ASUS P9X79 and P9X79 Deluxe LGA 2011 Sandy Bridge-E Motherboard Review - A Closer Look- P9X79 Deluxe
A Closer Look- P9X79 Deluxe
Continuing from the P9X79, we see that the bottom of the board have power and reset buttons, and the BIOS chip has been moved toward the bottom of the board, and is overall more accessible there. The EPU and TPU switches have also been moved along the bottom edge of the board, and the SATA ports have the addition of two SSD Caching ports run by a Marvell® PCIe 9128 controller. I was happy to see this, as SSD Caching functionality was left out of the X79 platform, probably with the mentality that enthusisasts will likely be purchasing a standalone SSD as opposed to using a cache drive to boost drive performance. SSD Caching is also implemented more simply with ASUS' method as well, because it can be installed any time, where Intel's SRT requires setup during the OS install.
The beauty in ASUS' SSD Caching implementation over even Intel's built-in method, as it can be done after OS installation and doesn't require any special configuration in the UEFI. It also offers no caching capacity limit like Intel's implementation, which add alot of value to the Pro and Deluxe boards.
The internal USB 3.0 header has also been moved to the right edge of the board, which routes neatly with the primary motherboard power cable. We also see extensions of both heatsinks including a second block connected by a heatpipe for more even and efficient thermal transfer. ASUS has accomplished this without squishing the CPU area and limiting cooling options, which I applaud them for, and must have also taken a fair amount of design effort to do so.
The rear I/O panel is also rearranged, largely due to the space needed for the BTGO! module which allows for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. The great part of the onboard wireless is that the PCI-e slots remain untouched and won't limit the space you have to work with for expandability. It connects to a header on the PCB and is secured with a single screw. A circular antenna is also included, and we found it to have great range and stable performance. We also see two NICs, 6 USB 3.0 ports (4 on P9X79) and the same 10 total USB ports. There's also an additional powered e-SATA port. The PS/2 port, a regular e-SATA, and firewire port were all dumped to make room for the other additions. The BIOS Flashback button has been moved to the upper edge of the board as well.
It's obvious that despite having the same core componentry, the boards evolve to be quite different in a number of facets. It's also quite easy to see where the value is added and justifying the increase in cost between models, which helps sort through all of the marketing jargon thrown on the boxes.