Friday, July 21st 2017

Asus X399 ROG Zenith Extreme Unboxed Ahead of Launch

As is usually the case with hardware products these days, it is hard to keep confidential details out of the public eye. With NDAs themselves becoming less rigorous in terms of what is covered and what is not, perhaps it was appropriate that someone over on Chiphell shared some pictures of the upcoming Asus X399 Zenith Extreme motherboard which supports AMD's upcoming Ryzen Threadripper platform. Videocardz were on hand to archive the pictures for everyone in the meantime.

Based on what we know so far, the Asus Zenith Extreme looks to be the only E-ATX form factor motherboard to be revealed in four days time (although MSI is conspicuously absent in that preview), and the pictures we have confirm this. An Asus rep also confirmed that the Zenith Extreme will share an identical power delivery to their X399 Rampage VI Extreme, meaning we finally have a like-for-like treated flagship motherboard on the red side after what seems like ages- especially combined with the announcement of the X370 ROG Crosshair VI Extreme as well.
The Zenith Extreme package is loaded with accessories, including a VGA hold bracket if using on an open bench, PCIe Ethernet add-in card (potentially 10 GigE), their DIMM.2 extension card, the usual WiFi antenna, and what appears to be an updated OC Panel with LCD screen. The astute observer will also note a Ryzen Threadripper CPU peeking in one of the images, further indicating this is part of a reviewer press kit.
The motherboard adopts the now-standard Asus ROG black and gunmetal grey color scheme with RGB lighting on the board presumably as indicated by the Aura Sync compatibility sticker on the packaging. The TR4 socket continues to be huge and amazing each time I see it. Also note the 8+8 EPS power connectors in the top-right corner of the motherboard and the two-piece, heatpipe-linked VRM heatsink solution, which all points to there being excellent power delivery options to help prevent the CPU and VRM-based throttling some X299 motherboards appear to be suffering from presently.
But time will tell how this works out in practice of course.

There are four full-length PCIe slots which are reinforced to support heavier VGA cards, with the top slot appearing extremely close to the CPU socket and the left bank of DIMM slots, which can be an issue with CPU coolers. The motherboard has eight DIMM slots for DDR4 quad channel memory as well. Aside from the two M.2 slots on the DIMM.2 extension card, there could be a third under the I/O section as well but it could also just be a detailed, discrete audio solution as well. One thing I do see absent is an onboard diagnostic display for error codes which seems a shame to be missing on an E-ATX motherboard. Source: Videocardz via Chiphell
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31 Comments on Asus X399 ROG Zenith Extreme Unboxed Ahead of Launch

#1
Durvelle27
Nice

Wonder what the the tag will be on it
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#2
springs113
Durvelle27
Nice

Wonder what the the tag will be on it
i think $499-599. The ROG V Ed 10 cost that much so I would assume this will as well.
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#4
mcraygsx
One Fantastic looking board in term of functionality. This motherboard itself along those screws on the chipset heatsink reminds me of TOP Tier Maximus IX APEX board. I rather have M.2 slots on the board itself then on DIMM.2 slot.
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#5
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
Matx version please
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#6
Chloe Price
mcraygsx
One Fantastic looking board in term of functionality. This motherboard itself along those screws on the chipset heatsink reminds me of TOP Tier Maximus IX APEX board. I rather have M.2 slots on the board itself then on DIMM.2 slot.
At least those DIMM.2 slots save some space.

Damn this looks good. Too bad that I don't have any need for a HEDT platform, but still this looks sweet.
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#7
IceScreamer
ASUS was like: "Do you want some motherboard with these accessories?" Damn that looks good.
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#8
ypsylon
Certainly its one of the X399 I will not be interested in. To offer only 6 SATA ports while chipset provides 8 is ludicrous. From purely workstation point of view if I bought Zenith Asus forces me to buy another HBA/RAID card... and I won't have it.

Impatiently waiting for more X399 boards.
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#9
JayB33
Do my eyes deceive me, or is there only one internal USB 2.0 header on this flagship motherboard, same as the Crosshair 6 Hero?
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#11
Chloe Price
ypsylon
Certainly its one of the X399 I will not be interested in. To offer only 6 SATA ports while chipset provides 8 is ludicrous. From purely workstation point of view if I bought Zenith Asus forces me to buy another HBA/RAID card... and I won't have it.

Impatiently waiting for more X399 boards.
Well, this is a ROG board, not a workstation one. I doubt that some M.2 SSDs + some SATA SSDs would become a problem.
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#15
_JP_
Spill it @cadaveca , you're set for the next few months aren't you? :D
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#16
Basard
I see a CPU under that card in the third picture...
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#17
trparky
JayB33
USB 2.0
USB 2.0 is basically going the way of the Dodo bird. EXTINCT!

It's getting to the point where why should we put USB 2.0 ports on these boards when USB 3.0 is fully backwards compatible with USB 2.0. Any USB 2.0 device will work with USB 3.0 ports so putting USB 2.0 anything on modern boards is simply a waste of space.
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#18
JMccovery
mcraygsx
One Fantastic looking board in term of functionality. This motherboard itself along those screws on the chipset heatsink reminds me of TOP Tier Maximus IX APEX board. I rather have M.2 slots on the board itself then on DIMM.2 slot.
At least the DIMM.2 adapter does put SSDs in an airflow path. From what I can tell, there may be a third M.2 connector under the X399 chipset heatsink (looks like a M.2 2280 standoff just below one edge of the heatsink).
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#20
Zenskas
JayB33
Yeah, I know adapters and splitters exist; it isn't the neatest solution. I just wanted to point out that it sucks that there are so few USB 2.0 headers on this board.
What's not the neatest solution is when you have to force other headers off the board to make room for the few people that need more than one USB 2.0 header :p It's already quite a crowded board around the internal I/O area on the edges, especially considering it's an extended ATX board.

