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 logos  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.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    I see the new TR4 socket is a tribute to a certain tech website. Sounds fierce too!

    • ronch
    • 2 years ago

    I love how the X399 chipset moniker pretty much mimics a certain other high end chippery. πŸ™‚

    • albundy
    • 2 years ago

    extremely dissapointed in AMD and the few mobo makers at the moment. i was expecting new x370/b350 motherboard revisions to be released at computex.

    • caconym
    • 2 years ago

    The fact that it has a chipset fan is giving me flashbacks to the bad old days. I mean I’m sure they’re probably more reliable now, but still …

    edit: or is the fan only used to cool the m.2 that mounts there? If the chipset itself doesn’t depend on the airflow, then I’m less leery.

      • cygnus1
      • 2 years ago

      [quote<] RGB LED-illuminated chipset cooler [/quote<] I don't think there's a fan there. [quote<] Designed to propel high-end AMD desktops to the next level, the Zenith starts by optimizing everything around the CPU and its beefy, server-style TR4 socket. The board uses the same power solution as the Rampage VI Extreme based on Intel’s competing X299 platform for Skylake-X and friends. This incarnation adds cooling for serious overclocking with a finned VRM heatsink and fan tucked under the I/O shield. The fan only comes on when demand dictates, making it stealthy for day-to-day use. [/quote<] But there is one in the I/O/port area.

        • CuttinHobo
        • 2 years ago

        That printer port heats up like nobody’s business, especially when overclocked to eke out a couple more pages per minute.

          • caconym
          • 2 years ago

          it has a MASSIVELY PARALLEL port πŸ˜€

            • CuttinHobo
            • 2 years ago

            You down with MPP? Yeah, you know me!

        • caconym
        • 2 years ago

        I was blindly going by TR’s statement that “A PWM fan lies beneath the chipset cooler alongside the aforementioned M.2 slot”, but yeah, looking at the product page now, it seems Wayne simply got dazzled by all of this board’s bells, whistles, and strobe lights.

    • Welch
    • 2 years ago

    I can’t tell you how much I love you for the IASIP reference. You sir can play CharDee MackDennis with me anytime!

    • wingless
    • 2 years ago

    At first glance, THREADRIPPER seems like a stupid name, but then I realized this: NONE of us will ever forget the name!

    Well played AMD…

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 2 years ago

    “an 10 gigabit Ethernet.”

    Just throwing it out there.

    • Redocbew
    • 2 years ago

    I can’t imagine the CPU needs both of the 8pin EPS connectors. Could some of that power be used for the DIMM.2 riser card?

      • xeridea
      • 2 years ago

      8 pin connector is good for 150W. Some comes from the socket. It could feasibly be done with 1, but clockspeeds would be limited for the 16 cores.

    • tsk
    • 2 years ago

    That’s a beautiful socket.

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      Meh, Intel’s use of LGA is an anti-consumer gimmick since you can’t fix bent pins like you can with AMD.

      Oh wait.

        • slowriot
        • 2 years ago

        Do the AMD fanboy voices in your head ever stop?

          • DancinJack
          • 2 years ago

          To be fair, plenty of AMD fanbois said that back in the day.

            • Waco
            • 2 years ago

            I didn’t really relish fixing LGA sockets when people screwed them up either.

            That said, I’d much rather kill a $250 motherboard versus a $500+ CPU.

            • slowriot
            • 2 years ago

            What you’re telling me is he suffers from echos of fanboys-past ringing out forever in his skull?

            • Anonymous Coward
            • 2 years ago

            Does that mean we need to hear about it [i<]today[/i<]?

          • ermo
          • 2 years ago

          This made my day.

      • Growler
      • 2 years ago

      After years of more-or-less square sockets, one that is more obviously rectangular seems a little off to me. It’s a small quibble, especially because you wouldn’t be able to see it with a heat sink strapped to it, but it does look weird.

      The DIMM slots are also different than what I’ve grown used to. Banks on both sides of the CPU socket!? Nine slots!? This might be a sign that I’m getting old and stuck in my ways. Back in my day, we were happy to have four SIMM slots and AGP cards.

        • DancinJack
        • 2 years ago

        I guess you haven’t seen many server boards?

