ASUS Rampage III Black Edition review -
The motherboard piece by piece
From left to right, that's a combo PS2 keyboard/mouse connector, two USB 2.0 ports -- six in total, then two wireless antennae -- IEEE 802.11b/g/n, Wi-Fi Compliant and embedded Bluetooth v3.0. A Clear CMOS button, also two USB 3,0 ports can be found here as well as two eSATA 6G ports (the red ones). The weird looking button with accompanying vertical USB port is for ROG connect (external overclocking through say, a laptop)
We spot one Gigabit Ethernet jack and next to it is audio, which is managed by the Realtek ALC892 codec which supports High Definition audio up-to 7.1 channels. This solution is optimized by the ThunderBolt card which we'll address later on. Also the Realtek solution gets some Creative Labs optimizations with the help of a SupremeFX X-Fi 2 software layer. This will bring EAX 5.0 and OpenAL to audio. It also comes with the THX TruStudio Pro software.
When we flip the board around we stumble into the processor area. Nice and spacious thanks to the cooling, a big cooler like the Noctua NH-D14 will fit there, in fact we'll be using one of these puppies today. Clean looks surround the LGA 1366 socket alright. To the upper middle of the photo we see a CPU fan header, quality capacitors and chokes and also a NEC Proadlizer, which cleans the power signal.
The board comes with 8-phase CPU power, 3-phases for QPI/DRAM, 3-phases for NB power and thus 3-phases for memory.
We spot two 8-pin CPU power headers just behind the wireless add-on there on the back panel connectors; we see quality solid core chokes and obviously the LGA 1366 socket for Core i7 based processors. The board incorporates the latest Ultra Durable components like solid capacitors, ferrite core chokes, quality components and nothing else. This ensures stability -- but also reliability and extended lifespan.
The little red button is a reset button by the way.
Once we flip the board around once more, we again stumble into the six DIMM slots, DDR3 of course. Let's zoom in a little.
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.