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ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme Alpha – ASUS Takes Threadripper to The Next Level

AMD Released the 2990WX 32 Core Monster, ASUS Answers with the Zenith Extreme Alpha

AMD made a remarkably huge splash with its 2nd gen Ryzen parts. Next up were the Threadripper 2nd gen updates. There were rumors abound of all kinds of craziness going in at the time. When AMD dropped the new lineup including the 2990WX clocking in at 32 Cores and 64 Threads, everyone took notice. I think enthusiasts were probably one of the first to salivate at the thought of that many cores in a single consumer/prosumer HEDT CPU.

Next up was the fact that TR4 supports the new chips with existing boards with just a BIOS update. Well, kinda as they will work but pushing 32 Cores on a VRM that was designed for 16 means there are some concessions. A little background to this story arrives with the appearance of my 2990WX CPU. I got the CPU in hand and slapped it into my reliable and trusty Gigabyte X399 Gaming 7 board which has run my 1950X without issue for the better part of a year I would say. Well long story, kinda short, the VRM when under render loads would escalate to over 110C in a matter of a minute or less and was simply not feasible for running this new chip. Enter ASUS as I reached out to them to see if they had a solution. Enter the Zenith Extreme Alpha.

ASUS did not just want to sit by and watch users struggle to get good clocks or be able to heavily load their new beastly chip on an inadequate board. While the Existing Zenith Extreme would do rather well with the 2990WX it was not ideal and VRM temps could cruise into higher than nominal for everyday use when really putting the pedal to the metal so to speak.

With that being considered ASUS drew up plans for a new, better Zenith Extreme. The ASUS Zenith Extreme Alpha, the new top dog for ASUS Threadripper HEDT performance. This board is no joke, while the “Alpha” name may seem a bit extreme or silly, it really is the new alpha in my opinion for anyone looking at Threadripper. The new Zenith features a VRM so large it takes up the entirety of the top of the board going from basically end to end with VRM components.

 

 

Here we get a sneak peek at the Zenith Extreme Alpha

The Zenith Extreme Alpha is available from the affiliate Amazon Link (also below)

  • ASUS Zenith Extreme Alpha $626 Amazon

Now that’s a hell of a price delta but these are the first 3 boards we received and since we review the boards in order of receipt, first up will be this one. and with that, the charts will update as more boards are tested. Do note that some of these boards are “Post Tariff” pricing which unfortunately is going to hit the motherboard market pretty hard for the most part.

Now let’s look at the spec table.

