Intel’s X99 chipset is the go-to platform for the most demanding enthusiasts who require a ton of CPU performance. Of course, this is also the platform you’ll need to take advantage of Intel’s crazy new 10-core Core i7-6950X (3.0GHz, 25MB cache), so there’s really no other option at this point in time if you want to go for unrivaled CPU performance.
The Intel X99 platform’s support for 28- and 40-lane Haswell-E and Broadwell-E CPUs also means that three- and four-way multi-GPU setups are truly viable options, and many of our tested boards support multiple high-speed PCIe storage devices in tandem as well.
And that’s exactly what we’re focusing on here – the best performance that money can buy. All of the boards we’ve picked out here are the best that their respective brands have to offer. In addition, we should point out that our review takes place at a time when Intel’s next- generation Z270 mainstream chipset has just debuted, so a review of the latest X99 boards appears to be the most relevant course of action as that platform is still going to be around for some time yet.
For this year's Tech Awards, we've rounded up the flagship boards from various brands to see which one comes out on top.
The ASUS ROG Rampage V Edition 10 takes the cake because of its zero-compromises approach to performance. It has the most well-rounded feature set out of all the contenders, and the board design shows an attention to detail that makes it clear that it was designed to make things easier for overclockers and enthusiasts. For instance, the dedicated OC Zone comes with buttons for LN2 mode, retry, safe boot, and slow mode for extreme overclockers, and the PCIe lane and DRAM channel switches help with troubleshooting. Couple that with its premium components, thoughtful inclusions like the integrated I/O shield and 3x3 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and five-zone RGB onboard lighting, and you get a very attractive and high-performance board. This is also the board that pushed out the strongest CPU and overclocking performance (even if it did not manage the highest clock speeds), the final point in cementing its place at the top of the pack.
Here's a small snapshot of the performance results from our shootout:
|ASRock X99 Taichi||7.5||8.0||8.0||8.0||S$420|
|ASUS ROG Rampage V Edition 10||9.5||8.5||7.0||9.0||S$949|
|Gigabyte X99 Designare EX||9.0||8.5||7.5||8.5||S$680|
|MSI X99A Godlike Gaming Carbon||9.0||8.5||7.0||8.5||S$839|
For more details on how we selected our winners, check out the full reviews and articles listed at the References section at the end.