ASUS M5A99X EVO Motherboard
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 10-16-2011
Provided by: ASUS

The M5A99X EVO comes in ASUS' standard black/blue/white livery, used in practically all their boards going back several generations, with the exception being their high-end Crosshair and now Sabertooth series. Although much of the components appear the same, apparently since the Sabertooth is being promoted as their "military-grade" hardware, not much mention is made of the EVO's construction. They do tout the all solid Japanese capacitors and fully digital VRM processor control. The accessory bundle consists of a user manual, software CD, I/O backplate, quad SATA cables, flexible SLI bridge and board jumper headers (Q-connectors).

Beginning at the front of the motherboard we find dual-channel DDR3 memory slots in staggered formation, two PWM 4-pin and three regular 3-pin fan headers, front panel USB3 connector, six SATA6 ports, two SATA3 ports, MemOK switch and indicator, USB2 headers and clear CMOS jumper. Just like the Sabertooth 990FX we find several device fault indicator LEDs that would disappear into the board but for their labels, and one huge green bulb located next to the southbridge that sticks out like a sore thumb. Thankfully, as we'll see later in installation, it is mostly covered by a full size video card.

At the rear of the board we see the two PCI-E x16 slots (dual x8 mode) one blue and one white, two PCI-E x1 slots in blue, one PCI-E x4 slot in black and one standard PCI in light blue. There is a two slot spacing between the primary graphics slots, which should allow plenty of room for cards with larger than reference or aftermarket coolers. The rear I/O ports consist of a single PS2 port for legacy keyboard or mouse, eight USB2 ports in black and red, two USB3 ports in blue, one eSATA in red, one powered eSATA in green, one IEEE 1394, one Gigabit LAN and 8-channel audio block. An 8-pin connector provides auxiliary CPU power.

The underside of the M5A99X EVO shows only the northbridge/chipset heatsink attached with screws. The VRM and southbridge sinks are held on with simple plastic push-pins. They do however make use of a heatpipe between the northbridge and voltage sinks. Along the rear edge of the board we find the VGA fault indicator LED, RTL8111E Gigabit LAN, JMB362 for the rear eSATA3 ports, VT6308P IEEE 1394 and ALC892 audio controllers.

At the front lower corner is the IT8721F temperature/fan/voltage monitor, ASUS TPU or Turbo Processor for voltage/frequency control, boot device fault indicator LED and second JMB362 controller for the front two extra SATA3 ports. Next to the CPU socket is the ASUS EPU or Energy/Efficiency Processor for power saving voltage control and the CPU fault indicator LED. The socket retention bracket is the same two piece design we've seen on other AM3+ boards.

Let's get the M5A99X EVO installed and powered up.

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