Walletripper: $1,300 Threadripper 7000 motherboard costs almost as much as the cheapest 12-core Pro chip

Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE (Image credit: Asus)

Announced in October, the Asus Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE motherboard has finally gone up for preorder with an eye-watering $1,299.99 price tag, just $100 cheaper than the 12-core Ryzen Threadripper Pro 7945WX. The premium motherboard, which caters to AMD's Ryzen Threadripper Pro 7000 WX-series (Storm Peak) processors, is one of the most over-engineered pieces of hardware you'll ever see.

The Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE arrives in an EEB form factor, meaning the motherboard measures 12 x 13 inches (30.5 x 33cm). It's not a huge issue considering the type of consumer that will use the Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE. Nonetheless, it's still something to consider since although E-ATX and EEB share identical dimensions, the score holes are different. While EEB motherboards will fit into cases designed for E-ATX motherboards, it doesn't necessarily mean the case has the appropriate screw holes.

Although the motherboard features AMD's sTR5 socket, it only supports the Ryzen Threadripper Pro 7000 WX-series SKUs. The WRX90 chipset, used on the Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE, is compatible with the non-Pro variants. Besides bringing Pro-grade features, the WRX90 chipset is superior to the consumer TRX50 chipset in many ways, including up to 148 PCIe 5.0 lanes (56 more than TRX50) and eight-channel memory support up to 2TB (as opposed to quad-channel and 1TB on TRX50).

The power sub-delivery system on the Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE has 41 power stages distributed in a 32+3+3+3 design. That's sufficient to feed even the power-hungry Ryzen Threadripper processors, including the flagship Ryzen Threadripper Pro 7995WX with 96 Zen 4 cores. As a result, the Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE has a bunch of power connectors. Besides the typical 24-pin power connector, the motherboard has two 8-pin +12V power connectors, two 8-pin PCIe to CPU power connectors, and two 8-pin PCIe power connectors.

The Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE is a generous motherboard in almost every aspect. It provides four M.2 PCIe 5.0 x4 slots linked directly to the Ryzen Threadripper Pro 7000 WX-series processor for storage. Two slots can handle M.2 drives up to 80mm, whereas the other two accommodate SSDs up to 110mm. Meanwhile, the WRX90 chipset supplies four standard SATA III ports and two SlimSAS slots supporting PCIe 4.0 x4 mode on NVMe drives. AMD RAIDXpert2 technology is always present to allow SATA and PCIe RAID arrays, such as RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10.

As for expansion, you get up to seven PCIe 5.0 x16 expansion slots, with only one of them limited to x8 electrically. Internet connectivity is lacking because there's no wireless on the Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE. The previous Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE WIFI II came with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. Nevertheless, the Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE does have two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports based on an Intel controller and one Gigabit Ethernet port based on a Realtek controller for the AST2600 baseboard management controller (BMC).

The mix of USB ports on the Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE includes two USB4 Type-C ports provided by the ASMedia ASM4242 controller, six USB 10 GBbps Type-A ports, and one USB 2.0 port. Regarding display ports, there's one VGA PORT and two mini DisplayPort IN. The motherboard leverages the Realtek ALC1220P audio codec with two 3.5mm audio inputs.

B&H Photo Video currently has the Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE on preorder for $1,299.99. The new version is 30% more expensive than the Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE WIFI II, which sells for $999 at the same retailer. The expected availability for the  Pro WS WRX90E-SAGE SE is January 29, 2024.

Zhiye Liu
RAM Reviewer and News Editor

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    The MSI MEG X670E GODLIKE costs $1300 too (currently on sale for $1241.99) and can only do x16/x0/x4 or x8/x8/4, and has far fewer features, so you could say it's far better value than the highest end consumer board :)
  • coromonadalix
    when you'll pay for the cpu you'll see the difference loll

    mobo is one thing cpu is the other
  • das_stig
    When your pay $1300 for a CPU, what's another $1300 for the motherboard, when you also factor in memory, storage and GPU, this isn't your average consumer machine, so price is irrelevant to most who will purchase.
  • jp7189
    It looks like the VRM fin stack is oriented side to side whereas most cases in the workstation class will blow front to back. This seems like a missed detail for a board in this class.
  • coromonadalix
    good catch
  • GustavoVanni
    But it is gorgeous! I'd buy three of them — one to go inside my PC and another two to frame on the wall, one showcasing the front and the other displaying the back.
  • drajitsh
    I think there is a complexity -manufacturing bottleneck between PCI-E 5 and its redrivers, the extra PCI-E lanes (>>128), DDR5, CXLmemory and higher power at lower voltages. There is a full 1Q delay between announcement 27/10/23 and availability Jan 29,2024.

    This is easily the most complex single processor production board I have seen. Even epyc Genoa boards do not have either the full memory or the full PCI-E slots.
    It is a beast and worth it for the right use case.
  • Avro Arrow
    I think that this article may be a bit of an overreaction when it comes to the price of a premium ASUS motherboard. A premium motherboard in the mainstream segment tends to cost a good deal more than the cheapest CPU that it can take and then you have to add the "ASUS-tax" which only makes it worse:

    AM5 Cheapest CPU: R5-7600 - $194Cheapest X670E Motherboard: ASRock X670E PG Lightning - $230Cheapest ASUS X670E Motherboard: Asus PRIME X670E-PRO WIFI - $325
    LGA1700 Cheapest CPU: i3-13100F - $119Cheapest Z690 Motherboard with DDR5: ASRock Z690 Phantom Gaming 4/D5 - $155Cheapest ASUS Z690 Motherboard with DDR5: ASUS TUF Gaming Z690-PLUS-WIFI - $196
    If you're building a pro-level HEDT workstation, then yeah, you're going to be spending some serious coin. Every time you go up a level, you pay exponentially more than the level below it. Just ask the people who have owned and operated Quadro GPUs.

    The idea with a pro-level Threadripper HEDT workstation is that you're using it to make money and thus, the cost of the platform is more or less irrelevant because it will very quickly pay for itself. Having a premium-grade ASUS HEDT motherboard that costs 8% less than the cheapest CPU it can take looks like a bargain to me, certainly not something to cry about. Sure, the previous model was a good deal cheaper but this is still not bad compared to the mainstream segment of Ryzen and Core.

    I have a feeling that Threadripper PRO CPUs will likely only be purchased by corporations anyway (which makes the price completely irrelevant). Home-based prosumers are far more likely to buy "normal" Threadripper CPUs for home-based HEDT desktops anyway. In THAT situation, $1500 would fetch a 24-core Threadripper 7960X which I believe would be a lot more attractive to home-based prosumers than a 12-core Threadripper PRO for $1400.
  • Order 66
    Avro Arrow said:
    AM5 Cheapest CPU: R5-3600 - $194
    I’m assuming you meant the 7600, because the 3600 is AM4. Other than that, I agree.
  • George³
    Avro Arrow said:
    AM5 Cheapest CPU
    7500f. Probably for $155-156 in some places if offers isn't fraud.