ASUS Strix X99 Gaming Review
If ever a motherboard counted as an model for the tweakers in the audience then the ASUS X99 Strix Gaming is definitely that motherboard.
The looks are spectacular though. We love the all black aesthetic which allows the multiple LED segments to be lit in any colour of your choosing without the boards existing colour scheme dominating proceedings. It's particularly good that ASUS have chosen to supply multiple colour options for the logos and brand identity too, although it's a brave decision for them to have picked such searing hues. Maybe this will be a trendsetter and there will be a rash of hot pink systems built. With the neutral grey option being a possibility though we think that the majority of users will opt to have a monochrome motherboard and pick their lighting.
Technologically the Strix is amongst the very best. All of the leading edge protocols and hardware and to be found, whether it's 2x2 multi-band WiFi, USBs available in everything from the compatible 2.0 to the blisteringly fast 3.1, or utilisation of the latest NVMe capable storage options via U.2 and M.2 ports, if you want to be able to connect it to your system then the ASUS Strix has got you covered. Connectivity is backed up by other ASUS technologies that have proven their worth many times over. The SupremeFX completely banishes the memory of crackling on-board audio to the history books with exceptional audio quality. The ability to run headphones up to 300Ohm, and swap the OP-Amps out for ones to your own personal taste, never ceases to be a useful addition. Even the ASUS GameFirst IV laying makes sure that you can game at the lowest latencies without unexpected network traffic costing you vital clicks or, worse still, disconnecting you altogether.
We hesitate to use the words "mixed bag" when it comes to the performance, because that implies that there are some results which are shockingly awful. Even at its worst the Strix still pumps out some impressive scores. However, if there is nothing in particular, beyond gaming performance, to differentiate the X99 Strix Gaming at stock when compared to any other X99 based motherboard we've tested, then the overclocking capabilities shine so brightly you barely notice. The ASUS Strix absolutely flies if you put a little time and effort into providing your CPU with a little fettling. Many of our top performing X99 motherboards have squeezed 4.5GHz from our Core i7-5960X, but none have done so with such graph-topping consistency as the Strix. This said we still feel the Strix has more to give, we have worked our way through several pre-release BIOS while having this board with us and each one has got better and better. We are not entirely sure why its taking them longer than normal but it gives us a severe case of DeJaVu from last year when Intel changed the ME firmware on the Z170 boards and it totally ruined all of the BIOS (across all brands) and memory compatibility went out of the window. Thats exactly how the Strix made us feel at first, its getting better and they have a broader range of support than the MSI carbon but there is a long way to go. I hold the Asus BIOS in high regard because it is usually an industry benchmark.
Even with a few quirks this is the first board in a long time that has made the Rampage look a bit worried sat on its throne at the top of all of the X99 based possibilities. Couple that with the awesome aesthetics and its doesn't need us to say anymore than OC3D Enthusiast Award.