AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X Review With ASRock X399 Professional Gaming and ASRock X399 Taichi Motherboards

Introduction

It was the beginning of 2017, Intel thought the year would go really smooth for them in regards to their mainstream and high end desktop launches. Intel launched their 7th generation core family, offering consumers the same architecture, slightly enhanced process and slightly higher CPU clock speeds, calling it a day. What they didn’t know was that their rival, AMD, was going to make a epic return just a few months after and when they did, Intel’s worst fears had come to life.

While Ryzen was anticipated to arrive on the mainstream consumer platform, offering IPC on par with Intel’s latest generation processors, it was Threadripper that no one, even the press had not expected. A full fledged lineup of high end desktop processors designed to tackle Intel’s Core X line up. AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper and the accompanying X399 platform is designed for enthusiasts, it offers features that are not available on the Intel HEDT platform and here’s where things get more interesting.

RelatedFirst AMD Ryzen 2 Desktop Processor Spotted – The Six Core Ryzen 5 2600 Along With ASUS’s Crosshair VII HERO X470 Motherboard

Not only is Ryzen Threadripper feature rich, it also comes at a lower build price when compared to a similar Intel X299 platform setup. An example for instance is the 16 core CPU price difference. Intel’s 16 core chips costs north of $1500 US, AMD’s 16 core chip costs $999 US and at the time of writing this post, it’s selling for even less than that. So here we are, a few months after the launch of Ryzen Threadripper, testing out this utterly high-end, enthusiast platform on two beefy boards from ASRock, the ASRock X399 Taichi and the ASRock X399 Professional Gaming.

AMD X399 HEDT Chipset – The First Enthusiast Grade Platform From AMD

X399 is the next generation and the first AMD high-end desktop platform designed for enthusiasts and power craving users. It is an entirely fresh platform which brings with itself a load of new tech and features that we haven’t seen on high-end platforms for a while now. To start off with details, the X399 platform is very similar to AMD’s server end EPYC platform. It features the same chips in which AMD is using the top 5% dies for HEDT consumers, the same monolithic SP3 socket, known as the TR4 and the many PCIe lanes that we should expect on server level platforms.

The platform is made in a way that it can carter not only to HEDT consumers but also to the work station community. In terms of features, the X399 socket at the moment supports up to 16 cores and 32 threads and there’s no doubt that we will get more cores and threads on the same socket and platform in the future. It can support chips with up to 180W TDP and can deliver full 64 PCI-e lanes to users. This means for the first time, we have a platform that can drive four graphics cards with full native x16 link speeds.

RelatedAMD Radeon Graphics Roadmap Update: 7nm Vega in 2018, Navi in 2019, Followed By “Next-Gen”, New Vega Instinct Announced

This marks a major revolution and a win win for AMD. In addition to that, we get 8 PCH PCIe lanes, support for NVMe and NVMe RAID, quad channel memory, up to 12 SATA 3 ports and 14 USB interfaces. The only rival on the market for X399 is X299 and honestly speaking, the X399 takes the lead in terms of raw specifications and features.

AMD X399 PCH Features

WCCFTECHWhitehaven
(Ryzen Threadripper)
Intel Core X
(Skylake-X)
Summit Ridge
(Ryzen)
Target PlatformHEDTHEDTMainstream
SocketTR4LGA 2066AM4 (PGA)
Socket Pins4094 Pins (LGA)2066 Pins (LGA)1331 Pins (PGA)
Max CoresUp to 16Up to 18Up to 8
Max ThreadsUp to 32Up to 36Up to 16
Max L3 Cache32 MB24.75 MB16 MB
TDPUp To 180WUp To 165WUp To 95W
CPU PCI-E Lanes644424
PCH PCI-E Lanes8248
PCI-E NVME SupportYesYesYes
NVME RAID SupportYes (Firmware Update from AMD webpage)Yes (Locked, Key Required)No
DDR4 Channels4 Channel4 Channel2 Channel
SATA 6 Gbps8+486+2
USB 3.1 Ports222
USB 3.0 Ports6106
USB 2.0 Ports6146
LaunchQ3 2017Q2 2017Q1 2017

AMD TR4 (LGA 4094) Socket – Supports All Ryzen Threadripper Processors

The AMD TR4 socket is the same as their server end SP3 socket which has been repurposed for the HEDT market. It is a monolithic design that feature 4094 pins in the LGA (Land Grid Array) design and looks absolutely beast.

Cooler Compatibility With The AMD TR4 Socket

It’s worth noting that all previously released coolers are incompatible with Ryzen Threadripper. A new range of CPU coolers are required to dissipate heat from the massive heatspreader on AMD Threadripper CPUs. There are a total of nine manufacturers in the cooling industry who are right now offering their latest coolers for Ryzen Threadripper processors.

They include (More details on the cooling solutions here):

It took AMD several years to perfect their core design to rival Intel. The resultant Zen core delivered exceptionally great performance when it finally launched after five long years of development. THe Ryzen mainstream processors were widely acclaimed and featured some of the most impressive performance, efficiency and pricing figures we have seen to date. But AMD didn’t stop there, they went one step ahead and pitted their Zen core in a field where Intel had been dominant for years.

