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Asus hint at 5GHz overclocking on AMD’s X399 Ryzen Threadripper platform

Asus ROG Zenith Extreme X399 motherboard

Asus held their Computex motherboard workshop today, giving us our first taste of the X399 platform designed for AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper CPUs. And there was a potentially cheeky overclocking hint in some of the display materials… can your eagle eyes spot it?

It’s all very well having a monster CPU, but without a great gaming monitor who cares, right?

On the left hand side of the image of the ROG Zenith Extreme, around the rear I/O connections, you can see a little LED screen reading, 5.005GHz. That could be a little tease as to the overclocking potential of the new AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors.

An Asus representative introducing the new board said they couldn’t possibly disclose any performance numbers before AMD had a chance to say anything. They could just be keeping quiet, but with a sly nod to the potential performance, or it could simply be a mocked up example of the board in action.

The socket is empty after all, so it’s definitely not taken from a live photo. But AMD are set to talk more about Ryzen Threadripper at tomorrow’s press conference, so we might not have long to wait to find out.

AMD TR4 Threadripper socket

But either way it’s still a fascinating first look at the new AMD TR4 socket they’re using for Threadripper, and also at AMD’s first LGA, pins-on-the-motherboard variant too. Though I doubt they’re going to be able to get this display board up and running again without some serious socket surgery – just look at all those poor li’l bent pins…

The full specs list for the Asus ROG Zenith Extreme shows a full eight DIMM slots for quad-channel DDR4, with a maximum capacity of 128GB (though interestingly there were no memory frequency numbers), six SATA 6Gbps ports, a pair of DIMM.2 PCIe SSD slots, one standard M.2 socket and four full x16 PCIe 3.0 expansion slots. There’s also 15 USB 3.1 ports and a pair of quaint ol’ USB 2.0 connections too, y’know, for old time’s sake.

That’s proper server-class fare, with far more than just a passing resemblance to Intel’s competing X299 motherboards.

Asus ROG Zenith Extreme X399 Threadripper motherboard

At the Asus event we also saw Intel’s new Core i9 7900X Skylake-X CPU getting overclocked, with a 22% performance boost on our overclocked Core i7 6950X. That was the deca-core chip of the previous Broadwell-E generation, and is twice what Intel are suggesting for a multithreaded performance uplift.

And last, but maybe not least, Asus also hinted at the upcoming Z370 and Z390 motherboard chipsets coming for the 8th generation Core processors which are due to launch around the holidays at the end of the year.

Yeah, so AMD released the X370 chipset for Ryzen, then announced the X399 chipset for Threadripper, beating Intel’s Z270 and X299 by a whole 100 points on the official PCGN Irrelevance Index. And now Intel are slapping back with a Z390 chipset to upstage AMD. But it’s only 20 points better, so AMD still win, right? Sigh.

I mean, this is just getting ridiculous now. The whole faintly embarrassing tit-for-tat naming scuffle is becoming more and more like a couple of schoolkids arguing in the playground. I’m getting a bit bored with it, though maybe it’s one of those Stewart Lee-esque repetitious jokes which are funny, then hilarious, then boring, then annoying and finally back to funny again. Here’s hoping…

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