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The Intel Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition: flown — cheaper

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Just over a week ago we met with a processor Ryzen 9 3950X, which caused a storm of emotions not only from supporters or opponents of AMD products, but also those users who are simply interested in a high performance regardless of its ideological coloration. And it is natural: the flagship model for the platform Socket AM4 is a genuine interest not only for its transcendent to the world of mass system characteristics, but also how these characteristics are related to price. After all, if after entering the sale Ryzen 9 3950X will be sold at the price which he has promised AMD, it turns out that high-performance workstation-level HEDT can be collected in two times cheaper than before.

It is quite natural that such drastic action AMD cannot remain without consequences, especially as the company managed to achieve three important objectives. First, it has made multi-core CPUs available for normal users who will now be able to install them in the conventional mass of the platform. Secondly, she managed to make when choosing between 8 and 12 or 16 cores buyers could be guided by simple expediency and not brushed aside a multi-core variants because of their prohibitive prices. And third, at the same time, AMD has proposed a complete rethinking of the whole concept HEDT, making so that enthusiasts in need of prohibitive computing resources and ready to invest considerable funds are now able to count on 32-core and even 64-core processors.

Such drastic changes could not go back from Intel and its platform LGA2066 was among the main “victims” from the aggressive manoeuvres of a competitor. In fact, the advent of affordable 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X scattered around LGA2066 the whole atmosphere of premium and elitism that the microprocessor giant has painstakingly created over the last years. It turned out that HEDT-Intel Core X, in fact, ceased to be so because new Ryzen 9 3950X brand to compete with much more expensive LGA2066-flagships.

The response was not long in coming. Intel today reissued its platform LGA2066, but already in new quality. From this point on we will no longer speak about it as about some kind of special variant for high-end workstations. Now this is a simpler solution, which in a nutshell can be described as still not a mass, but not high-end platform for professional machines, suitable for creating and processing digital content.

Such a rebirth occurs with LGA2066 on the background of the issue of compatible processors Core × ten-thousandth of a series, passing under the code name Cascade Lake-X. But in fact, no large-scale innovations they bring with them not. It’s all the same 14-nm processors with the microarchitecture originally from 2015, and the number of cores not exceeding 18, as their predecessors Skylake and Skylake X-X Refresh. But it cost Cascade Lake-X are quite different money. In fact, Intel cut prices by half, making 18-core heavy with four-channel DDR4 SDRAM and 48 lines PCI Express can get their hands on (at least in theory) within $1 000.

And this, of course, changes if not all, very much. In this article we will try to perform as an exposed hard markdown multi-core Intel processors look at the background of the older members of the family Ryzen 3000.

#Cascade Lake-X: what’s new

New LGA2066 processors Cascade Lake-X different from its predecessors not only by the prices, although this is, of course, their main and most impressive asset. However, in comparison with released a year ago, the Core chips × 9000 they can also offer increased clock speed and improved Turbo Boost technology 3.0, support for large amounts of higher speed memory, the increased number of lines PCI Express 3.0, hardware-assisted protection from some of the vulnerabilities and the new regulations, known under the generic name of DL Boost (Deep Learning “deep learning”). At the same time, which is quite unusual for Intel, Cascade Lake-X to retain compatibility with already released LGA2066-motherboards, prolonging their life cycle for at least one year.

In order to show how in the last three years developing the platform LGA2066, we have collected in one table three of the latest generation Core X. All these processors can be installed in the same motherboard with the chipset X299.

Cores/ Threads Basic
frequency, GHz
frequency, GHz
L3 cache MB Line
PCI Express 3.0
DDR4 SDRAM TDP, watts Price
Core i9‑10980XE 18/36 3,0 4,8 24,75 48 4 × 2933 165 $979
Core i9-9980XE 18/36 3,0 4,5 24,75 44 4 × 2666 165 $1 979
Core i9-7980XE 18/36 2,6 4,4 24,75 44 4 × 2666 165 $1 999
Core i9-9960X 16/32 3,1 4,5 22 44 4 × 2666 165 $1 684
Core i9-7960X 16/32 2,8 4,4 22 44 4 × 2666 165 $699 1
Core i9-10940X 14/28 3,3 4,8 19,25 48 4 × 2933 165 $784
Core i9-9940X 14/28 3,3 4,5 19,25 44 4 × 2666 165 $1 387
Core i9-7940X 14/28 3,1 4,4 19,25 44 4 × 2666 165 $1 399
Core i9-10920X 12/24 3,5 4,8 19,25 48 4 × 2933 165 $689
Core i9-9920X 12/24 3,5 4,5 19,25 44 4 × 2666 165 $1 189
Core i9-7920X 12/24 2,9 4,4 16,5 44 4 × 2666 140 $1 199
Core i9-10900X 10/20 3.7 V 4,7 19,25 48 4 × 2933 165 $590
Core i9-9900X 10/20 3,5 4,5 19,25 44 4 × 2666 165 $989
Core i9-9820X 10/20 3,3 4,2 16,5 44 4 × 2666 165 $898
Core i9-7900X 10/20 3,3 4,5 13,75 44 4 × 2666 140 $999
Core i7-9800X 8/16 3,8 4,5 16,5 44 4 × 2666 165 $589
Core i7-7820X 8/16 3,6 4,5 11 28 4 × 2666 140 $599
Core i7-7800X 6/12 3,5 4,0 8,25 28 4 × 2666 140 $389

