ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme Threadripper Mobo Review @ [H]

Discussion in 'AMD MoBos' started by FrgMstr, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme Threadripper Mobo Review

    The ASUS ROG Zenith Extreme is poised to be the definitive choice for a high end Threadripper based build. It’s one of the most feature rich and complete solutions we’ve ever seen in our years of reviewing hardware. It's also one of the most expensive. However, if you are going for a no-holds-barred Threadripper build you won't want to miss this one.
     
  2. ole-m

    ole-m Limp Gawd

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    If it was a ryzen 5 or 7 build I wouldn't be that critical to achieving max clock, like being furious reaching 2933 on a 3200 kit but I think it really matters a lot when you are in TR4 realm, you've spent your money and more!

    But in regards to the derb8er leak of nvme disks I found a use case for a TR4, albeit an expensive toy!

    Vmware on 1950x
    stick in 128gb ddr4, or 256gb assuming it boots fine like ryzen 7 does on 32gb dimms.

    256 gb for vm's with that cpu power isn't really enough for vm's so here comes the solution considering we on xeons with 22 cores run 512 gb which is a net result of same effective cpu performance.

    Fill the whole board with nvme drives use it for Swap! 28gb/sec is more than enough for most vm's out there, using 8 2tb samsung 960 drives nets you 16TB of memory at half cpu memory bandwidth and you still have a 7800x worth of pci-e lanes left ;)


    That's my entry for Threadripper fun things to do at home
     
  3. tangoseal

    tangoseal [H]ardness Supreme

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    Wonderful review Dan and thanks Kyle for your feeback within the review. I am running this board right now and I am impressed heavily by its build and performance.

    I wished Threadripper had a higher IPC in games but it aint no slouch at normal real life resolutions. I also think the included Wireless 60ghz is a nice touch if VR wireless headsets head that direction.

    Good board deserving of your Gold award indeed.
     
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  4. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. Always good to have reader hands-on feedback in these threads.
     
  5. Quartz-1

    Quartz-1 [H]ardness Supreme

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    That looks very good. Thank you. I do have two questions: does the board come with the 0601 BIOS or another? And if another, why didn't you test with the latest publicly available BIOS, the 0503 BIOS?

    With so many USB ports I would have liked to have seen more type C ports. I noted that a number of the USB ports had individual labels - could you expand on that?

    PS You have a typo in page 1: it's shearing, not sheering. The OED suggests clarification by adding stress, strength, or strain as appropriate.

    Would you not be using Epyc for this?

    I was intrigued by this. I would like to see [H] do an article on aerials for wireless. After all, if the PC is stuck against a wall, there could be a lot of metal between the aerial on the back of the PC and any receptors, so aerial extension cables are going to be a must.
     
  6. tangoseal

    tangoseal [H]ardness Supreme

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    It has about a 3 foot or just under 1 meter long coaxial cable and a stick anywhere single element antenna. Which honestly is too long for the coax they used. For 60ghz you need like a 4 inch think air insulated hardline to maintain any functional power levels. There is just too much loss. But the range to a VR HMD only needs to be 10 foot at max give or take.
     
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  7. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    No clue what will be on retail boards.

    We did test with 0503, moved to 0601 when supplied which is normal testing procedure for us. As was detailed in the conclusion, 0601 was expected to be public by now.
     
  8. H2R2P2

    H2R2P2 Limp Gawd

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    Was the background graphic area of the UEFI always blue for you? I am running the same setup that you tested (even the same UEFI revisions) and my background color has always been red. Also- a 0602 UEFI was posted on overclockers.net which includes all the hardware NVME RAID options. There are ASUS guys that post in teh forums over there, so lots of good information. One last thing, do you have a way to test a 128GB memory kit? I have a Corsair Vengence 128GB kit that is "supposed" to work with threadripper but the board wont post when more than 4 modules are installed. I am going to see if the 0602 UEFI fixes this, but its near impossible to get legit info on 128GB kits. Several people with the same kit as mine claim to have it working, but they always go silent when I ask them for the settings they are running at.
     
