ASUS PRIME X299 DELUXE II Motherboard Review

The ASUS Prime X299 Deluxe II is an ultra-feature rich solution for today’s discerning computing enthusiast. It does not wear ROG branding, and is clad in white shrouding, letting you know that this is a PRIME motherboard. Is it a bargain priced motherboard? Nope. This one comes in at $500. Let's see if it is worth it.

continued...

Motherboard Overclocking Software

ASUS AI Suite III software is included with the PRIME X299 DELUXE II. This software hasn’t changed much over the last few years, which is a double-edged sword, but I’ll get to that. For those that do now know, the AI Suite III software is a suite of utilities that allow the user to monitor PC health and tune system performance within Windows. The software also allows the user to control the onboard fans. The tool gives you a ton of options for monitoring and alerting for specific conditions such as fan speed failures or temperatures beyond a threshold which can be set by the user.

The basic user experience is solid for the most part. Despite the application’s somewhat daunting main application window, navigating its various menus is relatively intuitive. The only major navigation issue is the semi-hidden navigation menu which would allow you to return to the main application window or go to another menu or utility once you’ve entered one. For example, if you click on EPU, there isn’t a way to go back without accessing the semi-hidden navigation bar on the left-hand side and choosing another menu or going back to the DIP5 or dual intelligent processors menu. This isn’t the most intuitive or logical way to structure the application. However, the application does display its information in a concise and easy to understand way while providing powerful utility at the same time.

Article Image Article Image Article Image Article Image

Article Image Article Image Article Image Article Image

When it comes to overclocking, ASUS has two methods. Automatic, and manual. Manual tuning is something that can be accomplished in any competing utility. However, that’s not really where AI Suite III shines. It is the automatic overclocking via the DIP5 menu where ASUS truly stands out from its competitors. The software allows for user guided automatic overclocking. The user can choose various options before allowing the application to conduct its automatic tuning. This is a good way to prioritize thermals or clock speed. You can even set options relating to stability testing to determine the success of an overclock. While not perfect, it usually works well and comes within a 100MHz or so of what you can easily achieve manually. Of course, if you have a really good CPU and the time to really leverage the vast options in the UEFI, one can probably go a little further if their cooling is up to the task.

Article Image Article Image Article Image Article Image

The standard PC health monitoring functions are all represented here. ASUS always has the bottom ط·آ¢ط¢آ¼ of the screen show the PC monitoring. However, each category such as CPU or voltage can be expanded to show more detailed monitoring. There is a somewhat odd gear icon that’s easy to miss that will give you access to the alerting portion of the software. Here you can set alert conditions for a variety of monitored elements such as fan speeds or temperatures. This is another thing that isn’t really all that intuitive and because this icon is incongruent with everything else in the interface, its easily missed.

Article Image Article Image Article Image

Article Image Article Image Article Image

There are really two additional areas where ASUS’ AI Suite III really shines. Those are fan control and its turbo core app menu. The former allows for adding custom names and locations for fans in the system. Fan smoothing or spin up and spin down times can be set to either favor fan RPM changes to be fast or slow to avoid creating distracting or jarring noise while you are using it. I’m not sensitive to overall system noise but I can’t stand rapid fan speed changes. They bother me to no end, and I know I’m not alone or this feature wouldn’t exist. Fans can also be controlled by PWM and DC modes. There are also auto-tuning features for fan control as well as profile presets which can be used to set up your fans for optimal noise and or cooling.

The turbo core app feature is one that allows performance profiles to be loaded to change system performance characteristics based on applications. For instance, you could setup the system to favor four or eight cores at higher speeds while essentially downclocking the rest for gaming. You could also set an overclock for content creation applications while downclocking the whole system and saving power for office applications. The choice is yours. As this feature depends on being able to create performance profiles and presets, its obvious that the software allows for that. You can save or load the profiles from the TPU menu, which is the one where manual tuning takes place.

While there are certainly some things I would like to see done differently with the software, I still believe ASUS is the best game in town when it comes to bundled tuning, fan control and PC monitoring software. That said, I’m becoming quite fond of MSI’s latest iteration. While not as robust, its certainly easier to use and more pleasing to the eye. GIGABYTE has a less pleasing to the eye but easier to use application as well. I don’t like how it splits certain things from Easy Tune, so while good I prefer ASUS’ AI Suite III.

Aura

Article Image Article Image Article Image

ASUS’ Aura software is used to configure the motherboard’s onboard RGB LED lighting. Like competing utilities from other motherboard makers, the Aura software supports a broad color palette and allows the user to configure a variety of lighting effects as well as options for each effect. ASUS uses both a color wheel and a direct numeric entry to make color matching easier. It also makes the creation of specific colors easier. While the brightness control isn’t all that unusual, the addition of a saturation control is something I think is unique to ASUS. At least, as of this writing I haven’t seen that anywhere else. One feature that is certainly unique is the alternate configuration for when the system is powered down. This is especially cool and something I’ve done on my own system and rather enjoy. It’s something I miss when working with offerings from the other vendors.

Lastly, the system offers an interface for tuning addressable RGB and standard RGB headers. It is important to note while there is only one onboard RGB header, the Fan Extension II card comes with 3x headers onboard for a total of four. So while the lighting on the PRIME series is reserved compared to the ROG and ROG STRIX offerings, the Fan Extension II card would technically allow for far more bling if you wanted it.