The actual X99 platform is extremely eye-catching. Six cores or more, quad-channel memory,a lot of PCIe lanes,expanded storage options, the list goes on.But for those looking to shift to a more compact form factor in
the process,choices are minimal. MicroATX and small X99 boards are few and far between.There is a grand total of one ITX
X99 board,and four microATX ones-slim pickings indeed.And when you’re looking
for the ideal motherboard to round out a slick fresh themed build, well,let’s just say it’s a little difficult.
EVGA’s X99 Micro 2 mobo,then,provides a great base for any builder seeking to put a well-rounded build together.Visually,
it’s beautiful. With a light-weight metallic rear I/O cover, black color heat-sinks,and a gorgeous combine of black PCB and limited white LED lighting, it’s completely on point when it comes to overall design. Its fairly neutral color
palette will work inside any build you place it in, and,luckily, EVGA has removed the black and red capacitors found on its previous version.
As far as expandability will go,obviously solutions are a little more limited than on the bigger ATX boards. By default, you only have accessibility to four DIMM slots, for a single set of quad-channel memory, as
opposed to the full eight. There’s access to 3 PCIe slots (configurable as either 1×16, 2×16, or 3×8), there’s a one x4
M.2 socket, and SATA support is covered along with 10 6Gb/s ports.Although there is no
hint of SATA Express here, that is hardly a loss in our eyes. That apart,the board is very clean and exceedingly
well rounded. There’s an on-board power and reset button, diagnostic LED display,USB 3.0, and no fewer than 5 PWM fan
headers, with two being right-angled.Therefore, it’s feature rich, but exactly how does it
perform? Well, we’ll be honest:nearly just like every other X99 motherboard we’ve tested.
As far as the platform goes, there’s very little difference between boards outside of LN2 assistance and expanded power phases,for those lucky enough to net themselves a well-balanced overclocking processor chip.
Compared to the full-sized Asus X99 Sabertooth, the Micro 2 have scored slightly higher in both Cinebench R15 and Tech
ARP’s x264 benchmark;there was less than a 0.62GB/s difference in memory bandwidth; and overall performance was
pretty much the same.Just what did impress us was the reduced power draw, with the Micro 2 sucking 63W from the wall at idle,and 349W at load. Although not as low as the Sabertooth, it stomped under Asus’s
newest X99 Strix Gaming. Speaking of gaming, yet once again we scored an impressive average of 42 frames per second in the
Far Cry Primal 4K benchmark, but with a slightly lower overall score in 3DMark Fire
Strike Extreme, at 9,603.
EVGA’s BIOS is extremely clean.The overall format is simple and straight to the point-there’s no advanced
mode buttons here-and mashing that Delete key draws you directly into the OC section.On the other hand,there are controls that we wish we had access to (power phase optimization,for example),which both MSI and Asus provide access to-they seem
to be hidden away here,closed behind imaginary walls. That aside, we managed
an amazing 4.3GHz out of the Micro 2,
on only 1.3V-the lowest we’ve seen to date.Even though predominantly dependent
on the chip, the motherboard really does play a part in voltage control, usually through
the control of VDrop-the voltage that is basically provided by the motherboard
when the setting is input into the BIOS.In this situation, the Micro 2 blew us out with a
0.1V difference between our prescribed setting and how much it actually needed to
preserve that overclock.
Therefore,does the EVGA Micro 2 fulfill our X99 needs? It certainly does.It’s inexpensive,
performs very well,and in today’s age of two-way optimum SLI and PCIe storage
solutions,keeps us more than satisfied.