разъёмов для кабеля внешней подсветки (второй расположен вверху, у 8-контактного разъёма питания). Максимальная сила тока на каждом таком разъёме достигает 2 А. Поддерживаются RGB-ленты длиной до двух метров.

Световых эффектов в системе подсветки ASUS Aura, похоже, ещё добавилось, а управляет ей на плате одноимённый контроллер.

Охлаждение на ASUS Prime X299-A очень скромное: небольшой радиатор с термопрокладкой на элементах цепи VRM и второй радиатор на чипсете. Он же, кстати, охлаждает и накопители в горизонтальном M.2.

Отметим, что, в отличие от Deluxe-версии платы, в пластиковых кожухах данной модели подсветки нет.

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