  9. Nicepants42

    Nicepants42 Gawd

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    It's been a while since I recall seeing a motherboard review with so many great-looking software features; AI Suite is gold standard, BIOS is best in class, auto-overclock DIP5 accepts ranges and gives you test reports and "Generally com[es] very close to the maximum achievable overclock that you can get by hand" ?! Holy shit, I am at full staff attention.

    Then you have OLED screen for errors, fan control second to none with add-in header board and throw in well designed lighting control - I can only get so [H]ard, ASUS!

    This is the stuff that sells a motherboard for me. Software quality of this level makes me want to pay the high price. (And fuck me, that is a high price.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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  10. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    This is one of those boards I wished I had more hands on time with. It felt like a lot of stuff got resolved when it went back to Kyle. On another note, I am actively considering purchasing an AMD Threadripper 1950X to use on this motherboard.
     
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  11. The Cobra

    The Cobra 2[H]4U

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    I've had good times with this board so far. Although, this is the first time I have never overclocked a CPU which I own.
     
  12. Nicepants42

    Nicepants42 Gawd

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    I'm actively considering a career change that would justify a Threadripper system to use this motherboard.
    {S}oft.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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  13. jnemesh

    jnemesh [H]ard|Gawd

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    Excellent review! I am, however, disappointed that they rely on a PCI card for 2 m.2 slots. I am looking at the Gigabyte Aorus Gaming 7, and it looks like it offers a MUCH better value, and has a bit more refinement in design over ASUS's excellent offering. If they were the same price, it would be a coin toss, but at around a $200 premium and the only REAL benefit I see with the Zenith being 10G Ethernet (which I won't use), I am going with the Gigabyte.
     
  14. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    It's DIMM.2, which is a proprietary card. You can use PCI-Express cards for M.2 as well, but again, NVMe M.2 devices ARE PCI-Express based, so what's the difference? It's better than having the slots down underneath GPU's and getting baked to the point where they might throttle in some people's systems.

    The GIGABYTE X399 Aorus Gaming 7 is more refined? Tell me how? The ASUS board supports the newer 802.11AD WiFi standard. GIGABYTE doesn't. The ASUS board is using an Intel NIC, not the Killer NIC. ASUS has the Live Dash feature and doesn't have to rely on the ancient POST code display. ASUS has the very nice built in I/O shield, GIGABYTE doesn't. ASUS has more / better fan control in UEFI. GIGABYTE's audio implementation is a COPY of ASUS' ROG implementation and actually worse in this case as the ASUS has the Sabre DAC and the S1220 CODEC compared to the standard ALC1220 and a software based Sound Blaster software package. Lastly, GIGABYTE's X399 Aorus Gaming 7 has it's M.2 slots mixed into the GPU area and those heat sinks don't mitigate all the heat build up. I'd take ASUS' DIMM.2 M.2 implementation over the alternatives any day of the week.

    If you think ASUS' design isn't worth a $200 price premium over GIGABYTE's design, I'd understand that. However, I don't think it's accurate to say that GIGABYTE's design is more refined because it isn't. I will say though, GIGABYTE is using captive screws on it's M.2 covers which is awesome. I will also say that the Zenith Extreme works with more memory modules that I have on hand than GIGABYTE's X399 Aorus Gaming 7 does.
     
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  15. Patricio

    Patricio n00b

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    Dan, this is an awesome review I am in the process of builting a threadripper system and this review is timely and very valuable as this motherboard was my choice. Also the information about the memory to get it working at 3200 is very useful as i was inclining to another option but your experience is very valuable as this is something that works.
    Kyle, thanks a lot for your comments and your "preview" of the Enermax 360 TR4 performance as that was my AIO of choice and it is really good to know that performs in a way you can be on the 3.9 / 4 Ghz range without the need of a custom loop for not long period of times.
    In general in this case this review was very timely and provided lot of good information. This is why i love HardOCP
     
  16. Starrbuck

    Starrbuck 2[H]4U

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    All I can say is it looks like y'all are having a blast and thanks for the review!
     
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  17. tangoseal

    tangoseal [H]ardness Supreme

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    My retail board shipped with a 04 something bios. The only one you can get from Asus is 0503 or something like that cant remember.