At a quick count this board has one USB 2.0 header, two USB 3.1 Gen1 headers, and one USB 3.1 Gen2 header. Four USB headers!! Now I don't know about you but when buying a high end board like this one I'd want it to last as long as it can. What will last longer...more USB 3 headers or more USB 2 headers? When you can simply buy a $10 adaptor that turns a USB 3 header into a USB 2 header then you can potentially have three USB 2 headers right now at ~$20 extra cost (that's if one isn't already included in the huge accessory pack), and at no loss to modern connectors for everyone else.

If ASUS took *away* a USB 3 header to make room for a USB 2 header then sure you wouldn't have to use an adaptor, but what happens to the people that A. did want to use more USB 3 headers straight away or B. will need to use more USB 3 headers in the future? Well they can't if the headers don't exist, and you can't get a USB 2 header to run at USB 3 speeds the same way you can convert a USB 3 header down. You'd have to buy a USB 3 expansion card and start wasting PCIe slots instead.
Sure you could argue that they could have added an extra 2.0 header on top of the other four headers that already exist but then what's the limit here that would please everyone...three USB 2.0 headers? Four? Where do we say no more, just use an adaptor on the preexisting 3.1 headers if you need to!

In some ways I agree, one may indeed be a low number for some people right now, two would have been an ideal maximum in my eyes but I think the small minority that need to use an adaptor or two now is a win for ridding us of older connections going into the future :clap:

I also understand some devices simply don't need the extra bandwidth that USB 3 provides. As far as Aquacomputer stuff goes, if they make products of which you could own several parts that each need to have a USB 2.0 plug to use then why not make a central control box built into say the pump or res that you can hook everything into then it connects to your PC with a single USB 3 header. Now that would be a far more elegant solution than using several USB 2 headers, not to mention make the parts more future proof!
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#21
DeathtoGnomes
Nice post. I dont see what the issue with having a splitter here. If your building a show case, maybe it can be a problem, but its not like you cant hide it.

I'm sure ASUS has debate the number of USP headers extensively, but the real test comes when connecting and using a splitter such as @TheLostSwede suggested. Will it cause conflicts or power issues, etc. down the road?
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#22
Zenskas
Agreed, an adaptor here and there is totally fine IMO. Converting down from a 3 header to a 2 header won't even be noticeable if cabled properly for 99% of cases. It will come off the header like any standard USB 3 cable, then seeing as the headers are on the edge of the board the cable should go straight into a cable routing hole behind the motherboard tray. Then the 2.0 cable can be hooked onto it out of sight, as it stands the 2.0 header is small so won't add much bulk to the area behind the motherboard tray either :D The bulky USB 3 connector will be on the motherboard in the header but look exactly as it should do if you had any USB 3 cable plugged in anyway.

As far as using a splitter, that may cause conflicts down the road. Which is why I've suggested any company producing several products that use 2.0 headers may want to also produce a fully compatible central control box for them all to plug into, then plug that into the board with a single USB 3 header cable. Feed it extra power via a SATA power cable if needed. This will maintain future proofing, provide more power, and use less connectors on the motherboard...that's if they don't already make one which would not surprise me!
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#23
JayB33
Zenskas
Sure you could argue that they could have added an extra 2.0 header on top of the other four headers that already exist but then what's the limit here that would please everyone...three USB 2.0 headers? Four? Where do we say no more, just use an adaptor on the preexisting 3.1 headers if you need to!
Three USB 2.0 headers would be ideal for me, since you ask :p. I believe two would suit the average person, but one is taking the proverbial considering that there are a lot more USB 2.0 devices than there are 3.1. Adapters are a lazy and unsightly solution; there shouldn't be compromises on a ROG board and motherboard manufacturers should consider more carefully if something is really obsolete before starting to phase it out. I can only hope that Aquacomputers next gen watercooling devices are USB 3.1 but it doesn't seem likely seeing as their most recent VISION module is still USB 2.0 only, and why would it be USB 3.1? No need for such speeds on monitoring equipment or the vast majority of anything else at the moment. Seems like those sleek watercooling rigs that you see at computer shows are going to be full of adapters soon.

trparky
USB 2.0 is basically going the way of the Dodo bird. EXTINCT!

It's getting to the point where why should we put USB 2.0 ports on these boards when USB 3.0 is fully backwards compatible with USB 2.0. Any USB 2.0 device will work with USB 3.0 ports so putting USB 2.0 anything on modern boards is simply a waste of space.
They're not backwardly compatible with the internal headers. USB 2.0 has a lot of life in it yet; I think we'd all have to agree that USB 1.0 is the only USB tech that is extinct and really needs to stay dead, even though some audio DAC solutions were using it until recently.
Posted on Reply
#24
trparky
JayB33
They're not backwardly compatible with the internal headers. USB 2.0 has a lot of life in it yet; I think we'd all have to agree that USB 1.0 is the only USB tech that is extinct and really needs to stay dead, even though some audio DAC solutions were using it until recently.
I meant that from an outside of case perspective. You can plug a USB 2.0 flash drive or any other device into a USB 3.0 port and it will work.

Yes, on the motherboard there may be some issues but nothing that an adapter won't fix.
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#25
JayB33
trparky
I meant that from an outside of case perspective. You can plug a USB 2.0 flash drive or any other device into a USB 3.0 port and it will work.
Obviously the ports are backwardly compatible, but you were replying to me after I was talking exclusively about the internal USB headers...

trparky
Yes, on the motherboard there may be some issues but nothing that an adapter won't fix.
As long as we agree that there aren't enough headers for everyone's needs.
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