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Asus ROG ZENITH II EXTREME ALPHA | TR 3970X | Virtual Machine(s) Config

I am building my TR 3970X using Asus ROG Zenith II Extreme Alpha.

I am looking for some guidance on what base OS to install Windows vs. Linux.

The purpose of this build is to run several linux based virtual machines in them, so as to run certain workloads round the clock similar to coding in Rust, Sha256 math, ZK-Snarks proofs, ML/AI computation.

Sample Configs:

  • VM1: 12C/24T w/ 1 x 2080 Ti GPU
  • VM2: 12C/24T w/ 1 x 2080 Ti GPU
  • VM3: 8C/16T

I am trying to weigh out the Pros & Cons of several VMs vs. several Dedicated Accounts set aside to above suggested workloads.

Also, I might need some assistance w/ picking the right Case for this MOBO and CPU cooler.

Any and All help is greatly appreciated.

I want to share my PC Part Picker URL, and it doesn’t let me add it here in this post.

Only thing I’d say is…don’t buy the 2080Tis right now, atleast wait till Ampere is out.

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For what it’s worth I just returned my Zenith II Extreme Alpha and picked up the Gigabyte Aorus Xtreme. The Asus board worked great for the most part but I found that adding a second graphics card caused the chipset to run a lot hotter because the 2nd card (which is installed in the 3rd pci-e slot) smothers the chipset fan. The chipset fan consequently ran really high rpm (over 4000) which is fairly loud; and idle temps for the chipset were 70 - 75 deg C. The fan noise isn’t unpleasant (e.g. a chalkboard sound can be unpleasant even when not loud) but it was loud. The gigabyte board has the chipset fan aligned with the Second pci-e slot instead of the third so it can have cards in the first and third slot without covering the chipset fan. My case was the fractal define R6 which isn’t the best, but I had 3 140 intake fans in the front (2 on the vertical face and 1 on the bottom) with another 140 exhausting in the back. I used the Noctua 14S with a second fan for CPU cooling. Moving to the Gigabyte board means I can no longer use the fractal define r6 though, going to define 7 xl.

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Here is my current part list and need help with

Part List:

  • AMD Threadripper 3970X 3.7 GHz 32-Core Processor
  • Asus ROG ZENITH II EXTREME ALPHA EATX sTRX4 Motherboard
  • G.Skill Trident Z Royal 256 GB (8 x 32 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
  • 5 x DATA XPG SX8200 Pro 2 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
  • 2 x Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11 GB WINDFORCE OC Video Card
  • EVGA SuperNOVA T2 1600 W 80+ Titanium Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply

Need help with the following parts.

  • CPU Cooling
  • PC Case

What else am I missing for this build?

Thanks for sharing this – really interesting.

Originally my 1st pick was Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS XTREME and after watching the recent video I thought may be I should go with my 2nd pick Asus ROG ZENITH II EXTREME ALPHA and I placed my order for Asus couple of days ago.

I am yet to receive the MOBO and CPU …currently in transit.

I haven’t ordered the remainder of the parts (RAM, NVMe, PSU, CPU Cooling, PC Case) …just doing my last bit of research before I order.

Hmmm, now after reading through your experience w/ Asus I might have to switch to Gigabyte.

Are you able to share some pics of your build, so I can orient myself in how I might have to do mine?

Also what sorts of workloads are you running?

Is it similar to mine or different?

Things to look for in a case:

