ASUS TUF X299 Mark 1 Review
Published: 19th July 2017 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
If our time spent with the ASUS X299 TUF Mark 1 has left us with any overriding impression, it is that it doesn't really matter what the trimmings are, the latest Intel chipset is relentlessly good.
Although we've only fully reviewed ASUS motherboards on the X299 platform so far, even there you can get a good indication of how the various elements will combine to lead you towards one model or another, rather than the raw performance. With the Strix you have a model aimed at the gamer with lots of lighting and flash bits and bobs. The Prime is a white themed motherboard for those who care about what it can do more than how it looks. So where does the TUF Mark 1 fit in?
With the inclusion of the TUF Armor alongside the TUF Detective 2 we think it is targetted towards those who want something that combines ruggedness and subtlety with easy fault finding. Only the "The Ultimate Force" area lights up with the ASUS AURA RGB lighting, and the combination of this lack of sparkle with the smooth looks of the TUF Armor provide a very attractive backdrop upon which you can show off your choice of external lighting. Naturally how much like this will largely depend upon how much flash and flair you like your hardware to have, but we know there are just as many people who want a foundation that blends into their case as there are those who want their system to light up the whole street.
Performance is very much up to par with the X299 motherboards we've tested so far. Overclocking was easy and we achieved a magnificent 4.6 GHz from our Core i9-7900X. Ten cores, twenty threads, all running at 4.6 GHz. This monstrous level of performance was echoed in our results, where everything from the heavy calculation tasks of rendering and video encoding all the way through to simple gaming results reflected the massive power you can expect from such a beefy setup.
It isn't just performance that shines brightly on the TUF though. Connectivity is well catered for too. There are two Intel LANs built in, with the ASUS LANGuard technology keeping things free from spikes. 8 SATA ports handle the drives we've all got plenty of, whilst two M.2 sockets (one vertical, one under the Armor) ensure that owners of the latest storage drives are satisfied too. There are ten fan headers and a dedicated water pump header to help keep everything frosty. One of those headers supports 3A (36W) in case you fancy using your case as an ad-hoc helicopter. Lastly USB ports are plentiful. 6 USB 2.0, 8 USB 3.1 and three USB 3.1 Gen2 ports help to keep even the most peripheral rich user able to have everything plugged it at once.
The only negative point for us is the PCH fan, there is no way to control the speed or even an option to disable it in the bios. Also more concerningly it sits right behind the first graphics card slot so if your GPU has an even remotely open design your GPU is going to end up pushing heat under the armour. We saw no negative results in our testing because we use the Nvidia 980 FE but I think its fair to say any open designed cards will increase the components under the armour.
With an aesthetic unique in the marketplace and performance that will put a smile on even the most jaded user, the ASUS X299 TUF Mark 1 wins our OC3D Enthusiast Award.