On the server side, we saw EPYC which is rivaling Intel’s Xeon parts. On the HEDT side, we will be looking at Ryzen Threadripper. AMD managed to bring their IPC on par with Intel’s modern cores and used that advantage to deliver a processor with multiple cores. 16 in fact on the flagship CPU and that’s just the start of things we expect to see from AMD. Following is the entire “confirmed” CPU family under the Ryzen Threadripper brand.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X 16 Core $999 US Processor

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X is the flagship chip of the Threadripper X399 family. The chip features 16 cores, 32 threads. Clocks are maintained at 3.4 GHz base, 4.0 GHz boost and the XFR technology should help it gain more performance. The chip will carry 32 MB of L3 cache and 8 MB of L2 cache which totals 40 MB. There will be a total of 64 PCIe lanes available on the processor of which 60 can be used by discrete graphics cards and PCIe NVMe storage devices. The chip will cost $999 US when launched.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X 12 Core $799 US Processor

The second chip in the lineup is the Ryzen Threadripper 1920X which features 12 cores and 24 threads for a price of just $799 US. Intel’s 12 core chip in comparison costs $1200 US. The chip features clock speeds of 3.5 GHz base and 4.0 GHz boost. Keeping things in line and if the chip comes with the same die configuration as the 1950X, we will be looking at 32 MB of L3 cache and 6 MB of L2 cache which totals 38 MB total cache size. The chip will feature the same amount of PCIe lanes as the 1950X.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and 1920X processors go on sale today alongside the X399 boards and CPU coolers.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1900X 8 Core For $549 US – Fastest AMD 8 Core Chip

The latest chip in the lineup is the Ryzen Threadripper 1900X which features 8 cores and 16 threads for a price of just $549 US. This is $50 US cheaper than Intel’s Core i7-7820X which is also their octa core model. The chip features clock speeds of 3.8 GHz base and 4.0 GHz boost. Not only are speeds of this chip higher than the Ryzen 7 1800X but it also grants access to more features such as higher PCIe lanes, quad channel DDR4 memory lanes and more I/O support.

The Ryzen Threadripper 1900X will feature 64 PCIe lanes and the TDP will probably remain set at 180W. The total cache will be 20 MB (16 L3 + 4 L2) which is 5% higher than the comparable 7820X processor. The Ryzen Threadripper 1900X octa core chip will hit market shelves on 31st August.

AMD Threadripper and Ryzen Processor Family (2017):

WccftechCores/ThreadsBase ClockTurbo ClockL2 / L3 CacheTDPMSRP
Ryzen Threadripper 1950X16/323.4 GHz4.0 GHz8 MB / 32 MB180 Watts999 USD
Ryzen Threadripper 1920X12/243.5 GHz4.0 GHz8 MB / 32 MB180 Watts799 USD
Ryzen Threadripper 1900X8/163.8 GHz3.0 GHz4 MB / 16 MB180 Watts549 USD
Ryzen 7 1800X8.163.6 GHz4.0 GHz4 MB / 16 MB95 Watts499 USD
Ryzen 7 1700X8.163.4 GHz3.8 GHz4 MB / 16 MB95 Watts399 USD
Ryzen 7 17008.163.0 GHz3.7 GHz4 MB / 16 MB65 Watts329 USD
Ryzen 5 1600X6/123.6 GHz4.0 GHz3 MB / 16 MB95 Watts249 USD
Ryzen 5 16006/123.2 GHz3.6 GHz3 MB / 16 MB65 Watts219 USD
Ryzen 5 1500X4.83.5 GHz3.7 GHz2 MB / 16 MB65 Watts189 USD
Ryzen 5 14004.83.2 GHz3.4 GHz2 MB / 8 MB65 Watts169 USD

AMD Ryzen Threadripper Official Gaming Performance – Game Mode and Creator Mode Explained

AMD has also released the official gaming performance data of their Ryzen Threadripper CPUs against Intel’s Core X parts. The data shows that the Intel Core i9-7900X still goes ahead of the Ryzen Threadripper 1950X 16 core and Ryzen Threadripper 1920X 12 core while featuring ten cores. AMD Threadripper trails the Intel Core X CPU but on the other hand, we are still looking towards decent performance figures in gaming at 1080p and the gap is lower when gaming on higher resolutions.

On the other hand, we have a new feature on Ryzen Threadripper processors that lets you set your preference of profile. There are two profiles that include Game Mode and Creator Mode. Both can be set through the Ryzen Master configuration utility which has now been updated to support AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors. The utility also provides other nifty features and configuration tool which can be used by overclockers to fine tune their chips.

 

So what the Threadripper profiles do is that they optimize the chip for the specified workloads. For instance, the gaming mode will enable Local memory access mode and turn the compatibility mode to legacy. This will help reduce memory and core-to-core latency and overcome the thread count limitation in some of the legacy games which can endure bugs and issues with modern multi core CPUs.

The creator mode on the other hand turns the memory access to distributed mode and disables the legacy mode. This maximizes threads and total memory bandwidth for unrestrained amount of CPU performance and will be the default profile for Threadripper processors.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper Gaming Mode Performance Results:

AMD Ryzen Threadripper Packaging:

Each Ryzen Threadripper processor will come in a large and sexy container with curved edges. It seems to be made of a strong alloy material and has either a plastic or glass cover on the front which is engraved with the Ryzen Threadripper label and logo. The chip can be seen through the mirror and just like the mainstream processors, each Ryzen TR CPU will have the naming printed in clear black on the IHS which looks amazing.

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper looks really amazing when looking from the eye of an enthusiast. It’s the most powerful platform for HEDT users that we have seen to date and a worthy competitor to Intel’s HEDT Core-X lineup.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper Launch Presentation:

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X 16 Core $999 US Processor

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X is the flagship chip of the Threadripper X399 family. The chip features 16 cores, 32 threads. Clocks are maintained at 3.4 GHz base, 4.0 GHz boost and the XFR technology should help it gain more performance. The chip will carry 32 MB of L3 cache and 8 MB of L2 cache which totals 40 MB. There will be a total of 64 PCIe lanes available on the processor of which 60 can be used by discrete graphics cards and PCIe NVMe storage devices. The chip will cost $999 US when launched.

