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Motherboard Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master as a sample platform for Ryzen Threadripper third generation

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AMD has had 2019 very fruitful, presenting huge number of products built on the microarchitecture Zen 2. But the most impressive of the announcements, at least in the desktop segment was stashed at the end of the year. In late November, the market came Ryzen Threadripper processors of the third generation, able to surprise any enthusiast of number of cores and the level of performance that they can offer. But particularly pleasing was the fact that AMD did not overcharge: a 32 core AMD Ryzen Threadripper 24 3970X and-3960X nuclear Threadripper can afford to purchase including individuals involved in the creation and processing of digital content on a professional or even Amateur level and require substantial computing power.

However, in fairness it should be remembered that the new Ryzen Threadripper third generation is not the first CPU of its kind. Their predecessors, too, could boast as advanced multi-core, and the relatively low unit value of the core. But AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X and 3960X Threadripper – still offers a bit of a different kind. Unlike the predecessors, they got significantly more convenient to use homogeneous topology UMA. Besides, simultaneously with the transfer of the CPUs to the new Zen2 microarchitecture, AMD spent improving all of its desktop HEDT platform, replacing the previous chipset X399 newer chipset TRX40. A key innovation in it stands a significant increase in the bandwidth of the connection with the processor: for these purposes now uses the PCI Express bus x8 4.0, and it creates opportunities to build even more complex and rich in capabilities systems.

However, not without side effects: the introduction of a new set of logic led to the loss of compatibility between the processors Ryzen Threadripper past and current generations. New 24 – and 32-core CPU require a new motherboard, based solely on the basis of TRX40. And this severely limits the possible options when building high-performance configurations. But to say that the motherboard manufacturers left enthusiasts in trouble, it would be unfair: to date, announced at least a dozen of the motherboard, ready to take Ryzen Threadripper Threadripper 3970X or 3960X. With one of these boards offered by Gigabyte, will be discussed in this review.

#Chipset AMD TRX40: what’s new

One of the most important improvements to the platform, which AMD implemented simultaneously with the transfer of production of the processor for the 7-nm technology, has become widespread use of PCI Express 4.0 is twice as high compared with the usual PCI Express 3.0 bandwidth. First, support for high-speed bus appeared in the consumer ecosystem X570 and processors Ryzen 3000, and now it came to the higher level products in Ryzen Threadripper and chipset TRX40. In the case of HEDT platform AMD advanced and worked over the fact that the bandwidth connection between processor and chipset is not increased twice and four times (c of 3.94 to 15.75 GB/s).

This is achieved by the fact that the relationship between these components of the system is provided not four, as before, and eight lines PCI Express. As a result, motherboards TRX40 offer truly high-speed connectivity for storage media, that are tied not only directly to the CPU, but the chipset. The connection between the chipset and the CPU is no longer bottleneck.

Because TRX40 was concentrated a large number of high-speed interfaces, the production of these chips is entrusted to GlobalFoundries, where for this purpose, apply the 12-nm technology. As a result, as in the case X570, the chipset turned out to pledge support for 16 PCI Express 4.0, which you can use to connect additional devices. These lines can optionally be converted into SATA mode to support older drives, but the overall complexity of the system on the basis of new Ryzen Threadripper can offer the user 72 x PCI Express 4.0 – 56 processor and 16 free chipset.

Another important improvement TRX40 when compared with X399, was the increase in the number of 10 GB/s ports USB 3.2 Gen2. At the level of the chipset now, there are eight such ports, while earlier in X399, there were only two. In addition, TRX40 four USB 2.0 ports, which can be suitable for devices that are not demanding on bandwidth. It is curious that while AMD generally refused to add to your new chipset 5 GB/s USB ports 3.2 Gen1. The implementation of such ports on new motherboards for Ryzen Threadripper third generation is possible only through the use of additional controllers.

TRX40 X570 X399
Processors Ryzen Threadripper third generation Ryzen second and third generations Ryzen Threadripper first and second generation
Link with the processor PCIe x8 PCIe x4 PCIe x4
Verma PCI Express 4.0 4.0 3.0
The number of external PCI Express 16 16 8
USB ports 3.2 Gen2 8 8 2
USB ports 3.2 Gen1 0 0 4
USB 2.0 ports 4 4 6
SATA 4 4 8
TDP 15 watts 11 W 5 W

After the release of processors Ryzen third generation we already know that the sets of system logic AMD, in which there is support of PCI Express 4.0, get unusual high heat. TRX40 was no exception, and he claimed TDP of 15 watts and even higher than the design heat dissipation Socket AM4-chipset X570. This means that the new motherboards for processors Ryzen Threadripper will always apply active cooling of the chipset, without which it is was possible to do previously.

