ASUS Rampage III Black Edition review -
Final Words & Conclusion
Final Words & Conclusion
The ASUS Rampage III Black Edition is silly, ridiculous, unheard of, it's GREAT. It's the Dark Horse riding inside your PC while you scream hi-hoo-silverrrr...
So yeah, with that first paragraph of the conclusion you may have guessed it, we like the ASUS Rampage III Black Edition a lot. The plethora of functions added to this motherboard is nearly silly. The cute GO, reset, clear CMOS buttons, diagnostic LED, extra power headers, Bluetooth, WIFI, the NICs, ThunderBolt and well, on and on. What's good to see is that the mobo is also multi-GPU certified, you can run up-to 4 GPUs for AMD's Radeon graphics cards, and up-to 3-GPU SLI is allowed. Remember though, that means no quad-SLI support, thus not even two GTX 590 cards in SLI would work.
Admittedly, it's completely over the top and that will carry its weight in gold when you look at the store price. The sheer reality is that an X58 chipset remains just that, meaning overclocking and overall baseline performance is roughly equal on all higher-end X58 based motherboards with the typical exceptions here and there.
Overclocking wise the BIOS really offers everything you need, it is 99% similar to the Rampage III series BIOS, you can also opt to go geeky with ROG Connect of course. But, do all of you with ASUS ROG Connect motherboards really use these features? For me it's BIOS overclocking and nothing less.
The thing is though that everything that Intel forfeits to embed in the chipset, ASUS simply added, and that resulted in the product you have seen today. So what I am saying is that performance wise you will not achieve much difference in results compared to other X58 motherboards. However, features wise you will gain so much. The Wireless N connectivity, USB 3.0 ports, SATA 6G, the really cool design, the optimized BIOS (no uEFI though), SLI support up-to three cards, Quad Crossfire support up-to four cards and then there's ThunderBolt, that all new expansion card from ASUS that integrates Xonar sound as well as BigFoot's Killer NPU.
Now BigFoot's Killer NPU means absolutely nothing to us as latency is found in-between your router and the server you play on, not your internal network. Sure, you can do a little LAN traffic shaping and speed up gaming packets, but once you pass that router and they enter cyber-space... it just does not matter. If we ping a connection from Europe to the USA, there's not a thing that can improve the ping times compared to a good Intel or Realtek NIC. But we'll say this though, it is a high-speed quality NIC and it certainly wont bother you to use it anyway. We love the little software suite as well.
Now we here at Guru3D.com are a bit anal when it comes to sound, 50% of our staff are audiophiles with the very best audio cards, DACs, cabling and speakers. If you don't believe me, then read up on some of our soundcard reviews here. Our editors and yours truly LOVE the Xonar range from ASUS, in fact the computer I am working on right now has an ASUS HDAV 13 Deluxe installed in it, yeah yeah... I'm an anal audiophile reviewer as well. But as such I was exhilarated to hear that ThunderBolt had some tender love and care from the ASUS audio team. Make no mistake, the Realtek chips are fine as they are, but remain OK. ASUS took that chip, and started adding, adding filters, opamps pretty much similar stuff to say Auzen, who use the X-Fi and build a proper card around it. The end result is an incredibly clean and managable audio solution, unparallelled by anything you've ever had included with a motherboard. Bear in mind though, the drivers are limited in terms of audio tweaking and you are looking at 2 channel sound there, unless you make an SPDIF passthrough over the optical out of course with multi-channel DVD/Blu-ray audio.
Pricing then, honestly I expected this motherboard to cost more. I mean, it's a hideous amount of money to put down for a motherboard, but here in the Netherlands the first prices have gone live and they indicate prices as low as 410 EUR. Now I'm not debating that's a lot of money, but really... realize the sheer perfection that you are buying. But we do have to point you to Sandy bridge and P67 as well, even with the Core i7 965 used in today's review, the 2500 and 2600K processors offer just so much ridiculous performance on the P67 that you will scratch behind your head every now and then.
For those that would like to go for a 6-core Intel Core i7 processor and need a X58 motherboard, well... if your budget allows, why the heck not. This is l33t, g33k and r3di1!cul0u$ fun stuff. Pure quality all in a stylish design. Top notch stuff, and as such top pick hardware.
So as of today we shall name this dark horse, the Black Beauty.
The ROG team this time went wild, releasing a motherboard with all the features that last-gen motherboards should have such as USB 3.0 connectivity, Bluetooth, eSATA connectors, SATA 6.0Gbps, and 7.1 channel audio, but the real x-factor of the Rampage IV Extreme can only be found when we look at its overclocking features. Head on over to the next page where we'll discuss the X79 chipset, the respective ASUS model. Then will throw a decent photo-shoot and a benchmark suite at the products and get an indication what performance is like with the Intel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E) and X79 Platform.
ASUS Rampage III Black Edition review
ASUS are launching the ASUS Rampage III Black Edition and it just has to be the most exclusive X58 motherboard we have ever had our hands on. Improved overclockability, black design (including a black colored BIOS). The spec-sheet might read pretty similar to last year's Rampage III Extreme, but there have been a few tweaks alright. The board now sports a quartet of PCIe x16 slots capable of supporting three-way SLI or four-way CrossFireX, support for 24GB DDR3 at speeds of up to 2,200MHz and then the fun begins, USB 3.0, SATA 6G, a ThunderBolt add-on card that integrates Xonar sound as well as BigFoot's Killer NPU.
ASUS Rampage III Gene review
Within that motto ASUS has it's own Gene series within the motherboard line up. Now if you put that on the X58 platform, it's called Rampage by ASUS. And then when this apocalyptic group of minions and demons called 'Republic of Gamers' aka ROG gets their hands on a product like this, you can expect improvements and extra overclock features.
ASUS Rampage III Extreme review
We test the ASUS Rampage III Extreme motherboard. The X58 based Rampage III Extreme is unadulterated performance, quality, versatility, some recently introduced innovation and massive overclockability. Now with added SATA 6G and USB 3.0 controllers as well.