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ASUS X99 Series motherboards are engineered from the ground up to get the most from NEW Intel® Core™ i7 processors, combining innovative new technology such as ASUS SafeSlot, U.2 and M.2 x4 connectivity for even faster storage solutions, and ultimate customization with integrated Aura RGB lighting that expands beyond the board thanks to the dedicated Aura RGB header.
The X99-A II, X99-Deluxe II, and ROG STRIX X99 GAMING motherboards all utilize these advanced features in order to offer the perfect platform for building a high performance system for tasks such as advanced content creation, development, and of course, gaming.
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The socket type of the motherboard is the most important thing to check before making your purchase. You need to find out whether your motherboard is designed for Intel or AMD CPU chipets. If you already bought an Intel CPU, then you won’t be able to purchase a motherboard that specifies an AM3+ socket compatibility, for instance. A chipset type refers to the hardware inside the processor itself, usually denoted by numbers and letters. For Intel, that’s the 6700k part of an i7-6700k. A socket type refers to the actual area on the motherboard where the processor connects to the motherboard itself (or, ‘sockets’ into it). These are a set of pre-arranged and pre-soldered pins that are designed to match the processor’s configurations specifically, which is why you have to make sure you know what socket type your processor has.
The current socket type for Intel processors is called LGA 1151. The motherboard manufacturer will label this clearly, and in many instances it is included in the name. The current socket type for AMD is a little more complex, as some older AMD boards can support newer socket types with a few BIOS updates. No Intel motherboards are backwards or forwards compatible. If you buy a new Intel processor with a new socket type, you must also purchase the matching motherboard. Currently, there are multiple types of AMD sockets on the market with motherboards to match. These are AM3, AM3+, FM1 and FM2.
Luckily, if you consider yourself someone who is brand loyal, then you’ll be able to find a motherboard that works with your chosen CPU. Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, SuperMicro and ASRock all make Intel and AMD compatible motherboards. Another thing to consider is the motherboard’s form factor. If you’re upgrading your system but want to use the same computer case, then you need to make sure the new motherboard can still fit inside. ATX is the standard size, but there is also E-ATX (designed more for server builds), Micro ATX, and Mini ITX. Both Micro ATX and Mini ITX will have less PCI slots and fan headers, but you’d be surprised to find how many high-end gaming features can be packed onto a Mini ITX motherboard. Asus’ Impact line of Mini ITX motherboards are considered some of the best for gaming within a smaller form factor.
Once you’ve got the right socket type to match your processor, it’s time to consider the other areas on the motherboard, as they will affect the rest of the hardware in your build. If you’re planning to do a lot of video rendering, say for video game capturing and editing, then you’ll want dual-channel memory on the motherboard, which means your system will be able to access more of your RAM at faster speeds. Dual-channel is pretty typical on motherboards, especially if they are designed specifically to be a gaming motherboard. Speaking of memory, if you’ve invested in DDR4, then you’ll need to make sure the motherboard is compatible with that as well.
Another thing to consider is the amount of SATA ports and fan headers and where these are placed on the board. If you’re planning to do custom water cooling, then you’ll need more access to fan headers, although you can always add on a fan header hub later. Some motherboard manufacturers will even include it as an accessory in the retail box. If you want to install multiple storage devices, then you need to make sure the boad has enough SATA ports. This is usually more of a concern with Mini ITX boards. Also, sometimes the ports are arranged at different angles on the board, which can be cumbersome when trying to plug in the SATA cables to connect the storage devices.
For gaming, there are additional features that are often proprietary to the manufacturers. For instance, Asus has custom cooling for the power regulators around the CPU to help keep the temperature down. MSI gaming motherboards have built-in software that works with the on-board wifi adapter to optimize the internet connection for a max throughput of 2.8 gigabits per second, great for intense online multiplayer sessions where every second counts. High-end Gigabyte gaming motherboards feature a dedicated audio chip that is separated from the main PCB to make sure that the analog and digital signals do not interfer. This means superior audio clarity when gaming and watching media.
The PCI slots on your motherboards are usually only used for one thing: the graphics card. However, there are other hardware you can buy to slot into these areas, depending on what you want to do with your build. While a lot of gaming motherboards have superior on-board audio, you still may want to slot in a separate sound card if you’re planning to do more with audio mixing and producing.
For gaming, a capture card is a great idea for an available pci slot, making it so much eaiser for you to capture loads of footage to be edited or streamed. For times when you won’t have a direct ethernet connection to plug into, a super-fast wireless card will insure that you’re always connected. Of course, if you have the budget, you can always purchase another card and go 2-way SLI or Crossfire.