The ASRock X399 Professional Gaming is the flagship motherboard of the ASRock X399 family. It comes with a similar design scheme as the X299 series with a aggressive metallic finish on the heatsinks and a matte black covers. The X399 Professional Gaming features the TR4 socket and a 11 phase Digi power delivery system. Power is provided by a 8 and 4 pin connector configuration and there are a total of eight DDR4 DIMM slots that can support up to 128 GB capacity in total. The motherboards can support memory speeds of up to 3600 MHz (OC+).

The motherboard packs four PCI-e 3.0 x16 slots, a single PCI-e 3.0 x1 and three M.2 slots. Storage includes 8 SATA III ports, a single U.2 port, dual USB 3.0 / USB 2.0 ports and we can also spot a 6-Pin power connector to juice up the expansion slots when running multiple array of discrete graphics cards.

The rear panel IO includes 8 USB 3.0, 2 USB 3.1 ports, triple RJ45 LAN ports, a 7.1 channel audio jack, BIS flashback switch, a single optical S/PDIF port and a Wi-Fi wireless adapter. The board at the moment costs $440 US and available in retail stores around the globe.

Buy ASRock X399 Professional Gaming Here

ASRock X399 FATAL1TY Professional Gaming Motherboard Features:

ASRock X399 Professional Gaming Motherboard Product Gallery:

AMD X399 Motherboard Roundup:

Motherboard NameASUS ROG Zenith ExtremeASUS ROG STRIX X399-EASUS PRIME X399-AASRock FATAL1TY X399 ProfessionalASRock X399 TaichiAORUS X399 Gaming 7MSI X399 Pro Gaming AC
CPU SupportAMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)
Form FactorE-ATXE-ATXE-ATXATXATXATXATX
Socket TypeSocket TR4 (4094 Pin)Socket TR4 (4094 Pin)Socket TR4 (4094 Pin)Socket TR4 (4094 Pin)Socket TR4 (4094 Pin)Socket TR4 (4094 Pin)Socket TR4 (4094 Pin)
Power Phases8+28+28+211118+210+3
CPU Power Connectors8+8 Pin8+4 Pin8+4 Pin8+4 Pin8+4 Pin8+4 Pin8+8 Pin
DDR4 DIMM SlotsEight (Quad Channel)Eight (Quad Channel)Eight (Quad Channel)Eight (Quad Channel)Eight (Quad Channel)Eight (Quad Channel)Eight (Quad Channel)
Memory ClocksUp To 3600 MHz OCUp To 3200 MHz OCUp To 3200 MHz OCUp To 3600 MHz OCUp To 3600 MHz OCUp To 3600 MHz OCUp To 3600 MHz OC
SATA III 6 GB/s Ports6668888
U.2 Ports11122N/AN/A
PCI-e 3.0 x16 Expansion Slots4444454
PCI-e 3.0 x1 Expansion Slots1 x1
1 x4
1 x1
1 x4
1 x1
1 x4
1 x11 x1N/A2 x1
M.2 PCI-e Expansion Slots3223333
USB 3.1 Ports (Internal/External)151515221315
USB 3.0 Ports (Internal / External)N/AN/AN/A1212N/AN/A
USB 2.0 Ports (Internal / External)2444446
Networking1 x Aquantia 10/5/2.5Gbe card
1 x Intel Gbe
802.11ad WiGig
802.11ac WiFi 2x2 MU-MIMO
1 x Intel Gbe
802.11ac WiFi 2x2 MU-MIMO
Bluetooth 4.2
1 x Intel Gbe
1 x 10 Gigabit LAN 100/1000/2500/5000/10000 Mb/s (AQUANTIA
AQC107)
2 x GigaLAN Intel I211AT
2 x GigaLAN Intel I211ATRivet Networks Killer E2500 LAN chip1 x Intel Gbe
AudioSupremeFX
Realtek S1220 Codec
ESS SABRE9018Q2C DAC
SupremeFX S1220ASupremeFX S1220ARealtek ALC1220 Audio Codec
Realtek ALC1220 Audio CodecRealtek ALC1220 codec
Support for Sound BlasterX 720
AUDIO BOOST 4 with NAHIMIC 2+
Price$550 US$400 US$350 US$440$340$380 US

The ASRock X399 Professional Gaming comes in a very large package with a front cover that exposes the board it self. The package has an easy to carry design which is a good addition from ASRock. The front of it has the large X399 Professional Gaming logo along with follows the ASRock FATAL1TY design scheme. Labels include Ryzen Threadripper, AMD Crossfire, NVIDIA SLI and RGB LED. There’s also mention of AMD Socket TR4 and X399 chipset on the front.

The back of the package lists down several major features of motherboard which includes a 60A Dr.MOS power supply, Dual USB 3.1 10 GB/s, Aquantia 10 GB/s LAN and the entire specs sheet of board. There’s a lot to go through which I will detail in the closer look section.

The front cover flips open to reveal the nicely packaged motherboard along with other features of this impressively high-end motherboard.

Aside from being a enthusiast class design, the X399 Professional Gaming is also a full fledged workstation design with support for 4-Way NVIDIA Quadro SLI and AMD FirePro series cards. Once again, a whole range of features are detailed on the box but I will take a look on each of them in detail.

Within the package are two compartments, one houses the motherboard with foam packaging around it which protects the motherboard during carriage. The second compartment houses the accessories.

Accessories for the motherboard include 2-Way / 3-Way SLI bridges, two screws for M.2 devices, a pair of SATA cables, two WiFi antennas, an I/O panel, a manual and a driver disk. It’s recommended to download the latest drivers from the official ASRock webpage as they are more recent updated compared to the ones shipped in the driver disk.

Outside of the package, the ASRock X399 Professional Gaming is a beast which shows its power through design and build quality. It’s a stunning motherboard that looks and feel like a part of an enthusiast family.

