Overclocking and Conclusion
To give a feel for the overclocking performance potential of the X99-A motherboard, we attempted to push it to known CPU-supported performance parameters with minimal tweaking. We were able to get the board to boot into the OS with a base clock of 125MHz and the CPU running and at 4.5GHz memory running at 2666MHz with the system remaining rock solid while running the stability testing for over 4 hours. System stability was tested running the AIDA64 stability test in conjunction with EVGA's OC Scanner X graphical benchmark running at 1280×1024 resolution and 8x MSAA in stress test mode. Note that 32GB (4 x 8GB) of Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR3-2666 memory modules were used for the overclocking tests.
Note that this is is meant only as a quick preview of the board's performance potential. With more time to tweak the settings to a greater extent, pushing to a higher base clock and ring bus speed may have been achievable, in addition to an overnight stability run without issue.
Just because the ASUS X99-A is presented as a base level bargain board, don't let that fool you into thinking that it will have a mediocre level of performance. This board performs on par or better than more costly Intel X99 boards at stock and overclocked settings. The only thing base level about this board is in its offered features.
As of March 09, the ASUS X99-A motherboard was available at Amazon.com for $254.95 with Prime shipping. The board was also available from Newegg.com for $254.99 and B&H for $254.99 with free shipping.
Going into the review for the ASUS X99-A motherboard, I did not know what to expect because of its placement as a "base level" board. I can truly say that the only thing that is base level about the X99-A is its feature set. ASUS performed their normal amount of design magic with this board, transforming what could have been a meh-type product into a true powerhouse. The X99-A features a similar power delivery system and design ethos used in the higher end ASUS boards (read that as the X99-Deluxe or Rampage V Extreme), giving the board some teeth when running it in stock or overclocked modes. For all intensive purposes, the X99-A is an X99-Deluxe board without all the bells and whistles. It features the same sleek black and white aesthetics and a very similar layout, all in an ATX form factor to keep its size to a reasonable footprint. The board layout, especially around the CPU socket area, remain fairly open and uncluttered, giving easy access to components and allowing for paring the board with any cooling solution you could think of.
The minor concerns I had with the X99-A motherboard were with its use of switches to control several board functions and the lack of BIOS reset button. The switches are used to control the EPU, TPU, and CPU over-volt functionality, all of which could have been integrated into the BIOS easily. However, the board nor its performance suffer at all from that design. The other oddity was a lack of a BIOS reset button on the board. The BIOS reset button is a nice to have so that you can easily reboot the system if settings went south without having to resort to the CMOS reset jumper. However, the inclusion of the CMOS reset jumper is a welcome addition.
- Stock performance
- Overclocking potential and performance
- Board aesthetics
- Board design and layout
- CPU socket layout and spacing
- UEFI BIOS design and usability
- CMOS battery placement
- Performance of Intel GigE NIC
- Placement of M.2 port
- CMOS reset jumper
- Numerous integrated switches
- Lack of BIOS reset button