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EK Expands Its Threadripper Waterblock Portfolio With the EK-Supremacy sTR4's Four SKUs

EK is releasing new dedicated EK-Supremacy sTR4 water blocks that are specifically designed for HEDT AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors. The cold plate covers the entire IHS of the AMD Ryzen Threadripper processor and the fin structure is fine-tuned for multi-die CPU cooling.

EK-Supremacy sTR4
The release of AMD X399 chipset based HEDT processors opened new opportunities and challenges for cooling solutions. EK was first on market with a liquid cooling solution, but now it's time to go for the pole-position. The primary goal in designing the new EK-Supremacy sTR4 water block was to cover the entire IHS of HEDT AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors and to optimize the fin structure according to the CPU die layout. A dense micro-fin structure that counts 91 grooves is split in half in the center so that the CPU dies are cooled more directly. The water block features a patent-pending technology called TDC (Targeted Die Cooling), which is a unique approach to cooling of multi-die processors in order to maximize the cooling performance of every single die by addressing them directly.

AMD Announces Computex 2018 Conference

AMD today started the formal invitation procedure for the company's Computex 2018 presence, which should result in an updated state of affairs for the company as it aims to deliver its 2018 roadmap. You'd be forgiven to think AMD had exhausted its product portfolio for the year with its 12 nm Ryzen 2000 series, but the 2018 release schedule for AMD still counts some notable products.

Chief among these (for enthusiasts, at least) is the company's second generation Threadripper lineup, which will update the company's premium, many-core HEDT products to the current 12 nm process. However, the impact of AMD's Pro products shouldn't be underestimated - as tamer (in consumers' eyes - as they are compared to the screaming wildcat that is a 16-core CPU, these products usually carry higher margins for AMD - the company just also has to count on proper volume being there, which, if AMD's Zen architecture strength is anything to go by, really should keep gaining momentum. Of course, the real question on anyone's minds now regards AMD's RTG, and more precisely, what graphics technology advancements - and especially products - can be expected from the company. The 500 series (well, 400 series on steroids) is old in the tooth by now, and Vega is what it is. Here's hoping the Computex conference will bring some light to these matters. The Press Release follows.

AMD Leaks Model Numbers of Upcoming Ryzen SKUs

AMD inadvertently put out model numbers of several Ryzen processor model numbers, before redacting the page with them. They reveal pretty much AMD's entire second wave of Ryzen 2000 series processors. To begin with, AMD will finally introduce Ryzen 3 series desktop processor SKUs based on the 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon, with the new Ryzen 3 2100 (YD210BC6M2OFB) and the Ryzen 3 2300X (YD230XBBM4KAF). The Ryzen 3 2000 series includes quad-core parts without SMT. Since the Ryzen 3 2100 lacks integrated graphics, it end-user model numbering below the Ryzen 3 2200G. The Ryzen 3 2300X succeeds the Ryzen 3 1300X covering AMD's entry-level lineup.

The Ryzen 5 2000 series is augmented by the Ryzen 5 2500X (YD250XBBM4KAF). This likely 4-core/8-thread chip could feature higher clock speeds and L3 cache amount than the Ryzen 5 2400G, justifying its model number, despite the lack of integrated graphics. AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 2000 series are multi-chip modules of the 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" die, and AMD has three models in store, the Ryzen Threadripper 2900X (YD290XA8U8QAF), Ryzen Threadripper 2920X (YD292XA8UC9AF), and the top-dog Ryzen Threadripper 2950X (YD295XA8UGAAF), succeeding the TR-1900X, TR-1920X, and TR-1950X. Like the rest of the Ryzen 2000-series, the three new Threadripper chips could feature increased clocks and new features from "Zen+" to hold onto the existing price-points, and turn up the heat on Intel SKUs priced above $999, such as the 12-core i9-7920X, or even the 16-core i9-7960X.

AMD Trims Prices of Current-gen Ryzen Processors

AMD on Monday, announced price-cuts across a bulk of its Ryzen 3-series, Ryzen 5-series, Ryzen 7-series, and Ryzen Threadripper processor models, based on first-generation "Zen" architecture, probably in preparation of its possible-April 19 launch of its 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors. The decision to trim prices of Threadripper SKUs indicates that AMD is either stepping up the heat on Intel's Core X family, or that one can expect a brisk roll-out of 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon-based 2nd Generation Threadripper SKUs, even if not on April 19. The latest roadmaps put 2nd Gen Threadripper launch to the second half of 2018.