While being a powerful motherboard, the ASRock X399 FATAL1TY Professional Gaming follows the ATX form factor and will be compatible with almost every casing unless you are using a Mini ITX chassis. There are currently no Mini ITX X399 motherboards in the market and that is true for all HEDT platforms. While ASRock does has a Mini ITX X299 motherboard, the X399 socket does not allow design of such standards in the X399 family.

The motherboard comes with a simplistic design language that follows ASRock’s FATAL1TY design as seen on previous motherboards. ASRock has chosen the grey and black color scheme with tiny red accents that give a good touch on this motherboard and it looks great.

The large TR4 socket can be seen at the top of the motherboard. This is the same SP4 design from the server EPYC motherboard, re-engineered for the HEDT masses. The socket has a plastic cover that slides in and out with ease. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors also slide in the socket with ease after removal of the protective cover. All X399 motherboards are shipped with this cover since we are talking about 4094 pins and one damaged pin can cause permanent damage to the board.

Talking about the socket, it is also the largest ever designed for a consumer grade motherboard and the number of pins inside the socket are mind blowing. You can fit in almost four consumer Intel CPUs in the socket (although they won’t work).

Around the socket are four DDR4 DIMM slots which can support quad channel memory with clock speeds up to 3600 MHz (OC+). The system is designed to operate both non-ECC and ECC (UDIMM) memory and up to 128 GB in capacity.

Scattered around the CPU socket are 11 power phases that use the IR Digital PWM unit for voltage and power regulation. The motherboard is based on the ASRock Super Alloy technology that has a range of features including 60A Dr.MOS power chokes. 12K black capacitors, a high density glass fabric PCB and premium alloy chokes for the memory too.

The motherboard is supplied power through a 24 pin ATX connector while the CPU socket is ran by a 8 and 4 pin power configuration. This is enough to feed juice to the high-end Ryzen Threadripper CPUs. Overclocking would be a breeze on high-end motherboards of this design.

The motherboard uses premium aluminum metal heatsinks that make direct contact with the VRM and also include copper heatpipe design to channel heat. This effectively leads to better cooling on the motherboard.

The AMD X399 chipset is hidden beneath a large metallic heatsink which is etched with the ASRock FATAL1TY label. This is a fairly big heatsink which embeds ASRock’s RGB LED feature that can be tuned via their bundled software.

In terms of storage, we are looking at 8 SATA 3 6Gbps ports which support RAID, 3 Ultra M.2 ports which run on PCI-e x4 (32 GB/s) speeds. There’s also a single U.2 port if you are running an Intel SSD with U.2 design although that doesn’t seem much of a case nowadays with M.2 in the lead. If a U.2 is connected, that will lead to one M.2 slot being disabled.

The motherboard has four PCI-e 3.0 x16 slots which operate at (PCIE1/PCIE2/PCIE4/PCIE5: single at x16 (PCIE1); dual at x16 (PCIE1) / x16 (PCIE4); triple at x16 (PCIE1) / x8 (PCIE2) / x16 (PCIE4); quad at x16 (PCIE1) / x8 (PCIE2) / x16 (PCIE4) / x8 (PCIE5)).

ASRock is using the latest metallic shielded standard on the PCI-express slots which adds more strength to the slots when using heavy graphics cards.

The motherboard can house four way SLI and Crossfire GPUs and there is an additional 6 pin power connector on board the motherboard which can be used to deliver additional power to the PCI-express slots when all of them are populated at once.

Within the motherboard, there are a large variety of connectors which include the following:

– 1 x COM Port Header
– 1 x Power LED and Speaker Header
– 2 x RGB LED Headers
– 1 x CPU Fan Connector (4-pin)
– 1 x CPU Optional/Water Pump Fan Connector (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
– 2 x Chassis Fan Connectors (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
– 1 x Chassis Optional/Water Pump Fan Connector (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
– 1 x 24 pin ATX Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector) (for Motherboard)
– 1 x 8 pin 12V Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector) (for Motherboard)
– 1 x 4 pin 12V Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector) (for Motherboard)
– 1 x 6 pin 12V Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector) (for PCIe graphics card)
– 1 x Front Panel Audio Connector (15μ Gold Audio Connector)
– 1 x Right Angle Front Panel Audio Connector
– 2 x USB 2.0 Headers (Support 4 USB 2.0 ports) (Supports ESD Protection)
– 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Headers (Support 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports) (Supports ESD Protection)
– 1 x Clear CMOS Switch
– 1 x Dr. Debug with LED
– 1 x Power Switch with LED
– 1 x Reset Switch with LED
– 1 x CPU Xtreme OC Switch

The Sound Blaster Cinema 3 system on board the motherboard also comes with a plastic shield and powers a 7.1 channel HD audio (Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec). The isolated PCB uses TI NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier for Front Panel Audio Connector and supports Sound Blaster Cinema 3.

The I/O port comes with a shielded cover which reads Ryzen Threadripper on the top. Similarly, the heatsink next to the I/O cover reads X399 and they look great.

I/O on the ASRock X399 Taichi includes 2 Antenna ports, a PS/2 port, a single Optical SPDIF out port, 2 USB 3.1 (Type-A + Type-C) ports, 8 USB 3.1 ports, 2 RJ-45 LAN ports (1 x 10 Gb/s and 2x 5 Gbps), a single BIOS flash back switch and a high quality HD audio jack.

The ASRock X399 Taichi is so far the cheapest of all X399 motherboards but still packs a lot of punch to itself. It comes with a similar design scheme as the X299 series with a aggressive metallic finish on the heatsinks and a matte black covers. The X399 Professional Gaming features the TR4 socket and a 11 phase Digi power delivery system. Power is provided by a single 8 pin connector and there are a total of eight DDR4 DIMM slots that can support up to 128 GB capacity in total. The motherboards can support memory speeds of up to 3600 MHz (OC+).

