A Closer Look
ASUS’s ROG STRIX X399-E Gaming is an Extended ATX board, and it’s not hard to see why with the massive AMD TR4 socket front and center. VRM cooling is handled with the main heatsink and a heat pipe over to an active solution integrated into the rear I/O area. On the bottom, half are 4x PCIe x16 slots, an x1, and a single x4 slot.
The rear of the board doesn’t show much beyond the socket back plate and a few scattered components here and there. It does a silkscreened pattern and the model number though.
Even with the larger EATX footprint, space is still limited due to the massive socket and full 8-dimm compliment of memory, so VRM cooling is partially handled in the Rear I/O area with a small fan and ventilated rear I/O plate for extra cooling. Besides the standard 8-channel audio and optical output, you get a pair of USB 3.1 gen 2 and eight USB 3.0 ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, BIOS flash button, and Wifi antenna ports.
Even with the extra room, the top half of the board is very cramped. Eight Dimm slots and AMD’s utterly massive TR4 socket are most of the board. Along the right edge are the main 24-pin and 8+4 pin CPU power connections. Here you also get a good view of the VRM cooling intake area on the Rear I/O cover. A single 4-pin fan header sits just between the rearmost Dimm slot and the rear I/O housing.
The bottom half of the board looks a bit more normal. Three reinforced PCIe x16 slots and a standard PCIe x16 slot take up much of the space and an x1 and x4 are also found. The Chipset has a large heat sink with a removable cover that also doubles as an M.2 cooler.
Ports on the STRIX X399-E are pretty extensive so we’ll go over them here. Starting with the typical front panel audio header, we next have ASUS’s Q-code display for troubleshooting and a hardware power switch. Next are a pair of RGB headers, one of which is digital/addressable. Next to these are a pair of 4-pin fan headers and Intel’s VROC key connector.
More towards the front is a pair of USB 2.0 headers and a USB 3.0 header for 6 more USB ports. Next are two more 4-pin fan headers with one high power capacity for pumps. Two thermal probe connections sit between these and the front panel I/O header.
Going up the front edge, we have six SATA 6gbps ports, a Turbo U.2 32gbps connection and another USB 3.0 header. Higher up we have a front panel USB 3.1 connection, and another r4-pin fan header. Next up is a vertical M.2 port for storage drives that has a mounting bracket, and the motherboard power connections.
The top edge is too cramped to hold much, but a pair of 4-pin fan headers, # 7 and 8 for those keeping count, and an RGB header.
The rear I/O cover has a light up accent just above the cooling fan grill.
With Threadripper’s abundant supply of PCIe lanes, ASUS had to find something to do with all of them. Everyone can always use more and faster storage, so another M.2 port was added here. Due to space constraints, it is the vertical style.
To support drives up to 110mm in length, ASUS includes a bracket that screws to the board.
It has a plastic retention pin that installs at the proper length for your particular drive, 80mm here in our case.
The drive simply installs like any other M.2 drive. The metal bracket and orientation should help keep your drive nice and cool too.
The other M.2 port hides under the cover of the chipset heatsink. Three screws later you get access to it. The cover does come with a pre-applied thermal pad to keep your drive cool.
AMD’s TR4 socket is quite unique. This is AMD’s first LGA style CPU with a metal clamp on the socket.
The chip itself installs in a flip-up guide under the top cover.
With nearly 4100 contact pins, the socket is just utterly massive!