GIGABYTE TRX40 AORUS XTREME: Premium Elegance For an Xtreme CPU
Around the Board
At the top of the board, we have a very sleek heatsink with “AORUS XTREME” subtly etched into the flat facade and stands a full inch tall off the motherboard, which covers the 16-phase Vcore power delivery. It uses an XDPE132GSC controller in a 16+0 configuration to provide a real 16-phase to the CPU, without any doublers. Each phase has a premium, extremely efficient TDA21472 70A power stage, which boasts a lot of built-in features, but enable very accurate monitoring of current and temperature and add circuit protections not normally found in lesser power stage chips and would have to be implemented by the controller or additional chips. This power delivery system should easily handle any power that overclocking the Threadripper 3960X and 3970X would demand.
The SOC power delivery is obscured under the heatsink to the left at the bottom next to the last DIMM slot, but is using a IR35204 controller in 3+0 to drive the 3 phases to the SOC, running the same TDA21472 power stages found in the VCore delivery.
The AORUS Xtreme should be a daisy-chain topology, which means the recommended memory layout for only 4 DIMMs (D2,C2,A2,B2) is preferred to achieve the best frequencies for your RAM. If you’re running a full 8 DIMMs, you’re not likely using this system to overclock your RAM high into the 4000MHz range, so the daisy-chain topology is a best of both worlds in this regard, allowing for very high clockspeeds for 4 DIMMs or still good frequencies for a full population of DIMMs. Using four sticks of 16GB dual-rank G.Skill SniperX DDR4-3600 CL19 RAM, we readily hit the rated speeds just enabling the XMP profile in BIOS. In contrast, that RAM density only managed to hit 2933MHz on our Ryzen 9 3900X.
The AORUS Xtreme features isolated audio componentry along the lower-left edge of the motherboard by the PCIe expansion slots. It sports the Realtek ALC1220-VB audio chipset, which brings 120dB SNR HD audio with better noise levels, dynamic range, and THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) for a quality sound experience. This chip, frankly, has been featured on premium motherboards since 2017. The ALC1220 has been what I’ve listened to on my AMD X370-based personal workstation since Ryzen 1st Gen and has been good since my motherboard paired it with a Creative Sound Blaster Cinema 3 experience. GIGABYTE takes a similar route, but turns it up to 11, by not only pairing the chipset with a DTS:X Ultra audio experience, but also implementing an on-board ESS SABRE reference DAC 9218. The ESS SABRE supports “QUAD DAC” which delivers 124dB DNR and 112dB THD+N performance. It’s capable of driving professional high-impedance headphones giving pro-grade line-level outputs. It has Analog Volume Control which delivers 130dB SNR at low listening levels by reducing noise as the audio signal decreases. It also supports up to 32bit 192KHz PCM encoding for high-res music.
For additional physical features, the board features gold-plated audio jacks, a precise TXC Oscillator which provides precise time triggers to the DAC (Digital-Audio Converter), and premium WIMA capactiors for feedback signal processing.
GIGABYTE provides more information about their ALC1220+ESS SABRE DAC setup on their blog here.
I mentioned DTS :X Ultra above and what it does is provide spatially-accurate 3D audio over any headphones or speakers. It supports channel-, scene-, and object-based audio with out-of-the-box calibration for a range of headphones and speakers. It provides DTS Sound Unbound which can leverage Microsoft Spatial for superb audio immersion. Of course to use this enhanced experience you’ll need to install the DTS software from the GIGABYTE APP Center and be running at least Windows 10 Build 18898 or later.