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ASUS Rampage II Extreme X58 Motherboard Review - Ultimate Enthusiast Platform

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Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Asus
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Introduction and Specifications

Another X58 Motherboard from ASUS

With the release of any new chipset comes the eventual onslaught of new products from the usual suspects: ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI and others.  When the Intel Core i7 processors review was posted here on PC Perspective last week, we ran our first set of benchmarks on the Intel-branded DX58SO motherboard as we usually do with new Intel chipset releases.  The board was impressive, especially for our first taste the entirely platform, but we yearned for a little bit more.

The ASU Rampage II Extreme is indeed just that - a little bit more.  To the extreme.  REALLY extreme.  There are features on this motherboard unlike anything we have seen before and that is truly a feat in world of "me too" motherboards.  If beyond sane overclocking, voltage tweaking BIOS features are what you are into, you definitely need to read this review.  If not, you should still read it if only to see how those insane few people love their motherboards!

Rampage II Extreme Specifications (from ASUS.com)

CPU
Intel® Socket 1366 Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition/Core™ i7 Processor Supports Intel® Dynamic Speed Technology

* Refer to www.asus.com for Intel CPU support list

Chipset
Intel® X58 /ICH10R

System Bus
Up to 6400 MT/s with QuickPath Interconnection
Memory
6 x DIMM, Max. 12 GB, DDR3 1800(O.C.)/1600(O.C.)/1333/1066 Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory

Triple channel memory architecture

* Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

**Due to Intel spec definition, DIMMs of DDR3-1333 or above are out
of spec. Please refer to www.asus.com or user manual for the Memory
QVL(Qualified Vendors List).

Expansion Slots
3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 support at x16, x8, x8, or dual x16 speed

2 x PCIe 2.0 x 1 ( the PCIEx1_1 (black) is compatible with audio slot)

1 x PCI 2.2

Multi-GPU Support
Support NVIDIA 3-Way SLI™ / ATI CrossFireX™ Technology
Storage
Intel ICH10R controller

6 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports

Intel Matrix Storage Technology Support RAID 0,1,5,10

JMicron® JMB363 PATA and SATA controller

1 xUltraDMA 133/100/66/33 for up to 2 PATA devices

1 xExternal SATA 3.0 Gb/s port (SATA On-the-Go)

1 xSATA 3.0 Gb/s port

LAN
Dual Gigabit LAN controllers, both featuring AI NET2 Support Teaming Technology
Audio
SupremeFX X-Fi Audio Card

- ADI® AD2000B 8 -Channel High Definition Audio CODEC

- EAX® Advanced™ HD 4.0

- X-Fi CMSS®-3D

- X-Fi Crystalizer™

- Creative ALchemy

- Supports 1 x S/PDIF out header

- Supports Coaxial/Optical S/PDIF out ports on rear

IEEE 1394
2 x 1394a ports (1 port at back I/O, 1 port onboard)
USB
12 USB 2.0 ports (6 ports at mid-board, 6 ports at back panel)
Overclocking Features
TweakIt

ProbeIt

Extreme Engine with ML Cap

- 16-phase CPU power

- 3-phase QPI/DRAM power

- 3-phase NB power

- 3-phase Memory power

- ML Caps on CPU, memory and NB respectively

CPU Level Up

iROG

Extreme Tweaker

BIOS Flashback

Loadline Calibration

Intelligent overclocking tools:

- ASUS AI Booster Utility

- O.C Profile

Overclocking Protection:

- COP EX (Component Overheat Protection - EX)

- Voltiminder LED

- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)

Special Features
External LCD Poster

Onboard Switches: Power / Reset / Clr CMOS (at rear)

EL I/O

Q-Fan Plus

ROG BIOS Wallpaper

ASUS EPU-6 Engine

ASUS Q-Connector

ASUS Fan Xpert

ASUS EZ Flash 2

ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3

ASUS MyLogo3

Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 Keyboard port(purple)

1 x External SATA port

2 x LAN (RJ45) port

6 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports

1 x IEEE1394a port

1 x Clr CMOS switch

Internal I/O Connectors
3 x USB connectors supports additional 6 USB 2.0 ports

1 x Floppy disk drive connector

1 x IDE connector

7 x SATA connectors

1 x IEEE 1394a connector

1 x Chassis Fan connector

x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector

24-pin ATX Power connector

1 x EL I/O Shield Connector

3 x thermal sensor connector

1 x En/Dis-able Clr CMOS connector

System Panel

8 x Fan connectors: 1 x CPU / 1 x PWR / 3 x Chassis / 3 x Optional

8 x ProbeIt connectors

1 x LCD Poster connector

1 x BIOS FlashBack boot up selection header

1 x ROG light connector

BIOS
16 Mb Flash ROM

AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI2.0a Multi-Language BIOS

Manageability
WOL by PME,WOR by PME,Chasis Intrusion,PXE
Accessories
ProbeIt Cable

3-Way SLI Cable

SLI Cable

ASUS Optional Fan

SupremeFX X-Fi Audio Card

External LCD Poster

3 in 1 ASUS Q-Connector Kit

UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable

SATA cables

SATA power cables

2-port USB2.0 + IEEE 1394a module

EL I/O Shield

Thermal sensor cables

Cable Ties

User's manual

Support Disc
Support DVD:

- Drivers and applications

Sound Blaster X-Fi Utility

Futuremark® 3DMark® Vantage Advanced Edition

Kaspersky® Anti-Virus

ASUS TurboV utility

ASUS PC Probe II

ASUS Update

ASUS AI Suite

Form Factor
ATX Form Factor

12 inch x 10.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 26.9 cm )

Wow, there is a lot to take in here, and looking through all the features that ASUS has packed into the Rampage II Extreme will take a few pages.  Early stand outs from the crowd include built-in support for DDR3 memory at 1800 MHz, 3-Way SLI support, X-Fi audio and something called "ProbeIt" and "TweakIt" that we will dive into on the following page.

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