    The dimm.2 slots is a PCI-e direct connecr to the processor. It isnt sone funky weirdness. It is a full line speed multilane NVMe highway. Infact ir can hold two cards with a cooling fan. I will add a fan to mine when I get a second card on it.

    The wireless is good but I have it disabled in bios as I do not have the antennas hooked up and dont want to blow the final transisitors due to an infinite standing wave ratio by not having antennas attached.

    Also PState OC is disabled in the current bios. Its grayed out even rhough the submenu is there. I am not overclocking until I can Pstate OC.
     
  18. TheGameguru

    TheGameguru [H]ard|Gawd

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    With Dual Titan Xp in the PCIe_16 Slots I was unable to get my U.2 Drive (Intel 750) to work with the ROG 10Gbe card in any of the other PCIe slots even with PCIeX8/X4 Mode set to X4. Asus support was unable to help with this either as they have been silent. Once I remove the 10Gbe card the U.2 drive appears again in BIOS and Windows 10. Running Bios 503.

    I have a 4TB Samsung SSD in SATA 1 and a 8GB and 10GB HD in SATA 2 and 3 as well. All signs say the U.2 drive should work with the 10GBe card in the x8/x4 PCIe slot but no dice.
     
  19. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    I don't have the board or I'd try that test. I used an Intel SSD 750 with our test board and it worked fine. Of course I wasn't running dual graphics cards in it.
     
  20. jnemesh

    jnemesh [H]ard|Gawd

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    Gigabyte lists this on their page:

    • Killer E2500 GbE LAN Gaming Network
    Also, 802.11ad is worthless. You have to be RIGHT NEXT to the damn router, and if you are, why aren't you hardwired?
    I also believe it's more elegant to have the m.2 slots on the MB directly than on a card. The heatsinks work as advertised, dont know what you are talking about there.
    The sound card I dont care about...the "DAC-UP" feature I DO care about, as I won't be using the onboard sound but an external DAC with my system.
    Also, I am seeing the I/O shield on the Gigabyte as well, WTF are you talking about here?

    Seriously, your post reads like an Asus fanboi who can't get over the fact that someone has a different opinion. So it goes where it belongs, in the rubbish bin.
     
  21. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    You can believe what you want about the M.2 slots. M.2 is a SHIT form factor for desktops and really has had no place to be in a desktop to begin with. M.2 is a mobile friendly form factor that's been adopted by the SSD makers because they can build one product for mobile and desktop systems. Intel concentrates on the server SSD space, so it's drives are repurposed commercial drives. Effectively, the consumer companies are producing such drives in a mobile only form factor and that's what motherboard manufacturers have provisioned for primarily. U.2 and standard 2.5" form factors are simply better for the desktop as they are in enterprise space. M.2 slots underneath GPU's is not and never has been a good idea. It's very possible to hit thermal throttling thresholds doing so in some cases. If your like me and you've got adequate cooling, ventelliation and low ambient temperatures it's not so bad, but not everyone will be in the same situation. Secondly, they don't "work" as advertised. All the testing I've done on those "heat sinks" suggests you roughly break even. They are about as worth while as "Thermal Armor" on ASUS ROG motherboards. They are more for cosmetic appeal than anything. In the worst cases, the drives get hotter under those heat sinks. I will say that I think GIGABYTE did a better job with them that most other implementations I've seen, but it's a far cry from being more elegant. ASUS' solution is innovative. It also allows for active cooling to be used and to keep the drives away from hot GPUs. That's function over form. Screw elegance. What was your point about the Killer NIC? The E2500 isn't as good as the Intel i219v. It's actually worse for CPU usage in most cases. The software for them also blows in my opinion and I'm not alone in thinking that. Intel adapters just work and rarely even need drivers loaded to do so. Windows usually has them and they work fine. The DAC-UP feature, I'll grant you might be appealing if you are going with an external DAC, but if your not ASUS has a better solution here.
    [​IMG]

