The Best X399 Motherboards to Buy in 2020 For the AMD Threadripper TR4 Socket Platform

AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper CPUs have created quite a storm in the HEDT processor market and have brought high core count computing at relatively affordable prices compared to their Intel counterparts. Ryzen Threadripper is currently the best consumer platform for workstation computing and offers a range of core counts to choose from. Complimenting the Threadripper CPUs are the X399 motherboards, which are compatible with current and previous generation Threadripper platforms.
Investing in an X399-Threadripper setup is no easy affair. It requires careful planning of the requirements and the kind of workflows that will be run on the system. While looking at a good X399 motherboard, one should take into account adequate cooling requirements as well as the processor itself can consume between 180-250W, and overclocking can push it even higher. Therefore, great attention has to be paid to the power delivery system of the board. Most other features such as M.2 slots, expansion slots, SATA ports, USB ports, etc. are fairly standard across most models.
We hereby present the 8 best X399 motherboards available in the market today for all your workstations and HEDT computing needs.

1. Asus ROG Zenith Extreme

The Asus ROG Zenith Extreme is a perfect complement for the latest 2nd generation AMD Threadripper processors. Threadripper processors are all about the massive number of threads, high PCI Express lane counts, more ports, and enhanced connectivity. The ROG Zenith Extreme includes support for all these features and more. Some of these include triple M.2 NVMe SSDs, U.2 connector, and eight DIMM slots for 128 GB RAM up to 3,600 MHz. The Zenith Extreme stands out with its networking features as well. The board features built-in 802.11ad Wi-Fi that is theoretically capable of speeds up to 4.6 Gbps, provided you have the right equipment. Apart from this, Asus also includes the ROG Aerion 10G LAN card in the package.

When it comes to performance, the ROG Zenith Extreme is easily one of the best X399 motherboards in the market today. Everything from customization to fine-tuned overclocking is easily possible with this motherboard. The AMD Threadripper processor can support up to 64 PCI Express lanes, and the Zenith Extreme helps you make the best use of that bandwidth. Performance in multi-threaded benchmarks is, needless to say, excellent while single-threaded scores aren’t bad either. You can get extract very good single-thread performance from Threadripper by overclocking to a stable 4 GHz on all cores, but you should also provide for ample cooling to ensure trouble-free operation. The BIOS is also neatly laid out for both newbies and seasoned tweakers.

  • Pros: Fully loaded with features; Excellent networking options
  • Cons: None as such

2. Gigabyte X399 Aorus Xtreme

Gigabyte X399 Aorus Xtreme

  • Features: 10+3 VRM design; Quad-channel ECC/non-ECC memory support; Ultra-durable power connectors; 3x M.2 slots with Triple thermal guard; Fins-array heatsink and direct touch heat pipe; Intel Gigabyte LAN + 10Gb Aquantia LAN; ALC1220 8 channel audio; Smart Fan 5; RGB Fusion 2; Rear power/reset/CMOS buttons
  • Socket: TR4
  • Chipset: AMD X399
  • Form Factor: E-ATX
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 15.4 x 12.6 x 4.4 in

$
699.95

The Gigabyte X399 Aorus Xtreme is a newer revision of last year’s X399 offering from Gigabyte. This time, Gigabyte has responded to criticism and has improved on the cooling and power delivery with more robust VRMs to support the newer generation Threadrippers. The board offers everything that one would expect from a top-end X399 system. Gigabyte uses the ALC12200-VB audio codec powered by the ESS Sabre Hifi Audio DAC, which offers improved audio and high signal-to-noise ratio even for the front headphone jack.

Wireless AC is built-in, and the board features not one but two Ethernet ports — one is a traditional Intel Gigabit Ethernet NIC, and the other is an Aquantia 10Gb Ethernet. Those who prefer using the Aorus X399 Xtreme on a test bench will find the backside Power, Reset, and CMOS clear buttons handy. There are four PCI Express x16 slots, of which two can work at x16 and two work at x8 speeds. An assortment of fan connectors, USB headers, diagnostic LEDs, and more are present.

Overall, the Gigabyte X399 Aorus Xtreme offers very good performance, and the 10-phase VRM design can easily power the new 32-core Threadripper 2990WX. However, one might run into issues if the CPU is pushed to limits while overclocking. Still, you should be able to hit a comfortable 4 GHz on all 32 cores with proper voltage settings. Although Aorus is a gaming brand, gamers might not derive much benefit from all the features on this board. Also, the high core count on Threadrippers does not really make it an investment solely for gaming. However, workstation users and those using the PC for advanced workflows will appreciate the features on offer such as plenty of PCI Express slots and lanes, triple M.2 NVMe slots, an excellent selection of USB ports, and the included 10Gb Ethernet.

