Thursday, January 10th 2019

ASUS Unveils the ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha X399 Motherboard

ASUS unveiled its new flagship motherboard for the AMD platform, designed with out-of-the-box support for 2nd gen Ryzen Threadripper WX and X processors, the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Zenith Extreme Alpha. This board features an updated design aesthetic that's aligned with the company's latest ROG Extreme motherboards on Intel Z390 motherboards. The underlying PCB layout is entirely new, and different from the original Zenith Extreme, as are the heatsinks and shrouds covering various parts of the board, including a portion of its reverse side.

The I/O shroud which runs the entire length of the board is contiguous with a large RGB LED studded shroud covering the board's two M.2-2280 NVMe slots between PCIe slots. You get a U.2 port, and additional M.2 NVMe slots through the DIMM.2 riser accessory that's included with the board. ASUS has designed the CPU VRM of this board. It's still 10-phase on paper, but uses a high-end controller; and is tuned for overclocking the beastly Threadripper WX processors. Another killer feature with this board is 10 GbE wired Ethernet, driven by an Aquantia AQC-107 controller. You still get a 1 GbE driven by an i211-AT. ASUS appears to have done some cost-cutting with the WLAN card, though, which now only supports up to 1.73 Gbps 802.11ac MU-MIMO, compared to the original Zenith Extreme's 802.11ad draft controller with 4600 Mbps top-speed. The onboard audio solution is unchanged.
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15 Comments on ASUS Unveils the ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha X399 Motherboard

#2
erixx
for the alpha male with a piercing in his zenith
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#3
TheLostSwede
10Gbps Ethernet any day over useless 802.11ad.
Posted on Reply
#5
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
But what is the vrm actually made up of? I don't care how many phases there are.
Posted on Reply
#6
TheLostSwede
cdawall said:
But what is the vrm actually made up of? I don't care how many phases there are.
Magic rocks, unicorn hoof shavings and stewed Taiwanese sea cucumber...
Posted on Reply
#7
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
TheLostSwede said:
Magic rocks, unicorn hoof shavings and stewed Taiwanese sea cucumber...
So the same thing as before :roll:
Posted on Reply
#8
gupsterg
cdawall said:
But what is the vrm actually made up of? I don't care how many phases there are.
IR3555, link.
To keep these chips satiated, the Alpha and Omega both feature 16 power stages spread over eight phases. Each phase acts like a double-barreled shotgun that delivers twice the current instantaneously. Pumping out more current per phase improves transient response, which helps the motherboard keep up with sudden changes in CPU power demand that are common with desktop PCs. The VRM uses premium chokes, capacitors, and IR3555 PowIRstage® components to ensure pristine power delivery even under heavy loads.
The inductors I think would be ASUS Micro fine. IIRC there is thread on OCN (in regard to a past board with same components) with info from The Stilt on ratings for them, caps, etc.
Posted on Reply
#9
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
gupsterg said:
IR3555, link.
So the exact same as the last board. Which means not enough for a 2990wx.
Posted on Reply
#10
gupsterg
cdawall said:
So the exact same as the last board. Which means not enough for a 2990wx.
Last board was 8 phase.

This is 8 doubled to 16.

I have not had a greater than 16C CPU in ZE, but had gathered this from some other places.





With cooling the ZE could cope, now with VRM as no a par as MEG no doubt be sufficient.
Posted on Reply
#11
cdawall
where the hell are my stars
gupsterg said:
Last board was 8 phase.

This is 8 doubled to 16.

I have not had a greater than 16C CPU in ZE, but had gathered this from some other places.





With cooling the ZE could cope, now with VRM as no a par as MEG no doubt be sufficient.
The gb, asrock and Asus all had essentially the same exact vrm before it was purely heatsink and cooling differences.

If this one is doubled and actually has better power handling I hope they drop an matx version. I'm not hugely impressed with the asrock I have. 4.2 is too much for the vrm under any long term loading.
Posted on Reply
#12
gupsterg
cdawall said:
The gb, asrock and Asus all had essentially the same exact vrm before it was purely heatsink and cooling differences.

If this one is doubled and actually has better power handling I hope they drop an matx version. I'm not hugely impressed with the asrock I have. 4.2 is too much for the vrm under any long term loading.
Agree all X399 were too close on VRM phase count/components (link).

AFAIK the IR3555 have internal temp sensor. So even monitoring SW is showing very good indication of what temperature they are at. Taking the data of MEG the ZEA is gonna behave very similar IMO. So again I'd agree 16C+ OC'd ravages the VRM, good flow mandatory if pushing hard on 16C+ and wishing to keep longevity IMO.

I have not had non ASUS board in over a decade. Their BIOS/UEFI options and HW of boards I've had, have had me hooked TBH. I've read of many turn from either side, but on a broader sense I'd like to see more AM4/sTR4 board choice as Intel side has. It's nice to see good parity between the X399 offering with it's Intel opposite.
Posted on Reply
#13
Camm
What a meh upgrade, especially when compared to offerings from Gigabyte and MSI in X399.

I use to be an ASUS fanboi, but their underwhelming designs and ASUS tax has forced me elsewhere. Which is a pity as I really like their software and UEFI.
Posted on Reply
#14
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
cdawall said:
But what is the vrm actually made up of? I don't care how many phases there are.
Wait till actually hardcore yt channel @buildzoid gets it
Posted on Reply
#15
buildzoid
eidairaman1 said:
Wait till actually hardcore yt channel @buildzoid gets it
I'm currently more intrested in getting the X299 Rampage 6 Extreme Omega. That has the same VRM as this but I have a 7940X and a 7740X for that board where as I have 0 threadrippers for this one.
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