As already mentioned, the introduction of a new set of logic reflected on the compatibility between the HEDT systems of the past and new generations. Although the new AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X and 3960X Threadripper and kept the old form factor and LGA-execution 4096 c contacts, with their predecessors, they are not compatible. Physically, the matrix of contacts has not changed, but the introduction of PCI Express 4.0 required change the destination of some of the conclusions. As a result, new Ryzen Threadripper can’t work in X399 cards, and fees on the basis of TRX40 not have compatibility with processors Ryzen Threadripper the first two generations.

While AMD for some unknown reason, did not change the size and configuration of the socket Socket SP3 (sTR4) and even kept the location of the “keys” in the frame of the socket. It so happened that the mechanical processors of different generations are interchangeable, and the incompatibility exists only on the logical and electrical level. But AMD promises that the installation Ryzen Threadripper into the motherboard the wrong generation should not lead to any dire consequences. The system simply will not start, but any processor or Board failure will not work.

#Specifications

Among manufacturers of motherboards with a wide range of suggestions for processors Ryzen Threadripper third generation was prepared by the Gigabyte. While most of its competitors were limited to only one or two models, Gigabyte has made just four boards at different levels. For this review we received from the manufacturer of the motherboard TRX40 Aorus Master, and this is the medium variant.

The most tricked-out Gigabyte, Aorus TRX40 Xtreme, can boast two 10 Gigabit Ethernet controllers, four slots M. 2 PCI Express x4 4.0 storage and power CPU with 16 channels honest. The heroine of this review, the Aorus TRX40 Master – Board is easier, but nonetheless it retains many of the characteristics of the product heavy weight category. It is made in a E-ATX form factor, is equipped with four PCI Express x16 slots and has onboard 5-Gigabit LAN Aquantia and even wireless network Wi-Fi standard-6. But most importantly, she, like the older model, equipped with a powerful power design 16-phase design. To focus attention on this account because the new processors are just “murderous” heat pack at 280 watts, and in order to provide such high quality CPU power, power circuit on the motherboard must be designed very carefully and with a large margin of safety.

Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master
Supported processors AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3rd generation
Chipset AMD TRX40
Memory subsystem 8 × DDR4, up to 256 GB, up to DDR4-4400 four channel
Expansion slots 2 × PCI Express 3.0/4.0 x16 (x16 mode);
2 × PCI Express 3.0/4.0 x16 (x8 mode);
1 × PCI Express x1 4.0
The storage interface 8 × SATA 6GB/s
1 × M. 2 (PCI-E 4.0/3.0 x4/SATA devices format 2242/2260/2280/22110)
2 × M. 2 (PCI-E 4.0/3.0 x4/SATA devices format 2242/2260/2280)
USB ports 5 × USB 3.2 Gen2 on the rear panel;
1 × USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C rear panel;
1 × USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C as the inner connector;
4 × USB Gen1 3.2 internal connectors;
6 × USB 2.0 internal connectors
Network controllers 1 × Intel WGI211AT (Ethernet 1 Gbps);
1 × Aquantia AQtion AQC111C (Ethernet 5 Gbps);
1 × Intel Dual Band Wireless AX200NGW/CNVi (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4/5 GHz) + Bluetooth 5.0)
Audio 1 × Realtek ALC4050H + codec Realtek ALC1220-VB;
1 × ALC4050H Realtek codec + DAC ESS SABRE9218
Interfaces on the rear panel 1 × USB Gen2 3.2 (Type-C);
5 × 3.2 Gen2 USB (Type-A);
2 × USB 2.0;
2 × RJ-45;
5 x audio jacks are of type minijack;
1 × S/PDIF (optical, output);
2 × antenna connectors;
button ClearCMOS;
button Q-Flash Plus
Form factor E-ATX (305×269 mm)
Price $499 (recommended)

The recommended price of Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master is set by the manufacturer at $500, but fees for Ryzen Threadripper can’t be cheap. Here the role plays and difficult electrical design and highly advanced features of the extension and the fact that the whole platform has a touch of premium, because the recommended price Ryzen Threadripper Threadripper 3960X and 3970X are $1400 and $2000. Besides, it is impossible not to admit that compared to other boards for the flagship AMD consider TRX40 Aorus Master does not seem so expensive. Just for example: most budget boards under Ryzen Threadripper third generation cost $400, and upper limit of prices extends all the way to $850.

