ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 Review 41

ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 Review

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Introduction

ASUS Logo

Over the past two years, the line between HEDT and mainstream consumer platforms has grown smaller and smaller. This change is in large part due to the enormous success of AMD's Ryzen family of processors. As consumer CPU core counts go up, the market for HEDT shrinks. In light of this changing market, Intel has opted to offer their refreshed Core-X series processors with a huge price cut over the previous generation. This is a huge win for the community that puts the Intel Extreme processors back in reach of many consumers who couldn't justify the nearly US$2,000 top offerings previously commanded.

While AMD's latest generation of Threadripper processors has largely stolen the limelight from Intel's HEDT price cut, that doesn't mean there aren't still boards featuring the X299 chipset worth taking a look at that. Intel may be pushing forward with the same 14 nm architecture, but board vendors are still looking for ways to innovate. ASUS has long been on the forefront of experimentation and innovation in the enthusiast hardware market. Now, to celebrate 30 years on that leading edge, ASUS is proud to introduce the Prime X299 Edition 30.

The ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 is targeted at the top-tier of X299 boards. Featuring no less than sixteen 60 A power stages, active VRM cooling, premium accessories, an OLED display, and even an external display with infrared cameras that support Windows Hello facial recognition, the ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 has all the bells and whistles. Of course, with a US$750 price tag, it has a lot to live up to.

What can 30 years of innovation produce? There is only one way to find out.



Specifications

Specifications
CPU Support:Intel Core X-Series processors on LGA 2066 Socket
Power Design: CPU Power: 18 phase
Memory Power: 4 phase
Chipset:Intel X299
Integrated Graphics:No
Memory:8x DIMM, supports quad-channel DDR4-4266+(OC) MHz, Max 256 GB
BIOS:AMI UEFI BIOS
Expansion Slots: 3x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (configuration dependent on CPU)
2x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
Storage: 8x SATA 6 Gb/s port
3x M.2 port (SATA3/PCIe 3.0 x4)
Networking:1x Intel I219V Gigabit LAN
1x Aquantia AQC-111C 5G LAN
1x Intel 802.11ax (WiFi 6)
Rear Ports:2x Antenna ports
1x Optical SPDIF out port
2x LAN (RJ45) port
2x Intel Thunderbolt Type-C port
2x DisplayPort In ports (for Thunderbolt 3)
4x USB 3.2 (Gen1) ports
6x USB 2.0 Type-A ports
5x 3.5 mm audio jacks
Audio:1x Realtek S1220A Codec
Fan Headers:7x 4-pin
Form Factor:Extended ATX Form Factor: 12 in x 9.6 in, 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm
Exclusive Features:
  • OC Design - ASUS PRO Clock II Technology
  • 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Xpert 4, and Turbo Core App
  • AI Overclocking
  • ASUS 5X Protection III
  • ASUS SafeSlot Core
  • ASUS LANGuard
  • ASUS Overvoltage Protection
  • ASUS Stainless-Steel Back I/O
  • ASUS Enhanced DRAM Overcurrent Protection
  • ASUS ESD Guards Enhanced ESD protection
  • 2 " LiveDash
  • Aura RGB Strip Headers
  • Aura Lighting Effects Synchronization with compatible ASUS ROG devices
  • Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
  • USB BIOS FlashBack™
  • AI Suite 3
  • Ai Charger
  • Onboard Button : Power
  • ASUS UEFI BIOS EZ Mode
  • Turbo LAN
  • Armoury Crate
  • Pre-mounted I/O Shield
  • ASUS NODE: hardware control interface
  • BIOS FlashBack™ Button
  • Clear CMOS Button
  • Stylish Design Heat
  • pipe solution
  • ASUS Fan Xpert 4
  • ASUS Q-Code
  • ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED, HDD LED)
  • ASUS Q-Slot
  • ASUS Q-DIMM
  • ASUS Q-Connector
  • Intel® Virtual RAID on CPU (VROC) ready
  • DIY Friendly Design
  • ProCool II
  • SafeSlot

Packaging and Contents


The front of the ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 box features a satin white background with a few gold lines for accent. "ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30" is in the center left, "ASUS" in the top left, and the brand badging in the bottom right. The back of the box has a diagram of the board, as well as a list of standout features and specifications. While the diagram does not offer a view of the rear I/O, it does have a list of available connectivity prominently displayed.