    ASUS has an INTEGRATED I/O SHIELD. You obviously didn't read what I wrote in the review or above. It's far more elegant and a lot fucking nicer than the basic padded tin shit the GIGABYTE board comes with. I slam lots of companies for going cheap on the I/O shields, so this isn't a GIGABYTE only thing. ASUS even still uses the cheaper ones on less expensive boards. I simply prefer the look, quality and elegance of ASUS' integrated design. When I first saw it, I was like "Why the fuck has no one thought of this before?" Now, as being someone who has tested BOTH of these boards, I can tell you that either one is a good choice. The GIGABYTE is a little quirkier with memory in my experience, but both are good boards. You stated that the GIGABYTE board is more elegant, when nothing about it's design suggests this in comparison to the Zenith Extreme. I have pointed out several things about the design which I believe to be more elegant on the ASUS board than the GIGABYTE board. You and I are going to have to agree to disagree on the "elegance" of the M.2 implementations but I'd put money on the M.2 drives running cooler on the ASUS version. I don't care how elegant it appears to be, I want it to function. That's all. While I'm at it, I'll tell you why else ASUS' solution to this issue is better. The ASUS solution supports separate drive LED headers, both slots support 22110 type devices AND are much more easily installed, removed, or replaced after the system is built. Pulling a video card to get to your M.2 drive and fuck with the tiny ass screw in a vertical position isn't fun. Pulling the card like a DIMM and working with it on a flat surface away from graphics cards is better.

    I don't really care what your opinion is, or that it differs from mine. I simply couldn't understand why you had stated that GIGABYTE's design was more elegant as I look at the GIGABYTE X399 Aorus Gaming 7 on my test bench and compare it to the Zenith Extreme. The ASUS Zenith Extreme is considerably more expensive, so I have no problem with the GIGABYTE motherboard being "less elegant." I stated reasons why I called that opinion into question. You can like the GIGABYTE board better for whatever reasons you want, real or imagined. I don't care. This is a discussion forum, so I was discussing your opinion on the subject. You are the one who seems to have a problem with dissenting opinions. Call me a fan boy if you like, but that's simply not the case. I call it like it is. GIGABYTE has made motherboards that were better than anything ASUS had to offer at times. I'd certainly put a GIGABYTE AX370 Gaming K7 in my machine before an ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero. That's for damn sure. I do not come up with these opinions randomy, and I'm one of the first people to say "fuck brand loyalty" in threads.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  22. jkw

    jkw Gawd

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    Hey Dan, you stated that you had problems with the wireless, and also that the 10G card didn't work and "requires replacement of the board". Can you expound on these two issues? Specifically, what was the fix for the wireless? Will I need to send the 10G card in for replacement? You stated that the 10G has been fixed now?
     
  23. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    ASUS has informed us that both issues have been addressed. We need to get the new 10G card to test.
     
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  24. Dan_D

    Dan_D [H]ardOCP Motherboard Editor

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    Certainly.

    The wireless wasn't working for me. Evidently there were some driver issues with the adapter. According to ASUS I didn't have the correct driver version. You also have to select the correct operating mode in the control panel. There are two modes, 802.11ac / everything else and 802.11ad. This isn't something I've ever had to do with any adapter before and I've worked with everything on the consumer side to Mezzanine and fibre channel HBA's. Therefore, having to switch between WiFi modes in the driver didn't occur to me until ASUS pointed it out to me. I couldn't test this because it had to go back to Kyle by the time I was given the information on resolving my driver issues. If you download the driversr on the ASUS website now, you shouldn't have any problems.

    The 10G card worked, but didn't perform correctly. The performance I was getting was only that of a 100Mbit adapter. As a result I contacted ASUS and evidently there were some Areion cards that went to reviewers in a specific serial range that had a firmware issue that caused poor performance. There were a half dozen or so of these that went out to reviewers and not the public. Production motherboards shouldn't have this problem as you won't get one of the half dozen effected cards. ASUS had to send a replacement adapter, and I need to follow up with them about that. The adapter is going to be sold separately, and isn't specific to ROG motherboards. The Zenith Extreme simply comes with one. Therefore, I can test the card on any platform and report my results later on. Initially, I didn't have a 10G card to connect it to in the first place but I do now so I can test it at full speed when I get ahold of another one.

