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

November 20, 2017
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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 ($999 on Amazon). 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 CPUs, 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 in-depth Threadripper 1950X review, as well as our overall Ryzen Threadripper explainer.

Editor’s note: This living article was last updated on November 20, 2017 to add the MSI X399 SLI Plus and more details about the Asus ROG Strix X399-E.

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.