  • Pros: Great assortment of features; Built-in 10Gb Ethernet
  • Cons: Limitations in overclocking

3. Asrock X399 Taichi

Asrock X399 Taichi

  • Features: 11-phase VRM; DDR4-3600+ (OC) support; Asrock USB 3.1 Type A and Type C 10 Gbps ports; Super Alloy aluminum heatsink; Premium memory alloy chokes; Nichicon 12k Black Caps; Dr MOS; 3x Ultra M.2 PCIe x4; 4-way NVIDIA SLI, 4-way AMD CrossFireX; BIOS Flashback; Hyper BCLK Engine III
  • Socket: TR4
  • Chipset: AMD X399
  • Form Factor: E-ATX
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 9.6 x 12 x 0.1 in

$
339.99

The Asrock X399 Taichi offers excellent performance for the AMD Threadripper lineup. Unlike most boards, it comes with a subdued black and grey aesthetic, which might appeal to many. The X399 Taichi sports the gear-shaped heatsink design that is characteristic of this series. The neutral colors are useful in ensuring that any combination of RGB lighting will instantly compliment the board. The rear I/O is standard for the most part. Asrock has equipped the board with its purity sound audio that is EMI shielded to prevent any interference. Asrock offers two U.2 ports for NVMe SSDs. You can also use M.2, but that would mean that one of the three ports gets disabled. Unlike many other boards, Asrock does not offer any heat spreaders for the M.2 slots. There are four PCI Express slots configured in x16, x8, x16, and x8 modes.

The best part about the Asrock X399 Taichi is that its VRM is top-notch compared to many other boards not only in this segment but also across platforms. Performance-wise, you won’t be having any issues with this board, and overclockers will find plenty of settings to fiddle with. Using higher RAM frequencies will help you get even better performance.

Another highly useful feature is the availability of Power, Reset, and Clear CMOS buttons directly on the board. This makes it easy to fall back in case of any erroneous setting that has resulted in an unstable system. While the Asrock X399 Taichi is one of the best sTR4 motherboards around, it has a few downsides. For one, the onboard wireless is only a 1×1 433 Mbps controller, while other brands offer a 2×2 867 Mbps controller for higher throughput. Also, there is a lack of M.2 heatsinks, and the inbox contents are pretty standard disappointing those who are looking for more goodies.

  • Pros: Very good stable performance; Good quality VRMs; Value for money
  • Cons: Not many inbox accessories; 1×1 Wi-Fi adapter

4. MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC

MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC

  • Features: DDR4-3200+ (OC) support; 13-phase Dr MOS VRM design; Swappable heatsink covers; Total cooling control; Audio Boost and Nahimic 2; X boost app; 4-way NVIDIA SLI 4-way AMD CrossFireX; 3x M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 slots
  • Socket: TR4
  • Chipset: AMD X399
  • Form Factor: E-ATX
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 10.55 x 13.4 x 3.38 in

Those looking for a good X399 motherboard without all the bells and whistles but with a focus on the essentials will find the MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC a very good choice. In terms of budget X399 offerings, it directly goes against the Asrock X399 Taichi, and both boards offer a similar feature set included Intel Gigabit LAN, triple M.2 slots, 8x SATA 6 Gbps ports, 4-way SLI and CrossFireX, and USB 3.1. However, MSI offers a few extra accessories in the package.

Apart from the usual manuals, driver CD, and SATA stickers, MSI also offers a dual-antenna Wi-Fi card, an SLI bridge, RGB splitter extension cable, case badge, fan mounting hardware, and sets of nameplate exchange covers. On the backplate, the BIOS flashback and CMOS buttons are easily accessible, and the board also offers a debug LED and a Game Boost knob for easy overclocking. Interestingly, MSI uses a vertical cooling solution for the VRMs to provide for more efficient heat dissipation. You can use included fan mounting hardware to just mount a fan that blows over the vertical heatsinks. The 10+3-phase VRM solution does its job very well.

The UEFI interface is well laid out and offers both easy and advanced modes. Overclocking is fairly easy, and the system can do 3.9 GHz on all cores easily, depending on the available cooling headroom. However, given the power consumption requirements of the platform, expect higher power utilization when the system is fully overclocked. The board is fine for gaming but shines more as a content creator’s companion. Overall, the MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC fits the bill as one of the best Threadripper 2 motherboards in the market today.

