AMD Ryzen Threadripper X399 motherboards compared: Specs, prices, and features

Here's a look at every X399 motherboard available for AMD Threadripper's launch.

IDG

IDG

For the first time in a long time, AMD is battling Intel for high-end desktop supremacy with its Ryzen Threadripper processors. Its chosen weapon? Cores, cores, and more cores, culminating in the monstrous 16-core, 32-thread Threadripper 1950X. But cramming that much hardware into a chip means bigger chips, and bigger chips need bigger sockets. Enter the new AMD X399 motherboards.

All X399 motherboards revolve around the gargantuan TR4 socket, and thus aren’t compatible with mainstream Ryzen processors. But on the flip side, Threadripper systems can tap into capabilities that the rest of AMD’s CPU lineup can’t—quad-channel memory support, eight DIMM slots, and a whopping 64 PCI-E lanes, most notably. Those robust features come at a price though, as X399 motherboards can cost even more than Intel’s pricey Extreme Edition boards.

Here’s a look at the specs, price, and features of every X399 motherboard available for AMD Threadripper’s launch, along with some helpful talk about X399 CPU coolers. If you’ve got questions about the chips themselves, be sure to check out PCWorld’s comprehensive Ryzen Threadripper explainer for all the info you need to know.

Threadripper CPU coolers for X399 motherboards

First things first. This roundup focuses on X399 motherboards, but there’s another important consideration to take into account when you’re kitting out your Threadripper rig: the CPU cooler. Between Threadripper’s considerable 180-watt TDP and the utterly massive 4,094-pin TR4 socket, many coolers flat-out won’t work with AMD’s high-end desktop chip—especially traditional air coolers.

Fortunately, AMD includes a bracket in every Threadripper box that ensures compatibility with many—but not all—closed-loop liquid-cooling solutions, including popular models like the Corsair Hydro H100i V2 ($110 on Amazon) and NZXT Kraken X62 ($160 on Amazon). AMD maintains a list of Threadripper-compatible CPU coolers. Be sure to keep it handy while you shop, especially before coolers with native X399 support hit the market.

Onto the motherboards!

Asus ROG Zenith Extreme

asus rog zenith extreme Asus

The Asus ROG Zenith Extreme.

Let’s start with the X399 motherboard that AMD included in Threadripper review kits, the Asus ROG Zenith Extreme ($550 on Amazon). That’s a whole lot of cash for a motherboard—heck, if you opt for the 8-core Threadripper 1900X you’re spending as much on the motherboard as you are on the chip. But that investment gets you virtually every goodie you can ask for in return.

In addition to the raw specifications below, the ROG Zenith Extreme includes numerous extra features, such as a 4-pin header for Asus’s Aura Sync RGB lighting, a “DIMM.2” expansion card for two additional M.2 SSDs, a Livedash OLED display that shows system vitals, and reinforced materials for durability. The ROG Zenith Extreme is made to overclock, too, with a dedicated header for monitoring liquid-cooling performance and heatsinks for the M.2 slot and board VRMs. There are even buttons to clear your CMOS battery and flash your BIOS.

  • Size: EATX
  • PCI-E: (4x) PCI-E x16, (1x) PCI-E x4, (1x) PCI-E x1
  • Storage: 1x M.2 SSD (plus 2x M.2 SSD on DIMM.2 extension card), 1x U.2 SSD, 6x SATA 3
  • CrossFire/SLI: 4-way
  • Network: Gigabit ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, WiGig 802.11ad, Bluetooth 4.1
  • Rear USB: 8x USB 3.1, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2 Type-C
  • Audio: SupremeFX S1220 7.1-channel, ESS SABRE9018Q2C DAC

Gigabyte X399 Aorus Gaming 7

gigabyte aorus x399 gaming 7 Gigabyte

The Gigabyte X399 Aorus Gaming 7.

Gigabyte’s Aorus hardware was a rock of stability in the rough and tumble early days of Ryzen motherboards, and the brand’s showing up for Threadripper’s debut in the form of a single product. The Gigabyte X399 Aorus Gaming 7 ($390 on Amazon) mirrors the aesthetic of the Gaming 7 boards available for other platforms, with aggressive RGB Fusion lighting, extra-durable materials, and gold-plated audio jacks.

Other nice extras include a thermal guard for the abundant M.2 SSD slots and Gigabyte’s Q-Flash Plus port for easy BIOS flashing. This thing’s loaded with storage connections, too.

  • Size: ATX
  • PCI-E: (4x) PCI-E x16, (1x) PCI-E x4
  • Storage: 3x M.2 SSD, 8x SATA 3
  • CrossFire/SLI: 4-way
  • Network: Killer Networking E2500 Gigabit ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Rear USB: 8x USB 3.1, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2 Type-C
  • Audio: Realtek ALC1220 7.1-channel, Sound BlasterX 720

MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC

msi x399 gaming carbon ac MSI

The MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC.

Like the other high-end X399 motherboards already discussed, the MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC ($380 on Amazon) reinforces its PCI-E slots with steel to combat GPU sag and accidental damage. Unlike Asus and Gigabyte, MSI’s actively promoting its power regulation as a benefit to overclockers, highlighting its 10+3 phase VRMs.