#Packaging equipment

Despite the fact that we are talking about expensive and rich capabilities of the motherboard, Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master comes in a relatively small box, the size of which differ little from the sizes of the boxes of boards of an average price category.

 

The information content of the package is acceptable. On the reverse side is given as a brief list of characteristics and information about the main advantages of the Board. To them in Gigabyte took a powerful food processor, careful cooling of the power circuit, four slots PCI Express x16 with support for the fourth version of the Protocol, the network controller with a bandwidth of 5 Gbps and wireless communication Wi-Fi standard-6.

With the fee comes a decent number of different accessories:

  • four SATA cable;
  • one Wi-Fi antenna with a gain of 4 dBi;
  • module G-Connector for easy connection LEDs, and buttons of the housing;
  • one cable to connect addressable led strips;
  • one connection cable for led RGB strips;
  • one sound pressure sensor;
  • two clamp-Velcro Velcro for cables;
  • two remote temperature sensor;
  • the screws and the rack mounting M. 2 drives;
  • set of stickers to decorate the case.

At the same time on the package it is clear that in the hierarchy of Gigabyte motherboard among the flagship solutions did not apply. The most expensive boards from this manufacturer will typically include a much more extensive list of additives.

#Design and capabilities

Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master – first motherboard for the new Ryzen Threadripper, which came to our lab. And it happened even before we got the opportunity to meet and paticipate multi-core processors microarchitecture Zen 2 in. Therefore, the interest to the Board Gigabyte have a special. First, it was very curious how the developers managed to fit on a standard piece of the PCB with all the numerous slots, modules and connectors that can handle modern Ryzen Threadripper paired with a chipset TRX40. Secondly, it was of great interest and it might look like and how to cool down the power circuit of the CPU, able to meet the needs of processors, consuming under 300 watts, even in the nominal mode.

And I must say, Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master was able to give convincing answers to all such questions. But first and foremost it is very clearly shown that the establishment of the motherboard for Ryzen Threadripper requires serious engineering work, and in the end the design of these boards comes in pretty non-standard. For example, consider the Gigabyte was performed in a larger form factor semi-E-ATX (269 mm width 244 mm against the normal), but even so, a massive CPU socket Socket sTR4, eight DIMMs and power Converter still occupied the whole of hertop half. Thus, the dimensions of the power circuit was so significant that it occupied the space along the entire top edge of the Board and its cooling system has got a number of places including the back of the motherboard.

However, to deal with TRX40 Aorus Master was quite comfortable. Although the memory slots on this Board pushed close enough to the CPU socket, and laterally to the same sandwiched between the first PCIe x16 slot and heat sink power supply, no problems with the Assembly system based on the Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master does not arise, at least if used for CPU cooling DLC, and not some gigantic air cooler. Moreover, all the main connectors and ports on this motherboard are located along the right and bottom edges, and access to them is not difficult even in the completely assembled system.

Many will surely be pleased to know that Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master almost completely dispenses with luminous design elements. The only prescribed design RGB component – a small and very modest “eye” in the casing rear panel, which does not violate selected for TRX40 Aorus Master rigorous visual style. However, supporters of the riot of colors will make this Board Shine all the colors of the rainbow. After all, the designers have provided it at four points to connect an external led strips: two for addressable and two for normal 5050 RGB LED.

To install expansion cards on the Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master offers four PCIe x16 slots. They are all connected to the processor lines PCI Express, and on the first and third slots are rigidly allocated to 16 lines of PCI Express 4.0, and the second and fourth 8 lines. But you need to keep in mind that due to the mutual arrangement of the set they get only three cards with dvuhletkami cooling systems. That, however, and so more than enough, especially if you remember that iron under the brand name Aorus aimed primarily at gamers.

The remaining eight processor PCI Express 4.0 given to two M. 2 connectors, which are under the first and third PCIe x16 slots. Under the chipset on the Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master there is a third M. 2 slot, but his operation is already chip TRX40. The location of all the M. 2 slots are not very good in terms of cooling, but do not forget that on the boards under Ryzen Threadripper not a lot of space. In addition, for storage TRX40 Aorus Master provided by radiators, which is a quite thick aluminum plate with a developed profile, so overheating of the productive models NVMe SSD face should not, even if they will be directly below the graphics accelerator.