 

The design of the ASRock X399 Taichi is a little bit more striking with the mechanical dial design that we have also seen on Intel based ASRock Taichi offerings. The motherboard packs four PCI-e 3.0 x16 slots, a single PCI-e 3.0 x1 and three M.2 slots. Storage includes 8 SATA III ports, a single U.2 port, dual USB 3.0 / USB 2.0 ports and we can also spot a 6-Pin power connector to juice up the expansion slots when running multiple array of discrete graphics cards.

The rear panel IO includes 8 USB 3.0, 2 USB 3.1 ports, dual RJ45 LAN ports, a 7.1 channel audio jack, BIS flashback switch, a single optical S/PDIF port and a Wi-Fi wireless adapter. The board will cost $340 US at launch on 10th August.

ASRock X399 Taichi Motherboard Features:

ASRock X399 Taichi Motherboard Product Gallery:

AMD X399 Motherboard Roundup:

Motherboard NameASUS ROG Zenith ExtremeASUS ROG STRIX X399-EASUS PRIME X399-AASRock FATAL1TY X399 ProfessionalASRock X399 TaichiAORUS X399 Gaming 7MSI X399 Pro Gaming AC
CPU SupportAMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)AMD Ryzen Threadripper (Up To 16 Cores)
Form FactorE-ATXE-ATXE-ATXATXATXATXATX
Socket TypeSocket TR4 (4094 Pin)Socket TR4 (4094 Pin)Socket TR4 (4094 Pin)Socket TR4 (4094 Pin)Socket TR4 (4094 Pin)Socket TR4 (4094 Pin)Socket TR4 (4094 Pin)
Power Phases8+28+28+211118+210+3
CPU Power Connectors8+8 Pin8+4 Pin8+4 Pin8+4 Pin8+4 Pin8+4 Pin8+8 Pin
DDR4 DIMM SlotsEight (Quad Channel)Eight (Quad Channel)Eight (Quad Channel)Eight (Quad Channel)Eight (Quad Channel)Eight (Quad Channel)Eight (Quad Channel)
Memory ClocksUp To 3600 MHz OCUp To 3200 MHz OCUp To 3200 MHz OCUp To 3600 MHz OCUp To 3600 MHz OCUp To 3600 MHz OCUp To 3600 MHz OC
SATA III 6 GB/s Ports6668888
U.2 Ports11122N/AN/A
PCI-e 3.0 x16 Expansion Slots4444454
PCI-e 3.0 x1 Expansion Slots1 x1
1 x4
1 x1
1 x4
1 x1
1 x4
1 x11 x1N/A2 x1
M.2 PCI-e Expansion Slots3223333
USB 3.1 Ports (Internal/External)151515221315
USB 3.0 Ports (Internal / External)N/AN/AN/A1212N/AN/A
USB 2.0 Ports (Internal / External)2444446
Networking1 x Aquantia 10/5/2.5Gbe card
1 x Intel Gbe
802.11ad WiGig
802.11ac WiFi 2x2 MU-MIMO
1 x Intel Gbe
802.11ac WiFi 2x2 MU-MIMO
Bluetooth 4.2
1 x Intel Gbe
1 x 10 Gigabit LAN 100/1000/2500/5000/10000 Mb/s (AQUANTIA
AQC107)
2 x GigaLAN Intel I211AT
2 x GigaLAN Intel I211ATRivet Networks Killer E2500 LAN chip1 x Intel Gbe
AudioSupremeFX
Realtek S1220 Codec
ESS SABRE9018Q2C DAC
SupremeFX S1220ASupremeFX S1220ARealtek ALC1220 Audio Codec
Realtek ALC1220 Audio CodecRealtek ALC1220 codec
Support for Sound BlasterX 720
AUDIO BOOST 4 with NAHIMIC 2+
Price$550 US$400 US$350 US$440$340$380 US

The ASRock X399 Taichi comes in a very large package with a front cover that exposes the board it self. The package has an easy to carry design which is a good addition from ASRock. The front of it has the large X399 Taichi logo along with the gear design that Taichi boards are known for. Labels include Ryzen Threadripper, AMD Crossfire, NVIDIA SLI and RGB LED. There’s also mention of AMD Socket TR4 and X399 chipset on the front.

The back of the package lists down several major features of motherboard which includes a 60A Dr.MOS power supply, Dual USB 3.1 10 GB/s, a 802.11ac WiFi and the entire specs sheet of board. There’s a lot to go through which I will detail in the closer look section.

The front cover flips open to reveal the nicely packaged motherboard along with other features of this impressively high-end motherboard. Aside from being a enthusiast class design, the Taichi is also a full fledged workstation design with support for 4-Way NVIDIA Quadro SLI and AMD FirePro series cards. Once again, a whole range of features are detailed on the box but I will take a look on each of them in detail.

Within the package are two compartments, one houses the motherboard with foam packaging around it which protects the motherboard during carriage. The second compartment houses the accessories.

Accessories for the motherboard include 2-Way / 3-Way and High-Bandwidth SLI bridges, two screws for M.2 devices, a pair of SATA cables, two WiFi antennas, an I/O panel, a manual and a driver disk. It’s recommended to download the latest drivers from the official ASRock webpage as they are more recent updated compared to the ones shipped in the driver disk.

Outside of the package, the ASRock X399 Taichi is a beast which shows its power through design and build quality. It’s a stunning motherboard that looks and feel like a part of an enthusiast family.

While being a powerful motherboard, the ASRock X399 Taichi follows the ATX form factor and will be compatible with almost every casing unless you are using a Mini ITX chassis. There are currently no Mini ITX X399 motherboards in the market and that is true for all HEDT platforms. While ASRock does has a Mini ITX X299 motherboard, the X399 socket does not allow design of such standards in the X399 family.