AMD Product Roadmap Slides for 2020 Leaked - "Castle Peak" TR4 and "Dali"

Continuing with its trend of leaking AMD slides, Spanish website Informatica Cero has now published some purported company slides leading up to AMD's 2020 strategy. New information concerns the appearance of a new, value-oriented mobile APU in the form of "Dali" - let's hope performance on that is slightly more predictable than the particular style of the artist whose name it follows. Dali therefore joins AMD's "Renoir" APU and "Vermeer" CPUs (both expected in the 7 nm process) for AMD's 2020 roadmap. This is an interesting product, which AMD is likely positioning for tablets and ultraportables.

Another interesting tidbit is AMD's outlook for their Threadripper line of HEDT CPUs. The company is looking towards its 7 nm rendition of these powerhouse chips, codenamed "Castle Peak", to bring them, in a literal way, to that figurative peak. AMD compares Threadripper to a Monster Truck of computing, and is apparently hoping to introduce Castle Peak as early as 2019. AMD then plans to further refine these "process inflection point" products in a new generation to come right after, in 2020 (much like the company has done now with Zen and Zen+).

AMD Readies Ryzen Threadripper SKUs based on "Pinnacle Ridge" Dies

Hot on the heels of this morning's big AMD Ryzen 2000-series slide dump, comes a new roadmap slide that gives a larger overview of how AMD is addressing various client processor market segments. It begins with the mention of a 2nd generation Ryzen Threadripper series launch within 2018. These chips presumably, are multi-chip modules of the company's new 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon, and will be compatible with existing AMD X399 chipset motherboards through BIOS updates. The "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon supports higher clock-speeds, has several microarchitecture refinements, and a few new overclocker-centric features.

The better news is that company seems to be updating its HEDT processor lineup every year; and that the current Threadripper series isn't a one-off halo product like its Athlon64 FX "QuadFX" 2P platform. With "Pinnacle Ridge" based Threadripper 2000-series MCMs slated for 2018; 2019 will see the launch of the new "Castle Peak" HEDT processor. It's not known if this is an MCM. The spiritual successor to "Pinnacle Ridge" is "Matisse." This is Zen 2 based, and will have significant changes to the core design, presenting AMD with an opportunity to review the way it arranges cores. "Picasso" succeeds "Raven Ridge" as the company's Zen 2-based APUs. "Picasso," along with "Matisse" and "Castle Peak" could see AMD implement GlobalFoundries' new 7 nm silicon fabrication process, given its 2019 timeline. 2020 will see their refined avatars - an unnamed "Next-Gen HEDT" chip, "Vermeer," and "Renoir," respectively.

EK Announces Monoblock for ASRock X399 Motherboards

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is releasing a new Socket TR4 based monoblock made for several ASRock X399 motherboards. The EK-FB ASRock X399 RGB Monoblock has an integrated 4-pin RGB LED strips which make them compatible with ASRock RGB LED, thus offering a full lighting customization experience!

EK-FB ASRock X399 RGB Monoblock
This is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for three ASRock AMD X399 Chipset based motherboards that support AMD Socket TR4 AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors. This monoblock is compatible with the following ASRock motherboards:
  • ASRock X399 Taichi
  • ASRock X399M Taichi
  • ASRock Fatal1ty X399 Professional Gaming

EK Announces Monoblock for MSI X399 Motherboards

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is releasing a new Socket TR4 based monoblock made for several MSI X399 motherboards. The EK-FB MSI X399 Gaming RGB Monoblock has an integrated 4-pin RGB LED strip which makes it compatible with MSI Mystic Light, thus offering a full lighting customization experience.

This is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for two MSI AMD X399 Chipset based motherboards that support AMD Socket TR4 AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors. This monoblock is compatible with the following MSI motherboards:
  • MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
  • MSI X399 SLI Plus

EK Announces Monoblock for GIGABYTE X399 Motherboards

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer is releasing a new Socket TR4 based monoblock made for several GIGABYTE X399 motherboards. The EK-FB GA X399 GAMING RGB Monoblock has an integrated 3-pin RGB Digital LED strip which makes it compatible with GIGABYTE Fusion, thus offering a full lighting customization experience.