Anyway, to the cooling of various components on a given Board in the Gigabyte approached very seriously. For example, on the chipset installed a fairly large radiator, with a 50-mm centrifugal fan. Moreover, in most cases this fan is redundant: the temperature of the chipset rarely exceed 50 degrees even with passive cooling, and the fan switching only occurs when exceeding this level.

But most impressive is how it is cooled the power supply circuit. The heating of the power components on the RX40 Aorus Master are placed in one row along the upper edge of the Board, and they are all closed single radiator with heat pipe and thin aluminum bead edges. Moreover, the heat pipe continues on, passing along the rear edge of the tab down where she strung another similar radiator in the center of the casing rear panel and solid aluminum bar below it.

All this allows to effectively deal with high operating temperatures power stage, but for insurance, Gigabyte engineers added another fan that, by design, supposed to lose the second of the radiators in the center of the casing rear panel.

But I think it would be better they didn’t. The fact that this fan has a diameter of 30 mm and the speed of rotation of 10 thousand rpm. Even at maximum speed, to which he goes to achieve a power circuit temperature of 100 degrees, its effectiveness can be questioned. But the background noise it creates, even in the case when the load is small, because the minimum speed of this baby – 5 thousand rpm.

There is a natural question, and whether or Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master needs such a sophisticated system of cooling the VRM? And we can answer it in the affirmative. Converter power Board really noticeably hot during operation. For example, during testing TRX40 Aorus Master with 24-nuclear Ryzen Threadripper 3970X enabling Precision Boost Override CPU consumption can reach up to 320-380 watts, in which the VRM temperature reached 80 degrees.

Where does this heat, it is easy to understand, if you look closely at the structure of the power circuit. Such a powerful power supply circuits in consumer motherboards we’ve never met, because TRX40 Gigabyte Aorus Master Converter assembled according to the scheme of 19 independent channels.

Of these, 16 channels actually allocated to the processor and three channel feed processor SoC. And while it is about a very honest phase: no doublers and no superalliance elements in this scheme no. Phase are controlled by the CPU PWM controller server-level Infineon XDPE132G5C, with each channel set to 70-amp power stage Infineon TDA21472.

With respect to the processor SoC, for its power is handled by a separate PWM controller from International Rectifier IR35204 with three phases, which ultimately allows TRX40 Aorus Master if you need to apply for processor current peaks up to 1330 A.

There is no doubt that the new Ryzen Threadripper – the most voracious consumer processors, but these advanced power schemes have a very rare Board, even when viewed solely on the platform Socket sTR4. In fact, to compete with Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master electric power can unless her older brothers and Designare Xtreme Aorus, MSI TRX40 Creator.

In addition to the power circuit, the pluses Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master record and a good means in order for this fee to be used for experiments. It is equipped with two BIOS chips you can switch between them using a hardware switch. When one of the chips BIOS set to “cot”, which suggests the possibility of a simple replacement. Moreover, in case of problems, the firmware can upgrade fully Autonomous: it does not require that the system started.

Developers are not stingy and added to the cost of a complete indicator POST-codes, as well as hardware buttons Power On and Reset, which adds to comfort in use TRX40 Aorus Master on the open stand. By the way, in this scenario, it is also convenient that the bottom Board is closed by aluminium sheet with “nanocarbons” coating, which not only increase the rigidity of the entire Assembly, but will serve as an additional passive element of the cooling system.

Finally, enthusiasts will certainly be appreciated by the presence of points on the Board to control the main voltage with a multimeter.

How to please a user, Gigabyte engineers have found and in the implementation of hardware monitoring. Board is equipped with six temperature sensors and allows you to connect two external sensor (included), and also is able to manage two CPU and six chassis fans with three-pin and four-pin connection. But it may be a Board, but TRX40 Aorus Master distinguished by the fact that she has a unique external sound pressure sensor that allows to measure and control not only temperature, but also noise generated by the operating system.

Surprise potential users TRX40 Aorus Master can call up one feature – a very unusual integrated audio. The fact that in addition to the usual expensive boards codec Realtek ALC1220 in the sound scheme reveals two more chip Realtek ALC4050H. The reason is that the chipset TRX40 doesn’t have its own audio interface, so the boards under Ryzen Threadripper producers have to look for some workarounds. For example, in this Gigabyte for sound and two connected via interface USB 2.0 integrated sound card, and presented chips Realtek ALC4050H.

