ROG Zenith Extreme spills some beans on Ryzen Threadripper

AMD is still playing coy about its upcoming Ryzen Threadripper CPUs, but Asus isn't afraid to show off its ROG Zenith Extreme mobo for those chips. This motherboard uses AMD's forthcoming X399 chipset and TR4 socket, built specifically for Threadripper. The Zenith Extreme has eight DDR4 DIMM slots for use with X399's four memory channels and four metal-reinforced PCIe 3.0 x16 slots to use with as many as 64 PCIe 3.0 lines provided by the Threadripper CPUs.

Gerbils with good eyes might be looking at that picture and looking for the reply button to ask why nine DIMM slots are present. Eight slots hold DDR4 DIMMs, and the last one holds Asus' included proprietary DIMM.2 riser card. Asus says the riser puts a pair of M.2 NVMe SSDs in the airflow path of the system fans. For builders who only need one NVMe device, the motherboard has an M.2 slot of its own hidden beneath the the RGB LED-illuminated chipset cooler.

Asus says the ROG Zenith Extreme has the same power delivery circuit found in its ROG Rampage VI Extreme X299 board. Given that Intel is strongly recommending liquid coolers for the new Core i9 CPUs destined for those X299 boards, that probably means the the power delivery components are robust. A PWM fan lies beneath the chipset cooler alongside the aforementioned M.2 slot, and the board is studded with PWM fan and water pump headers.

System builders will need a beefy power supply with two 8-pin EPS power connectors in addition to the usual 24-pin ATX connector to power the ROG Zenith Extreme. All that 12V juice is destined for the occupant of the Threadripper CPU's unique TR4 socket. Processors with as many as 16 physical cores and 32 threads will be available, but models with twelve or fewer cores are also possible.

The ROG Zenith Extreme has the latest and greatest onboard networking onboard, with an 10 Gigabit Ethernet card that is also capable of supporting 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps speeds on older Cat5e cabling. Asus didn't name the vendor, but we imagine it is Aquantia. The onboard Wi-Fi supports the latest 802.11ad standard and also comes from an unspecified partner. Other bells and whistles include an onboard OLED display for custom logosĀ  or system status information, integrated RGB LED illumination, two RGB headers, and Asus' SupremeFX implementation of Realtek's ALC1220 audio codec.

Asus did not mention a release date or pricing, but given all the fancy stuff here, buyers will probably need to trade many, many hundreds of green people from history times to get one of these boards. We expect to learn more about Threadripper at AMD's Computex press conference tomorrow morning.

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