Ryzen 3960X and 3970X are the two latest additions in the AMD's threadripper line-up and were launched in November 2019.
To be frank, the high-end Ryzen mainstream CPUs are pretty powerful on their own (especially the Ryzen 3950X with its 16 cores and 32 threads) but probably in order to break Intel's hold in HEDT market and give the content creators and enthusiast builders even more CPU power, AMD decided to go all out with the 3rd-gen of their threadripper CPUs.
And there we have it: 3960X and 3970X.
First one, the 3960X, comes with 24 cores, 48 threads, and a jaw-dropping price-tag of $1400 (at the time we're writing this up). But all of these specs almost pale in comparison to what it's big brother 3970X offers.
Ryzen 3970X comes with 32 CPU cores, 64 threads, and costs nothing less than 2000 bucks.
Best Motherboards For Ryzen 3960X And 3970X
Actually, another Threadripper CPU, Ryzen 3990X, is expected to be released in 2020 and will have no less than 64 CORES, but we'll talk about that in any other post.
Both of the 3960X and 3970X have been well-received by the community and single-handedly beat Intel's offering by a big margin in both benchmarks and in real-life performance testings.
But here's the thing: These CPUs need equally powerful PC components, such as motherboards, GPUs, and CPU coolers, for you to get the most out of them. This post will be about the the first of those fore-mentioned components - best motherboards for Ryzen 3960X and 3970X.
We have picked motherboards from different price ranges so that you can be fully aware about what a particular model is bringing to the table for its price.
So, without any further ado, let's begin.
Asus Prime TRX40-PRO: Check Price On Amazon
Best Motherboard For Ryzen 3960X
Prime Pro TRX40 By Asus is cheaper than many other boards listed in this roundup and you can think of it as an entry-level model among TRX40 motherboards (even though it costs more than most of mainstream Ryzen motherboards).
On aesthetics, it looks like the more expensive TRX40 models from Asus's ROG lineup such as Zenith II Extreme - with the exception of color scheme, ROG Logo, and OLED screen on the I/O Shield. If you're tired of looking at all-black motherboards these days, you'll like to see the white/grey scheme here.
One issue I found with its design is the fact the 12V power connectors are separated across two sides of the board. I haven't seen any other board having power connectors located at two different places, and it certainly makes the cable management more difficult.
Like other TRX40 models, it has four DIMM slots on either side of the CPU socket. On the top-right edge of the board, there are 4-pin RGB and Addressable Gen 2 RGB headers, whereas USB 2.0 header, USB 3.1 Gen 2 header, and SATA ports are located at the bottom-right edge.
For more USB options, you'd have to use the I/O rear panel which features six USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, one Type-C port in addition to Intel I211-A Gigabit LAN, 8-channel HD audio, and a BIOS flashback button.
For further connectivity, there are three M.2 PCIe x4 slots, along with four PCIe 4.0 (3 x16 and 1 x4) slots for multi-GPU setups. Speaking of multi-GPU, this board supports 2-way SLI/CrossFire as well as Quad-GPU SLI/CrossFire technologies.
In games, we got almost same benchmarks as we did with ROG Zenith II Extreme, which is kind of surprising because Zenith II is way more expensive than Prime-Pro. In other benchmarks, such as PCMark 10, Prime-pro predictably performed 10-12% lower as compared to Zenith II extreme.
All in all, Asus Prime Pro TRX40 has everything you can expect in a threadripper motherboard without costing you as much as other models do. That's why we think it to be best motherboard for Ryzen 3960X CPU.
GIGABYTE TRX40 AORUS Master: Check Price On Amazon
Best TRX40 Motherboard For Value
In order to pick a "best for value" motherboard, we shortlisted the 500-550 buck price range and had two options to go for it: TRX40 Aorus Master and Taichi ASRock TRX40.
We decided to go with TRX40 Aorus Master for a couple of reasons.