One card serves analog ports on the back panel for their work just need the codec Realtek ALC1220, and the conclusions of the front panel provided with a second sound card, which direct participation takes the DAC ESS SABRE9218 able to pump high-impedance headphones.

Not quite the standard tools in TRX40 Aorus Master are implemented, and network interfaces. In addition to the usual Gigabit controller Intel WGI211AT on the Board added another chip – AQtion AQC111C firms Aquantia. This chip is able to support the work of the wired network via standard twisted pair at speeds of 5 and 2.5 GB/s, which makes the Gigabyte is compatible with the network infrastructure of the next generation. For those who prefer wireless connection, TRX40 Aorus Master is a predetermined module Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200. This module is compatible with IEEE 802.11 ax and configuration 2T2R capable of providing data transmission speeds to 2.4 GB/s. it Also implements and supports standard Bluetooth 5.

It would seem that all of the many front-end insights had to score the back panel of Gigabyte Aorus TRX40 Master the eyeballs. But actually no, on the contrary, it was quite free. In Lenovo decided to sacrifice some USB ports, and as a result on the rear panel there was even a place for exhaust fan blown radiator VRM.

However, we do not want to say that USB ports are too small, because the total of the rear panel includes seven USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A, one USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C and two USB 2.0. Furthermore, next to them is two network RJ-45 connector (Gigabit Ethernet, pathiramanal), two antenna connectors Wi-Fi, five analog audio jacks, optical S/PDIF output and two buttons to reset the BIOS for offline firmware updates. It should be noted that the plug rear panel I/O Shield installed on the circuit Board in advance, which simplifies the system Assembly in the housing.

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PC / Laptop

Overview motherboard ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II: third edition, revised and augmented

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At the end of last year, Intel updated the lineup of its Core-X, aimed at high-performance desktops class HEDT. The proposals of the family Cascade Lake-X is not struck the imagination of the improved performance, but only slightly increased operating frequencies and received support for further instructions AVX512VNNI. Moreover, they proved to be compatible with older motherboards that created a unique precedent in the history of Intel: socket LGA2066 now suitable for three successive generations of processors, and continues to be relevant for the fourth consecutive year. However, this does not mean that any updates to the platform with the release of new CPU did not happen.

The fact that there is a caveat. The new Core-X-design Cascade Lake-X received the support of a greater number of lines PCI Express. While their predecessors had in the best case, 44 lines, any Core-X ten-thousandth of a series already support 48 lines PCI Express 3.0. And to these additional lines before you can use the motherboard design needs to be slightly modified. In other words, despite the fact that Cascade Lake-X is able without any problems to operate in the old LGA2066 cards, fully all their possibilities can be opened only in a new, specially made with an eye on these processors.

Although Intel did not accompany the appearance of Cascade Lake X with the release of a new chipset and offers to continue to use the old X299 chipset, motherboard manufacturers have decided not to miss the chance and most of them presented an updated modification of the old platforms, converted specifically for Cascade Lake-X. These boards, of course, kept compatibility with old processors Skylake-X, but when you install them chips of the new generation got the opportunity to offer the user a slightly better performance. Today we look at one of the X299-mainboard new wave – ASUS ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming, which can be considered the third re-release of the ROG Strix X299-E Gaming, revised and expanded.

Why third when the name of the novelty is a Roman numeral “two”, you ask? The fact is that between ROG Strix X299-E Gaming and ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II there is another, “intermediate” fee ROG Strix X299-XE Gaming, with improved cooling system power scheme, which was released almost immediately after the first version, under public pressure, found that the initial fee was prone to overheating. As for the new ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming, the ASUS engineers did not just take into account all the shortcomings of the antagonist in the past, and have tried to improve the original design and high quality, as close your project to the ideal.

However, a little discouraging recommended price ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming, which is set at $499. But do not immediately dismiss this option, based on what to buy for Cascade Lake-X motherboard, for the price which can be purchased, for example, 10-core Intel Core i9-10900X, makes no sense. In fact it is not so scary, and real retail price of the ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming over the last few weeks has fallen dramatically. So now this Board is already turning out to be quite an interesting option to build a new LGA2066 system. And when it seems – need to test.

