ASUS X99 Deluxe II Review
As part of their regular range the ASUS X99 Deluxe II packaging is freed from the constraints of either Strix or ROG branding. It reminds us of the old days of motherboards where they almost acknowledged the unlikeliness of you building your own PC by keeping the packaging stark and almost utilitarian. We like it.
Inside the enormous box is every type of accessory under the sun. If you're the type of person who wants to spend a few hours removing cables and connectors from plastic bags then you'll have a whale of a time with the X99 Deluxe II.
We have two add-in cards with the Deluxe II. Firstly a M.2 extension card, great news if you happen to be overflowing with M.2 storage options. Secondly there is an included Thunderbolt 3 card, something which usually is an optional extra. We know that the majority of you won't have Thunderbolt 3 compatible hardware, just because it's still struggling to prove its worth to the masses over the more common USB, but then USB struggled when it first appeared and we're sure that once the market understands the high bandwidth and multiple compatibility of the Thunderbolt 3 it will explode in popularity. Either way it's good to ensure that you're ready for the future and the Deluxe II has you covered.
Although the Deluxe II hasn't got any of the obvious design flair of a ROG board, or the commitment to white that we saw from the Sabertooth, we think there is some attractiveness in its minimalism. You can also see how much stuff is crammed onto the PCB, with barely a millimetre not used by something or other. Deluxe indeed.
As well as the twin fan headers in the more usual spot at the top corner of the Deluxe II there are dedicated water pump and high amp fan headers tucked just above the main PCI Express slot. Nimble fingers a must, although it's worth it for the reassurance that you wont accidentally have you pump on a PWM header.
Sometimes you get a motherboard where the connection areas are largely empty. With the Deluxe II it feels like they would break the ATX size limitations if they could. How long before the IO portion of cases has to be increased to ensure you can fit your motherboard into it. Obviously not every motherboard comes with dual LAN, double figure USB ports, WiFi and all that jazz, but the ASUS R&D team have done wonders to fit everything into such a small space, even if they've had to go for a breakout card for the Thunderbolt side of things.