ASUS Launches ROG X299 Gaming Motherboards For Intel Core-X Family

Things just got real in the enthusiast space, folks. In what amounted to a mic drop moment, Intel unveiled new high-end desktop (HEDT) processors based on Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X, the top part of which is a monster 18-core CPU under the company's new Core i9 branding. With the cat officially out of the bag, motherboard makers were free to announce accompanying X299 chipset motherboards for Intel's new chips. ASUS and its Republic of Gamers (ROG) division wasted no time in doing so.

ASUS ROG unleashed three performance grade X299 motherboards at Computex, each one "expertly tailored for different priorities." They include the Rampage VI Extreme for builders who covet a custom liquid cooling setup and ultra-fast networking, Rampage VI Apex for peak game performance and record breaking overclock attempts, and the Strix X299-E for gamers who simply want a high-end board.

ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme

ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme

Starting at the top, ASUS ROG considers the Rampage VI Extreme as the flagship model in this new series. It is built specifically for for machines with custom liquid cooling with carefully bent tubing. To that end, it has strategically placed fan and pump headers, along with dual flow headers that let users monitor their coolant. There is also a special connector that allows water blocks designed for the Rampage VI Extreme to provide vitals, such as flow, temperature, and leakage data.

Beyond the water cooling goodness, ASUS bolstered several aspects of its new flagship, the onboard LAN is now powered by a 10G chip, while the integrated Wi-Fi module supports the latest 802.11ad standard, the latter of which increases wireless bandwidth up to 4.6Gbps (theoretical maximum).

This motherboard boasts four reinforced PCIe X16 slots, three M.2 SSD slots, a U.2 connector, eight DDR4 DIMM slots, an onboard Thunderbolt header, lots of LED lighting, and an LiveDash OLED screen to monitor certain system vitals.


Next on the list is the ASUS ROG Rampage VI APEX. ASUS has not shared out any press images of this particular motherboard just yet, though the company did say that it was purpose built for record breaking overclocking attempts at sub-zero temperatures. And not just with LN2, but also liquid helium, a more exotic form of cooling. So in other words, this is not a motherboard for the masses, but for the niche crowd of extreme overclockers that live on the edge and push components to the absolute limit.

To help with overclocking efforts, ASUS took a less-is-more approach by equipping this board with just a single DIMM slot per channel. This allowed ASUS to optimize trace routing to improve stability with the fastest memory kits. And though it has fewer DIMM slots than other X299 motherboards, users can still stuff this thing with up to 64GB of memory.\

This board has already been used by overclocking professionals to push a Core i7-7740K to 7.56GHz, which set a new world record. We suspect it will notch more records under its belt in the coming months.

ASUS ROG Strix X299-E

ASUS ROG Strix X299-E

Finally, there is the ASUS ROG Strix X299-E. This one takes a more straightforward approach with a more affordable price tag the other other two, though it is still an enthusiast motherboard.

This is the only board of the three that adopts the standard ATX form factor (both other motherboards are E-ATX) so that it can fit into mid-tower cases. It's still decked out with three reinforced PCIe x16 slots, dual M.2 slots for NVMe SSDs (one is tucked under the angular chipset heatsink and the other mounts on a bracket that sticks out from the board near the 24-pin power connector), and headers for dual liquid cooling pumps and both standard and addressable LEDs strips.

While the ROG Strix X299-E is supposed to be the most affordable of the bunch, ASUS did not announce pricing or availability for any of its three ROG X299 motherboards.