Board Layout and Features Continued
Quad channel memory comes standard on the LGA 2011 platform and the X99 Designare-EX supports DDR4 modules at speeds over 3400Mhz with a maximum of 128GB usable. 24pin ATX power is located in the traditional location near the upper edge of the motherboard.
Maybe one of the over-to-top additions to this motherboard is the inclusion of the “Ultra Durable Memory Armor” which consists of a single piece of stainless steel shielding with a couple of intended benefits. The first is to reinforce the memory sockets to prevent PCB distortion. This makes sense considering that installing memory often introduces flex on the PCB, especially when the motherboard isn’t properly mounted. (read the instructions people). The second benefit is ESD prevention due to a larger grounding surface.
Internal SATA connections number ten and follow the new SATA6 connection standard. Two of these connections are dedicated to SATA Express which is connected to the X99 chipset. Next to the Sata Express you will find two blocks of U.2 connectors allowing you to run 2.5” PCI Express SSD drives.
One of these sockets is disabled when using a 28 Lane processor so keep that in mind when planning your build.
The packaging claims triple NVMe drive support and the third connection is a M.2 Socket 3 connector located under the metal cover near PCI Express slot #1. A single screw holds this metal cover in place and removing it will expose the M.2 socket, WiFi module and CMOS battery.
I do like how the battery is hidden for a change however accessing it makes you “not” want to bother.
Designare-EX comes with a full featured I/O panel. Here you will find a single combined PS/2 keyboard and mouse plug, one USB Type C, one USB 3.1 (red), four USB 3.0 ports (blue), dual gigabit Ethernet connections, SMA Antenna Connectors for AC WiFi and 8 channel analog audio with digital connections over optical. You will also notice a single DisplayPort connection which has been included for future expandability and is not used for video.