The motherboard comes with a simplistic design language that follows ASRock’s Gear design as seen on previous Taichi motherboards. ASRock has chosen the grey and black color scheme for this motherboard and it looks great.

The large TR4 socket can be seen at the top of the motherboard. This is the same SP4 design from the server EPYC motherboard, re-engineered for the HEDT masses. The socket has a plastic cover that slides in and out with ease. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors also slide in the socket with ease after removal of the protective cover. All X399 motherboards are shipped with this cover since we are talking about 4094 pins and one damaged pin can cause permanent damage to the board.

Talking about the socket, it is also the largest ever designed for a consumer grade motherboard and the number of pins inside the socket are mind blowing. You can fit in almost four consumer Intel CPUs in the socket (although they won’t work).

Around the socket are four DDR4 DIMM slots which can support quad channel memory with clock speeds up to 3600 MHz (OC+). The system is designed to operate both non-ECC and ECC (UDIMM) memory and up to 128 GB in capacity.

Scattered around the CPU socket are 11 power phases that use the IR Digital PWM unit for voltage and power regulation. The motherboard is based on the ASRock Super Alloy technology that has a range of features including 60A Dr.MOS power chokes. 12K black capacitors, a high density glass fabric PCB and premium alloy chokes for the memory too.

The motherboard is supplied power through a 24 pin ATX connector while the CPU socket is ran by a 8 and 4 pin power configuration. This is enough to feed juice to the high-end Ryzen Threadripper CPUs. Overclocking would be a breeze on high-end motherboards of this design.

The motherboard uses premium aluminum metal heatsinks that make direct contact with the VRM and also include copper heatpipe design to channel heat. This effectively leads to better cooling on the motherboard.

The AMD X399 chipset is hidden beneath a large Gear designed heatsink which is etched with the ASRock label. This is a fairly big heatsink which embeds ASRock’s RGB LED feature that can be tuned via their bundled software.

In terms of storage, we are looking at 8 SATA 3 6Gbps ports which support RAID, 3 Ultra M.2 ports which run on PCI-e x4 (32 GB/s) speeds.

There’s also a single U.2 port if you are running an Intel SSD with U.2 design although that doesn’t seem much of a case nowadays with M.2 in the lead. If a U.2 is connected, that will lead to one M.2 slot being disabled.

The motherboard has four PCI-e 3.0 x16 slots which operate at (PCIE1/PCIE2/PCIE4/PCIE5: single at x16 (PCIE1); dual at x16 (PCIE1) / x16 (PCIE4); triple at x16 (PCIE1) / x8 (PCIE2) / x16 (PCIE4); quad at x16 (PCIE1) / x8 (PCIE2) / x16 (PCIE4) / x8 (PCIE5)).

The motherboard can house four way SLI and Crossfire GPUs and there is an additional 6 pin power connector on board the motherboard which can be used to deliver additional power to the PCI-express slots when all of them are populated at once.

Within the motherboard, there are a large variety of connectors which include the following:

– 1 x Power LED and Speaker Header
– 2 x RGB LED Headers
– 1 x CPU Fan Connector (4-pin)
– 1 x CPU Optional/Water Pump Fan Connector (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
– 2 x Chassis Fan Connectors (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
– 1 x Chassis Optional/Water Pump Fan Connector (4-pin) (Smart Fan Speed Control)
– 1 x 24 pin ATX Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector) (for Motherboard)
– 1 x 8 pin 12V Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector) (for Motherboard)
– 1 x 4 pin 12V Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector) (for Motherboard)
– 1 x 6 pin 12V Power Connector (Hi-Density Power Connector) (for PCIe graphics card)
– 1 x Front Panel Audio Connector (15μ Gold Audio Connector)
– 1 x Right Angle Front Panel Audio Connector
– 2 x USB 2.0 Headers (Support 4 USB 2.0 ports) (Supports ESD Protection)
– 2 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Headers (Support 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports) (Supports ESD Protection)
– 1 x Clear CMOS Switch
– 1 x Dr. Debug with LED
– 1 x Power Switch with LED
– 1 x Reset Switch with LED
– 1 x CPU Xtreme OC Switch

The Purity Sound 4 system on board the motherboard also comes with a plastic shield and powers a 7.1 channel HD audio (Realtek ALC1220 Audio Codec). The isolated PCB uses TI NE5532 Premium Headset Amplifier for Front Panel Audio Connector and supports DTS connect.

The I/O port comes with a shielded cover which reads Ryzen Threadripper on the top. Similarly, the heatsink next to the I/O cover reads X399 and they look great.

I/O on the ASRock X399 Taichi includes 2 Antenna ports, a PS/2 port, a single Optical SPDIF out port, 2 USB 3.1 (Type-A + Type-C) ports, 8 USB 3.1 ports, 2 RJ-45 LAN ports, a single BIOS flash back switch and a high quality HD audio jack.

For this review, I only had access to the Ryzen Threadripper 1920X processor and I also put the i9-7920X to the test. While both of these processors come at different price points, they do feature a 12 core, 24 thread design which will be fun to test.