Overall, the box design follows the premium minimalist approach in the best possible way. There aren't many white boards on the market, and the ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 packaging capitalizes on the white theme to great effect.


Upon opening the box, I am greeted by another white cover with "ASUS 30 years" and an arrow-shaped cutout, which is a thank you card from ASUS.


Underneath the cover, the ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 sits in a tray of premium high-density foam.


A lot of small design elements of the ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 packaging look and feel like a part of the product rather than a delivery method. Unboxing is an experience rather than a chore.


The ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 comes with more than a few accessories. All the expected bits are there: a manual, Wi-Fi antenna, SATA cables, and an assortment of ROG swag. There are also plenty of extras: more SATA cables, thermistors, and RGB extensions. The real stars of the show are the Fan Extension Card II and the Smart Control Console.


The Smart Control Console is basically an external post-code display and hardware monitor that also has a camera array for Windows Hello facial recognition. The hardware monitor is useful, and the gesture control is neat, if a bit of a gimmick. If I have anything negative to say about the Smart Control Console, it is that it requires two USB cables for full functionality.

Hopefully, ASUS can reduce that to one cable in future revisions. I would also like to see post-code functionality for the Smart Control Console as that would provide an extra convenience for those who keep their case in hard to see places.

The full list of accessories includes:
  • Manuals and driver disk
  • CableMod coupon
  • 6x SATA 6 Gb/s cables
  • 6x Micro USB 2.0 cables (Smart Control Console)
  • 1x DP to DP cable
  • 1x TB3 GPIO cable
  • 1x Smart Control Console
  • 3x Thermistor cables
  • RGB strip extension cable
  • Addressable RGB strip extension cable
  • 3x M.2 mounting hardware
  • Q-Connector
  • Fan Extension Card II
  • Fan Extension Card II power cable
  • Fan Extension Card II NODE connector cable
  • 4x Fan Extension Card II mounting screws
  • WiFi antenna

Board Layout


While the Prime line of boards is not new, ASUS has worked to ensure that the ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 feels like a special product. The black PCB is largely hidden by a white cover with brushed silver aluminium accents throughout.

The pride of the ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 and the focal point at the center of the board is the mirrored OLED display. This display serves as a hardware monitor and improved post-code display, and can display logos and graphics.


As with many HEDT boards, the CPU socket area is quite crowded. Between the large CPU socket, eight DIMM slots, and the large VRM heatsink, there really isn't much more vendors can do to create more open space. There is a small fan over the Vcore section to provide active VRM cooling. For power delivery, there are two 8-pin ports encased in metal.


There are three M.2 slots on the ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30; one below the first PCIe x16 slot and another between the second and third PCIe x16 slots. Both are covered by a single heatsink held in place by four captive (thank you, ASUS) screws. The last one is a vertical slot on the right side of the board.


The ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 offers three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, all encased in steel armor as well as a single PCIe 3.0 x1 slot. The board has a total of eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, all angled 90 degrees from the board.


The rear I/O on the ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 is interesting, with not only two USB-C Thunderbolt ports, but two DisplayPort IN ports for Thunderbolt as well. The focus on Intel Thunderbolt connectivity does come at the cost of USB Type-A ports, of which there are only six.

The full list includes:
  • 2x Antenna ports
  • 4x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports
  • 2x USB 2.0 Type-A ports
  • 2x Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports
  • 2x DisplayPort IN ports
  • 2x RJ-45 LAN port
  • Optical SPDIF out port
  • 5x 3.5 mm LED illuminated audio jacks

Networking on the ASUS Prime X299 Edition 30 is handled by an Intel I219V
and an Aquantia AQC-111C for 5 Gb/s LAN. WiFi 6 is provided by an Intel 802.11ax module.
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Jul 5th, 2022 00:07 EDT change timezone

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