Stick four graphics cards in ASRock’s X399 motherboards

There's a fairly convincing argument to be made that AMD's Ryzen Threadripper CPUs are best suited for workstations rather than gaming rigs. AMD and Nvidia might be downplaying the relevance of multi-GPU gaming, but multi-GPU compute acceleration is bigger than ever. If you've a mind to build a Threadripper-based compute box, have a look at ASRock's X399 motherboard offerings. The company's first two Socket-TR4 motherboards are the Fatal1ty X399 Professional Gaming and the X399 Taichi. Both will accept up to four graphics cards in their metal-reinforced PCIe x16 slots.

ASRock X399 Fatal1ty Professional Gaming

Threadripper has a ton of PCIe connectivity on tap, but obviously ASRock didn't spend all of its 64 lanes on those main PCIe slots. If you install four cards in either board, you'll end up with two running at x16 and two running at x8. That leaves plenty of lanes for the 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter, triple M.2 sockets, U.2 port, and dual Intel gigabit Ethernet connections that both boards have. The Fatal1ty X399 board also has an Aquantia AQC107 chip onboard to support 10-Gigabit Ethernet, giving it a total of three wired LAN connections.

ASRock X399 Taichi

Both new boards fill the standard ATX form factor, a notable fact among the stack of competitors' Threadripper boards that billow out to the larger E-ATX size. Either board will take up to 128GB of DDR4 memory operating at 3600MT/s, although ASRock only guarantees operation at 2667 MT/s. The boards appear to be similar in terms of power delivery hardware, too. Both feed the hungry Threadripper CPU with an 8-pin EPS12V connector as well as a second 4-pin ATX12V connector.

The primary differences in the two boards (besides the visual design) appear to be the aforementioned Aquantia network controller and the X399 Fatal1ty's support for Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3 audio DSP effects. The X399 Taichi even retains the onboard power and reset buttons, the no-CPU-required BIOS Flashback feature, and the RGB LEDs of its sibling. Of course, they'll probably differ in price, too, but we'll have to wait until we find them in shops to know.

Comments closed
    • wingless
    • 2 years ago

    Too bad AMD, Nvidia, and developers are abandoning Multi-GPU support. We waited years for this capability only for it to become meaningless.

      • DPete27
      • 2 years ago

      Most hardware surveys I’ve seen have shown that the vast majority of gamers are using 1 GPU. For every GPU you add from there, the user base decreases exponentially.

      That said, just because you can’t tandem more than two GPUs together for gaming, doesn’t mean you can’t use more than two GPUs for other things.

    • juzz86
    • 2 years ago

    ASRock’s Taichi series are increasingly hitting the sweet-spot it terms of an SKU, I feel.

    Aside from the PCB printing you get ‘enough’ M.2, mid-range sound, WiFI and USB 3.1, with the least tacky heatsinks – and they all hit a great price point.

    The Taichi board was a short-lister across both uArchs (2066 and 1151) when I was selecting. Surprisingly potent little SKU.

    • Glock24
    • 2 years ago

    As I understand, the target market for the HEDT platform are workstation users. Being so, why are all motherboard offerings in this segment littered with LEDs and tacky color schemes?

    Even if it’s targeted at enthusiasts, not everyone likes Fasts and the Furious styling on their computers.

    • maxxcool
    • 2 years ago

    Hmmm Wonder how long it will take to get a really stable Hackintosh running on a 1950x ?

    • Plazmodeus
    • 2 years ago

    Does either board have thunderbolt? A threadripper media creation box would need Thunderbolt 3.

      • Cooe
      • 2 years ago

      It’s doesn’t, sorry. Thunderbolt is Intel proprietary tech, they’d never let it onto a non-Intel CPU system. USB 3.1 gen 2 can get almost the same speeds though.

      • Plazmodeus
      • 2 years ago

      Really? A workstation platform without Thunderbolt is a BIG liability. I/O performance is as critical as CPU and GPU performance in this space. Consider, for instance, trying to edit raw 4k video. You need lots of powerful cores and as much fast Ram as you can afford, but it won’t do you any good if I/O isn’t equal to the task. All those high performance desktop DAS arrays use thunderbolt.

        • Bauxite
        • 2 years ago

        Why would a board with 60 available lanes care about the measly 4 lanes from thunderbolt?

        As for I/O, you can put 100/56/40Gbit networking, big fat SAS controllers and a whole lot of NVMe flash in those lanes. Any of which would crush those “desktop DAS arrays” that myopic apple fans think are the top end.

          • sandbender
          • 2 years ago

          No one who shoots professionally thinks DAS’s are top end and all dream of 100Gbit NVMe arrays. DAS’s are just the most practical tool for the job. Media for 4K/5K/8K cameras is insanely expensive, a 960gb “mini-mag” for a Red Camera is $3000. Even the “cheapest” 120gb mag is $850. You take a DAS to the shoot, record with two mags… dumping one while you’re shooting with the other. NAS options could work but no one wants to drag that much equipment (switch, NAS server, etc) to a remote site.

          Beyond that NVMe is just too expensive for smaller shops. Depending on the format you’re shooting, 4K raw video is 300GB+ per [i<]hour[/i<] (can't, well shouldn't, use compressed for editing). That adds up quickly, for every hour of footage you see there is often another hour or two sitting on the editing room "floor". Striping it over spinny disks get's the same throughput at much lower costs per TB. NAS is good for this, except for the limitations mentioned above and the fact that 40+Gbit switches and adapters are still pretty expensive. So for a lot of shops DAS is just the most affordable and practical approach.

    • Flying Fox
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<]multi-GPU compute acceleration is bigger than ever[/quote<] Translation: multi-GPU cryptocurrency mining is bigger than ever?

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 2 years ago

      No, mining cards can run on PC x1. This is because of a platform with sufficient pcie connectivity. Don’t confuse the two. Miners aren’t buying costly CPUs and boards. Stop using buzz words and trying to be an edgy teen.

        • Flying Fox
        • 2 years ago

        Is there any cheap board that has 4 properly spaced x16 slots? Even if there is none, sure you can shove a card into those x1 slots electrically, but you still need to hack them up a bit to be open ended, and structurally that setup may not be sound enough to be left alone?

        [quote<]trying to be an edgy teen[/quote<]I wish. Thanks for thinking that I am young. 😛

          • Choralone42
          • 2 years ago

          Miners are using things like this to plug multiple cards into one board. Often times due to cooling reasons since all they really need is a board with multiple PCI-E 1x ports.

          [url<]https://www.amazon.com/6-Pack-PCI-E-Powered-Adapter-Extension/dp/B01N3UVJHM/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1501700234&sr=8-8&keywords=pci-e+riser+cable[/url<]

            • Flying Fox
            • 2 years ago

            Can they run 6 of these then off a regular ATX board? 😮

            • ColeLT1
            • 2 years ago

            Yes, you would think that it would slow down mining but doesn’t seem to. One of my rigs has 3x1080ti’s running with a PCIe extension cable for the 4x slot, and that card (with the fastest clock) hashes the fastest.
            Bench testing:
            [url<]http://imgur.com/oBwjr4i[/url<]

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