Listed in the table on the model, including a new Cascade Lake-X, based on the Skylake microarchitecture, and are manufactured according to the process with the norms of 14 nm. What specific version of this technology applied to Core X that is related to the 10000 series, Intel konkretisiert, but at quite high clock frequencies, it is logical to assume that the “pros” following the designation of the standards process there are at least two.

The absence of any noticeable technological improvements does not give Intel to increase the number of cores. In LGA2066-processors again, use the crystal server of the origin of HCC and has only 18 cores. Theoretically at the disposal of the microprocessor giant is, and the larger 28-nuclear crystal XCC, but its penetration into the platform LGA2066 is unlikely because of its huge size (approximately 32,1 × 21.6 mm) and high cost.

In the result, the focus in the table attracts a column with prices: another thing, the CPUs are almost half the price of their predecessors. While in past generations Core × Intel asked for a single core an average of $103, now the average unit price of core fell to $57, came close to the cost of single core processors in the mass for the LGA1151 platform. As a result of new 18-core Core i9-10980XE can now be bought for less than 10-core Core i9-9900X last generation, and updated 10-core model Core i9-10900X almost equal price with OCTA-core processor platygyrium Core i9-9900KS for the mass segment.

In other words, Cascade Lake-X should be much more accessible to its predecessors, which certainly makes them significantly more popular. Intel explains such changes in the positioning that the company decided to make the transition to a more functional platform with the best expansion opportunities are attractive to a wide audience of users. But we know that was the real cause of this sudden generosity. This cause issues and the absence in the model number of 16-core processor, which does not allow to map Cascade Lake-X and new 9 Ryzen 3950X directly. However, judging by the prices, Intel believes that with the bold 16-core competitor to cope and 14 nuclear Core i9-10940X. But we’ll see.

The second conclusion that can be drawn looking at the specifications Cascade Lake-X, for the fact that the new Core x series 10000 different from its predecessors not so much. The formal characteristics of new models of Core × close enough to the characteristics of the predecessors, and even the growth of clock frequencies, which focuses on Intel, not impressive. In particular, the base frequency of three of the four representatives of the Core × the new generation has not grown at all, but that is quite natural given the lack of changes in thermal package, process technology and microarchitecture.

But some increase has affected the maximum frequency achieved new processors are in turbo mode. This means that at partial load Cascade Lake-X will still be able to operate at higher speeds than their predecessors. Progress will be especially noticeable if you compare the frequency when the load on four cores or less: in this case, the frequency gain can be up to 500 MHz. In many ways, it is achieved by improving the technology Max Turbo Boost 3.0, which Intel professes approximately the same approach that AMD, in its function to Boost Precision. The bottom line is that at the production stage the most successful in terms of the frequency of the potential cores of each instance of the processor in a special way marked, and when it is operating low-flow load routed to the first place on such nuclei. Due to this, the maximum frequency of the processor, develop them when working with a small number of threads, you can further increase, it is enough to ensure it is not each, but only specific, the most successful cores.

This trick Intel used LGA2066-processors before, but Cascade Lake-X carried out the selection of cores was more thorough and multi-criteria. Earlier in Core × was marked a couple of “Golden” kernels, but now added to them and a pair of “silver” – worse, but still good. That is, any Cascade Lake-X now has at least four distinct cores, which are guaranteed to take a frequency higher than all other cores in the processor. As the specs of “gold” kernel should add to the maximum achievable within a Turbo Boost 2.0 frequency of 200 MHz, and silver – 100 MHz. Intel specifically States that all the benefits of Turbo Boost technology Max 3.0 will be able to open up with the Windows 10 version of 1909, where the scheduler will take into account all the features of the “gold” and “silver” nuclei. However, to see the promised specification frequency 4.7 or 4.8 GHz in practice and with older versions of the operating system – they work Max 3.0 Turbo Boost is a special driver.

Along with a higher turbocachetm processors Cascade Lake-promise X and a small increase in the number of lines PCI Express. LGA2066 processors of the previous generation could offer only 44 lines, the new processors have 48 lines PCI Express 3.0. Strictly speaking, additional lines existed in borrowed from the server segment processor chip in the previous generation of processors, but outside they were first developed in the Core x series 10000. However, they are available to not all. For use need a new motherboard and the old LGA2066 cards Cascade Lake-X will be able to offer the user only the usual number of lines is 44. However, the addition of four lines PCI Express 3.0 seems like a fairly minor benefit, especially given the fact that processors Ryzen Threadripper of the third generation provide the user 56 PCI Express 4.0.