This is a complete all-in-one (CPU and motherboard) liquid cooling solution for two GIGABYTE AMD X399 Chipset based motherboards that support AMD Socket TR4 AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors. This monoblock is compatible with the following GIGABYTE motherboards:
  • GIGABYTE X399 Aorus Gaming 7 (rev.1.0)
  • GIGABYTE X399 Designare EX (rev.1.0)

EK Water Blocks Apologizes to Customers with Re-designed Threadripper CPU Block

EK Water Blocks (EKWB) did not have the greatest end to 2017, losing key members of their top management, some of whom found employment with CORSAIR as we later found out. The performance of their CPU water block for AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs was also a matter of great debate among enthusiasts, with the cold plate having machined microfins that occupied an area smaller than that occupied by the CPU dies themselves. A few tests from end users and the media alike pointed towards disappointing thermal dissipation relative to the competition and, even though EKWB insisted that the block was good enough, the bad press likely was enough to convince them otherwise.

In a public apology published as a press release on their website, EKWB today even conceded that they did not give their best for the product as it is and laid down some plans to make it right. It begins with a redesign of the cold plate, which affects current and future products alike, as well as doing right to the customers who purchased the previous design of the CPU block as well. Click on the story to know more.

An EPYC Threadripper: Der8auer Gets EPYC CPU Working on X399 Motherboard

So, maybe it isn't really working - but at least the system boots up all the way to the BIOS memory checks, where it then stops emitting life signs. Der8auer went through a sort of blind process to discover that there is a particular ID pin on EPYC that when covered, allows the CPU to be booted up by a X399 motherboard (in this case, an ASUS X399 Zenith Extreme). ID pins are nothing new, and basically tell sockets whether or not they should be powering up a particular CPU.

So what exactly does this mean? Nothing much - only that the sockets and pinouts are the same. The approach towards detecting the ID pin was a crude, brute force one, appending a piece of electrical tape to different parts of the CPU, narrowing down the search for a single pin. When this particular pin was covered, standby power finally kept on, and the motherboard ran through some initial boot steps until stopping at the D0 memory boot code. Der8auer thinks that a "simple" BIOS switch on this TR4 motherboard to an EPYC motherboard's BIOS would suffice to get the EPYC CPU running on this Threadripper motherboard. Check out the full video after the break.

AMD Reveals CPU, Graphics 2018-2020 Roadmap at CES

AMD at CES shed some light on its 2018 roadmap, while taking the opportunity to further shed some light on its graphics and CPU projects up to 2020. Part of their 2018 roadmap was the company's already announced, across the board price-cuts for their first generation Ryzen processors. This move aims to increase competitiveness of its CPU offerings against rival Intel - thus taking advantage of the blue giant's currently weakened position due to the exploit saga we've been covering. This move should also enable inventory clearings of first-gen Ryzen processors - soon to be supplanted by the new Zen+ 12 nm offerings, which are expected to receive a 10% boost to power efficiency from the process shrink alone, while also including some specific improvements in optimizing their performance per watt profile. These are further bound to see their market introduction in March, and are already in the process of sampling.

On the CPU side, AMD's 2018 roadmap further points towards a Threadripper and Ryzen Pro refresh in the 2H 2018, likely in the same vein as their consumer CPUs that we just talked about. On the graphics side of their 2018 roadmap, AMD focused user's attention in the introduction of premium Vega offerings in the mobile space (with HBM2 memory integration on interposer, as well), which should enable the company to compete against NVIDIA in the discrete graphics space for mobile computers. Another very interesting tidbit announced by AMD is that they would be skipping the 12 nm process for their graphics products entirely; the company announced that it will begin sampling of 7 nm Vega products to its partners, but only on the Instinct product line of machine learning accelerators. We consumers will likely have to wait a little while longer until we see some 7 nm graphics cards from AMD.

AMD Announces Official Price-Cuts for Ryzen Processors

Following its Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G socket AM4 APU announcement, AMD announced price cuts for its Ryzen family of processors, across the board. These are official price cuts, and not seasonal retailer discounts. The price cuts have been made in a bid to make its existing socket AM4 Ryzen processors more competitive against 8th generation Intel Core "Coffee Lake" processors.

