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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

Packaging and Overview

 

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Simple and sleek, the ROG Zenith Extreme's motherboard box is similar to that of ASUS's recent ROG motherboards. Packaging is very well done, and the motherboard is well protected from the elements.

 

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The accessory package includes three SATA6Gb/s cables, WiGig Wireless AD antenna, 2T2R Wireless AC antenna, VGA Holder, DIMM.2 fan stand, AREION 10G card, fan extension card, fan extension card screw pack and extension cable, SLI HB bridge, ROG stickers, Q-Connector, ROG cable labels, M.2 screw kit, DIMM.2 card, RGB LED extension cable, digital RGB extension cable, three external temperature sensor cables, USB drive with drivers and utilities, and finally a coaster.

 

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The motherboard has a total of six fan headers, all of which are PWM/DC (auto-sensing) hybrid headers. Those headers circled in blue are rated at 1A, while that circled in red is rated up to 3A as is the header circled in yellow, but the header circled in yellow is full speed by default. The CPU and CPU OPT fan headers share control. The headers can reference multiple temperature sensors built into the motherboard and two extra through headers on the motherboard circled in green.

 

The fan extension card offers the ability to hook up three more fan headers, each with extra optional external temperature sensor header. The DIMM.2 card also has two headers for temperature probes.

 

ASUS has done a great job with fan control in the UEFI and the OS, and you can even reference more than one temperature sensor to monitor for the fan curve, and that includes GPU temperature. The back of the motherboard has a large backside shield, and some RGB LEDs illuminate its side, just like on the Rampage V Edition 10. The back of the VRM also gets a cold plate to help cool things down.

 

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The rear IO panel features a BIOS Flashback button, clear CMOS button, two Wireless AC antenna, one Wireless AD (WiGig) antenna, eight USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, 1Gbit LAN, and gold plated internally illuminated 7.1 audio output jacks with S/PDIF out. The IO shield is integrated, so you shouldn't have issues with installing it into a case.

 

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The PCI-E layout is simple; you get x16/x8/x16/x8 SafeSlots that always operate at maximum bandwidth, except the last x8 slot. The bottom x8 slot shares x4 PCI-E 3.0 with the U.2 port. The center x4 PCI-E 2.0 slot and the lower x1 PCI-E 2.0 slots are connected to the chipset. The motherboard has six SATA6Gb/s ports, a U.2 port, and one of the USB 3.0 internal headers is right angled near the SATA6Gb/s ports.

 

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The DIMM.2 card houses two of the M.2 slots and offers two external temperature sensor headers. There is also one M.2 slot under the Southbridge heat sink, which actually works to cool down the M.2 drive.

 

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Two 8-pin ESP power headers sit at the top of the motherboard. ASUS's heat sink design is great because the heat is transferred from the main CPU heat sink to a secondary heat sink with a small fan. The fan looks to be the same one that ASUS uses on their TUF motherboards.

 

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One RGB LED header is located at the top of the motherboard. The motherboard offers power and restart buttons. Voltage read points are located below the 24-pin connector. There are also four DIP switches that are used to disable or enable the PCI-E slots. You will also find four boot LEDs right below the DIP switches.

 

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A USB 3.1 type-C header is located right below the 24-pin power connector. The motherboard has special water cooling headers, one for a flow sensor and two temperature sensors (one for water flow into the radiator and the other for the outflow). ReTry and Safe Boot headers are located in the lower right-hand corner of the motherboard.

 

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There are two switches, one is a slow mode switch, and the other is RSVD. The RSVD switch is probably used to avoid a cold boot bug, as that is what ASUS's previous RSVD switches did. The fan extension header is located right below the RSVD switch. The motherboard offers a USB 3.0 internal header as well as a ROG extension header that doubles as a USB 2.0 header. The motherboard also offers a second RGB LED header as well as an addressable RGB LED header. A MOLEX socket is located at the bottom of the motherboard and provides extra PCI-E slot power.

 

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The heat sinks and whole system do not come apart easily, so I decided to do it for you. The RGB panel on the back of the motherboard has its own AURA RGB chip. The fan for the VRM heat sink is the same as used in TUF products and doesn't run loud during normal operation; you can control it through the UEFI and change its temperature source if you want.

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