Much more significant improvement a new Cascade Lake-X is the extension of functionality of its memory controller, which has received official compatibility with Quad-channel DDR4-2933 SDRAM (when you install one module per channel) and support standard unbuffered modules with capacity up to 32 GB. Thus, the system with the new Core processors × became possible to equip a memory array with a total volume of 256 GB. But the memory with ECC is still not supported.

Another important update Cascade Lake-X, which should be mentioned separately, for fixes part of the vulnerability of the family Spectre, and Meltdown. In particular, the processor received a hardware patch from vulnerabilities Spectre v2, Meltdown v3, v3a RSRE, L1TF/Foreshadow, MFBDS/RIDL, MSBDS/Fallout, MLPDS and MDSUM, which makes the new Core × one of the most protected (but not sinless) Intel processors.

#Deep Learning Boost

In fact, the most interesting novelties introduced Cascade Lake-X to lie outside of the dry numerical specifications. They come from the server market and because the Core × the silicon stuffing is always unified with Xeon processor family. New Core x-series 10000 – not the exception, they use the same semiconductor crystal as the representatives of a family of Xeon Scalable second-generation (Cascade Lake). This means that the new Core x could change some things originally intended for the segment of supercomputers and high performance computing. And this innovation really is! This is a technology to speed up the work with deep learning algorithms, which is hidden under the marketing name DL Boost.

In contrast to the mass of the Core LGA1151 platform, processors, Core x has long been have vector support 512-bit AVX-512 instruction. But Cascade Lake-X as their server-side relatives, this set is expanded by a subset of the commands AVX512VNNI focused on speeding up the applications of artificial intelligence (AI). This includes instructions that will help you many times to multiply a pair of 8 – and 16-bit integers with the accumulation result, which are well suited to quickly perform convolution operations in artificial neural networks. It supports extensions AVX512VNNI and is the core technology DL Boost. The use of these instructions can significantly improve the performance of the algorithms AI, which is gradually finding application in the solution of various everyday tasks: recognition, retouching and postprocessing of images, speech recognition, or when tracking moving objects on video.

Currently, the user AVX512VNNI not yet used in mass software, but their implementation is definitely not far off. AI algorithms are becoming increasingly used in quite diverse applications, and Intel, in turn, works closely with developers, offering including the finished frameworks and libraries that are optimized for AVX512VNNI. According to preliminary estimates, support DL Boost will have the potential to cause more than a twofold growth performance when solving standard tasks of the AI. So that developers will actually use these instructions, there is no doubt, especially since they will soon become publicly available, and Intel to the mass market, for example AVX512VNNI already supported in Ice Lake.

To measure the efficiency of solving the problems of the AI processors Cascade Lake-X, you can use semi-synthetic AiXPRT test, which measures the performance of the machine learning system during image classification and object detection using networks ResNet-50 SSD-MobileNet v1. We used a version of this test based on optimized to run on CPU, a public library Intel OpenVINO 2.1. Obtained in both cases, the results are presented on the diagrams.

It turns out that the task AI new processors Cascade Lake-X really is much stronger than its predecessors, providing by supporting AVX512VNNI in selected to test the algorithms the performance gain of 25 to 50 %. Even more impressive looks of their superiority against the backdrop of a 16-core processor Ryzen 9 3950X in which instructions AVX-512 not supported at all. Because of this, the task AI, he finds himself in half to two times slower than the new 18-core Core i9-10980XE.

I hope that AMD will take note of the omission and subsequent generations Ryzen extensions support AVX-512 will still appear. And yet, we must note that to work with industry standard libraries for machine vision and deep learning for video flagship Intel Boost technology DL fit much better.

#Core i9-10980XE in detail

For this review, our laboratory received a copy of the flagship 18-core processor Cascade Lake-X, Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition. With its help we received practical idea of how to work new solutions of Intel for the enthusiast.

Processors HEDT segment that Intel offers enthusiasts, in the last generation as a whole has moved to “mid” sized crystal HCC used including the Xeon processors with cores less than 18. In the new generation of Core × in this respect nothing has changed: all Cascade Lake-X is based on the same silicon, which contains 18 cores and 24,75 MB L3-cache. In addition, a characteristic feature of the design of such processors supports peer-to-peer Mesh network that connects the nucleus instead of the usual mass user in the loop. This structure, according to Intel, scales better with increasing number of cores.

It is also worth to remind that the Core-X have some unusual subsystem of the cache memory. In them, each core has its own roomy L2-cache of 1 MB (instead of 512 KB from Zen 2 and 256 KB at Coffee Lake), but a shared L3 cache in this case is relatively small. Its volume is calculated according to the principle of 1,375 MB per core, while it operates on victimization ninclusive algorithm. However, all this is already known by past generations of Core-X facts.