Among the notable changes, are bringing the entire Ryzen 7-series lineup under the $350-mark, with the 1800X being priced at $349, the 1700X at $309, and the 1700 non-X at $299. These changes make the three competitive against the Core i7-8700K (which is scraping the $400-mark in many places), and the i7-8700 non-K (around $330). The Ryzen 5-series six-core parts also receive much-needed price-cuts to make them competitive against the Core i5 six-core SKUs, such as the i5-8600K and i5-8400. There are marginal changes in the Ryzen 3 series and Ryzen Threadripper series. All price cuts are tabled below.

ASRock Announces X399M Taichi Motherboard for Ryzen Threadripper

ASRock today unveiled the industry's first micro-ATX form-factor motherboard for AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors, the X399M Taichi. The board supports a full-featured Threadripper HEDT build. Drawing power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, it uses an 8-phase VRM to power the CPU. MOSFETs of this VRM vent heat onto both a smaller primary heatsink, and a larger secondary heatsink, via a heat-pipe. The TR4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting quad-channel DDR4 memory; and three PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (from which at least two run at full x16 bandwidth at all times).

Storage connectivity on the ASRock X399M Taichi includes three 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, one 32 Gb/s U.2 port, and eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Networking connectivity includes 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.x WLAN, and two 1 GbE interfaces. USB connectivity includes eight USB 3.0 and two USB 3.1 (including a type-C) ports on the rear panel, and four USB 3.0 ports via headers. ASRock deployed its highest-grade onboard audio solution, which takes advantage of a 120 dBA SNR CODEC, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. The company will showcase this board at the 2018 International CES.

Heatkiller IV for AMD Ryzen Threadripper Now Available

WaterCool announced retail availability of HeatKiller IV water-blocks for AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors. Designed for AMD sockets TR4 and SP3r2, with micro-fin lattices at just the right places to effectively cool the active dies of the Threadripper MCM, the block comes in four variants - Pure Copper, Copper-Nickel, Acryl-Nickel Black, and Acryl-Nickel Red. The Pure Copper variant combines an exposed copper main block with a copper top; the Nickel-Copper variant is nearly identical to this, except the block and top are nickel-plated; the Acryl-Nickel Black combines a nickel-plated copper main block with an acrylic top that's been framed by black anodized aluminium, while the Acryl-Nickel Red is its twin with a red colored frame.

The Pure Copper and Copper-Nickel variants boast of a staggering 1 kg weight (that's a lot for a water-block). The acrylic variants are a little over half the weight. Besides being see-through, the Acrylic variants are studded with RGB LED strips that have a standard 4-pin RGB header. All variants measure 118 mm x 78 mm x 18 mm, and feature standardized G 1/4-inch ports (fittings not included). There's a healthy 25 mm gap between the two ports so you can dabble with some of the fancier fittings in the market. The Pure Copper variant is priced at 89.95€, while the Nickel-Copper, Acryl-Nickel Black, and Acryl-Nickel Red are priced at 99.95€ (prices include taxes).

Enermax Intros Liqtech TR4 280 CPU Cooler

Enermax today introduced its third entry to its Liqtech TR4 series all-in-one liquid CPU coolers tailor-made for AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors, the Liqtech TR4 280. As its name suggests, the cooler features a 280 mm x 140 mm radiator, and includes two 140 mm fans. This model offers a middle-ground between the Liqtech TR4 240 and the largest Liqtech TR4 360. Enermax has also re-tuned its pump for higher coolant pressure. It is rated by its makers to handle thermal loads of up to 500W.

Like its other siblings, the Enermax Liqtech TR4 280 features a large pump-block base that offers 100% coverage of the Ryzen Threadripper integrated-heatspreader, and comes with factory-fitted retention modules for AMD TR4 and SP3r2 sockets (you can also use it on EPYC). The included T.B. Pressure 140 mm fans spin between 500 to 1,500 RPM, pushing up to 80.71 CFM of air, with a noise-output of up to 28 dBA, each. The radiator is 28 mm thick, and is made of aluminium. Available soon, the cooler is expected to be priced around USD $100.

EK Water Blocks Announces Availability of the EK-MLC Phoenix

EK-MLC Phoenix is a Modular Liquid Cooling line of products and the next generation of improved All-In-One water cooling solutions. It is a new lineup of pre-filled products for liquid cooling, the 2nd generation of improved EK All-In-One products. Created for the market segment of customers who are unwilling to assemble a full custom loop or don't have enough time for maintenance of their PCs, but still insist on a high-end cooling solution. The most important feature of EK-MLC is the modular design and the ability to add multiple pre-filled water blocks in any order.