This board’s brimming with storage connections to put Threadripper’s abundant PCI-E lanes to use. The X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC seems incredibly customizable, too, with support for MSI’s Mystic Light customizable RGB lighting and even exchangeable 3D-printed M.2 heatsink covers.

  • Size: ATX
  • PCI-E: (4x) PCI-E x16, (2x) PCI-E x1
  • Storage: 3x M.2 SSD, 8x SATA 3
  • CrossFire/SLI: 4-way
  • Network: Gigabit ethernet
  • Rear USB: 8x USB 3.1, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2 Type-C, 2x USB 2.0
  • Audio: 7.1-channel Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 2+

ASRock X399 Fatal1ty Professional Gaming

asrock x399 fata1ty gaming ASRock

The ASRock X399 Fatal1ty Professional Gaming.

The ASRock X399 Fatal1ty Professional Gaming ($440 on Newegg) rocks many of the same premium extras found on other X399 motherboards, such as gold-plated audio jacks, customizable RGB lighting, and steel-reinforced PCI-E slots. But it’s clearly designed with overclocking in mind, as ASRock’s marketing pushes enthusiast-friendly touches like an 11-phase VRM, a BIOS flashback feature, and premium caps and chokes.

ASRock’s flagship X399 motherboard also stands out from the pack thanks to its trio of LAN ports and Aquantia 10 Gigabit ethernet, if you need expansive connectivity.

  • Size: ATX
  • PCI-E: (4x) PCI-E x16, (1x) PCI-E x1
  • Storage: 3x M.2 SSD (plus 1x M.2 SSD on Wi-Fi card), 1x U.2, 8x SATA 3
  • CrossFire/SLI: 4-way
  • Network: Aquantia AQC107 10 Gigabit ethernet, Intel Gigabit ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Rear USB: 8x USB 3.1, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2 Type-C
  • Audio: Realtek ALC1220 7.1-channel, Sound Blaster Cinema 3

ASRock X399 Taichi

asrock x399 taichi ASRock

The ASRock X399 Taichi.

The ASRock X399 Taichi ($340 on Newegg) is a X399-ized version of the popular X370 Taichi motherboard for Ryzen processors, right down to the gigantic gear-shaped heatsink smack dab in the middle of the board.

It packs many of the same core features as the ASRock X399 Fatal1ty Professional Gaming but trims out some of the more premium extras to knock $100 off the price. For instance, the Taichi lacks Sound Blaster audio support and the fancy Aquantia 10 Gigabit LAN, though it still includes niceties like steel-reinforced PCI-E slots, dual Gigabit ethernet ports, and the same overclocking-ready materials found on the X399 Fatal1ty Gaming.

  • Size: ATX
  • PCI-E: (4x) PCI-E x16, (1x) PCI-E x1
  • Storage: 3x M.2 SSD (plus 1x M.2 SSD on Wi-Fi card), 1x U.2, 8x SATA 3
  • CrossFire/SLI: 4-way
  • Network: 2x Gigabit ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Rear USB: 8x USB 3.1, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2 Type-C
  • Audio: Realtek ALC1220 7.1-channel

Asus Prime X399-A

asus prime x399a Asus

The Asus Prime X399-A.

Asus pitches the Prime X399-A ($350 on Amazon) as a professional motherboard, “a do-everything workhorse that plays to Threadripper’s strengths without spending too much of the budget on extras.” Even still, it includes notable extras like reinforced SafeSlot PCI-E slots, two liquid-cooling headers, and Aura Sync support.

  • Size: EATX
  • PCI-E: (4x) PCI-E x16, (1x) PCI-E x4, (1x) PCI-E x1
  • Storage: 2x M.2 SSD, 1x U.2 SSD, 6x SATA 3
  • CrossFire/SLI: 3-way
  • Network: Gigabit ethernet
  • Rear USB: 8x USB 3.1, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2 Type-C
  • Audio: Realtek ALC S1220A 7.1-channel

ROG Strix X399-E

The ROG Strix X399-E carries the premium Strix branding used on Asus’ high-end graphics cards over to Asus’s high-end motherboards. It presumably sits between the no-holds-barred ROG Zenith Extreme and the more restrained Prime X399-A, though Asus hasn’t released pricing information or even images of the board yet. It’s slated to launch sometime in August.

asus rog strix x399e Asus

The Republic of Gamers logo on the ROG Zenith Extreme, since Asus hasn’t released pictures of the Strix X399-E yet.

“It’s designed to be shown, with multiple onboard lighting zones backed by headers for both standard and addressable RGB hardware,” Asus says. The board features several liquid-cooling and fan headers and works with up to three graphics cards—though only a pair of Asus’s own 2.5-slot-wide Strix GPUs will fit.

  • Size: EATX
  • PCI-E: (4x) PCI-E x16, (1x) PCI-E x4, (1x) PCI-E x1
  • Storage: 2x M.2 SSD, 1x U.2 SSD, 6x SATA 3
  • CrossFire/SLI: 3-way
  • Network: Gigabit ethernet, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2
  • Rear USB: 8x USB 3.1, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2, 1x USB 3.1 Gen. 2 Type-C
  • Audio: SupremeFX S1220A 7.1-channel

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