  • Pros: Relatively affordable; Good quality VRMs; Good aesthetics
  • Cons: VRMs require air cooling when overclocked

5. Asrock X399 Professional Gaming

Asrock X399 Professional Gaming

  • Features: 11-phase VRM; DDR4-3600+ (OC) support; Asrock USB 3.1 Type A and Type C 10 Gbps ports; Super Alloy aluminum heatsink; Premium memory alloy chokes; Nichicon 12k Black Caps; Dr MOS; 3x Ultra M.2 PCIe x4; 4-way NVIDIA SLI, 4-way AMD CrossFireX; BIOS Flashback; Hyper BCLK Engine III; Aquantia 10 Gb LAN; Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3 audio
  • Socket: TR4
  • Chipset: AMD X399
  • Form Factor: E-ATX
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 9.6 x 12 x 0.1 in

$
$449.99
299.99
Save $150

The Asrock X399 Professional Gaming is another one of Asrock’s offering for the AMD X399 platform. It features most aspects of the X399 Taichi and adds a few gamer-centric features. Despite targeted at gamers, the design isn’t too flashy, and the RGB lighting effects are limited to the heatsink. Of course, you do get plenty of headers for adding RGB LED strips. The X399 Professional Gaming offers excellent connectivity options and a good array of networking features.

You get a wireless AC plus Bluetooth module, two Intel 211AT Gigabit NICs, and an Aquantia 10Gb Ethernet. Whether a 10Gb Ethernet is really required for a gaming motherboard or not is up for debate, but if you are on the lookout for one, you do have the option. The onboard Realtek ALC1220 audio chip supports the Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3 codec, and the audio channels are shielded from any kind of electromagnetic interference.

The Asrock X399 Professional Gaming will satisfy the needs of most demanding gamers — be it those who run multi-GPU systems or those who like to customize their system to no end. The headers are placed to the bottom side, allowing for easy access. The VRMs do a good job of ensuring clean power supply to the processor and allow for good overclocking potential. Overall performance in both content creation and gaming is excellent. You will not find much difference between the X399 Taichi and this one, and you can actually go for the Taichi if you’d like to save some money and don’t need the 10Gb NIC. In fact, you will lose out on the internal USB 3.1 Type-C header due to the 10 Gb NIC for lack of enough PCI Express lanes.

  • Pros: Excellent VRM quality; 10Gb LAN; Good storage options
  • Cons: No internal USB 3.1 Type-C header

6. MSI MEG X399 Creation

MSI MEG X399 Creation

  • Features: 16+3 DrMos VRMs; DDR4-3200 OC memory support; 3-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire; BIOS flash without CPU; M.2 shield Frozr; Audio Boost 4 with Nahimic 3; M.2 Xpander Aero card
  • Socket: TR4
  • Chipset: AMD X399
  • Form Factor: E-ATX
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 10.7 x 12 x 5 in

If you are on the lookout for the best X399 motherboard to complement your new 32-core 64-thread AMD Threadripper 2990WX, then your quest stops with the MSI MEG X399 Creation. This board features a whopping 16 phase VRM design to enable maximum power delivery for overclocking this beast of a CPU. This board features everything that you expect in a top-end workstation board. MSI also bundles in an M.2 Xpander card that can take an additional four NVMe PCI Express x4 SSDs apart from the ones already on board. The ability of the MEG X399 Creation to supply nearly unlimited power to Threadripper is a welcome feature that is not usually found in many motherboards.

MSI has included nearly every feature that an enthusiast would want to have but has also targeted the board at gamers. The AMD Threadripper, though, is not really a gaming CPU, and most gamers would not be exploiting all the features of this board anyways. Still, the presence of three RGB headers means that even serious pros can flaunt some bling if needed. Performance-wise, the MSI MEG X399 Creation is the best in its class, and although the boot times are slightly lower, it manages to more than make up for them with excellent performance in demanding apps and in overclocking. Unlike several other X399 boards, there is no built-in 10Gb Ethernet, which we feel would have been apt than other gaming features.