What really should pay attention to, is the frequency. Formal specifications do not give too many details about what speeds are available to new processors at different loads, describing only the base frequency and the maximum achieved in turbo mode. In fact, Turbo Boost technology and Turbo Boost 2.0 Max 3.0 clearly define the maximum frequency when the load on the different cores.

  Maximum frequency in turbo mode, GHz
1-2 kernel 3-4 kernel 5-12 cores 13-16 cores 17-18 cores
Core i9-10980XE 4,8 4,7 4,3 3,9 3,8
Core i9-9980XE 4,5 4,2 4,1 3,9 3,8

Please note, the most significant advantage of a clock frequency of Core i9-10980XE shows when the load on 3-4 cores. It is logical for such loads now spread their influence the Turbo Boost technology 3.0 Max, whereas previously, its area of responsibility was limited to single – and dual-core scenarios.

But it is understood that in reality the frequencies promised in the table may not be achieved. In accordance with how work turbo imagine, Intel, CPU goes to them only provided that its power consumption is within certain limits, the existence of which is due to the characteristics of the thermal package. It is assumed that under long-term loads LGA2066 processors should consume no more than 165 W (that is, no more than the stated TDP), and when short – no more than 216 watts. If you follow these requirements, then the Core i9-10980XE unlikely to be able to demonstrate a frequency of about 3.8 GHz under load on all cores. It is not difficult to confirm the verification of consumption in Cinebench R20 rendering with different number of threads.

As you can see, the increase in the rate of Core i9-10980XE compared to Core i9-9980XE entails a rise in heat dissipation, and the higher it is, the larger the difference. And so Core i9-10980XE does not fall within the specification limits of consumption under a load of 12 cores. But to panic about it should not be. The fact that the tracking of consumption levels in the vast majority LGA2066-motherboard either off by default or disabled by changing one setting. Therefore, in reality, the frequency of the Core i9-10980XE will correspond to the table indices for turbo speed even in the case where the user wants to somehow in a special way to configure or overclock their system.

Speaking of real frequencies Cascade Lake-X, would be appropriate to recall another important point: these processors reduce their speed when loads using AVX, AVX2 or AVX-512 instructions. This is because the 256 – and 512-bit vector instructions cause the processors with the Skylake microarchitecture is much stronger heat than any other team, and multi-core CPUs, if their performance can easily overheat. Therefore, in the new Core X, as well as before, laid adjustment of the clock frequency, effective when executing vector instructions. AVX and AVX2 instructions reduce the frequency of Core i9-10980XE 500 MHz, and AVX-512 instruction – 1000 MHz. In other words, under full AVX/AVX2-load for all 18-core frequency Core i9-10980XE drops to 3.3 GHz, and in the case of AVX-512 features-load up to 2.8 GHz.

In addition, connecting the processor core Mesh network and directly associated units L3 cache working at Cascade Lake-X on its own frequency. This frequency is also not encouraging: as before, she remained at 2.4 GHz. For this reason, new LGA2066-processors for latency L3-cache and memory continue to give LGA1151-alternatives, although they are superior in memory bandwidth due to the use of Quad channel, not dual channel DDR4 SDRAM.

But of course, the majority of users such nuances are of little interest, but the main question is whether the new 18-core Intel adequately confront the flagship representative of the series Ryzen – 16-nuclear processor Ryzen 9 3950X. And judging by the formal specifications, the Core i9-10980XE there is a good chance to be stronger.

  AMD Ryzen 9 3950X Intel Core i9-10980X
Kernel 16 18
Threads 32 36
Base frequency, GHz 3,5 3,0
Turbocheetah, GHz 4,7 4,8
L2 cache KB 16 × 512 18 × 1024
L3 cache MB 4 × 16 24,75
Memory support 2 × DDR4-3200 4 × DDR4-2933
PCI Express 20 × Gen4 48 × Gen3
TDP, watts 105 165
Price $750 $979

Of course, 18-core Intel is more expensive, and it requires at the same time of buying a more expensive LGA2066 the motherboard, even when compared with the AM4 Socket-a mainboard chipset, X570. But the Core i9-10980XE provides the memory subsystem with higher bandwidth and more PCI Express to connect a variety of equipment (GPU, NVMe drives, etc.). As for the “crude” computing power, then this indicator to distinguish a clear leader at this stage is impossible. Terms of IPC (the number of executable per clock instructions), none of the microarchitecture – no Zen2 or Skylake can not boast of a clear superiority, and the number of executable threads, and clock frequencies Ryzen 9 3950X and Core i9-10980XE close enough.


Lately we have to admit that crackdown, as available enthusiasts a means of increasing productivity, has become obsolete. The latest processors authorship both AMD and Intel, at least if we talk about the flagship models, reach the user without any additional frequency capabilities. All that we are capable silicon the latest CPU, now, as a rule, is squeezed out by the manufacturer at the factory in order to hand over user has the maximum overclocked processor.

