Features and Motherboard Layout
Courtesy of ASUS
- Quad Strength Graphic Power – 4-Way PCI-E Gen3 x16 link supporting NVidia GeForce SLI and AMD CrossFireX on demand
- Supreme Power Solution – Premium components deliver industry-leading power efficiency
- 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5 – One click, total system optimization
- Superb storage flexibility– onboard M.2 x4 and support for both ASUS PIKE II and ThunderboltEX II cards
- Easy maintenance–ASUS Q-Code Logger, an easy-maintenance button and Dr. Power LED displays unusual power statuses
- The latest 10Gb/s USB 3.1 built into the board-twice as fast USB 3.0
The ASUS X99-E WS/USB 3.1 motherboard features a simple black design aesthetic giving the board a clean and modern appearance. The VRMs, PLX chip, and chipset are cooled by heat pipe-connected heat sinks, colored black or brushed black to enhance the board's appearance. The audio separator line glows white with the board powered, making for a nice contrast.
The back of the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board has small chips all around the backside of it, with the largest exposed chip being the ASUS EPU chipset located beneath PCIe slot 2. The exposed VRM circuitry along the left side of the CPU socket could pose issues when using a cooler requiring a backplate.
The X99-E WS/USB 3.1 motherboard features the following ports integrated into its rear panel assembly: eight USB 3.0 ports (four left ports tied to ASMedia controller, four right ports tied to Intel X99 chipset controller), two USB 3.1 Type-A ports tied to ASMedia controller (teal colored), two RJ-45 ports tied to the Intel GigE controllers (I218-LM port is the right side port, the I210-AT port is the left side port port), two eSATA ports, BIOS FlashBack and Q-Code Logger buttons, an optical audio port, and five analogue audio ports.. The upper USB 3.0 port located just above the eSATA port can be used in conjunction with the Q-Code Logger function. The lower USB 3.0 port located just above the eSATA port can be used in conjunction with the USB BIOS Flashback function.
The Q-Code Logger button can be used to dump all debug codes cycled through since system startup. Simply plug in a USB drive into the bottom USB 2.0 port (to the left of the button) and press the button for 3 seconds until the integrated LED blinks three times, indicating that the Q-Code Logger functionality is enabled. The BIOS will then disconnect and reconnect the attached USB drive to the system as it writes the Q-Code log file to the USB. The generated log file is named Q_CODE.LOG, is in a text format, and is written to the root directory of the attached USB device. The manual contains a detailed list of the debug codes written to the file.
The USB BIOS Flashback button can be used to re-flash the BIOS without having to boot the system into the UEFI BIOS interface or DOS. Simply plug in a USB drive containing the proper BIOS file in the root of the drive into the lower USB 3.0 port located to the left of the audio port upright and press the button for 3 seconds until the integrated LED begins to flash. As the BIOS is updated, the LED flashing frequency increases. Once the LED goes out, the flash operation is completed and the board can be booted. Note that if the BIOS Flashback LED flashes for 5 seconds and then glows solid, it means that something went wrong with the flashback operation. Check the USB drive for the the BIOS file in the root and make sure that the BIOS file is named correctly. BIOS Flashback looks for a specific filename and file format when attempting to replace the on-board BIOS. According to the user manual, the BIOS file in the root of the flash drive must be named X99EWS.CAP for the BIOS Flashback applet to successfully re-flash the board's BIOS.
Courtesy of ASUS
The X99-E WS/USB 3.1 motherboard has a total of seven PCI-Express device ports, all in configured to accept up to x16-style cards. For the PCIe x16 slots, the board supports full x16 bandwidth with a single card (PCIe slot 1), dual cards (PCIe slots 1/3), tri-card PCIe slots 1/3/5), or quad-card (PCIe slots 1/3/5/7) configuration thanks to the included PLX chip. The board will accept up to seven total PCIe x16-style cards with bandwidth dropping to x8 for slots 2-7 (slots 2/3, 4/5, and 6/7 share bandwidth).
For the X99-E WS' audio needs, ASUS integrated their Crystal Sound 2 audio subsystem into the board's design on an isolated PCB to ensure to minimize line-noise and distortion from other integrated components. The PCB separator line glows white along its length when the board is powered, keeping to the board's black and white color scheme. The front panel audio and S/PDIF output headers are located in the upper left corner of the audio PCB, to the left of the audio chipset.