Modular Liquid Cooling line of products is designed around Quick Disconnect Couplings and it brings a modular approach to connecting and expanding the loop, giving you the freedom to decide which components you want to cool down. CPU cooling module and GPU cooling module can be connected to the radiator core module in any order, separately or together.

Heatkiller IV Waterblocks for AMD Threadripper CPUs Go Up for Preorder

Watercool started development on their waterblocks for AMD Threadripper processors back in August. The brand made an announcement today on their Facebook stating that waterblocks are ready to come out of the oven. The Heatkiller IV waterblocks will come in three variants: copper, nickel, and nickel/black. All three models are available for preorder tomorrow. If you're quick enough to pull the trigger, you can also net yourself a nice 10% preorder discount. According to Watercool, the copper model ships on November 10th, while the other two remaining nickel models will start shipping on November 24th.

The full copper model is a waterblock aimed at copper lovers. It comes with an unique, huge Threadripper cooling plate made entirely of copper. The massive top is milled out of one solid block of copper. On the other hand, the nickel block caters to those who prefer a more glossy look. Both the huge cold plater and top are milled out of solid copper; then consequently nickel plated. Lastly, Watercool calls the nickel/black model the jack of all trades. The copper cold plate is nickel plated, while the top is manufactured from acrylic (Plexiglas GS) and comes with a black anodized aluminum cover. RGB lighting is present thanks to the preinstalled RGB LED strip which connects to the RGB LED headers on X399 motherboards through a black, paracord sleeved cable.

EK Releases CPU+VRM Monoblock for ASUS X399 Threadripper Motherboards

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer proves its market leadership once again by releasing the world's first Socket TR4 based monoblock made for several ASUS X399 motherboards. The EK-FB ASUS ROG ZE RGB Monoblock has an integrated 4-pin Digital RGB LED strip which makes it compatible with ASUS Aura Sync, thus offering a full lighting customization experience.

Designed and engineered in cooperation with ASUS, this monoblock uses award-winning EK-Supremacy EVO cooling engine to ensure best possible CPU cooling. This water block directly cools AMD Socket TR4 type CPU, as well as the power regulation (MOSFET) module. Liquid flows directly over all critical areas, providing the enthusiasts with a great solution for high and stable overclocks. Using such a monoblock gets rid of the small fan that can be found on some X399 motherboards, hidden under the I/O cover.

Swiftech Intros Apogee SKF-TR4 Water Block for Ryzen Threadripper

Swiftech introduced a limited-edition variant of its Apogee SKF series CPU water blocks, the Apogee SKF-TR4, which is designed for AMD Ryzen Threadripper HEDT processors. The blocks come with an elongation for better coverage of the large Ryzen Threadripper integrated heatspreader (IHS). The copper blocks are longer than the original SKF Heirloom series blocks, and feature more micro-fins, translating into 30 percent more surface-area for heat-dissipation to the coolant. The blocks also feature a coolant fitting positioning such that the inlets and outlets are directly above the two active dies of the Threadripper multi-chip module (MCM). The factory-fitted retention module only supports AMD socket TR4/SP3r2 motherboards. The block is priced at USD $107.95.

MSI Launches the X399 SLI Plus Motherboard for AMD Ryzen Threadripper

MSI, the world leading motherboard manufacturer, is pleased to announce the availability of a new motherboard: X399 SLI PLUS. Perfect for content creators who are looking for a great performer with plenty of connectivity options, MSI's new X399 SLI PLUS is an optimized workstation motherboard, built for designers. Featuring heavy plated heatsinks, Military Class V components and numerous unique and patented performance enhancing features, this motherboard is the best choice for professionals looking for speed and stability.

Using a full black color scheme, the new X399 SLI PLUS enters the next generation PRO Series design concept by adding Mystic Light RGB to personalize any workstation. Lightning USB 3.1 Gen2 extends data transfer bandwidth options to provide the best USB 3.1 performance. M.2 Shield v2 helps stabilize fast SSD data signals and prevents throttling for the best M.2 SSD performance. STEEL ARMOR slots prevent PCI-E slots from sustaining damage by heavy graphics cards. Each feature on SLI PLUS has been designed and tested to achieve the highest quality standards and are geared for longevity and best performance. More performance-related features on the new X399 SLI PLUS are: DDR4 Boost, Turbo M.2 with RAID support, Audio Boost, X-Boost, Network Manager and many more.

