We recently had the opportunity to test out the excellent new ASUS X99 motherboards. We liked the X99 Deluxe II so much we decided to use it for our new high end multimedia video editing and gaming build. We wanted a PC that we could use for editing 4K video, high end photo work, and running the latest games at the highest resolutions. Because if Doom isn’t running 60FPS at 4K, then really, what’s the point?
We didn’t just want horsepower though; we also wanted it to look good. We decided on white and blue for an aesthetically attractive build that is seriously high powered, and we’re very happy with the results. Mission accomplished.
And be sure to check out our full Unlocked Broadwell-E Coverage.
We started with the Zalman Z9 Neo case in white. Despite being a lower-end chassis, we've been wanting to do a build with the Zalman for a while now and the white look matched the ASUS Deluxe and water cooling. And our other cases had, ya know, PCs in them and we really wanted to get a build up and running ASAP, so the Zalman was it.
As for CPU, we grabbed a Broadwell-E i7-6950X with its insane 10 cores and 20 threads. Yeah, that's $1749 right there.
For the motherboard, we went with ASUS's current top X99 board, the ASUS X99 Deluxe II. Installation was a tight fit, but it was already starting to look good with the silver and white of the board matching the polished plastic of the case.
ASUS X99 Blue and White Broadwell-E System
i7-6950x, GTX 1080 and buckets of SSDs
Next, it was time for the liquid cooling system. We chose the LEPA EXllusion240 we have in for review. While not a household name, the LEPA with its clear tubes gives that custom look without all the time and sweat. However, the Zalman case, while appearing appropriate for 240mm ceiling coolers, actually has a bit of an issue. Zalman stuck double LED fans in that top spot, meaning we had to rip out the stock fans into install the CPU cooler. Then, clearance was an issue because the motherboard was so snug against the top. It was challenging getting the LEPA in place due to one of the power cables sticking out from the top of the board. It took some effort, but we managed to squeeze it in with sufficient room for everything to operate properly.
Next was the RAM. We used 32 gigs of PATRIOT VIPER DDR4 2400 with a metallic blue heat sink to match the LEDs in the case.
The graphics card was an easy decision. We recently received the Nvidia GEFORCE GTX 1080. If you’re going to go, go big right? There’s not much more powerful than the GTX 1080, and the build was already starting to look very cool.
For storage, we decided on three SSDs for quick transfer speeds. The first was an Intel 750 Series 400GB drive installed below the video card. The second was a Samsung M.2 SSD that we tried plugging in directly to the board, but the M.2 slot is in a vertical position on the Deluxe II. It looked a bit awkward sticking straight out, like it could easily snap off. No problem, we opted to install the Samsung on the ASUS Deluxe PCIe card included.
For our final SSD, we were excited to take advantage of the SFF-8639 (U.2) capabilities of the X-99. We installed a 1.2 TB Intel U.2 750 to round out the storage components of the build. We ended up with 2.0 TB of SSD space, more than enough for what we need. For now at least!
Things were coming along nicely, but before we flipped on the power to test, we wanted to make sure it looked as organized and clean as these high end components deserved. We spent some time connecting everything to the board, including the front power and USB, and then finished hiding and zip tying the cables in the back of the case. We stepped back and admired our work. It looked great even before power; clean, cable free, and ready to rock.
For the final blue element, we added a bit of blue dye to the LEPR EXllusion240. We watched as the coolant slowly cycled through the system and shifted to an icy blue that matched the LEDs and the RAM. Just the finishing touch it needed.
The Deluxe II allows you to coordinate and control all the LEDs on the board with the included AURA software, allowing for even further customization if we ever want it. For now though, we’re more than happy.
Oh, and did I mention the $1300 ASUS 34" G-Sync Swift monitor? Yeah, this is one absolutely sick combo. ASUS through-and-through with the best money can buy (except for the case and cabling, we know, know!).
While this build wasn't ideal -- after all, we have $2.3k worth of SSDs and a $1.7k processor in a $70 case -- we got the PC up and running in a hot minute for all of our high-end video, photo, and gaming needs. For an Intel Extreme build with blue and white, this is a good start. More to come? Most definitely.