ASUS X79 Deluxe LGA 2011 Motherboard Review

ASUS resurrects the tried and true X79 chipset putting it back in the spotlight with updated features just in time for Ivy Bridge-E CPUs. We take a look at ASUS’ X79 Deluxe and not only see if this motherboard is worth your hard earned cash, but answer the question: is there any compelling reason for existing X79 users to upgrade?


Motherboard Overclocking Software

ASUS debuted its ASUS AI Suite III with the introduction of its Z87 Express models. All previous X79 offerings are using the older AI Suite II which isn’t nearly as refined and easy to use. Naturally, updated X79 motherboards in ASUS’ lineup will include the AI Suite III just as its Z87 counterparts do. This is a most welcome change as the AI Suite III is leaps and bounds ahead of the older software and is easily comparable or even superior to any other included software packages in the market for tuning.

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The AI Suite III software packaged with the X79 Deluxe is largely unchanged from what we’ve seen included with previous Z87 motherboards. The bottom window panes are for hardware monitoring; CPU frequency, voltages, temperatures, and fan speed monitoring. The software does allow you to user defined warning thresholds for voltage, temperature, and fan speeds.

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Navigation of actual settings and features is handled via the categories listed at the top. These are 4-Way Optimization, TPU, EPU, DIGI+ Power Control, and Fan Xpert 2. 4-Way Optimization is an auto tuning utility which tunes the machine based on usage patterns. The TPU, Fan Xpert 2, and DIGI+ Power Control menus in the 4-Way Optimization menu are actually status displays more than settings. For actual settings for these you really have to go into the settings for these.

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The TPU menu is where the actual overclocking settings are found. Well at least primarily those relating to base clock and CPU ratio. Group tuning or tuning cores by 1, 2, 4. or 6, can be selected along with a range of voltages. Performance profiles can be created or loaded at your convenience. There are CPU strap settings ranging from 100 to 250MHz with 125MHz and 166MHz in between.

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The EPU menu allows you to set your power profiles based on predefined settings or you can alter these parameters yourself. An away mode is available for maximum power savings when the computer is to sit idle.

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DIGI+ Power Control allows for adjustment of the hardware providing power to your CPU and RAM modules. CPU load-line calibration can be set here as well as current capability, VCCSA load-line calibration and power phase control. Similar settings are available for the DRAM power phases.

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The Fan Xpert 2 finally makes its way to the X79 platform. ASUS’ fan control is simply second to none. Fan auto-tuning and precise control of all the fan headers are standard fare here. Pre-defined performance profiles make control of these a snap. Auto-tuning yields a performance report which includes overclocking guidelines. A report also shows what your fan’s test results are for each connected fan and gives you an idea of what the RPM range and adjustability is like.