AMD did not provide us with any equipment or processors for this review. The motherboards were sent by ASRock while the Threadripper CPU was bought of my own expense. Our review is entirely based purely on facts and precision. The full test setup configuration can be seen in the provided list below:

AMD X399 Platform Test Setup:

ProcessorsAMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X
Intel Core i9-7920X
Intel Core i9-7900X
Intel Core i7-7820X
Intel Core i7-7800X
Intel Core i7-7740X
Intel Core i5-7640X
Intel Core i7-6950X
Intel Core i7-6900K
Intel Core i7-6800K
Intel Core i7-7700K
Intel Core i5-7600K
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X
MotherboardsASRock X399 Professional Gaming
ASRock X399 Taichi
ASRock Z370 Professional Gaming i7
ASUS PRIME X299 Deluxe
Gigabyte GA-X99-UD7
Gigabyte AORUS Z270X-Gaming 8
ASRock X370 Killer SLI/AC
MemoryG.SKILL Trident Z RGB Series 32 GB (4 x 8GB) CL16 3600 MHz
Video CardsASUS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti STRIX OC
Power SupplyCorsair RM 750X Gold Plus
Cooling SolutionsNoctua NH-U14S TR4 SP3
Corsair H115i GTX
Cryorig R1 Ultimate
Solid State DriveSamsung SSD 960 EVO M.2 (512 GB)
Hard DiskSeagate Barracuda 1 TB 7200.12
CaseCorsair Graphite Series 780T Full Tower
BIOS UsedX399 Taichi V2.00
X399 Gaming V2.0D
OSWindows 10 64-bit

I would like to thank G.Skill for providing the Trident Z RGB memory, ASUS for providing the GTX 1080 TI STRIX OC and PRIME X299 Deluxe Motherboard and Noctua for providing their high-end NH-U14S (TR4 SP3 Socket). For overclocking, the maximum clock speeds I was able to achieve on the ASRock X399 Taichi was 4.1 GHz across all cores while the Professional Gaming gave an extra 100 MHz boost to 4.2 GHz across all 12 cores. The results are provided in the next section.

3DMark Time Spy CPU Performance

3DMark Firestrike is the widely popular video card benchmark test for Windows that is designed to measure your PC’s gaming performance. While the overall benchmark is great, the utility also provides a good indication of the CPU performance.

3DMark Firestrike CPU Performance

3DMark Firestrike is the widely popular video card benchmark test for Windows that is designed to measure your PC’s gaming performance. While the overall benchmark is great, the utility also provides a good indication of the CPU performance.

Blender

Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.

Cinebench R15

CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer’s performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Iron Man 3, Oblivion, Life of Pi or Prometheus and many more.

 

HandBrake

HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs.

PCMark 10

PCMark 10 is a complete PC benchmarking solution for Windows 10. It includes several tests that combine individual workloads covering storage, computation, image and video manipulation, web browsing and gaming. Specifically designed for the full range of PC hardware from netbooks and tablets to notebooks and desktops, PCMark 10 offers complete Windows PC performance testing for home and business use.

POV-Ray

The POV-Ray package includes detailed instructions on using the ray-tracer and creating scenes. Many stunning scenes are included with POV-Ray so you can start creating images immediately when you get the package.

SuperPI

Super PI is used by many overclockers to test the performance and stability of their computers. In the overclocking community, the standard program provides a benchmark for enthusiasts to compare “world record” pi calculation times and demonstrate their overclocking abilities. The program can also be used to test the stability of a certain overclock speed.

WinRar

WinRAR is a powerful archive manager. It can backup your data and reduce the size of email attachments, decompress RAR, ZIP and other files downloaded from Internet and create new archives in RAR and ZIP file format.

X264 HD Encode Benchmark

This benchmark measures the encoding performance of the processor. It offers a standardized benchmark as the clip as well as the encoder used is uniform.

Ashes of The Singularity

Stardock’s Ashes of the Singularity RTS title is a new take on the historic genre. The game incorporates several things that many pc gamers have been curious about and anxious to try for themselves such as Explicit Multi-Adapter Support and full Asynchronous Compute under DirectX 12 API. We tested the game at 1440P with 4x MSAA on Crazy Settings under DirectX 12.

Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 is the kind of game that doesn’t need any real introduction. The latest installment of the Battlefield series is as beautiful as anyone would expect and comes right out of the gate with full DX11 and DX12. EA and DICE did a fantastic job with their AAA WW1 shooter this time by implementing some key gaming technologies. We tested the game at 1440P using Ultra settings and DirectX 11 API.

DOOM

In 2016, Id finally released Doom. My testing wouldn’t be complete without including this title. It’s a hell fest featuring fast paced FPS action and tons of demons to kill. The latest title is based on both Vulkan and OpenGL APIs that take advantage of the latest multi-core and multi-GPU upgrades.

GTA V

GTA V is one handsomely optimized title for the PC audience. It’s scalable across various PC configurations and delivers an impressive frame rate. Rockstar did an amazing job with the PC build of GTA V and it comes with a large array of settings that can be configured by PC gamers. We tested the title at 1440P with everything set to Ultra and 4x MSAA.

Mass Effect Andromeda

Being a huge fan of the Mass Effect series, I was highly anticipating the arrival of Andromeda to store shelves. Now that it’s here, I put the fastest gaming card to the test. Using Frostbite, the latest Mass Effect title looks incredibly gorgeous and the open world settings on the different planets immerses you a lot.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

The latest Rise of the Tomb Raider title  gets lots of graphical enhancements added by Crystal Dynamics and Nixxes, including hardware tessellation, increased anisotropic filtering, additional dynamic foliage, increased LOD, additional PureHair strands, sun soft shadows, and improved bokeh DOF. We tested the game at 1440P under DirectX 12 API.

Sid Meir’s Civilization VI

Civilization VI is the pinnacle of the series. It’s featured huge, sweeping changes, and nothing was left out. Everything has found a purpose, they all work together in tandem but also have a reason to stand alone. It uses a more fleshed out engine that now supports DirectX 12 capabilities. We tested the game with every setting maxed out (4x MSAA, 4096×4096 shadow textures) at 1440P in DirectX 12.

Watch Dogs 2

Watch Dogs 2 once again takes us on a hacking tour, but this time in the city of San Francisco. Using a very evolved version of the OPUS engine the developers should have a better grasp on things this go around than they did with Watch Dogs. The new engine incorporates several NVIDIA Gameworks technologies and is seen as one of the most graphics intensive titles to launch this year. We tested the game on a mix of Ultra and high settings at 1440P (Temporal Filtering Disabled).

