Over the past two years the line between HEDT and mainstream consumer platforms has grown smaller and smaller. This change is in large part due to the enormous success of AMD's Ryzen family of processors. As consumer CPU core counts go up, the market for HEDT shrinks. In light of this changing market, Intel has opted to offer their refreshed Core-X series processors with a huge price cut over the previous generation. This is a huge win for the community, putting the Intel Extreme processors back in reach of many consumers who couldn't justify the nearly US$2,000 price tag top offerings previously commanded.
Of course, that isn't what you're here to see. Today, we will be turning back to AMD, who have set about redefining what High End means in the HEDT market. It seems inevitable—since the Red brand has been pushing the core count envelope in their desktop CPU line, their HEDT and server families need to go further to maintain good product segmentation. The 24-core 3960X I am testing with today is impressive already and doesn't even have half the cores of the upcoming flagship 3990X, which leaves me with an important question to answer: What kind of boards could handle a 64-core monster, let alone overclock one?
The ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme is targeted at the top tier of TRX40 boards. Featuring no less than twenty 70 A power stages, active VRM cooling, a virtual cornucopia of extreme overclocking features, premium accessories, and even an OLED display, the ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme has all the bells and whistles. Of course, with a US$850 price tag it has a lot to live up to.
Can it live up to the hype? There is only one way to find out.
|CPU Support:||AMD Socket sTRX4 processors|
|Power Design:|| CPU Power: 20 phase |
Memory Power: 4 phase
|Memory:||8x DIMM, supports quad-channel DDR4-4600+(OC) MHz|
|BIOS:||Dual AMI UEFI BIOS|
|Expansion Slots:||4x PCIe 4.0 x16 slots|
|Storage:|| 8x SATA 6 Gb/s port |
3x M.2 port (SATA3/PCIe 4.0 x4)
|Networking:||1x Intel I211AT Gigabit LAN|
1x Aquantia AQC-107 10G LAN
1x Intel 802.11ax (WiFi 6)
|Rear Ports:||2x Antenna ports|
1x Optical SPDIF out port
2x LAN (RJ45) port
1x USB 3.2 (Gen2x2) Type-C port
4x USB 3.2 (Gen1) ports
6x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-C port
6x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-A ports
5x 3.5 mm LED illuminated audio jacks
|Audio:||1x ROG SupremeFX Codec S1220 Codec|
|Fan Headers:||7x 4-pin|
|Form Factor:||Extended ATX Form Factor: 12.2 in x 10.9 in, 31 cm x 27.7 cm|