          • Growler
          • 2 years ago

          Not really. All the computers I’ve built have been desktops. I’m not in IT, so I’ve had no need to go digging into that arcane field.

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 2 years ago

        This isn’t the 1950s, old man. Get over yourself and embrace change instead of how it doesn’t fit with your idealistic view of the good old days. #memberberries tag isn’t helping you.

        Sup?

      • ronch
      • 2 years ago

      Check this out:

      [url<]https://www.pcgamesn.com/sites/default/files/AMD%20Ryzen%20Threadripper%20reverse.jpg[/url<]

      • Mr Bill
      • 2 years ago

      I love to see DDR slots on both sides of the CPU in a consumer board, and that DIMM.2 riser; ho boy. This is geek porn.

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    So that socket is obviously physically compatible with my Raspberry Pi heatsink right?

      • Redocbew
      • 2 years ago

      If you made a heatsink the size of a mini-ITX motherboard for your Pi, then sure I don’t see why not.

        • chuckula
        • 2 years ago

        DONE & DONE!

      • Welch
      • 2 years ago

      I think you have to contact the Raspberry Pi Foundation and request the free Pi to Threadripper heat-sink bracket.

        • chuckula
        • 2 years ago

        Good information. I’m glad they thought of future products, including products with CPU sockets that are actually bigger than the entire Raspberry Pi for all I know.

    • Waco
    • 2 years ago

    My god, that does look like a Naples socket.

    Fingers crossed the 32 core parts drop in!

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      They’ll drop in just fine.

      There’s a non-trivial chance that they won’t work the way you want them to though. Even if all the cores work, half of the memory controllers on Naples will be connected to nothing at all, and that can’t be a good thing for performance in a multi-die module setup.

        • Waco
        • 2 years ago

        I’m just hoping they function. My workloads are not bound, typically, by memory bandwidth or inter-core latency. It’s also possible they’re clever and each 8-core die will get it’s own memory channel…or they’ve gone whole-hog and over-engineered the board/die so that the channels can be reassigned with different chips and there’s actually 8 channels worth of bandwidth available.

        Let me be optimistic. πŸ˜€

          • DancinJack
          • 2 years ago

          This is AMD here Waco. Hoping they did some extra work and gave you cool features on a chipset is not how you should be thinking.

            • Waco
            • 2 years ago

            Don’t dash my dreams just yet!

            • DancinJack
            • 2 years ago

            NO THREADS FOR YOU!

            • Waco
            • 2 years ago

            /goes off to sulk in the corner

      • BaronMatrix
      • 2 years ago

      Maybe, maybe not… Not sure how the 8 CH would work in a 4 CH mobo…. I would think it would go the other way where you can use the TR in an EPYC socket…

        • chuckula
        • 2 years ago

        Holy crap, I actually agree with Baron.

        Surely the end is nigh.

        • Waco
        • 2 years ago

        Assuming it’s a 4 CH mobo and there isn’t some extra logic in there that I have my fingers crossed for.

        Worst case I would hope to see it show up with odd NUMA domains, with two dies connected to quad memory channels and the other two laying dormant for local memory access. Modern operating systems are quite good at working around such topologies.

    • drfish
    • 2 years ago

    The X299 vs. X399 positioning is priceless.

    Also, can’t wait for TR’s TR review.

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      [quote<]Also, can't wait for TR's TR review.[/quote<] I'm personally waiting for TR's Anandtech review. I'll be waiting for a while.

      • kuraegomon
      • 2 years ago

      I’m just picturing some AMD marketing team all going “MUAH-hahahahaha” when they finalized that chipset branding… for maximum comedy, add in a visual of all of them throwing the double finger in Santa Clara’s general direction :’-D

      • Turd-Monkey
      • 2 years ago

      [quote<]The X299 vs. X399 positioning is priceless.[/quote<] Most Ryzen chipsets "one up" their intel equivalent. [list<] [*<]X370 vs Z270, Q270, H270 [/*<][*<]X350 vs H250, B250 [/*<] [/list<] The mainstream chipsets will probably "even up" when Cannon Lake / Coffee Lake is released. [quote<]Also, can't wait for TR's TR review.[/quote<] Agreed.

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