Asus ROG Zenith Ex­treme

Threadripper rips apart your wal­let


PRICE $ 879

When we tested the Threadripper this month, it came with the Asus X399-pow­ered Zenith Ex­treme. We were kind of ex­pect­ing a slightly more af­ford­able than Intel’s X99 plat­form for its Xeon pro­ces­sors, but it wasn’t to be. Hav­ing said that, the Zenith Ex­treme has ev­ery fea­ture a pro­fes­sional user could ask for, where th­ese kinds of prices aren’t crazy.

Ob­vi­ously it comes with the new TR4 socket and X399 chipset re­quired for Threadripper. It also ships with eight me­mory chan­nels, sup­port­ing up to 128GB of DDR4. The speeds sup­ported change de­pend­ing on how much me­mory you use though, from 2133MHz all the way up to 3600MHz. The beauty of this is that it can sup­port ECC me­mory, a fea­ture not found on Intel’s con­sumer boards.

With up to 60 us­able PCIe 3.0 lanes, there are dozens of dif­fer­ent ways they can be con­fig­ured. This also means it can sup­port quad Quadro or Tesla drives if you so de­sire, which can make a huge per­for­mance dif­fer­ence in 3D ren­der­ing or data ma­nip­u­la­tion. There are also six SATA 3 ports, which sup­port RAID 0, 1 and 10. More im­por­tantly, it has three M.2 slots, one of which is un­der a thick heatsink. How­ever, we found the screws to this to be ab­so­lutely tiny, and it was very easy to round the head. The third mount­ing peg ac­tu­ally came loose from the board while we tried to un­screw it, but it was rock-hard once we’d screwed it back in place. A spe­cial DIMM.2 mount is also in­cluded with a fan bracket that fits into one of the PCIe lanes. This al­lows you to mount your M.2 drive along with a fan in the spe­cial bracket. Speak­ing of PCIe lanes, there are six in to­tal, four full length PCIe x16, one x4 and one x1.

There’s also a U.2 con­nec­tor if you’re one of the few to use th­ese drives. Tweak­ers will love the on­board power, re­set, slow mode, clear CMOS and BIOS back­flash but­tons. When it comes to net­work­ing, the Zenith of­fers the very lat­est in 10Gbps Eth­er­net, along with 4.6Gbps of WiFi. This in­cludes the lat­est 802.11ad Wi-Fi, which is de­signed for speeds of up to 4.6Gbps per sec­ond but only at a range of a few me­tres. An ad­don card is also in­cluded to merge the Wi-Fi and Eth­er­net con­nec­tions. Build qual­ity through­out is spec­tac­u­lar, with only the high­est qual­ity com­po­nents and an up­graded power phase sys­tem.

If you don’t mind pay­ing a rather hefty fee, this is go­ing to be one of the finest X399 moth­er­boards on the mar­ket,

build qual­ity through­out is spec­tac­u­lar, with only the high­est qual­ity com­po­nents

packed to the rafters with ev­ery­thing a work­sta­tion or over­clocker could need. It’s overkill for most gamers, but that’s not re­ally the in­tended au­di­ence. BEN­NETT RING

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