CPUAMD SocketTR4 for 1st and 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ Processors
Supports CPU up to 32 cores
* Refer to www.asus.com for CPU support list
ChipsetAMD X399
MemoryAMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ Processors
8 x DIMM, Max. 128GB, DDR4 3600(O.C.)/3466(O.C.)/3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2933(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz ECC and non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory *1
Quad Channel Memory Architecture
Multi-GPU SupportAMD Ryzen™ 2nd Generation/Ryzen™ 1st Generation Processors
Supports NVIDIA® 3-Way SLI™ Technology
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
Expansion SlotsAMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ Processors
4 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16, x16/x16, x16/x8/x16, x16/x8/x16/x8)
AMD X399 chipset
1 x PCIe 3.0 x4
StorageAMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ Processors : 
2 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key design, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (Supports both SATA & PCIE SSD)
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)*2
AMD X399 chipset : 
8 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s),
Support Raid 0, 1, 10
LANAquantia AQC-107 10G
Intel® I211-AT
Anti-surge LANGuard
ROG GameFirst Technology
Wireless Data NetworkWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz
Supports MU-MIMO
Supports channel bandwidth: HT20/HT40/HT80/HT160. Up to 1.73Gbps transfer speed
Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth® 5.0
Audio
ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220
– Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
– Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
– High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output 113 dB SNR recording input
– ESS®SABRE9018Q2C DAC/AMP
– Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback *4
Audio Feature :
– Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
– LED-illuminated design – Brighten up your build with the gorgeous illuminated audio trace path.
– Sonic Radar III
– Sonic Studio III + Sonic Studio Link
USB Ports
AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ Processors :
8 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (8 at back panel, blue)
AMD X399 chipset :
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector port(s)
AMD X399 chipset :
4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (4 at mid-board)
AMD X399 chipset :
4 x USB 2.0 port(s)
ASMedia® USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller :
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (2 at back panel, red, Type-A)
ASMedia® USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller :
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (2 at back panel, , Type-A + USB Type-CTM)
ROG Exclusive FeaturesReTry Button
Start Button
LN2 Mode
Extreme Engine Digi+ :
– IR3555 PoweIRstage®
– MicroFine Alloy Chokes
– 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
ProbeIt
ROG Exclusive Software
– Mem Tweakit
– RAMCache III
– CPU-Z
– GameFirst V
– Sonic Studio III + Sonic Studio Link
– Sonic Radar III
ROG DIMM.2 module with heatsink
ROG Aluminum heatsink cover
Special Features5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
– 5-way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ Power control, Fan Xpert 4, and Turbo app
LiveDash OLED
AURA :
– Aura Lighting Control
– Aura RGB Strip Headers
– Aura Lighting Effects Synchronization with compatible ASUS ROG devices
– Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
ASUS Exclusive Features :
– USB BIOS Flashback®
– AI Suite 3
– Ai Charger
– ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
– Armoury Crate
– Pre-mounted I/O Shield
– ASUS NODE: hardware control interface
– OptiMem II
– ASUS EZ Flash 3
– ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
– BUPDATER
– Clear CMOS Button
– Reset Button
ASUS Q-Design :
– ASUS Q-Code
– ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
– ASUS Q-DIMM
– ASUS Q-Connector
Back I/O Ports1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (black)TypeC
3 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (red)Type-A
8 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (blue)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
1 x USB BIOS Flashback® Button(s)
1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth v5.0
5 x LED-illuminated audio jacks
1 x Aquantia AQC-107 10G LAN port
Internal I/O Ports1 x WB_SENSOR
2 x Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
2 x Aura RGB Strip Headers
2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1(up to 5Gbps) connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 2.0 port(s)
1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
8 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
1 x CPU Fan connector(s)
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s)
2 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
1 x H_AMP fan connector
1 x W_PUMP+ connector
2 x 8-pin EATX 8 V Power connector
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x Slow Mode switch(es)
7 x ProbeIt Measurement Points
2 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x EZ Plug connector(s) (4-pin Molex power connector)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x BIOS Switch button(s)
1 x Node Connector(s)
1 x LN2 Mode jumper(s)
1 x Safe Boot button
1 x ReTry button
1 x 14-1 pin TPM connector
1 x Slow Mode jumper(s)
1 x System panel connector
1 x W_IN header
1 x W_OUT header
1 x W_FLOW header
1 x Start button
1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector
1 x DIMM.2 Slot supports 2 M.2 drives (2242-22110)
1 x RSVD Switch
1 x 4-Pin HS fan connector
AccessoriesUser’s manual
6 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compliant)
1 x Fan Extension Card II (6 x 4-pin Chassis Fan connectors, 3 x RGB headers, 3 x 2-pin Thermal sensor header)
1 x Fan Extension Card II power cable
1 x Fan Extension Card II NODE connector cable
1 x Fan Extension Card II screw package
1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)
1 x ROG big sticker
1 x Q-Connector
1 x M.2 screw kit (long screw and mount)
2 x M.2 screw kit (short screw and mount)
1 x DIMM.2 extension card with 2 x M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
1 x ROG Logo Sticker(s)
1 x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)
1 x Extension cable for Addressable LED
3 x Thermistor cable(s)
1 x USB drive with utilities and drivers
1 x ROG coaster(s)
1 x ROG weave SATA 6G cable
1 x ROG Thank you card
BIOS2 x 128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 3.0, ACPI 6.1
ManageabilityWOL, PXE
Operating SystemWindows® 10 64-bit
Note*1 Please refer to Memory QVL(Qualified Vendors List) for details.
*2 When the M.2 Socket 3 on board is operating in PCIe mode, PCIe 3.0 x16_4 will runs at x4 mode.
*3 Supports PCIE RAID configurations via onboard M.2 storages.
*4 Due to limitations in HDA bandwidth, 32-Bit/192kHz is not supported for 8-Channel audio.

 

So, now you see that the new Zenith Extreme Alpha has alot going on. Lets open her up and see what the latest and greatest X399 board from ASUS has to offer.

Read on and lets dive in.

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One comment

  1. Best of the best X399 boards 🙂

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