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Gigabyte X399 Aorus Xtreme review: A crazy motherboard for a crazy processor

By Koh Wanzi - 7 Oct 2018
Prices:

Test setup & Performance

Test Setup

Here's the configuration of our test bench:

  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX (3.0GHz, 64MB L3 cache)
  • Enermax Liqtech TR4 240
  • Gigabyte X399 Aorus Xtreme
  • 4 x 4GB G.Skill Flare X DDR4-3200 (Auto timings: CAS 14-14-14-34)
  • ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • Samsung 850 Pro 250GB SSD
  • Windows 10 Home (64-bit)

The list of benchmarks used is as follows:

  • SYSmark 2018
  • SPECviewperf 13
  • Cinebench R15
  • 3DMark
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation
  • Far Cry 5

We'll be comparing the board against the ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme, another high-end X399 motherboard.

Test motherboards compared
  ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme Gigabyte X399 Aorus Xtreme
  ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme Gigabyte X399 Aorus Xtreme
Launch SRP
  • From S$969
  • From S$635
Latest Price
  • From S$880
  • From S$604
Processor Support and Chipset Type
  • SocketTR4
  • AMD X399
  • SocketTR4
  • AMD X399
Memory
  • 8x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 128 GB of system memory
  • Support for DDR4 3600(O.C.)/3200(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666/2400/2133 MHz memory modules
  • 8x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 128 GB of system memory
  • Support for DDR4 3600+*(O.C.) / 3466+(O.C.) / 2933 / 2667 / 2400 / 2133 MHz memory modules
Storage
  • 2x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, 2242/2260/2280/22110
  • 1x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280
  • 6x SATA 6Gb/s ports
  • 1x U.2 port
  • Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10
  • 2x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2260/2280/22110
  • 1x M.2 Socket 3, with M key, type 2242/2260/2280
  • 6x SATA 6Gb/s ports
  • Support for RAID 0, RAID 1, and RAID 10
Audio
  • ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220
  • - Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
  • - Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
  • - High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output 113 dB SNR recording input
  • - ESS® ESS9018Q2C
  • - Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback *5
  • Audio Feature :
  • - Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
  • - Sonic Radar III
  • - Sonic Studio III
  • Realtek® ALC1220-VB codec
  • ESS9118EQ chip
  • High Definition Audio
  • 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  • Support for S/PDIF Out
Networking
  • Intel® I211-AT, 1x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
  • 1x ROG AREION 10G
  • Anti-surge LANGuard
  • ROG GameFirst IV
  • 2x Intel GbE LAN chips
  • 1x Aquantia GbE LAN chip
Rear I/O
  • 1x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (black)USB Type-C
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (red)Type-A
  • 8x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (blue)
  • 1x Optical S/PDIF out
  • 1x Clear CMOS button(s)
  • 1x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
  • 1x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac+ WiGig 802.11ad and Bluetooth v4.1)
  • 5x LED-illuminated audio jacks
  • 8x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (blue)
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (red)Type-A
  • 1x USB 3.1 (black)USB Type-C
  • 1x power/reset button
  • 1x Clear CMOS button
  • 1x USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port (red)
  • 8x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
  • 3x RJ-45 ports
  • 2x SMA antenna connectors (2T2R)
  • 1x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  • 5x audio jacks
Internal Connectors
  • 1x Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
  • 1x ReTry jumper
  • 1x Safe Boot jumper
  • 1x U.2 port
  • 2x Aura RGB Strip Headers
  • 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s)
  • 1x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 2.0 port(s)
  • 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key design, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (Supports both SATA & PCIE SSD)
  • 6x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
  • 1x CPU Fan connector(s)
  • 1x CPU OPT Fan connector(s)
  • 2x Chassis Fan connector(s)
  • 1x H_AMP fan connector
  • 1x W_PUMP+ connector
  • 2x 8-pin EATX 8 V Power connector
  • 1x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
  • 1x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
  • 1x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
  • 1x 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector
  • 1x Slow Mode switch(es)
  • 2x Thermal sensor connector(s)
  • 1x LN2 Mode header(s)
  • 1x EZ Plug connector(s) (4-pin Molex power connector)
  • 1x Reset button(s)
  • 1x LN2 Mode switch(es)
  • 1x LN2 Mode jumper(s)
  • 1x Safe Boot button
  • 1x ReTry button
  • 1x U.2 connector*4
  • 1x Slow Mode jumper(s)
  • 1x System panel connector
  • 1x PCIe x16 lane switch
  • 2x T_Sensor Connector
  • 1x W_IN header
  • 1x W_OUT header
  • 1x W_FLOW header
  • 1x Start button
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector
  • 1x PCIe x16 Lane Switch
  • 1x 9 pin Monoblock sensor
  • 1x 24-pin ATX main power connector
  • 2x 8-pin ATX 12V power connectors
  • 1x OC PEG power connector
  • 1x CPU fan header
  • 1x water cooling CPU fan header
  • 3x system fan headers
  • 2x system fan/water cooling pump headers
  • 2x digital(addressable) LED strip headers
  • 2x digital(addressable) LED strip power select jumpers
  • 2x RGB (RGBW) LED strip headers
  • 3x M.2 Socket 3 connectors
  • 6x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
  • 1x front panel header
  • 1x front panel audio header
  • 1x S/PDIF Out header
  • 1x USB Type-C™ port, with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support
  • 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1 headers
  • 2x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
  • 1x Trusted Platform Module (TPM) header (2x6 pin, for the GC-TPM2.0_S module only)
  • 1x BIOS switch
  • 1x DualBIOS™ switch
  • 2x temperature sensor headers
  • 1x Clear CMOS jumper
Expansion Slots
  • 4x PCIe 3.0 x16 (x16, x16/x16, x16/x8/x16, x16/x8/x16/x8)
  • 1x PCIe 2.0 x4
  • 1x PCIe 2.0 x1
  • 2x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x16 (PCIEX16_1, PCIEX16_2)
  • 2x PCI Express x16 slots, running at x8 (PCIEX8_1, PCIEX8_2)
  • 1x PCI Express x1 slot
Form Factor
  • E-ATX
  • E-ATX