#Specifications

How would accompanying the release of processors Cascade Lake-X, ASUS has prepared two new ROG series motherboards: maximum heaped ROG Rampage VI Extreme Encore and pay easier – considering today ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II. However, “easier” in this case is a very relative definition, because the features of this motherboard will suit almost any enthusiast. It has three PCIe x16 slots; three slots M. 2; two wired NICs, one of which is a 2.5 GB; supports wireless Wi-Fi network 6 and can boast more than a sufficient number of USB and SATA ports. In other words, we are talking about a feature-rich platform, which is justly attributed to the solutions for LGA2066 processors at the senior level.

However, in fairness it should be noted that, if you pay attention to the other boards in the same price category, some of them can be found on the single PCIe x16 slot more other – 5 Gigabit network controller, and the third – fangled USB ports 3.2 Gen2x2 with throughput up to 20 Gbit/s. All this on a ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II no, but it boasts four USB ports 3.2 Gen 2 on the back panel, which motherboards by other manufacturers, as a rule, half.

Get acquainted with the characteristics of the ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II in the following table.

ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II
Supported processors LGA2066 Core processors to X series 7000, 9000 and 10000
Chipset Intel X299
Memory subsystem 8 × DDR4, up to 256 GB, up to DDR4-4266, four channel
Expansion slots 2 × PCI Express 3.0 x16 (mode x16)
1 × PCI Express 3.0 x16 mode (x8/x4)
1 × PCI Express 3.0 x4
1 × PCI Express 3.0 x1
The storage interface 8 × SATA 6GB/s
2 × M. 2 (PCI-E 3.0 x4 devices format 2242/2260/2280/22110)
1 × M. 2 (PCI-E 3.0 x4/SATA devices format 2242/2260/2280/22110)
USB ports 3 × USB 3.2 Gen2 on the rear panel
1 × USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C on the rear panel
1 × USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C internal connector
2 × USB 3.2 Gen1 on the rear panel
4 × USB Gen1 3.2 internal connectors
4 × USB 2.0 rear panel
4 × USB 2.0 internal connectors
Network controllers 1 × Intel I219V (Ethernet 1 Gbps)
1 × Realtek RTL8125-CG (Ethernet 2.5 Gbit/s)
1 × Intel Dual Band Wireless AX200NGW/CNVi (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4/5 GHz) + Bluetooth 5.0)
Audio 1 × SupremeFX S1220A (7.1)
Interfaces on the rear panel 1 × USB Gen2 3.2 (Type-C)
3 × 3.2 Gen2 USB (Type-A)
2 × USB 3.2 Gen1
4 × USB 2.0
2 × RJ-45
5 x audio jacks are of type minijack
1 × S/PDIF (optical output)
2 × antenna connectors
button FlashBack Button
Form factor ATX (305 × 244 mm)
Price $499 (recommended)

The difference with the first version of your ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming clearly visible even in the specifications. The newest version of the Board diminished one PCIe x4, but added a third M. 2 slot and a second a 2.5 Gigabit LAN and two additional USB port 3.2 Gen2. And I must say, this is not all. Already on the image Board it is clear that in the latest version, we now use a more advanced cooling system and a more powerful power system to which it has become possible to connect directly two 8-pin power cable. All the details we’ll talk about that later.

#Packaging equipment

ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II comes in a relatively small box, clearly disproportionate to the value of this Board. However, as it will be easier to carry from the store.

The packaging has a striking black and red design. The front side is given over to large photo of the motherboard, and on the reverse is a more detailed information about the characteristics. We always pay attention to what the technology marketing Department of the manufacturer has decided to highlight the box themselves, and in the case of ROG Strix X299-E Gaming is II: support 2.5-Gigabit network and WiFi 6, three M. 2 slot is for installing drives, branded diagnostic OLED screen LiveDash and connectors for addressable led strips of the second generation.

 

The supplied ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming imagination is not amazing, although it is unlikely someone will guess to call him a miser. To the Board included:

  • the mounting for the M. 2 drive in the vertical slot;
  • four SATA cable;
  • two screws to install the M. 2 drives;
  • Wi-Fi antenna;
  • extension cable for connecting led strips with a length of 80 cm;
  • extension cable to connect addressable led strips;
  • external temperature sensor;
  • ASUS Q-Connector to connect the case buttons and indicators;
  • a set of cable ties;
  • DVD with drivers and software;
  • stickers and printing products.

It should be noted that the necessary drivers and software to motherboard ASUS continues to put on a DVD-ROM, which frankly, in modern conditions seems somehow anachronistic. However, if your system will be optical device to come to the aid of technology Armoury Crate which allows you to automatically download and install software over the Internet. It works in Windows 8 and 10 using the function of the Windows Platform Binary Table that performs automatic backup of UEFI and the startup after loading a pre-trained manufacturer service utilities.