In the upper left quadrant of the board (and along the outer edge of the seventh PCIe x16 slot) are the front panel audio header, the S/PDIF output header, a serial port header, the 2-digit diagnostic LED, the TPU switch, and the clear CMOS button. The 2-digit diagnostic display can be used for debugging system issues during system initialization. The displayed debug codes can be decoded using the table from the motherboard manual. The TPU switch enables BIOS assisted overclocking with two modes available. In mode 1, only the CPU ratio is changed. In mode 2, both the CPU ratio and the base clock value are changed.
The TPU switch, the clear CMOS button, the EPU switch, the trusted module port header, and USB 2.0 headers are located along the lower outside edge of the seventh PCIe x16 slot. in the lower left corner of the board. The EPU switch enables BIOS controlled power consumption optimization.
The USB 2.0 headers, chassis fan and temperature headers, the M.2 PCIe x4 slot, power and reset buttons, Thunderbolt device header, front panel control header, DirectKey header, chassis intrusion header, and chassis fan control and CPU overvolt jumpers are located in the lower left corner of the board. Note that the board supports M.2 PCIe SSDs up to 80mm in length. DirectKey header can be connected to a case button, triggering direct board boot in to the UEFI BIOS on next reboot. The Thunderbolt header is used to connect to the optional ThunderboltEX II PCIe board. The chassis fan control jumper sets the on-board chassis fan headers for DC fan operation (pins 1/2 jumpered) or PWM fan operation (pins 2/3 jumpered). The CPU overvolt jumper increases the maximum CPU voltage when enabled (pins 2/3 jumpered).
The Intel X99 chipset is covered by a large low-profile, blushed-aluminum heat sink with the ASUS corporate logo on its surface. The heatsink connects to the PLX heat sink and VRM heat sinks via integrated heat pipes.
ASUS designed the X99-E WS board with a total of eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports and two SATA-Express 10 Gb/s ports. The SATA 6Gb/s and upper SATA-Express port are controlled by the Intel X99 chipset, while the lower SATA-Express port is tied to the ASMedia controller chip. The SATA-Express ports house two SATA 6 Gb/s ports each that can be used as stand alone ports as well, adding an additional four SATA 6 Gb/s ports to the board.
The eight integrated DDR4 memory slots are located directly above and below the CPU socket with support for up to 128GB of memory across all slots. Quad Channel memory mode is enabled with memory modules seated in like colored slots. The primary memory slots are the grey colored slots in both the upper and lower memory slot pairs. Note that memory speeds above 2133MHz are considered overclocked speeds and are outside of the official Intel stock memory speed specifications.
To the lower left of the lower set of DIMM slots are two ASMedia controlled USB 3.0 headers, the Dr. Power switch, a chassis fan header, and the EZ XMP switch. To the lower right of the DIMM slots are the 24-pin power connector, the MemOK! button, a chassis fan header, and the CMOS battery. The ASUS Dr Power Windows app displays PSU-specific notification messages if power issues are detected by the board monitors when the Dr. Power switch is enabled (to the left). The MemOK! button can be used to reset memory-related BIOS settings to defaults, useful when the system doesn't boot because of memory options set over-aggressively. The EZ XMP switch allows you to activate the memory XMP speed and setting specifications when enabled, overriding any current active BIOS settings.
The CPU socket area is clear of obstructions. ASUS placed the VRM coolers along the outside of the memory slots (above and below the CPU socket) to free up addition room in close proximity to the socket. Both heat sinks along the sides of the socket (the PLX sink to the left and the VRM sink on the right) are far enough back from the socket to pose no constraint issues with a mounted CPU cooler. The CPU fan headers are located to the lower left of the socket.
To the upper left the CPU socket is the six-pin PCIe power port. This power port provides extra power to the PCI-Express slots when using multiple x16 cards. The power port accepts a 6-pin PCIe-style power connector (used to power video cards normally) from your PSU.
The board's dual 8-pin ATX12V power connectors sits to the right of the right-most VRM heat sink, along the board's edge.