    I hope that clears up any confusion.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2017
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  25. jkw

    jkw Gawd

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    Thank you VERY much Dan and Kyle for the quick and very informative replies. :) Dinner and drinks on me if either of you guys are ever in the KC area.
     
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  26. rgMekanic

    rgMekanic [H]ard|News Staff Member

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    Looks good to me, and good choices on components.

    Only thing I'd consider is instead of that 24 pin jumper, find one like this
    https://www.amazon.com/CRJ-24-Pin-S...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=GM8EMF8CA11708F42MQN

    Makes it a bunch easier to prime/fill than the plug only type
     
  27. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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  28. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    Looks like UEFI 0601 is going to get skipped on the support page. 0801 will be going up next week. It is ready for NVME RAID. :)

    The 0801 EFI update has a number of changes in it related to performance enhancements from memory overclocking to temperature readings, but it also includes the latest NVME RAID firmware for AMD’s upcoming NVME bootable RAID driver that will be released shortly.
     
  29. ole-m

    ole-m Limp Gawd

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    I think my bottom line covered it :
    Fun things to do at home with Threadripper.

    it was just that.. you can :)
     
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  30. Quartz-1

    Quartz-1 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Good man!
     
  31. Phixzet

    Phixzet Limp Gawd

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    Anyone using nvme with this board?

    Having trouble getting good temps in the DIMM.2 location. Have pretty good case ventilation - just that area has a lot of impediments to good airflow.
     
  32. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    From what I have seen, temp is not that big of a concern unless you have it tucked under a super hot GPU. The integrated cover acts as a heatsink and had a thermal pad on it as well.
     
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  33. Phixzet

    Phixzet Limp Gawd

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    I'm using the DIMM.2 riser... Not the chipset cooler.

    Debating moving it under the chipset cooler, but my 2TB 960 Pro is rather expensive and if something goes wrong, I'd prefer not to have hassles with Samsung on the warranty with that thermal pad. (Not sure if it would come off well)

    Right now, my temps:

    Video card: 50C (power limited to 180W, fan at 61% on manual)
    SSD: 62C (But I have my 3 case fans at a pretty high speed to keep ti that low)
    RAM: 42-46C
    PCH: 53C
    VRM: 48C (CPU Power currently at 107 / 180 W)

    In the end I'm just trying to figure out what to do to get my drive temp at a good place. Not a ton of SSD IO going on right now... Mostly just web stuff and recording one video camera.

    It's my video card that is giving off radiant heat I think, plus the limited SSD load, plus the fact that my Enermax AIO 280 is in the front of the case.

    My options are:

    1) Put a memory fan on the SSD
    2) Put a thermal pad on the SSD controller and hope that resolves it. (Put it over the copper label heatsink that only partially covers the controller chip)
    3) Move the SSD to under the chipset cooler, and hope I never have to RMA the drive. (in case the thermal pad doesn't come off easily)
     
  34. H2R2P2

    H2R2P2 Limp Gawd

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    What are you using to measure the SSD temps? I have 3x 960 Pro's on mine running in an NVME raid (two in the riser, one on the motherboard). I have Corsair memory fans over the RAM which in turn also cools the NVME DIMM module so I could perhaps give you an idea as to what temps you could expect.
     
  35. Phixzet

    Phixzet Limp Gawd

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    I am using HWINFO.

    Can you give me an idea of the SSD temp that is under the chipset cooler? And your PCH temp as well? (As I assume that's measured in the same area and would be a good indicator of the temp rise I could use versus my situation)

    I was thinking of that corsair fan but would prefer not to put yet another noise source in there if I had a better solution.

    Of course I'd also like your DIMM.2 SSD temps too if possible :)

    Thanks!
     
  36. STEM

    STEM Gawd

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    Do you guys happen to know if ASUS discontinued the ZENITH EXTREME? I can't find it anywhere in stock. I also called ASUS today, and they said that it's still in production (after waiting for nearly half an hour on the phone). Thank you.
     
  37. FrgMstr

    FrgMstr Just Plain Mean Staff Member

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    No clue.
     
  38. H2R2P2

    H2R2P2 Limp Gawd

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    I was at Microcenter yesterday and they had them in stock.