Final words & conclusion
Obviously the ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme Encore is a bit of a beast and then some. With the feature 2019 update the platform is ready with AX WIFI, 10 Gbps ethernet, USB3.2 Gen2 and of course a superb VRM power delivery design that can manage the most phat processors that Intel outs Q4 2019. Here the Core i9-10980XE Extreme is a proper match for this motherboard. With the Cascade-Lake-X processors, the ecosystem has expanded into a more diverse platform. That said, of you already own an X299 motherboard, with merely a BIOS update you'll be compatible with Cascade-Lake-X processors as well, that's certainly something to keep in mind.
Performance & tweaking
Next to the baseline performance, ASUS offers a lovely set of tweaking tools from the BIOS. Tweaking is easy. We'd rate the new 18-core part as "very good" for the results as tested. Temps remain good as well (depending on the choice of cooling), we obviously are going to recommend a good LCS cooler. At the OC levels you are looking at up-to 1.25~1.35V needed on that CPU core (LCS cooling) for a decent tweak, however, and that is the same for AMD, tweaking many-core processors is complicated as you are bound to run into core limitations, heat and power consumption. With processor like these, you really need to wonder if you want to tweak, as really, as the best configuration is already there at defaults. At fairly low voltages you'll reach an all-core 4600 MHz, even on a proper heatpipe cooler. LCS got us into 5 GHz (all cores), while benchmarks like CPU-Z finished, others like Cinebench would not. At that stage, I had applied 1.45 Volts VCORE and we were closing in at 500~600-Watts power consumption. In order to get Cinebench stable I would have needed 1.50 Volts or even higher, I as such forfeited there as I did not want to risk damaging the processor. With serious cooling, the potential is there though. Another plus for the Intel platform is that over the years they have been able to refine their memory controllers, pop in anything XMP 2.0 and you have a 98% chance it'll work straight out of the box with very fast memories. However, the effect of faster frequency memory is far less significant, so opt volume would be my advice. Also with quad-channel memory available as an option, we'd always suggest going with a nice affordable 3200 MHz kit, as bandwidth on quad-channel simply is just not that relevant in your gaming experience.
With eighteen cores you get a 165 Watt TDP processor. With the system at idle with a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti installed / 16 GB memory / SSD and the X299 motherboard hovers at roughly 85 Watts in IDLE. That's just fine really, but the load values are rather significant. When we stressed the processor 100% run we reach roughly 325 Watts with this 18-core part. Including the platform and averaged out that is 18 Watts per core, and that really is a good and fair value.
In recent years there has been an influx of mainboard prices in the enthusiast segment, this ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme Encore is not any different. It'll offer the same performance as an Asus TUF X299 Mark 1 motherboard for 279 USD and it'll bring the same performance as the Encore. The difference needs to be sought in the new features like AX WIFI, 10 Gbps ethernet, OLED panel, USB3.2 Gen2 and dual teamed 8-phase VRM power delivery. The price premium, however, is rather shocking, as this motherboard costs anywhere from 700 running to 799 USD at the time of writing with similar prices in EUR. Looking at it in general, this is one of the most impressive and most aesthetically pleasing motherboards I have seen and tested to date. The prices for premium motherboards are getting mind-boggling though. While we can certainly recommend Cascade Lake-X and the 10980XE on a platform like this you do need to wonder if that kind of money is worth the investment of a chipset that was released in 2017, and I dare to dispute that in general. The added features surely bring it into the year 2019 and will last you a couple more. So while we can recommend it as hardware and platform, the industry needs to realize that they've passed a price level that simply doesn't make much sense anymore, no matter how much or how good, stable and feature-rich the platform really is.
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