  • Pros: Top-end performance for 2990WX; 16-phase VRMs; M.2 Xpander card
  • Cons: No built-in 10Gb Ethernet; Expensive

7. Asus ROG Strix X399-E Gaming

Asus ROG Strix X399-E Gaming

  • Features: Up to 128 GB DDR4 3600+ RAM support; 2 NMVe M.2; Front USB 3.1 Gen2; Front U.2; 5-way optimization; FanXpert 4; Onboard 802.11ac; SafeSlots for 4-way SLI and Crossfire-X; Aura Sync RGB; SupremeFX S1220A audio
  • Socket: TR4
  • Chipset: AMD X399
  • Form Factor: E-ATX
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 10.6 x 12 x 1.5 in

$
324.99

The Asus ROG Strix X99-E gaming is a less-expensive alternative to the ROG Zenith Extreme and features support for AMD’s latest Threadripper CPUs and most features that are found in other X399 motherboards. The board is targeted at gamers, but there aren’t too many flashy RGB lights. You still get enough headers for adding your own lights, though. The placement of the POST code indicator is not the ideal location as it can get obscured when you install any expansion cards or have a bunch of cables running over it. The heatsink design both on the chipset and the VRMs is good and will allow for more efficient cooling. Some of the features usually found in more expensive X399 boards such as gold-plated audio jacks, built-in I/O shield, etc. are not present in the ROG Strix X399-E.

While the ROG Strix X399-E does not have some of the exclusive features of other boards in this list, it features robust overclocking and a very intuitive BIOS. Even if you push the SoC voltage to 1.2V and the CPU voltage to 1.425V, the system will be relatively stable, and you should be able to hit 4 GHz on all cores on Threadripper 1920X. The ROG Strix does compromise on storage performance to ensure that you use the latest drivers to at least get some improved numbers. Performance in real-world and synthetic benchmarks is excellent, so Asus has you covered in that aspect.

  • Pros: Very good overclocking potential; User-friendly BIOS
  • Cons: Storage performance is lower

8. Gigabyte X399 Designare EX

Gigabyte X399 Designare EX

  • Features: Quad-channel DDR4-3600+ OC memory support; Front and rear USB 3.1 Type-C; onboard Intel wireless AC; 4-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX; Gold-plated capacitors; Intel GbE LAN with cFosSpeed accelerator; ALC1220 120dB audio; RGB Fusion; Smart Fan 5; 3x M.2 NVMe SSD with thermal guard
  • Socket: TR4
  • Chipset: AMD X399
  • Form Factor: E-ATX
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 12.25 x 15 x 4.22 in

$
389.99

The Gigabyte X399 Designare EX stays true to its name and is indeed one of the best designed X399 boards in the market. The board features everything one expects from a top-class X399 motherboard and comes with the adequate port selection and judicious use of all the space. Like many other Threadripper boards, you get two GbE NICs and wireless AC onboard along with USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C connectors. On the board itself, one finds a host of RGB headers, debug LED, Power/Reset/CMOS buttons, USB headers, fan connectors, and a USB 3.1 Gen2 front panel header, among others. The Desigare EX supports both ECC and non-ECC RAm so you can use any memory module you like although, it is a known fact that Threadrippers works best with the fastest RAM on the market.

Given the features and aesthetics, the Designare EX is targeted more towards professional users than gamers. That is not to say that gamers will not be benefited from this board. However, investing Threadripper exclusively for gaming is not an ideal value proposition. Audio quality is good, and the gold-plated audio jacks ensure a minimal signal loss. Users might feel the lack of onboard 10Gb LAN a bit concerning, but since it is not a very ubiquitous standard yet, it really isn’t a negative aspect. Plus, you can always pop in a 10Gb expansion card whenever needed. Overclockers will have some concerns, though, as the lack of additional power connectors means power delivery will not be adequate if you maximize the GPUs and overclock each of them. Still, the Gigabyte X399 Designare EX is one of the best Threadripper 2 motherboards available and is an easy recommendation.

  • Pros: Very good performance; Good looks
  • Cons: Expensive; Low overclocking performance

As you’ve seen so far, the option in the X399 motherboard category is limited but very powerful. You will not go wrong with any of the boards listed above, and the choices really narrow down to the kind of work you intend to do and your interest in overclocking the system to the maximum limit. While certain boards do offer extras such as add-on M.2 expansion cards or onboard 10Gb Ethernet, you can certainly save some pennies by opting for a more basic variant and then scaling up as per need. Just remember that the AMD Threadripper X399 platform is not really recommended exclusively for gaming, and if you are looking at those aspects, we’d suggest you opt for the lesser expensive AMD X470 or Intel Z390 platforms.

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