#Design and capabilities

During the existence of the platform LGA2066 we posted about it countless articles. Therefore, to discuss in detail all possible model ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II, we will not — focus only on unique and characteristic traits, which, as it turned out, she had a lot. And to start here is directly from the CPU rasheem because, as it turns out, the new ASUS with a full range LGA2066 CPUs are not compatible. A list of suitable models for it includes CPU Core X seven thousandth, thousandth and ten-thousandth of a series design Allows Cascade Lake X or-X, but for some reason does not include Quad-core processors Kaby Lake-X (Core i7-7740X and Core i5-7640X). However, it is unlikely it will bring great inconvenience: Kaby Lake-X is a rare beast, though from sale until it finally disappeared.

The second feature of the ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II relates to the memory subsystem. Like other LGA2066-motherboard, it supports Quad channel DDR4 SDRAM, but for her, including the declared support for modules with capacity up to 32 GB. In the compatibility list lists several proven ASUS variants, in particular, fit 32-GB strap Corsair, Crucial, Micron or SK Hynix, which are based on chips production SK Hynix or Micron.

But register memory to your ASUS ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming does not work, although their application to certain boards based on X299, perhaps. It proved the engineers at ASRock, which recently added support for RDIMM in your motherboard X299 Taichi CLX.

The new processors Cascade Lake-X received 48 lines PCI Express 3.0, and it is with an eye on these processors, created a draft of ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II. In this card on the processor lines of PCI Express “hang” three PCIe x16 slot operating in modes x16, x16 and x8, and two of the three M. 2 sockets – those located on the Board flat and closed “wings” of the chipset. They only support NVMe drives, and each of them is four lines PCI Express 3.0. In this scheme of distribution lines there is no variation, everything works exactly as described above with any combination of installed cost of expansion cards and drives.

However, if the ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II will be installed the processor Skylake-generation-X with 44 lines of PCI Express, the third PCIe x16 slot will switch from the logical mode x8 in x4. In the case of installation in processor Board with 28 lines (which is a Core i7-7820X or Core i7-7800X) in mode x8 switch and the second PCIe x16 slot and the CPU will turn off the M. 2 slots.

All three of the PCIe x16 slots have a mechanical reinforcement and separated so that they could install an expansion card with a massive cooling systems.

The remaining two PCIe x4 and PCIe x1 are operating from the chipset, and the small slot shares resources with the USB connector 3.2 Gen2 to the front panel. However, the probable loss of the PCIe x1 is unlikely to upset someone because he still is under the first PCIe x16 slot will be blocked by the graphics card.

The chipset provides eight SATA connectors placed along the left edge of the Board, and the third M. 2 slot, which is to talk separately. First, this is the only M. 2 socket on the ASUS ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming, which is able to take the SATA drives in that format. Second, it is located in a rather unusual place – in front of the DIMM slots. So drives are installed in it vertically, and for their reliable fastening ASUS has included a special metal frame. Frankly, we like the idea of a vertical M. 2, because in this case the drive is easy to organize a good cooling. However, sometimes you have to meet the complaint that a vertically mounted drive mixes with cooling the memory.

Amid LGA2066-plat of past generations of ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II stands out not only by the presence of three M. 2 slots, but the increased number of USB ports. It is taken from the chipset, six 5-Gigabit ports USB 3.2 Gen 1 the developers added five more 10-Gigabit ports USB Gen 2 3.2. Four high-speed port is displayed behind the Board, and one is made in the form of internal connector and designed for connection to a connector on the front panel. In order to accommodate this amount of USB ports 3.2 Gen 2 on Board took place three additional chip ASMedia ASM3142.

With USB ports connected and one more funny solution. ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II has in its Arsenal as many as eight USB 2.0 ports, and four port not working directly from the chipset, and via MTT hub GL852G. Someone might need such a number of USB 2.0 ports is unclear. Last version of the Board Strix X299-E Gaming ports of this type was less than half.

But the main difference between ASUS ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming from the last version, with almost the same name, but without a Roman numeral two at the end, is how now made your meal plan. Last charge was eight-channel Converter processor power, now, allegedly used a 12-channel scheme, at least according to the description on the manufacturer’s website.