First, there are four full-length PCIe 4.0 x16 slots compared to three in Taichi TRX40 (slot 2 and 4 have eight lanes instead of sixteen though). Second good thing I found in this board is its relatively smaller voltage regulator heatsink (27mm) which helps a lot as far as compatibility with different chassis is concerned.
Other than these two features, both of the above-mentioned boards have almost same specs. Both of them feature a 2.5Gb/1Gb Ethernet combo, WiFi 6 controllers, and have equal numbers of RGB and ARGB headers.
You'll find those headers on the bottom edge of this board, along with two dual-port USB 2.0 headers, and front-panel audio header. Top right side is where you'll find power connectors, power and reset switches, and below them are the SATA connectors.
Top side of this board is pretty clean where you get four DIMM slots on either side of the huge CPU socket. Below these DIMM slots, there are four actively-cooled (like in X570 motherboards) PCIe 4.0 slots.
There's a heatpipe which connects the left side power coolers to the audio heatsinks on the bottom and extends to the power phases on the top side. All of this gives the TRX40 Master a very large cooling area.
Thanks to its 16+3 Phases Infineon digital VRM solution with 70a power stage setup, no even seasoned overclockers should run out of power. Although, it's another fact that it doesn't overclock the CPU as much as its competitors.
On the backside, there's an I/O panel which features almost any connectivity option you can think of - but there are some nuances.
For example, the USB 3.2 Type-C connection doesn't work in 2x2 mode (formerly known as USB 3.2). Another thing lacking here is the firmware flash mode button. To be fair with Gigabyte here, you do get a Clear CMOS button which can prove really beneficial if you want to recover from bad settings while overclocking your 3970X.
As far as accessories are concerned, you get a pair of thermistor cables, an internal remote microphone cable, ARGB adapter cables, as well as dual-WiFi antenna out of the box.
All in all, Aorus master TRX40 has everything you can expect in a solid threadripper motherboard.
Yes, there are some shortcomings like not-so-excellent CPU overclocking (as compared with other threadripper motherboards), but there are many positives as well, in the form of great DRAM overclocking, more PCIe and M.2 slots, and smaller voltage regulator heatsink.
ASUS ROG Zenith II Extreme: Check Price On Amazon
Best Motherboard For Ryzen 3970X
Zenith II Extreme is one of the higher-end TRX40 motherboard by Asus that pretty much justifies its $850 price tag with amount/quality of features it gives in the form of a 16+3 phase digital power design, USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectivity, LiveDash 1.77'' OLED screen, and support for up to DDR4-4733 in quad-channel across eight DIMM slots that support a total of 256 GB memory.
Looks-wise, it primarily features a black design, along with gun-metal grey color in the chipset heatsink area. On the whole, it looks clean with RGB implemented on rear panel cover, on chipset heatsink, and on the underside of PCB at the right side.
As I said earlier, there's a 1.77" OLED screen as well which can be used as a POST debugger or to display some custom GIFs.
The only issue I can think of with its design is that DIMM slots are placed too close to the CPU socket which may cause compatibility issues with some bigger coolers.
This board has four PCIe 4.0 slots which operate at x16/x8/x16/x8 mode respectively. There are three M.2 slots with x4 connection on this board: two between the PCIe slots and one on the backside.
On top of that, you can add two more x4 M.2 slots through the ROG DIMM.2 module. For conventional storage there are eight SATA ports with four of them supporting RAID 0,1, and 10 setup.
In terms of power delivery, Zenith II extreme features a a 16+3 phase digital power design with sixteen TDA21472 70A power stages which proved beneficial when we managed to stably overclock all 32 cores of our 3970X at 4.35 GHz without any major issue.
Another area where this board doesn't disappoint you is its connectivity. The I/O panel give you a plethora of connectivity options in the form of five USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, and one 20 Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port.
For audio, there's SupremeFX S1220 codec with five 3.5 mm jacks and S/PDIF optical output - apart from ESS Sabre ESS9018Q2C and Realtek ALC4050H HD audio codec.