Intel Xeon W-3175X Review: Supercharged 28-Core Skylake-SP

The ASUS ROG Dominus Extreme And A Powerful Test Bed

Intel worked with ASUS and Gigabyte to bring a pair of motherboards to market that properly support the Xeon W-3175X. We got to test the ASUS ROG Dominus Extreme, a C621 based motherboard that is as loaded-up and feature-rich as we have ever seen.

rog dominus extreme overview

The C621 used on the ASUS ROG Dominus Extreme is part of the chipset family formerly codenamed Lewisburg, which debuted back with the Xeon Scalable Series processors. The C621 features 20 PCI Express 3.0 lanes built-in, along with an array of USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and SATA ports. Virtually all of Intel’s platform technologies, like vPro and Rapid Storage (with VROC) are supported as well, with the sole exceptions being Intel QuickAssist and RapidStart. Over and above the capabilities of the chipset, however, ASUS has crammed a ton of additional goodies onto the ROG Dominus Extreme.

One of the cooler, enthusiast-targeted features is a 1.77” LiveDash OLED that is situated in the internal IO shielding at the back of the board. The LiveDash OLED is a color display that not only acts like a POST code error reporter, but also cycles hardware health status when the system is fully booted. The LiveDash OLED proved quite useful when overclocking, because we could see core temperatures in real-time on the screen without having to run any special applications or tools.

xeon 3175 system 1

The ROG Dominus Extreme is also purpose-built for overclocking many-core processors like the Xeon W-3175X. As we mentioned earlier, the motherboard actually features 32 power phases, with dual 24-pin ATX, quad 8-pin EPS12V, and dual 6-pin 12V power feeds. Now, you don’t absolutely have to populate all of these power feeds to boot and use the ROG Dominus Extreme, but if extreme overclocking is your goal, the board has got the chops to keep things fed with plenty of juice, should the need for speed arise. You’ll notice, however, that the massive power array actually extends outward around the CPU socket area and top of the board and necessitates the use of the 14” x 14” EEB Form Factor. That means the ROG Dominus Extreme is not going to fit in the vast majority of standard ATX towers. That said, there is a decent selection of EEB-compatible cases available at a wide array of price points from company’s like Corsair, Phanteks, anidees, Chenbro, Silverstone and others. Our system was assembled inside an anidees AI Crystal XL and there was still ample room for plenty of cooling.

xeon 3175 system 5

The ROG Dominus Extreme is also augmented with a handful of additional IO and connectivity options. In terms of networking, the ROG Dominus Extreme features an Aquantia AQC-107 10Gbps LAN controller, an Intel I219-LM Gigabit LAN controller, and Intel AC-9260 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The board supports ASUS’ ROG GameFirst packet prioritization technology as well. Bluetooth 5.0 is on-board too, along with a trio of ASMedia USB 3.1 gen 2 (x2) and USB 3.1 gen 1 (x1) controllers. Sound comes by way of a Supreme FX S1220 CODEC with 120 dB SNR stereo playback (output) and 113 dB SNR recording (input). That’s paired to an ESS SABRE9018Q2C DAC/AMP that'll power just about any type of headphones, and the circuitry is shielded to minimize noise.

xeon 3175 system 3

Over and above the IO and connectivity options, ASUS has also outfitted the ROG Dominus Extreme with some additional bling as well. The board is adorned with a bevy of stylized aluminum shields, which sit atop actively-cooled heatsinks that help chill the VRM, chipset, and other components. There is also configurable RGB lighting situated in multiple spots around the board, like the ROG logo just behind the quad PCI Express x16 slots (which happen to support virtually all forms of SLI or CrossFire X). There are literally dozens of internal headers on the board for things like fans (there are 14 PWM headers!), water-pumps, and LED strips, etc. and there’s plenty of storage options too – the board has quad M.2 slots, dual DIMM.2 slots (for attaching additional SSDs), dual U.2 connectors, and eight SATA ports.

xeon 3175 system 2

The ROG Dominus Extreme’s BIOS / firmware is as feature-laden as the board itself. Unlike most other workstation-class motherboards for Xeon processors, which are usually rather conservative in terms of tweaking / tuning options, the ROG Dominus Extreme caters to enthusiasts through and through. There is an extensive array of overclocking options available that gives users the ability to tweak everything from CPU core multipliers to the AVX and mesh clocks. CPU cores can be tweaked individually or in unison, and various voltages can be tuned as well. The FanXpert 4 tools built into the BIOS also offer many useful functions. Users can tweak / tune fan profiles manually for all of the on-board fan headers, but FanXpert 4 will automatically test all of the fans and set the duty cycle specifically for the type of fan attached too.

rog dominus extreme io

External IO on the ROG Dominus Extreme consists of 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C ports (black), 2 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports (Red), 8 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (blue), a couple of Wi-Fi antenna mounts, an optical S/PDIF output, five illuminated audio jacks, dual LAN jacks, and Clear CMOS and USB BIOS Flashback buttons.

We have only spent a few days with the ASUS ROG Dominus Extreme, but our initial impressions are extremely good. Considering the complexity of this platform, the ROG Dominus Extreme and Xeon W-3175X were very well behaved throughout our testing.

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