  • If you’re running a multi-gpu setup with the alpha, the manual says to plug power into the EZ-Plug Connector at the bottom of the board. This is a 4-pin Molex connector. Unfortunately the connector direction is pointing downward in the plane parallel to the motherboard. In the fractal define R6 I could not plug in this connector because there was no room; the bottom of the power supply shroud was too close to the bottom of the motherboard. You’d need a case with at least 8 or 9 pci-e expansion slots or possible a case with only 7 pci-e expansion slots but no power supply shroud; but even here the power supply could end up being too close to the motherboard to plug a cable into the connector. If you watch Wendell’s video I think there is a point where he has a cable plugged into this connector.
  • Even though the define R6 said it could handle e-ATX motherboards, it was still probably too tight for ideal purposes. Two examples being that the motherboard covered the case openings w/ grommets for passing in cables so I had to bring the cables in from the side. This turned out slightly problematic as well because in the storage configuration of the case, the hard drive caddies secure to the case frame right where I needed to bring in the SATA data cables; the solution was to not mount hard drive caddies where I needed to bring in SATA cables, USB-3 front case cable, etc. I got everything hooked up but I was limited in the # of hdd/sdd caddies I was able to use. But based on your part spec this wouldn’t be an issue since it looks like you’re using all m.2 ssd. I love the define R6 but given all the compromises I’d recommend going with a larger case like the define 7 xl or some other full-tower case.

Regarding the CPU Cooler: I used the Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 with a second fan. I had idle temps of around 40 to 42 deg C (sometimes would see as high as 44). When I ran the blender spec I think temps got in the upper 70’s and Cinebench R20 I think they were in the upper 60’s (test was over too quickly to really heat up the CPU). As a side note Maingear has come out with a WS Pro using the 3970x and they say they are cooling it with a Noctua cooler, which I assume is the NH-U14S; the point being that they would not use a suspect cooler (https://maingear.com/product/custom-maingear-prows-amd-platform/). They have an option for more money to use Corsair’s 100hi cooler but I saw some review somewhere (kit guru maybe? https://www.kitguru.net/components/cooling/luke-hill/threadripper-3990x-cpu-cooling-comparison-how-to-tame-the-beast/) where the Noctua blew the corsair h115i out of the water; and the h115i is a 280 compared to the 240 h100i.

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I ran the Alpha thru the paces with a Windows 10 install and I loved the board. I had to spend some time tweaking the fans but was able to get it to a very nice operating point. But that was with just one GPU installed. Adding the second one the problematic point; specifically the chipset temps and also my case was too small to connect the extra power cable to the board for multi-gpu setup. If I was only going to run one GPU I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Alpha.

Unfortunately I have already disassembled my build to return the motherboard. I’m waiting for the Define 7 XL to arrive so I can rebuild with the Gigabyte motherboard.

As far as workloads, I just had it running windows and did some preliminary stress tests as well as I ran some games with different memory timings to help figure out if I wanted to go with 3600 non-ECC memory or with 3200 ECC memory (my limited tested indicated that 3600 only resulted in a couple extra fps so I am going to go with the 3200 ECC memory). My eventual workloads are very different than yours; I want to run Linux (Fedora or Proxmox is likely), with VMs for Windows 10 gaming, Hackintosh, Plex, NAS, VPN, pfsense, intrusion protection, ad blocking, and some development CI/CD stuff.

Feel free to reach out with any questions you have regarding your eventual build.

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Just wanted to share this somewhat of a hidden gem. The ASRock Taichi TRX40 is an outstanding board. The only board that I’ve seen run faster than it is the Aorus Xtreme, and that is a monster board, and mine is only an ATX at about $300 bucks less. There is one annoyance with the chipset fan being noisy. I ended up just stopping it and putting a fan right next to the chipset area and that helps.

Check out my results: https://browser.geekbench.com/user/149586

I’m running 128GB RAM at 3800 with absolutely no tinkering. My Infiity Fabric is running at 1900. That is how I was able to go from 30k scores to 31k scores on Geek bench.

As you can see I had the ZIIE first, but my rear M.2 slot died and I had to dismantle my whole machine. Since I knew the RMA would take forever, I picked up the ASRock. I ended up just going with a simpler build because I was over it.

https://builds.gg/builds/black-chrome-quadruple-rad-pc-o11-air-25395

This is what it looks like now after moving to a Fractal Design 7 with the ASRock Taichi TRX40. I’m going to switch out the back radiator to a top 360.

They couldn’t fixed my ZIIE and just mailed me a replacement. I received my replacement a couple of days ago. Not sure if I should keep it or sell it. I still have a case in here so I might build another server with a 64 core chip.

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