But to be honest, the power to consider the Board – on the basis of the six-phase PWM controller ASP1905. But each phase is assembled from pairs zaparoleny power stage Infineon IR3555M and inductances that allows you to shoot with a six-phase scheme, the currents, reaching 720 But without taking into account food processor SoC, which laid its own seventh 60-amp channel. In other words, to work with a voracious processors ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II prepared well, but the overall design of the Converter power still raises questions because of the small number of “honest” phases.

Emphasizing the fact that ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II can cope with arbitrarily powerful processors, ASUS installed on it from two 8-pin power connector, and CPU VRM placed on a pretty massive cooling system with a heat pipe and a 40 mm fan.

But no matter how impressive these radiators may look in the photo, actually nothing special in that no cooling besides that it is generally adequate for this application. That is, even when overclocking Core i9-10980XE to 4.5 GHz and under high load in Prime95 the power supply circuit does not overheat. Although its maximum temperature and reached 100 degrees, when the fan accelerates to maximum speed, overheating or throttle we have not seen.

The main working part of the system cooling the VRM is a small aluminum heatsink plate on the center of the aluminum block adjacent to the power elements through the pads. The heat pipe here is only for the more uniform distribution of heat, because the second aluminum block placed on her, hardly performs any function at all. On the Board under it are USB controllers that do not have a high dissipation, and its upper portion fully closes the plastic cover of the rear, preventing any convection. In General, why this second bar is a mystery.

It turns out that the efficiency of the cooling system is greatly facilitated by a fan, which is why it is covered from top with decorative mesh. And that’s why we suggest from this mesh right to get rid – so and the noise will be less, and temperature will be lower. Especially if to take into account the fact that with increasing temperature the VRM fan is able to accelerate up to 6000 rpm.

In practice, to assemble a system on your ASUS ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II conveniently enough, the cards are well thought out, which is hardly surprising as it is an updated version of another popular motherboard. It without problems will be any massive cooler, including the air, not a MSI Creator X299, where the developers put too little space between the first PCIe slot and CPU socket.

But it is worth considering that for those who love experiments in the open stand, ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming may not offer an exhaustive set of controls. The Board has only the power button, a set of diagnostic LEDs and POST controller. Even reset the BIOS settings is available on the old – fashioned way with jumper.

But considering the fee is not deprived of the opportunity to update the firmware (no need to start the system), allows you to connect an external temperature sensor and is able to manage a sufficient number of fans. In addition to the connectors for the two CPU fans and the fan VRM, the PCB has two connectors for the pumps (without the possibility of adjustment speed) and three connectors for case fans (with the possibility of fine adjustment of rotation speeds depending on the temperature).

Much attention is paid to the illumination. Although ROG Strix X299-E Gaming II and intended for the construction of the mighty HEDT platforms, it still relates to gaming series motherboard. However, the Board itself no special RGB-extravaganza no. Only a small illuminated acrylic panel cover the rear panel.

But the possibilities might be notklaatu whole bunch of led strips. In store for them, two sockets for a conventional three-meter RGB 5050 strips standard and two slots for addressable WS2812B strips standard with the maximum number of LEDs for 120 pieces. All lights on the Board works under the guidance of the corporate AURA and 52UA0 microcontroller 32-bit ARM processor STM32F 072CBU6. The user also seems to set all this sparkling ensemble with a special app ASUS Sync Aura.

In addition, on the Board between the CPU socket and the first PCIe x16 slot there is a small monochrome OLED display LiveDash, which can also be used in information and decoration purposes.

To control the contents of this display from ASUS provides a special utility, but by default it displays POST codes during system startup and the CPU temperature – when it is working.

In the rest of the equipment ASUS ROG Strix X299-E II Gaming is quite typical for the modern boards are high enough level. For integrated sound codec Realtek ALC1220 (according to tradition renamed S1220A), which this time works without the support of additional high quality DAC, but accompanied by two operational amplifiers which are capable to pump high-impedance headphones.

Network connections can be implemented in three ways: through wireless controller Intel wifi 6 AX200 2×2 802.11 ax or by wire through a 2.5 Gigabit controller Realtek RTL8125 or Hibiny Intel WGI219V.

Given all the above, the contents of the back of the PCB you might not be surprised.

There are four USB 2.0 ports; two USB 3.2 Gen 1; four USB ports 3.2 Gen 2, one of which has an execution of Type-C; two network RJ-45 connector; connectors for wifi antennas; five analog audio jacks; SPDIF output and the BIOS FlashBack button for offline firmware updates.

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