AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen Threadripper 2950X And 2990WX Review: Beastly Zen+ Many-Core CPUs

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Components: Expanding The Ryzen Threadripper Ecosystem

Due to the fact that the new 2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper family maintains compatibility with existing X399 motherboards, there are only handful of new boards arriving alongside the processors. For existing boards to work with 2nd Gen Threadrippers, they will need to be flashed with an updated BIOS that incorporates the necessary microcode and AGESA for the chips, but that shouldn’t be an issue for anyone. Part of the platform requirements for X399 is support for BIOS flashback, so boards can be updated regardless of what processor is installed.

That said, some motherboard manufacturers have launched or are launching new boards with more robust power circuitry and cooling to best accommodate 2nd Generation Threadrippers. Case in point, the MSI MEG X399 Creation...
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Like most other X399-based motherboards, the MEG X399 Creation leverages all of the chipset’s inherent features, but MSI definitely kicks things up quite a few notches. The MEG X399 Creation, for example, has customizable RGB “Mystic” lighting, that can be extended with additional lighting strips, metal reinforcements on its M.2, expansion and memory slots to add rigidity, massive cooling for the chipset and VRM – complete with hear-pipes -- and a massive 19-phase digital power solution with dual, 8-pin power feeds.

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As you’d expect in an enthusiast motherboard like this one, the MSI MEG X399 Creation features a mouse-friendly BIOS / UEFI that’s easy to navigate and offers an extensive array of overclocking and performance-related options. MSI calls it their Click BIOS 5, and it sports everything from high resolution fonts to the latest version of MSI’s hardware monitor functionality. The MEG X399 Creation also features an array of durable Titanium chokes, in addition to high-conductivity polymer and / or solid capacitors throughout, to improve long-term reliability and overall efficiency.

The MSI MEG X399 Creation also offers easy overclocking by way of its OC Genie and Game Boost features, but the UEFI sports all of the overclocker-friendly tools we’ve come to expect from MSI for manual tweaking as well. The fan controls on the board are very robust and MSI has put in additional effort to isolate the memory circuitry to ensure maximum compatibility, clean signaling and the highest possible overclocks.
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Other features of the MEG X399 Creation include triple M.2 slots (with coolers), USB 3.1 Gen 2 type-C and type-A ports for quick-charging and straightforward connectivity of the latest mobile devices, Intel powered gigabit networking (times two) with built in surge protection, on-board power and reset switches, a POST-code error reporter, CrossFire / SLI support, built-in Intel Wi-Fi, and host of other goodies.

In addition to the aforementioned items, we should point out that the MSI MEG X399 Creation offers 8-channel audio with Nahimic Audio Enhancer support and MSI’s Audio Boost 4. Audio Boost 4 incorporates audio amplifiers, gold-plated audio jacks, EMI shielding, and high-quality audio filtering caps designed to enhance the quality of the ALC1220 audio processor’s output.

We found the layout of the MEG X399 Creation to be good and we like the aesthetic features on the board, but most of it is covered by heatsinks, so virtually all of the various connectors and headers line the bottom and right edges.

If you check out our unboxing video, we’ve also got some details on a cooling kit Asus is offering for its ROG Zenith Extreme and show off a couple of other pieces of hardware, like the beefy Wraith Ripper cooler for Threadripper that was first showed off a few months ago.
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The Wraith Ripper is the result of a collaboration between AMD and Cooler Master. This massive cooler features a dense array of anodized aluminum fins, attached to solid copper base by array of copper heat-pipes.

The Wraith Ripper’s fan resides in the middle of the fin stack and is shielded by a lighted shroud emblazoned with “AMD Ryzen Threadripper” branding. The base and fin stack of the cooler are designed to provide ample clearance for over-sized / tall memory kits and it has a 250W TDP rating, which is enough to cool a stock Threadripper 2990WX.

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The Wraith Ripper is fairly quiet in practice and is beefy enough to handle some overclocking with X-series Threadrippers, but we would recommend water cooling for the quad-die WX-series processors, if you plan to push one beyond stock speeds. The Wraith Ripper will be offered world-wide from Cooler Master – it is NOT included with any Threadrippers – for $100.

We should also mention that moving forward, AMD will be offering its StoreMI storage caching / acceleration technology to Threadripper / X399 owners as well. The new version of StoreMI that supports the AMD X399 chipset should be available for download starting today (August 13).

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