Platform LGA2066 is the last refuge of old school overclocking, at least such impression was produced by the processors of past generations. But Cascade Lake-X is a worthy successor to the old traditions. Frequency new members of the series Core × increased relative to predecessors not so much to completely choose all the budget submitted 14-nm process technology. In addition, over the five years that Intel is exploiting this lithographic resolution, the technology has greatly progressed, and today’s semiconductor crystals you can wait for even better achievements compared to Skylake and Skylake X-X Refresh.

When overclocking a senior representative of the family of Cascade Lake-X in practice, we saw the familiar and welcome pattern: frequency potential of Core i9-10980XE enough not to be a limitation in the way of overclocking. This processor responsive to the increment voltage, and the main difficulty is the increase of heat dissipation, to struggle with which it is possible to improve the cooling system.

In the last generation of processors for LGA2066 Intel abandoned the use of polymeric thermal interface, and Cascade Lake-X, as in Skylake-X Refresh, the pair of heat-dissipating cover and a semiconductor chip made using bestlolitas soldering. Due to this, the efficiency of heat dissipation from the Core i9-10980XE is higher than that of processors Skylake-X two years ago.

Considering everything said, it is not surprising that the new 18-core absolutely did not disappoint. With the increase in voltage VCORE up to 1,075 this processor was able to boast a stable work at the frequency of 4.5 GHz, which, incidentally, almost 20% higher than turbocachetm under load on all cores in normal mode.

But here we must mention two important details. First, the dissipation of the processor in this state can reach 350 watts, at least the heat showed Core i9-10980XE when passing the stress test in Prime95 29.8 (without AVX). To get them, you need quite a powerful cooling system, preferably of the liquid type. We, for example, tests used DLC NZXT Kraken X62 with the radiator form factor, 280 mm. But even in this case, the heat had reached 94 degrees at the maximum allowed for a Cascade Lake-X a temperature of 110 degrees.

The second caveat concerns the fact that it was about 4.5 GHz here is solely in the context loads that do not use any AVX instructions. Work with 256-bit registers makes Intel a very serious heat, and therefore, to avoid thermal trottling, necessarily have to resort to the AVX feature Negative Offset, which reduces processor speed when working with AVX and AVX2. For Core i9-10980XE, for example, were required to amendment at 500 MHz, the frequency of the processor in AVX mode was limited to the value of 4.0 GHz. The stability test in Prime95 29.8 (with AVX2) was passed only in this case, but still – with a dissipation of the processor at about 410 watts and its heat almost to the border of throttle.

As for AVX-512, such instructions even more energy intensive, and for them it is necessary to use an even more significant reduction in the frequency. Thus, stable operation of the Core i9-10980XE without overheating with the use of AVX-512 has been possible only at a frequency of 3.2 GHz. In this case, when stress testing the CPU temperature reached 107 degrees, but it still does not overheat.

Thus, the final formula clock frequency Core i9-10980XE when the acceleration was 4,5/4,0/3,2 GHz (base/AVX/AVX-512). And this is a very decent result for the 18-core processor, through which enthusiasts can get him much better performance than was laid down by the manufacturer.

However, the overclocking doesn’t stop there. To improve the performance Core i9-10980XE not be amiss at the same time to disperse its L3 cache along with their inter-Mesh connections, which in representatives of the family Cascade Lake-X, as in other LGA2066-processors work on their own 2.4 GHz. The fact that this frequency can be considerably increased, and with a clear positive effect: its overclocking increases the speed of the L3 cache and memory performance, and reduces latency in inter-core data exchange.

In this instance Core i9-10980XE frequency Mesh without any problems managed to increase by a quarter to 3.0 GHz. But it took to raise two auxiliary voltage on the Uncore-blocks of the processor by 0.1 V and at L3-cache – on 0,175 V.

Since the acceleration Core i9-10980XE proved to be effective, we measured its performance not only in nominal but also with the achieved overclocking settings. And as it turned out – not in vain, all the efforts turned to a marked improvement in performance.


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PC / Laptop

Overview motherboard ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II: third edition, revised and augmented

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At the end of last year, Intel updated the lineup of its Core-X, aimed at high-performance desktops class HEDT. The proposals of the family Cascade Lake-X is not struck the imagination of the improved performance, but only slightly increased operating frequencies and received support for further instructions AVX512VNNI. Moreover, they proved to be compatible with older motherboards that created a unique precedent in the history of Intel: socket LGA2066 now suitable for three successive generations of processors, and continues to be relevant for the fourth consecutive year. However, this does not mean that any updates to the platform with the release of new CPU did not happen.

The fact that there is a caveat. The new Core-X-design Cascade Lake-X received the support of a greater number of lines PCI Express. While their predecessors had in the best case, 44 lines, any Core-X ten-thousandth of a series already support 48 lines PCI Express 3.0. And to these additional lines before you can use the motherboard design needs to be slightly modified. In other words, despite the fact that Cascade Lake-X is able without any problems to operate in the old LGA2066 cards, fully all their possibilities can be opened only in a new, specially made with an eye on these processors.

