The ASUS X299 motherboard guide: ROG, Prime, and TUF for LGA 2066

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Prime time for X299

Built for power users and prosumers, the Prime series represents the culmination of decades of experience refining all aspects of motherboard technology. These boards mate state-of-the-art connectivity with accessible auto-tuning options to provide a premium experience for everyone. Refinement extends all the way to the styling, whose predominantly black-and-white theme lays the perfect foundation for understated builds that deviate from gamer-oriented edginess. You can choose between the Prime X299-Deluxe, which piles on premium features that add versatility and functionality, and the Prime X299-A, which streamlines the spec to deliver the power of X299 at an affordable price.

The Prime X299-Deluxe has everything

Our Deluxe motherboards set the template for high-end builders who want it all, and the latest one continues that proud tradition. The Prime X299-Deluxe adds pretty much everything you could want on a this class of motherboard, from ultra-fast I/O to cutting-edge aesthetic enhancements.

The interplay of exposed metal and diffused light bars bring originality to the Deluxe’s premium attire. It’s the perfect canvas for subtler lighting that can reflect useful information like system load. Standard and addressable RGB strip headers provide the freedom to illuminate your chassis on two different fronts. The chipset heatsink also houses the same LiveDash as the Rampage VI Extreme. This integrated OLED conveys valuable system information and branding-friendly graphics that are visible even when you’re occupied with games and other full-screen tasks.

Ultra-high-speed storage is available in multiple form factors, and the Deluxe supports them all. In addition to offering a U.2 port for enterprise-grade SSDs, it comes with dual M.2 slots for gumstick-sized NVMe drives. Both M.2s are situated with thermals in mind; the main slot sits under the chipset heatsink, which reduces drive temperatures by up to 20°C, while the secondary one mounts drives vertically near the DIMM slots, where they can be exposed to airflow generated by system fans.

Networking gets a boost from next-gen Wi-Fi with an integrated 802.11ad module. The dual-band solution can push wireless rates up to 4.6Gbps—several times the speed of most wired connections. And the Deluxe has you covered on the wired front, too, with dual Intel Gigabit Ethernet controllers delivering reliable connectivity with no chance of interference.

There’s only so much we can squeeze onto a motherboard without exceeding standard ATX dimensions, so the Prime X299-Deluxe comes with a couple of sidekicks. Our ThunderboltEX 3 card is included, providing 40Gbps of bandwidth to external peripherals. We also bundle our Fan Extension card, which expands the board’s already generous assortment of fan headers and temperature sensors. If you want one with everything, the Deluxe is it.

 Prime X299-Deluxe
SizeATX
Memory8 x DDR4 up to 3600 (OC)
Multi-GPU3 x SLI, CrossFireX
PCIe3 x16 (CPU): x16/x16/x8
1 x16 (Chipset): x4
2 x1 (Chipset)
Storage1 x M.2 (NVMe x4 or SATA 6Gbps)
1 x M.2 (NVMe x4)
1 x U.2 (NVMe x4)
7 x SATA 6Gbps
Networking2 x Intel Gigabit Ethernet
3x3 802.11ad Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.2
AudioRealtek S1220A
USB3.1 Gen 2: 1 x front, 1 x Type-C, 3 x Type-A
3.1 Gen 1: 4 x front, 4 x Type-A
2.0: 2 x front, 4 x Type-A
AuraI/O shield, chipset heatsink, 1 x strip header, 1 x addressable header
Price$489.99 USD
$649.99 CAD
Availability (USA)Amazon
Newegg
Availability (Canada)Memory Express

The pinnacle of the Prime lineup is priced at $489.99 USD. You can pre-order it from the retailers listed above and find out more on the product page.

Distill the essentials with the Prime X299-A

Although the Prime X299-A features many of the same technologies as the Deluxe, it eschews indulgent extras in favor of a straightforward approach that gets back to basics. The combination of core Prime features with the latest Intel platform is appealing enough that little embellishment is needed to produce an enticing board.

Like its big brother, the X299-A supports three-way graphics configurations across a trio of x16 slots. You can add VROC arrays via our add-in card, but that’s only necessary if you want to go above and beyond the high-speed storage options already available. The board has two M.2 slots: one under the chipset heatsink for improved thermal dissipation, and the other mounted vertically near the DIMM slots for better airflow.

The latest I/O is fully covered, including USB 3.1 Gen 2 in all its permutations. The X299-A has an internal header for chassis that support the new 10Gbps standard, plus Type-A and reversible Type-C ports at the rear. You don’t get as many ports as with the Deluxe, but there are still plenty for a fully loaded system that includes VR hardware and game controllers.

Despite looking more sedate than its sibling, the Prime X299-A can still light up your PC with RGB effects. Each of its dual headers for off-the-shelf LED strips supports up to two meters of lighting at optimal brightness. The colors, effects, and tastefulness of the resulting glow is entirely up to you.

 Prime X299-A
SizeATX
Memory8 x DDR4 up to 3600 (OC)
Multi-GPU3 x SLI, CrossFireX
PCIe3 x16 (CPU): x16/x16/x8
2 x4 (Chipset): x1/x4
1 x1 (Chipset)
Storage1 x M.2 (NVMe x4 or SATA 6Gbps)
1 x M.2 (NVMe x4)
8 x SATA 6Gbps
Networking1 x Intel Gigabit Ethernet
AudioRealtek S1220A
USB3.1 Gen 2: 1 x front, 1 x Type-C, 1 x Type-A
3.1 Gen 1: 4 x front, 4 x Type-A
2.0: 2 x front, 2 x Type-A
AuraChipset heatsink, center badge, 2 x strip headers
Price$309.99 USD
$419.99 CAD
Availability (USA)Amazon
Newegg
Availability (Canada)Memory Express

Affordable Skylake-X motherboards need not skimp on the features you crave. The Prime X299-A has everything you want for an entry-level build, plus room to grow into something much more formidable. Pre-order it for $309.99 USD at the retailers listed above. Take a closer look on the product page.