Haswell-E – Intel Core i7 5960X Review
The motherboard itself retains the design used for the Z97 ROG series, having in return the specific connectivity options of the X99 PCH. Thus we have at our disposal a total of 12 SATA 3 ports (10 native, and 2 thanks to an additional ASMedia controller), out of which 4 ports can be converted when required into 2 SATA Express ports. We also have an M.2 port that can use 4 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes linked directly to the processor, a feature made possible on most Intel X99 motherboards.
Thanks to the 40 PCI-Express 3.0 lanes found in the 5960X and 5930K processors we could easily build configurations up to 4-way SLI / CFX, Rampage V being fit with 3 correctly spaced slots for this purpose. The 8 DDR4 memory slots can host up to 64GB running at frequencies of up to 3300MHz. The sound board is the same SupremeFX 2014 that we mentioned in other articles, so a Realtek ALC1150 with some touches.
The ‘crazies’ corner from the right side of the motherboard includes the Power and Reset buttons, the LN2 mode jumper, the Slow-Mode switch, and also the measuring points found directly underneath the 24-pin ATX connector. There we can also find a DIP switch which can be used to turn off any of the PCI-Express slots, and also the usual Debug LED. On the Rampage V Extreme we can find two new buttons that can help us reach the highest overclock: Safe Boot (if the settings were too aggressive, by pressing this button we can enter the BIOS using default settings but without losing what we had previously configured), and ReTry blabla.
We left for last the most important new feature brought by ASUS, namely OC Socket. By taking a look at the pictures down below we can easily notice that Haswell-E (left) has more pins than Ivy Bridge-E (right). This pins are not documented by Intel, therefore Shamino – the man behind the latest ASUS ROG motherboards – ordered a special socket from Foxconn that contains the missing pins from the original LGA 2011-v3. This new socket is internally named LGA 2084 because it has 73 more pins, and it will initially be available only on the ASUS X99 motherboards.
After 4-5 months of work in which the purpose of the missing pins was researched, the ASUS motherboards can boast with the following achievements brought exclusively by the use of this socket: more pins for powering the processor, higher memory and uncore frequencies attainable but also extra monitoring of the voltages generated by FIVR.