Be Quiet! Intros Ryzen Threadripper Mounting Kits for Silent Loop Coolers

Be Quiet!, the market leader in PC power supplies in Germany for eleven consecutive years, introduces new Silent Loop All-in-One water cooler mounting kits designed for AMD's high-end TR4 desktop socket and Ryzen Threadripper processors.

With radiator sizes including 120 mm, 240 mm, 280 mm and 360 mm, be quiet!'s Silent Loop offers a premium choice for high-end system builders focusing on whisper-quiet systems and power-users who want to squeeze every bit of performance out of their overclocked CPU. All metal parts from Silent Loop's cooling block to radiator and fittings are made out of copper, guaranteeing durability and preventing electrochemical corrosion when exposed to liquids. Furthermore the cooling block's large, square cooling area is a great fit for Ryzen Threadripper.

AMD Enables NVMe RAID on X399 Platform

AMD has delivered on its teased promise, and today introduced a software-driven NVMe RAID driver that enables users to, you guessed it, create bootable NVMe arrays on their X399, Threadripper platform. The new solution demands that users download the appropriate drivers from AMD (follow the source links), and that you backup and dismantle your puny SATA RAID - note that you won't be able to use dual SATA and NVMe RAID on your platform. Any X399 motherboard will support this, there are no restrictions on the models of the NVMe drives, but your OS will have to be Windows 10 (build 1703).

The installation can be done via BIOS (which depends on manufacturer's BIOS releases and QA schedules - or via software with AMD's own RAIDXpert2 software. You can also opt for either of three RAID modes: RAID0 (striping), RAID1 (mirroring), and RAID10 (striping with mirroring). RAID10, by design, requires four or six NVMe devices. AMD is quoting scaling values that are close to 100% for RAID read scaling, and somewhere around 90% write scaling with up to 6 NVMe drives (1-6x Samsung 960 Pro NVMe SSD with 512 GB each). That amounts to almost 21.2 GB/s read, and 11.53 GB/s writes for a 6x NVMe SSD RAID. If you want the ultimate storage system performance for us mortal consumers, now you know where you can get it.

MSI Reveals X399 SLI Plus Motherboard

MSI's next outing for the X399 platform seems to be the X399 SLI Plus. A downgrade from the company's X399 Gaming Pro Carbon, the X399 SLI Plus keeps all of the required features, and does away with some of the unneeded extras that are ever more creeping towards motherboards.

Specifically, the SLI Plus does away with the metallic RAM reinforcements and lowers the number of reinforced PCIe x16 slots to just two - by a wide margin, the most common configuration for the dwindling SLI or CrossFire crowds. It also sheds one extra PCIe x16 port - the Gaming Pro Carbon features 5 such ports, but the SLI Plus makes do with "only" 4, adding an extra PCIe x1 to the mix. It still features the same 3x M.2 ports, although MSI's M.2 Shield only makes its appearance on one of them, again, contrary to the Gaming Pro Carbon, which uses MSI's M.2 Shield in all three of them. All in all, it seems MSI's X399 SLI Plus motherboard does away with the extra frills, making clever cuts while keeping most of the functionality. Expect this motherboard to come in at a lower price bracket than the Gaming Pro Carbon.

GIGABYTE Launches the X399 Designare EX Motherboard

GIGABYTE formally launched its flagship socket TR4 motherboard for AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors, the X399 Designare EX. Positioned slightly above the company's current (and only) offering for this platform, the Aorus X399 Gaming 7, the new Designare EX is based on the same PCB, and a nearly-identical feature-set, except for cosmetic changes, such as its silver-metallic color-scheme dominating the VRM and chipset heatsinks, the M.2 SSD heatspreaders, the I/O shroud and integrated shield, and a back-plate covering most of the reverse side.

Built in the ATX form-factor, the X399 Designare EX draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and 4-pin ATX, conditioning it for the CPU using an 8-phase VRM with "server-grade" chokes, and a VRM heatsink that offloads its heat onto a second heatsink via a heat-pipe. Expansion slots include five PCI-Express 3.0 x16, all of which are wired to the CPU. Storage connectivity includes three 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, and eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, from which four are directly wired to the CPU.
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