Performance benchmarks

 

SYSmark 2018

SYSmark is a general productivity benchmark suite that measures the response times of tasks on a PC using real-world applications like Microsoft Office 2016 and Adobe Photoshop CC and simulated user input. Task response times are used to generate a performance rating that reflects actual user experience, so the faster a PC responds to application workloads, the higher its score will be. The method of measuring response times can take many forms, such as the time it takes for an application to show a pop-up completion message, or how long it takes a progress dialog to disappear and for a user to regain application control.

SYSmark 2018 measures performance in the areas of Productivity, Creativity, and Responsiveness, featuring new, updated applications that better reflect modern usage scenarios.

Unsurprisingly, the two boards performed very closely to each other and there isn't that significant a difference in overall scores. 

 

SPECviewperf 13

SPECviewperf is used to assess the 3D graphics performance of systems in professional applications. Each individual workload, called a viewset, represents graphics and content from an actual real-world application. SPECviewperf actually runs a total of eight different viewsets, but we’ve picked the four which have the greatest performance variation across CPUs display here.

The new SPECviewperf 13 incorporates new models and raycasting for volume visualization. The Maya viewset has also been updated with new models based on the SPECapc for Maya 2017 benchmark. All other viewsets have also been recompiled with minor changes.

The two boards were once again neck-and-neck, and it's impossible to really tease out a winner. 

 

Cinebench R15

Cinebench is a benchmark tool used to compare CPU performance across different systems, so we’ll be using it to evaluate how well the Threadripper 2990WX plays with the different motherboards. The multi-threaded test scenario uses all of the system’s processing power – it can utilize up to 256 threads – to render a photorealistic 3D scene, making use of various algorithms to stress all available processor cores. Conversely, the single-core test stresses just one core.

The ASUS board had a small 3 per cent lead in Cinebench, but once again, I'd say that that's a minuscule difference. 

 

3DMark

3DMark is a synthetic gaming benchmark that tests graphics and computational performance at different resolutions, starting at 1080p and going all the way up to 4K. A series of two graphics test, one physics test, and then a combined test stresses your hardware in turn to assess its performance.

We’ve also teased out the Physics and CPU scores for the Fire Strike and Time Spy tests and compiled them in separate tables to give a better idea of CPU performance on each board.

The two boards traded blows here, and it's difficult to give a clear lead to either one.

 

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Ashes of the Singularity is one of the few CPU-bound games out there, if you’re playing on lower resolutions and settings that is.

Performance was super close in Escalation, and both boards turned out very similar performances.

 

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 is heavily CPU-limiting, and the Threadripper 2990WX is clearly holding performance back in this case.

8.5
  • Performance 8.5
  • Features 8.5
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Good overclocking performance
Packed with features, including 10G Ethernet
Rock solid build
The Bad
RAM slots a little too close to CPU socket
BIOS interface could be better designed
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