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ASUS ROG ZENITH EXTREME (AMD X399) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket TR4 Threadripper in Motherboards | Posted: Sep 4, 2017 3:50 pm
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: ASUS

Here are key points about the ASUS ROG ZENITH EXTREME.

 

What's Hot

 

Truly High-End: The ROG X399 Zenith Extreme is truly a very high-end motherboard, and ASUS has put a lot of effort into making it best in class. From the rear PCB shield with integrated RGBs to the integrated IO shield, everything we have come to expect from ASUS on a high-end X299 motherboard can be found on this X399 motherboard. Even tiny details, like the addition of a header for a custom water block or the fact that the audio jacks light up internally, make this a very premium motherboard.

 

 

WiGig and 10G: The Zenith Extreme might have the best combination of wired and wireless networking currently available. That 10G card is almost a $100 value, and isn't just 10G and then 1 G, it's based on a NBase-T controller, meaning it will also do 2.5G and 5G, both of which will become more popular next year in routers. Wireless AD is also supported on this motherboard, and this is the only X399 motherboard with this feature, also known as WiGig. It offers up to 4.6Gb/s of bandwidth, and although not many routers support WiGig, in the future, they should.

 

VRM Quality and Heatsink: ASUS made sure that their VRM not only used best in class components but was also cooled well enough to avoid the issues that plagued X299 motherboards. Threadripper doesn't sip power, so just like Skylake-X, motherboards need to use best in class components and provide solid VRM cooling. The Zenith Extreme has a more radiator-like heat sink that is hidden under the IO shield and a fan that actively cools the heat sink down.

 

Chic Lighting and OLED: ASUS's IO shield, PCH heat sink, and rear of PCB shield use digital LEDs to produce some really cool effects. The lighting is also very humble and does not show off as I have seen on some other motherboards, so it can offer less of a "gamer" look to it and more of an artistic one. The motherboard also supports RGB and digital RGB lighting strips. The OLED also has some cool features, and while I wasn't able to get my custom GIF to work, there are pre-loaded GIFs to customize that tiny screen with.

 

What's Not

 

Six SATA6Gb/s Ports: Where did those missing two SATA6Gb/s ports go? That is honestly the one question people seem to have, and while it doesn't bother me, I have a lot of friends who need the extra SATA ports.

 

It's a big board: The Zenith Extreme comes in the Extended ATX (E-ATX) form factor, at 12" x 10.9", so you will need a case that will support it. Make sure to consider that, as even with my Core P5, I had to reroute my 24-pin cable and one of my 8-pin power cables.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

The ASUS ROG ZENITH EXTREME is the most loaded X399 motherboard I have put my hands-on. It's also the motherboard that AMD seeded all reviewers, as they wanted us to use the Zenith Extreme for our 1950X and 1920X reviews, and that should say something about the motherboard. The motherboard uses the best third-party controllers and hardware I have seen for non-native features, it has the most custom ICs I have seen on any X399 motherboard, and so it's no surprise that the motherboard offers more features than many other X399 motherboards.

 

I like ASUS's OLED display, at least when I updated its firmware and it started to show me POST code on boot up. You can also customize the tiny display, and hopefully next time ASUS might make it a bit bigger, or move it to a front panel (like the OC panel).

 

asus-rog-zenith-extreme-amd-x399-motherboard-review_84

 

While the Zenith Extreme is a ROG product, and gaming is in the ROG acronym, I felt that the motherboard would also make for a solid workstation stand in. From the VRM cooling to the networking, the motherboard is ready for the future and the present.

 

It's also the most expensive X399 motherboard, but if you want the features and performance this ROG motherboard has to offer, there isn't an alternative on the market.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance95%
Quality96%
Features96%
Value88%
Overall TweakTown Rating94%

The Bottom Line: Loaded with the latest features, high-quality components, and unique features, the Zenith Extreme is ASUS's ultimate answer to the AMD X399 TR4 Ryzen Threadripper chipset.

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