Although Intel did not accompany the appearance of Cascade Lake X with the release of a new chipset and offers to continue to use the old X299 chipset, motherboard manufacturers have decided not to miss the chance and most of them presented an updated modification of the old platforms, converted specifically for Cascade Lake-X. These boards, of course, kept compatibility with old processors Skylake-X, but when you install them chips of the new generation got the opportunity to offer the user a slightly better performance. Today we look at one of the X299-mainboard new wave – ASUS ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming, which can be considered the third re-release of the ROG Strix X299-E Gaming, revised and expanded.

Why third when the name of the novelty is a Roman numeral “two”, you ask? The fact is that between ROG Strix X299-E Gaming and ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II there is another, “intermediate” fee ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming, with improved cooling system power scheme, which was released almost immediately after the first version, under public pressure, found that the initial fee was prone to overheating. As for the new ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming, the ASUS engineers did not just take into account all the shortcomings of the antagonist in the past, and have tried to improve the original design and high quality, as close your project to the ideal.

However, a little discouraging recommended price ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming, which is set at $499. But do not immediately dismiss this option, based on what to buy for Cascade Lake-X motherboard, for the price which can be purchased, for example, 10-core Intel Core i9-10900X, makes no sense. In fact it is not so scary, and real retail price of the ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming over the last few weeks has fallen dramatically. So now this Board is already turning out to be quite an interesting option to build a new LGA2066 system. And when it seems – need to test.


How would accompanying the release of processors Cascade Lake-X, ASUS has prepared two new ROG series motherboards: maximum heaped ROG Rampage VI Extreme Encore and pay easier – considering today ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II. However, “easier” in this case is a very relative definition, because the features of this motherboard will suit almost any enthusiast. It has three PCIe x16 slots; three slots M. 2; two wired NICs, one of which is a 2.5 GB; supports wireless Wi-Fi network 6 and can boast more than a sufficient number of USB and SATA ports. In other words, we are talking about a feature-rich platform, which is justly attributed to the solutions for LGA2066 processors at the senior level.

However, in fairness it should be noted that, if you pay attention to the other boards in the same price category, some of them can be found on the single PCIe x16 slot more other – 5 Gigabit network controller, and the third – fangled USB ports 3.2 Gen2x2 with throughput up to 20 Gbit/s. All this on a ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II no, but it boasts four USB ports 3.2 Gen 2 on the back panel, which motherboards by other manufacturers, as a rule, half.

Get acquainted with the characteristics of the ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II in the following table.

ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II
Supported processors LGA2066 Core processors to X series 7000, 9000 and 10000
Chipset Intel X299
Memory subsystem 8 × DDR4, up to 256 GB, up to DDR4-4266, four channel
Expansion slots 2 × PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode x16)
1 × PCI Express 3.0 x16 mode (x8/x4)
1 × PCI Express 3.0 x4
1 × PCI Express 3.0 x1
The storage interface 8 × SATA 6GB/s
2 × M. 2 (PCI-E 3.0 x4 devices format 2242/2260/2280/22110)
1 × M. 2 (PCI-E 3.0 x4/SATA devices format 2242/2260/2280/22110)
USB ports 3 × USB 3.2 Gen2 on the rear panel
1 × USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C on the rear panel
1 × USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C internal connector
2 × USB 3.2 Gen1 on the rear panel
4 × USB Gen1 3.2 internal connectors
4 × USB 2.0 rear panel
4 × USB 2.0 internal connectors
Network controllers 1 × Intel I219V (Ethernet 1 Gbps)
1 × Realtek RTL8125-CG (Ethernet 2.5 Gbit/s)
1 × Intel Dual Band Wireless AX200NGW/CNVi (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4/5 GHz) + Bluetooth 5.0)
Audio 1 × SupremeFX S1220A (7.1)
Interfaces on the rear panel 1 × USB Gen2 3.2 (Type-C)
3 × 3.2 Gen2 USB (Type-A)
2 × USB 3.2 Gen1
4 × USB 2.0
2 × RJ-45
5 x audio jacks are of type minijack
1 × S/PDIF (optical output)
2 × antenna connectors
button FlashBack Button
Form factor ATX (305 × 244 mm)
Price $499 (recommended)

The difference with the first version of your ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming clearly visible even in the specifications. The newest version of the Board diminished one PCIe x4, but added a third M. 2 slot and a second a 2.5 Gigabit LAN and two additional USB port 3.2 Gen2. And I must say, this is not all. Already on the image Board it is clear that in the latest version, we now use a more advanced cooling system and a more powerful power system to which it has become possible to connect directly two 8-pin power cable. All the details we’ll talk about that later.

#Packaging equipment

ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II comes in a relatively small box, clearly disproportionate to the value of this Board. However, as it will be easier to carry from the store.

