How We Test
Because this is our first X399 motherboard review, we'll detail our prosumer rig component choices. First, we're rocking a Ryzen Threadripper 1950X, with its 16 cores and 32 threads; because it tops out at a TDP of 180W, we'll need proper cooling to reach maximum Turbo Core speed.
|Test System Configuration|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
Fractal Design provided its Celsius S36 360mm all-in-one cooler, which has the standard round-style baseplate attached to the pump head. AMD did a good thing by providing the TR4 socket adapter with the Threadripper processor so that no custom adapters are required.
We purchased a spanking new Gigabyte GTX 1080 G1 Gaming card to properly test this system.
To pump out enough power and wire up enough ports on our test boards, we have migrated an Antec High Current Pro 1200W power supply from other projects. Given the number of available PCIe slots and power connectors on the board, having the PSU's extra dedicated 12V connectors is a necessity, and we hope to one day draw every available watt from this 80 Plus Gold product.
We’ve had great success with G.Skill’s memory on our AM4 test bench, and the company provided two sets of Flare-X 2x8GB DDR4-3200 DIMMs for this testing. As much as we want to populate all of the DRAM slots, with X399 we'd be looking at close to $900 in RAM at today’s prices.
Toshiba continues to provide our M.2 NVMe drive of choice, the RD400 256GB SSD. We'd love three of them, but Thomas believes that would be too greedy.
Unfortunately, our X399 chassis hasn't arrived yet, so we're borrowing the Thermaltake F51 Suppressor from our AM4 rig and will be installing the radiator at the top to exhaust air out of the case. We will reintroduce the Corsair 570X in our next review, placing the radiator in the front of the system in order to utilize all three of its gorgeous 120mm RGB fans as intakes across the radiator and into the system.
We're sticking with our LG 4K display. 1080p data is useful for some instances, but it'd be wasteful paired with all of this sweet hardware. We will provide 1080p and 4K data for gaming benchmarks, and we are using 4K as our standard desktop resolution unless otherwise noted. If requested, we can provide 1440p as well in future articles.
|Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings|
|PCMark 8||Version 2.7.613 Home, Creative, Work, Storage, Applications (Adobe & Microsoft)|
|SiSoftware Sandra||Version 2016.03.22.21 CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cryptography Memory Bandwidth|
|Iometer||Version 1.1.0 4k Random Read, 4k Random Write 128k Sequential Read, 128k Sequential Write|
|Cinebench R15||Build RC83328DEMO OpenGL Benchmark|
|CompuBench||Version 1.5.8 Face Detection, Optical Flow, Ocean Surface, Ray Tracing|
|3D Tests and Settings|
|3DMark 13||Version 4.47.597.0 Test Set 1: Skydiver, 1920x1080, Default Preset Test Set 2: Firestrike, 1920x1080, Default Preset Test Set 3: Firestrike Extreme, 2560x1440 Default Preset|
|Application Tests and Settings|
|HandBrake CLI||Version: 0.9.9 Sintel Open Movie Project 4.19 GB 4k mkv to x265 mp4|
|LAME MP3||Version 3.98.3 Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3 Command: -b 160 --nores (160 Kb/s)|
|Adobe After Effects CC||Release 2015.3.0 Version 220.127.116.11 PCMark driven routine|
|Adobe Photoshop CC||Release 2015.5.0 20160603.r.88 x64 PCMark driven routine (light and heavy)|
|Adobe InDesign CC||Release 2015.4 Build 18.104.22.168 x64 PCMark driven routine|
|Adobe Illustrator||Release 2015.3.0 Version 20.0.0 (64-bit) PCMark driven routine|
|Blender||Version 2.68a BMW 27 CPU Render Benchmark BMW 27 GPU Render Benchmark|
|7-Zip||Version 16.02 THG-Workload (7.6 GB) to .7z, command line switches "a -t7z -r -m0=LZMA2 -mx=9"|
|Game Tests and Settings|
|Ashes of Singularity: Escalation||Version 2.50.28527 High Preset - 1920x1080, Mid Shadow Quality, 1x MSAA Crazy Preset - 1920x1090, High Shadow Quality, 2x MSAA High Preset - 3840x2160, Mid Shadow Quality, 1x MSAA Crazy Preset - 3840x2160, High Shadow Quality, 2x MSAA|
|F1 2015||2015 Season, Abu Dhabi Track, Rain 1920x1080 - UltraHigh Preset, 16x AF 3840x2160 - UltraHigh Preset, 16x AF|
|Metro Last Light Redux||Version 3.00 x64 High Quality, 1920x1080, High Tesselation Very High Quality, 1920x1080, Very High Tesselation High Quality, 3840x2160, High Tesselation Very High Quality, 3840x2160, Very High Tesselation|
|The Talos Principle||Version 301136 1920x1080 - High Preset, High Quality, High Tesselation, 4x AF 1920x1080 - Ultra Preset, VeryHigh Quality, VeryHigh Tesselation, 16x AF 3840x2160 - High Preset, High Quality, High Tesselation, 4x AF 3840x2160 - Ultra Preset, VeryHigh Quality, VeryHigh Tesselation, 16x AF|
We do have to make some changes and tweaks to our normal motherboard testing methodology for the X399 platform. For starters, some of the software in our suite does not support the plethora of cores available. As such, we have to deactivate resources in some instances and bypass certain features in others. These changes will be listed in the benchmarking results section, but we will be consistent from a test methodology perspective.
One Threadripper specific feature that we covered in Paul Alcorn's CPU reviews is the use of Game Mode versus Creator mode. If I’m buying X399, I want all of my resources, regardless of the gaming penalties. Both modes will be tested in the benchmarks for the sake of this comparison, but moving forward we will only test with Creator Mode enabled.
MORE: Best Motherboards
MORE: All Motherboard Content