Here is the first picture of the M5A99X EVO, an upcoming socket AM3+ motherboard by ASUS based on the AMD 990X + SB950 chipset designed AMD’s FX-Series “Zambezi” 8-core, 6-core, and 4-core procesors. The AMD 990X is designed for discrete graphics with up to two graphics cards in CrossFireX. It is likely that the final iteration has NVIDIA SLI support out of the box. The AM3+ Black socket is powered by 8-phase Digi+ VRM, cooled by a large heatsink that sits next to the northbridge heatsink. ASUS came up with a new heatsink design theme. While the P8P67 series uses heatsinks with curvy/wavy fins, the M5A series uses sharp edges.
The AMD 990X northbridge gives out 16 PCI-Express 2.1 lanes split between two x16 slots. When both slots are populated, the graphics cards run on x8 bandwidth. The third black x16 slot is wired to the SB950 southbridge, and is likely x4. Other slots include two PCI-Express x1 and a PCI. Storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports from the SB950 southbridge that support RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, 10 modes; a third-party controller drives two additional SATA 6 Gb/s internal ports. We don’t know if there’s another such controller handling eSATA.
Other connectivity features include at least two USB 3.0 controllers made by ASMedia (ASUS subsidiary), two internal USB 3.0 ports by header (for front-panel or bracket), and probably two more ports on the rear panel. There’s Realtek-made 8-channel HD audio, a gigabit Ethernet connection, and VIA-made FireWire controller.
AMD FX-Series processors natively support DDR3-1866 MHz memory standard, there are four DDR3 memory slots wired to the socket, support dual-channel memory. The board supports various overclocking and energy-efficiency features, including EPU (energy processing unit), and TPU (TurboV processing unit). With this generation of chipset, the AMD platform is transitioning to UEFI as the system firmware standard. ASUS will give this board a mouse-driven graphical user interface for its UEFI setup program. The immediate benefit of UEFI is the ability to boot from volumes larger than 2.2 TB in size.
The ASUS M5A99X EVO is likely to be launched in mid-June.