Overpoowered but oh so good!
Byline: By Din
It’s just a matter of time. With the circus now focused wholly on the new X99 chipset and Haswell-e CPU, it would only be soon before ASUS cooked up something awesome for that pair in its Republic of Gamers (ROG) range. Of course, as expected, ASUS has sent over to the PC.com Tested Labsits ASUS ROG RAMPAGE V EXTREME motherboard. This monster of a gaming system, to date, is themost featured-laden platformfrom ASUS. While it might look like it’s targeted for gamers, don’t let its classification fool you. Want to know why? Read on!
The Republic of Awesome
Of all the X99 based motherboards that I had the privilege to test, this has – by far – the largest packaging. Easily twice the size of any normal motherboard box, this package even come with its own carrying handle. With the ROG red hues emblazoned all over the box, it’s sure to catch everyone’s eye from any corner of the shop when you go in to make the purchase. Its front flap allows all a glimpse of what the future holds for your gaming rig.
The motherboard itself is safely and snugly tucked inside its own compartment while another box, stored below the main system, contains the extra stuffs such as the manuals, driver DVDs, SATA cables, stickers, an awesome door hanger,two SLi ribbons, and, to spice things up, a three-way SLi connector as well as a FOUR-way SLi connector. At the front of the box, ASUS proudly states that the motherboard is ‘Designed for Overclocking’. To prove it means business, a dedicated overclocking panel, first introduced in the previous RAMPAGE, is included. This add-on panel, now tweaked to do more, is the heart and soul of this system.
There is something soothing about seeing an ASUS ROG motherboard. Maybe it is because the Taiwanese brand follows the design principleof creating impressionswhere one can immediately tell it will perform well after one glance. It helps when the design looks really cool asthis ROG board keeps to the patented blackwith red accents that the range is known for. What I like about this new heavy-duty entry is how ASUS uses these accents to differentiate the connectors on the motherboard. Thus, a quick look is all you need to easily identify the location and placement of your peripherals.
For something so big, there is really a lack of space. With all the extra stuffs and features that this motherboard boasts, there is just so much area that canbe fully utilised. While I had been truly surprised that it still managed to squeeze whatever it could in terms of real estate, there are some placements that I feel needs more space like the LGA2011-v3 CPU slot. The heatsink for the MOSFET is too close for comfort and might give large, third-party CPU coolers a hard time. For users that already have an LN2 custom tube from their existing custom coolers, ASUS has bundled an LN2 backplate to help you with connecting your existing cooler to this motherboard.
Profiling Made Easy
With the usage of the X99 chipset, this ASUS motherboard can only use DDR4 RAM modules. In keeping with its extreme theme, there are eight slots present with four banks at either side of the CPU slot. These low voltage, high performance RAMs when combined with the overclocking nature of this motherboard will make for an awesome combination. The task of overclocking the RAM is easy enough as the built-in XMP profile is all set within the BIOS.
Panel of Expert Overclocking
The highlight of this motherboard really is the bundled OC panel. You can either put it in your DVD driver slot with bundled bracket or just put it on your table. The panel gives you easy access to overclock your system as it connects directly to your motherboard. The easy-to-read LCD panel gives you the current clock speed, multiplier, and even additional info like fan-speed and overall temperature. The functions and controls it has ensures you don’t need to boot into BIOS or even use any external software to tweak anything. Truly, it is all about directly overclocking your PC while on-the-go. Game feels sluggish? Just give the clockspeed some juice. Motherboard is running hot? Well, bump it down a notch.
New to this ASUS offering is the OC Zone – a suite that is specifically designed to help overclockers with their tweaking needs and problems. Unique to the new generation of ROG boards, it throws in the ReTry button, an option that resets the board if it hangs without changing anything; Safe Boot for booting into safe mode without having your settings wiped out;an LN2 Mode for that extra boost when an LN2 cooling is used; and a Slow Mode Switch – to slow down the CPU before it totally crashes. The last one gives you time to adjust or save a configuration before starting over. There is also a PCIe X16 lane switch – used to disable GPUs to determine the one that is malfunctioning.
The Haswell-e has a different socket configuration compared to the old LGA2011 processor, hence why the LGA2011-V3 had been introduced. While new, the default socket by Intel does not actually fully utilise all of the new Extreme Edition contact points. This is why ASUS introduced the OC socket – a feature that links the unused points on the Haswell-e. With it,the RAMPAGE V EXTREME can do its overclocking magic like boosting CPU cache frequency, memory frequency, and maximum ratings for the VCore and monitor new voltage controls as well.
With the new Haswell-e, you can get up to 40 lanes on the CPU. This lets you natively use three or four GPUs at the same time, without having to rely on add-on chips that add lanes. With this new function, the RAMPAGE V EXTREME sports five PCI-e x16 slots, four of which are done up in red to highlight that they are the ones designated for Multi-GPU configurations. The spacing between the slots looks a tad too close though, so do make sure your GPU has enough clearance beforehand.
For some, sound is the most important thing for a gaming rig. Thus ASUS has thrown in its SupremeFX 2014, which includes SupremeFX Shielding, ELNA premium audio caps, Sonic Studio, SoundStage, SenseAmp, and DTS connect. Being heavy on the side, just like everything else, promised great audio delivery and I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. Just about everything seemed perfect for the RAMPAGE V EXTREME. Beyond the price point, there isn’t really anything not to like.
Dimensions (W x H): 305 x 272mm
Processor: Intel Socket 2011-v3 Core i7, Supports Intel 22nm CPU and Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Chipset: Intel X99
Memory: 8 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory, Quad Channel
I/O:1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo, 1 x LAN (RJ45), 10 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0 (one port for switching to ROG Connect), 1 x Optical S/PDIF out, 5 x Audio Jacks, 1 x Clear CMOS Button, 1 x ROG Connect On/ Off Switch, 1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! Module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth v4.0)
40-Lane CPU-3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16, x16/x16, x16/x16/x8)
28-Lane CPU-3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 ( x16, x16/x8, x16/x8/x4)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode)
2 x PCIe 2.0 x1 (x1 mode)
Multi-VGA output support: Supports NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI Technology
Supports NVIDIA 3-Way SLI Technology
Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technology
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Gigabit LAN with GAMEFIRST III
PC Mark 8:
Home: 4682 (5244 OC)
Creative: 4478 (5051 OC)
Work: 4300 (4601 OC)
Verdict: An extreme solutionfor all.