When it comes to power consumption, there are a few things we should take note of. First of all, Intel has focused over efficiency for several years but as we have seen, they are starting to loose rapidly at this front. The Intel Core-X processors are based on the new 14nm processors and we know this that Intel generally has a better fabrication process compared to their rivals. AMD is also using a 14nm process from Global Foundries on their Ryzen, Ryzen Threadripper and EPYC chips.

The Ryzen Threadripper chips are based on four dies rather than a single monolithic die. We have seen how that affects the temperatures but it is also crucial to see how power management is now handled on four separate dies. All four dies are connected through the infinity fabric interconnect and hence, it is used to thermally manage the load on different dies. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors feature a reference TDP of 180W and we pushed the voltage higher than stock when running the chips in overclock mode. The resultant temperatures at both stock and overclocked frequencies can be seen below:

For cooling, we used the Noctua NH-U14S TR4/SP3 cooler which is fully compatible with the Ryzen Threadripper processors and TR4 socket. This version comes with a larger surface area that makes full contact with the huge IHS on the Threadripper chips. This huge contact allows for better heat transfer to help cool the processor effectively.

In general, the Ryzen Threadripper processors are based on the 14nm process from Glofo which offers slightly better temperatures and power efficiency numbers compared to Intel’s 14nm based offerings. While Intel went with a solder less design, the Ryzen Threadripper chips come with liquid metal thermal paste on each of the four dies that are featured on the chip interposer.

This refined thermal interface offers much better heat transfer than Intel’s TIM and the Indium based solder design means that all air gaps are removed and the chip itself is tightly packaged so that the IHS can fully unload the heat from the dies and pass it straight to the cooler itself. Furthermore, the dies feature gold plating on the back to ensure proper thermal cycling which adds to the thermal qualities of this impressive chip. You can check out the full delidding of Ryzen Threadripper processors by renowned overclocker Der8auer over here. Following are the results of my Ryzen Threadripper CPU in thermal benchmarking:

ASRock X399 Taichi Motherboard

The ASRock X399 Taichi is an impressive motherboard in terms of cost and performance. It is right now the lowest priced X399 motherboard in the market but packs all the bells and whistle that you can expect from the higher priced motherboards. Sure it doesn’t has as much RGB bling as those $400 US+ X399 motherboards but in terms of specifications, you aren’t missing everything. These features include quad channel memory support with up to 128 GB capacities and speeds of 3600 MHz+, 64 PCIe Lanes scattered across the PCI-e slots, M.2 slots and U.2 port, 8 SATA 3 ports and a powerful VRM supply.

The thing I loved about this motherboard series from ASRock is that they are keeping the bulk of cooling and PCB technologies same on Taichi and Professional Gaming. The heatpipe embedded VRM cooling system is intact and the motherboard has a very neat gear design that we have come to know on Taichi motherboards.

Buy ASRock X399 Taichi Here

ASRock X399 Professional Gaming Motherboard

The ASRock X399 Professional Gaming on the other hand takes things up one notch, besting the Taichi in terms of features and slightly in terms of design too. You do end up paying $100 US more over the Taichi but $439 means that you can get a solid motherboard with dual USB 3.1, 10 GB/s Aquantia LAN and the same wireless options as the Taichi. You also get a slight bump in the inter grated audio system with Sound Blaster Cinema 3 implementation but the main take away is that this motherboard is very much a workstation design for Threadripper.

Buy ASRock X399 Professional Gaming Here

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X CPU

Finally, we have the star of the show, the Ryzen Threadripper series. For this particular review, I used my Threadripper 1920X processor which turned out to be a fantastic bang for buck at just $799 US. Yeah, the price is high if you are comparing it with the mainstream lineup but if you compare it with Intel’s own 12 core chip, that one costs $1199 US and their 10 core chip costs $999US. The AMD Ryzen Threadripper absolutely obliterates the 10 core offering in CPU intensive tasks at the given price point and delivering better thermals and power efficiency figures.

My only concern with this chip was the gaming performance which solely depends on the level of optimization the developer has put in for higher core count chips. In that regard, Threadripper is requiring lots of optimization but at the moment, we have to live on with the monthly updates from motherboard vendors and AMD themselves. AMD’s X399 is still an infant platform but in a short time, it has disrupted the HEDT market with it’s fantastic ripping performance.

Buy AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X Processor Here

9.8

An absolute juggernaut in terms of price and CPU performance, with Ryzen Threadripper, AMD has proved that they have not only returned EP(Y)CLY in the mainstream market but also the high-end desktop market. The Ryzen Threadripper 1920X at $799 US is an absolutely stellar deal for users who want lots of core for CPU intensive applications or demand workstation performance with features such as high PCIe lanes and PCIe RAID at the fraction of a price compared to what the competition offers.

Performance9.5
Value10
Design & Aesthetics10
Features10

Pros

  • 12 Cores / 24 Threads at just $799 US (Bang For Buck)
  • Amazing IPC Increase Over Previous AMD Flagship
  • Amazing Performance Increase Over Previous AMD Flagships
  • Amazing CPU (Multi-Tasking) performance
  • 14nm FinFET Process With Increased Efficiency
  • Can be tuned for CPU and Gaming Intensive Applications Through Ryzen Master Utility
  • Lower Temperatures Than Competing Intel HEDT Chips
  • Lower Power Consumption Figures Than Competing Intel HEDT Chips
  • Up To 64 PCIe Lanes
  • NVMe and NVMe RAID Support

Cons

  • Cooler Support Limited At the moment
  • Gaming Performance Depends On Optimization
  • Overclocking Can Be Limited
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