Over the weekend one of the guys at my full time job (who is very tech savvy) did a bit of research in the X99 world. He owns a high end MSI X-Power board and is being taken to town by their sadly less then professional Motherboard RMA team. It is sad to see someone who bought what was their highest end product is being treated like the bought a custom SLI bridge and can't figure out why it doesn't fit on their AMD cards. MSI if your reading this please, please do the right thing and keep reading and above all else get your RMA team back on track before it's too late.
November 28th - Newegg.com
I reviewed all X99 boards currently available through newegg.com. I looked for reviews in the 1-3 star rating that reported failures or significant system issues. Ranging from DOA, failing memory, bsod and random restarts. Now some of these could be related to other parts, but given my experience with the X99S X-Power board, I would suggest the board is at least partially at fault.
I excluded all boards that reported higher than 17% failure rate.
Boards with lower than 17% failure reports listed below:
Asus: 2 (X99-PRO/USB3.1) (X99-M WS)
MSI: 2 (X99A Raider) (X99A GODlike)
Gigabyte: 2 (X99-UD3P) (X99M G1 GAMING 5) Boards only have 4 RAM slots. Remarks on poor design layout.
ASRock: 4 (X99M Killer) (X99E-ITX) (X99 Extreme4/3.1) (X99 WS-E)
EVGA: 4 (MICRO2) (MICRO) (FTW) (CLASSIFIED)
Gigabyte did not have ANY boards with more than 4 RAM slots that were not reporting issues. And Gigabyte seems to be suffering from a sleep clock rate issue that other manufacturers are not. My personal opinion will be to continue to avoid Gigabyte boards in the future.
MSI reported some of the highest failure reports as there average was 20-30% for most all of their boards. With most users giving up in the RMA process and switching manufacturers after receiving dead boards 2 or 3 times. The two boards that made the list are fairly new products. I do not have high hopes in regards to their failure rates. I am working on the MSI on the RMA for my board, however if they will not cross ship a board I will not be trusting them to handle the process as most individuals reported receiving back failed boards shipped back to them in worse condition than before.
Asus had many different models to choose from, it was a bit disappointing to see that they only had 2 models that were reporting low failures. Although, both boards are in the pro/workstation class of boards and one of them is a revision 2 board (usb 3.1). My personal opinion is to continue to avoid Asus like the plague.
ASRock was tied with 4 devices, 2 of which only had 4 RAM slots, and the other 2 being Workstation/pro class of boards similar to Asus. I found the ASRock boards to be feature lite, and their website is probably the worst out of all the companies. I think they have come a long ways from past years, but I would still avoid purchasing an ASRock board.
EVGA has the smallest lineup of all the manufacturers. 100% of their X99 lineup made it on the list. The interesting part, is that EVGA doesn't appear to be as feature rich as Asus and MSI, losing out on less PWM phases, and fewer USB ports, etc. I believe this may be why their boards are largely unaffected by the common issues. Either a complete fluke by EVGA cutting corners where they shouldn't, or proper engineering because they identified issues in those components and excluded them from their boards. It appears the biggest complaints about the boards are the lack of these features and poor software (OC software and bios). If I were to buy another X99 board it would most likely be the Classified or FTW depending on if I plan to use M.2 before making the jump to a different socket.
Now comes the hard decision. Do I continue using 4 out of the 8 ram slots, chuck the extra 16gb of RAM, and live with the random post issues and occasional can't boot into windows issue. Or do I risk the RMA process over the Christmas and be without a system for potentially a month or two, or drop $500 on a new x99 motherboard only to potentially have the same issues. Quite annoying to deal with such issues on such high end components.
I even considered moving to a 6th gen CPU and starting over, but stopped after seeing that only 20 PCI-E lanes were available.