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ASUS goes Workstation!

The ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme mainboard is a real
masterpiece when it comes to high-performance
combined in a single board. In the past ASUS was
already producing high-class mainboards.

Let alone the legendary P2B-S mainboard which was made for the Pentium II Klamath and came with an integrated SCSI controller. The board was huge and reliable.

The Zenith II Extreme is the modern counterpiece to the said board. It can house only the most modern Threadripper (3000) processor series (the 3970x and in 2020 the 3990X) paired with a whole lot of RAM.

In numbers that would be a 64core-processor paired with 256GB of RAM (=8x 32GB DDR4 Quad-Rank) clocked at 2667 MHz. And if that’s not enough, you could even fit a 3-way SLI/Crossfire GPU setup on that board of which the GPUs would benefit from 2×16 and 1×8 PCIe 4.0 lanes – sufficient even for the 2080Ti or, if you have the money, Titan RTX.

For external devices you will have 10 USB3.2 Gen2 and 2 USB3.2 Gen1 of which three of them are USB-C – enough to attach an impressive gadget farm to your computer, if needed.

The Board can host up to 88 PCIe 4.0 lanes, 16 of them reserved for internal links and not available to the end user. But hey, that’s still enough bandwidth for all components united on that board without running risk of bandwidth stalls.

There’s also a Gbit Ethernet controller from Intel and a 10Gbit Ethernet Controller from Aquantis on the board. So if you own a high-speed link, you might want to go for gold here and see if you can spank the hell out of your internet connection.

If desired, you can even link the computer via WLAN to your home network but given the fact that this is definitely a board for Bigtowers, it’s doubtful if the link might be fast with the tower sitting on the floor next to your desk. But you could opt out from cable linking if needed.

Powerwise you’ll look at a 16-phase design to feed the beast. Not less than 450W is provided and up to 70A on the CPU side alone. That should even allow enough room for overclocking experiments. Anyway, who would even shoot more power at this processor?

With 64 cores at maximum to date known, the setup would be able to handle even the most complex tasks, let alone 4K video coding. First benchmarks already look fingerlicking good (3970x with “only” 32 cores).

Having the possibility to engage 3 M.2 SSDs, you can even set up a blazing-fast Disk array which could easily break the 5GByte/s barrier when it comes to high-performance disk throughput.

While the baord definitely has capabilities to become the platform for a high-end workstation (or HEDT), it also aims at the gamers who want to use their rig for gaming AND productive things.

The board alone however will cost about 700 US$, CPU will chip in with 4000 US$ and if you put 2 RTX 2080Ti into the slots, you’ll have to fork out another 2500 US$. The RAM (given that you pop in the full 256GB), will charge you another 1400 US$.

So that machine would come in at 8600 US$ for the basics. Quite a high price tag but the high-end gamer is definitely willing to pay that sum if he can call that beast his own. So if fully equipped with all the stuff, the machine would definitely swallow 10’000 US$ – but hey, that’s the price you’ll have to fork out for an actual 56core Xeon from Intel.

So whatever comes, this is definitely a hellraising machine that could beat the hell out of equally-expensive Intel-based workstations or HEDTs. But for real numbers we might have to wait till H1 2020 when AMD will release the 3990X and show the world that they have emerged as phoenix from the ashes – once laughed at and neglected, now being the big star when it comes to big performance affordable. And ASUS provides the base for it!


December 1, 2019 Netspark - 1594 posts - Member since: May 9th, 2011 No Comments »

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