The packaging has a striking black and red design. The front side is given over to large photo of the motherboard, and on the reverse is a more detailed information about the characteristics. We always pay attention to what the technology marketing Department of the manufacturer has decided to highlight the box themselves, and in the case of ROG Strix X299-E Gaming is II: support 2.5-Gigabit network and WiFi 6, three M. 2 slot is for installing drives, branded diagnostic OLED screen LiveDash and connectors for addressable led strips of the second generation.


The supplied ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming imagination is not amazing, although it is unlikely someone will guess to call him a miser. To the Board included:

  • the mounting for the M. 2 drive in the vertical slot;
  • four SATA cable;
  • two screws to install the M. 2 drives;
  • Wi-Fi antenna;
  • extension cable for connecting led strips with a length of 80 cm;
  • extension cable to connect addressable led strips;
  • external temperature sensor;
  • ASUS Q-Connector to connect the case buttons and indicators;
  • a set of cable ties;
  • DVD with drivers and software;
  • stickers and printing products.

It should be noted that the necessary drivers and software to motherboard ASUS continues to put on a DVD-ROM, which frankly, in modern conditions seems somehow anachronistic. However, if your system will be optical device to come to the aid of technology Armoury Crate which allows you to automatically download and install software over the Internet. It works in Windows 8 and 10 using the function of the Windows Platform Binary Table that performs automatic backup of UEFI and the startup after loading a pre-trained manufacturer service utilities.

#Design and capabilities

During the existence of the platform LGA2066 we posted about it countless articles. Therefore, to discuss in detail all possible model ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II, we will not — focus only on unique and characteristic traits, which, as it turned out, she had a lot. And to start here is directly from the CPU rasheem because, as it turns out, the new ASUS with a full range LGA2066 CPUs are not compatible. A list of suitable models for it includes CPU Core X seven thousandth, thousandth and ten-thousandth of a series design Allows Cascade Lake X or-X, but for some reason does not include Quad-core processors Kaby Lake-X (Core i7-7740X and Core i5-7640X). However, it is unlikely it will bring great inconvenience: Kaby Lake-X is a rare beast, though from sale until it finally disappeared.

The second feature of the ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II relates to the memory subsystem. Like other LGA2066-motherboard, it supports Quad channel DDR4 SDRAM, but for her, including the declared support for modules with capacity up to 32 GB. In the compatibility list lists several proven ASUS variants, in particular, fit 32-GB strap Corsair, Crucial, Micron or SK Hynix, which are based on chips production SK Hynix or Micron.

But register memory to your ASUS ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming does not work, although their application to certain boards based on X299, perhaps. It proved the engineers at ASRock, which recently added support for RDIMM in your motherboard X299 Taichi CLX.

The new processors Cascade Lake-X received 48 lines PCI Express 3.0, and it is with an eye on these processors, created a draft of ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II. In this card on the processor lines of PCI Express “hang” three PCIe x16 slot operating in modes x16, x16 and x8, and two of the three M. 2 sockets – those located on the Board flat and closed “wings” of the chipset. They only support NVMe drives, and each of them is four lines PCI Express 3.0. In this scheme of distribution lines there is no variation, everything works exactly as described above with any combination of installed cost of expansion cards and drives.

However, if the ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II will be installed the processor Skylake-generation-X with 44 lines of PCI Express, the third PCIe x16 slot will switch from the logical mode x8 in x4. In the case of installation in processor Board with 28 lines (which is a Core i7-7820X or Core i7-7800X) in mode x8 switch and the second PCIe x16 slot and the CPU will turn off the M. 2 slots.

All three of the PCIe x16 slots have a mechanical reinforcement and separated so that they could install an expansion card with a massive cooling systems.

The remaining two PCIe x4 and PCIe x1 are operating from the chipset, and the small slot shares resources with the USB connector 3.2 Gen2 to the front panel. However, the probable loss of the PCIe x1 is unlikely to upset someone because he still is under the first PCIe x16 slot will be blocked by the graphics card.

The chipset provides eight SATA connectors placed along the left edge of the Board, and the third M. 2 slot, which is to talk separately. First, this is the only M. 2 socket on the ASUS ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming, which is able to take the SATA drives in that format. Second, it is located in a rather unusual place – in front of the DIMM slots. So drives are installed in it vertically, and for their reliable fastening ASUS has included a special metal frame. Frankly, we like the idea of a vertical M. 2, because in this case the drive is easy to organize a good cooling. However, sometimes you have to meet the complaint that a vertically mounted drive mixes with cooling the memory.

Amid LGA2066-plat of past generations of ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II stands out not only by the presence of three M. 2 slots, but the increased number of USB ports. It is taken from the chipset, six 5-Gigabit ports USB 3.2 Gen 1 the developers added five more 10-Gigabit ports USB Gen 2 3.2. Four high-speed port is displayed behind the Board, and one is made in the form of internal connector and designed for connection to a connector on the front panel. In order to accommodate this amount of USB ports 3.2 Gen 2 on Board took place three additional chip ASMedia ASM3142.

