A motherboard tested
ASUS TUF X299 Mark 1 review
We review the €289,- ASUS TUF X299 Mark 1 motherboard, yes, the Sabertooth series. A nice looking motherboard in a dark theme offering nice features, design and of course performance. This X299 motherboard can house Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X processors. It has been a good few weeks ever since we tested the X299 in a review. There have been a lot of firmware/BIOS updates since, hence we are very curious how well the motherboards have improved in terms of overall performance, tweakability and power consumption.
This motherboard is intended for Intel Skylake-X processors that will be released this summer based on Socket LGA2066, however, the motherboard also supports Kaby Lake-X procs in the form of the quad-core Core i7 7740K and Core i5 7640K. We got our grubby little paws on a 10-core Skylake-X processor, as such welcome to this full review (but not thanks to Intel). Intel’s primary processor business has been releasing and refreshing quad-core processors for years now with an E type (e.g. Broadwell-E / Haswell-E) processor release every now and then. They had no rush and have been competitive and relaxed all the way for years now. Intel did anticipate Zen or Ryzen, but the AMD consumer-aimed Threadripper 16-core and Naples server segment 32-core made Intel step up its game a notch. Initially it was expected that Intel would announce a new 10 and maybe 12-core processor based on Skylake-X architecture. With everything that has been going on, there have now been a number of announcements going from top to bottom with an unexpected quad-core Kaby Lake-X release as well as announcements that entails Intel will release 18-core processors. The Skylake-X processors up-to 10 cores are going to be released initially. You will not see any availability for the 18, 16 and 14-core parts anytime sooner than October/November 2017. Skylake-X will release up-to 10-cores only. It is rumored that in August we’ll see the 12-core part - but consider that Intel isn't talking with the EU press anymore, who really knows right?
ASUS has been offering Intel X299 based boards in three motherboard series; Prime, TUF, and ROG. All aesthetically pleasing, all have RGB LEDs that can be combined with ASUS Aura Sync and all get a solid audio solution based on a Realtek S1220A codec. ASUS offers a standard sized ATX board with the TUF X299 Mark 1, it can support three-way graphics configurations from NVIDIA or AMD. ASUS will offer storage including dual M.2 PCIe slots. The main slot is hidden just below the chipset heatsink. A secondary one mounts drives vertically. At a price of €289,- the Mark 1 is actually one of the more 'affordable' models within its range. On the next page, a word or two on the processors and architecture, after which we'll dive into a full photo-shoot.