With USB ports connected and one more funny solution. ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II has in its Arsenal as many as eight USB 2.0 ports, and four port not working directly from the chipset, and via MTT hub GL852G. Someone might need such a number of USB 2.0 ports is unclear. Last version of the Board Strix X299-E Gaming ports of this type was less than half.

But the main difference between ASUS ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming from the last version, with almost the same name, but without a Roman numeral two at the end, is how now made your meal plan. Last charge was eight-channel Converter processor power, now, allegedly used a 12-channel scheme, at least according to the description on the manufacturer’s website.

But to be honest, the power to consider the Board – on the basis of the six-phase PWM controller ASP1905. But each phase is assembled from pairs zaparoleny power stage Infineon IR3555M and inductances that allows you to shoot with a six-phase scheme, the currents, reaching 720 But without taking into account food processor SoC, which laid its own seventh 60-amp channel. In other words, to work with a voracious processors ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II prepared well, but the overall design of the Converter power still raises questions because of the small number of “honest” phases.

Emphasizing the fact that ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II can cope with arbitrarily powerful processors, ASUS installed on it from two 8-pin power connector, and CPU VRM placed on a pretty massive cooling system with a heat pipe and a 40 mm fan.

But no matter how impressive these radiators may look in the photo, actually nothing special in that no cooling besides that it is generally adequate for this application. That is, even when overclocking Core i9-10980XE to 4.5 GHz and under high load in Prime95 the power supply circuit does not overheat. Although its maximum temperature and reached 100 degrees, when the fan accelerates to maximum speed, overheating or throttle we have not seen.

The main working part of the system cooling the VRM is a small aluminum heatsink plate on the center of the aluminum block adjacent to the power elements through the pads. The heat pipe here is only for the more uniform distribution of heat, because the second aluminum block placed on her, hardly performs any function at all. On the Board under it are USB controllers that do not have a high dissipation, and its upper portion fully closes the plastic cover of the rear, preventing any convection. In General, why this second bar is a mystery.

It turns out that the efficiency of the cooling system is greatly facilitated by a fan, which is why it is covered from top with decorative mesh. And that’s why we suggest from this mesh right to get rid – so and the noise will be less, and temperature will be lower. Especially if to take into account the fact that with increasing temperature the VRM fan is able to accelerate up to 6000 rpm.

In practice, to assemble a system on your ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II conveniently enough, the cards are well thought out, which is hardly surprising as it is an updated version of another popular motherboard. It without problems will be any massive cooler, including the air, not a MSI Creator X299, where the developers put too little space between the first PCIe slot and CPU socket.

But it is worth considering that for those who love experiments in the open stand, ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming may not offer an exhaustive set of controls. The Board has only the power button, a set of diagnostic LEDs and POST controller. Even reset the BIOS settings is available on the old – fashioned way with jumper.

But considering the fee is not deprived of the opportunity to update the firmware (no need to start the system), allows you to connect an external temperature sensor and is able to manage a sufficient number of fans. In addition to the connectors for the two CPU fans and the fan VRM, the PCB has two connectors for the pumps (without the possibility of adjustment speed) and three connectors for case fans (with the possibility of fine adjustment of rotation speeds depending on the temperature).

Much attention is paid to the illumination. Although ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II and intended for the construction of the mighty HEDT platforms, it still relates to gaming series motherboard. However, the Board itself no special RGB-extravaganza no. Only a small illuminated acrylic panel cover the rear panel.

But the possibilities might be notklaatu whole bunch of led strips. In store for them, two sockets for a conventional three-meter RGB 5050 strips standard and two slots for addressable WS2812B strips standard with the maximum number of LEDs for 120 pieces. All lights on the Board works under the guidance of the corporate AURA and 52UA0 microcontroller 32-bit ARM processor STM32F 072CBU6. The user also seems to set all this sparkling ensemble with a special app ASUS Sync Aura.

In addition, on the Board between the CPU socket and the first PCIe x16 slot there is a small monochrome OLED display LiveDash, which can also be used in information and decoration purposes.

To control the contents of this display from ASUS provides a special utility, but by default it displays POST codes during system startup and the CPU temperature – when it is working.

In the rest of the equipment ASUS ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming is quite typical for the modern boards are high enough level. For integrated sound codec Realtek ALC1220 (according to tradition renamed S1220A), which this time works without the support of additional high quality DAC, but accompanied by two operational amplifiers which are capable to pump high-impedance headphones.

Network connections can be implemented in three ways: through wireless controller Intel wifi 6 AX200 2×2 802.11 ax or by wire through a 2.5 Gigabit controller Realtek RTL8125 or Hibiny Intel WGI219V.

Given all the above, the contents of the back of the PCB you might not be surprised.

There are four USB 2.0 ports; two USB 3.2 Gen 1; four USB ports 3.2 Gen 2, one of which has an execution of Type-C; two network RJ-45 connector; connectors for wifi antennas; five analog audio jacks; SPDIF output and the BIOS FlashBack button for offline firmware updates.


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