ASUS Rampage Formula ReviewMakaveli - June 9, 2008
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The ASUS Rampage Formula is an ATX form factor motherboard that features Intel's X48 chipset. This motherboard uses Pin-Fin technology on the heatsinks to help dissipate heat efficiently. Notice how there is a heatsink on the back of the motherboard - right under the Northbridge - to help cool the X48 chipset even better. The ASUS Rampage Formula also features the "Stack Cool 2" fanless cooling feature, which is a plus. There's nothing more annoying than fans on a motherboard whirring loudly.
The rear I/O panel seems a little bit slim compared to some of the motherboards that I've recently seen, but there's definitely enough to hold me over. On the I/O panel, you'll find two RJ-45 Gigabit LAN ports, six USB 2.0 connectors, a PS/2 keyboard port, optical and coaxial digital S/PDIF connectors, an IEEE 1394 FireWire port, and a clear CMOS button. The clear CMOS button is a life saver, because now you just push the button if you have a bad overclock, instead of having to take out the battery and let it sit for 10 minutes. Directly adjacent to the PS/2 port, you'll find the port for the LCD poster unit.
This motherboard features two PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and two PCI expansion slots. The top-most PCI-E x1 slot is dedicated to the included Supreme FX II HD audio card. The space between the two PCI-E slots seems to be convenient for multiple video cards with large heatsinks.
On the bottom of the motherboard, you'll find an IEEE 1394a connector, Power and Reset buttons, two USB ports, and the pins for the case connectors. I was very impressed to see the onboard Power and Reset buttons. I've never seen them on any of my motherboards, but it's an awesome idea because sometimes you need to set your computer up on a test bench. When you're on a test bench, you don't have a case for the components so this makes it easy to turn on, turn off, or reset the motherboard. Also, here's a closer look at the Intel ICH9R Southbridge heatsink with the "Republic of Gamers" logo on it.
On the right-hand side of the motherboard, you'll find six SATA ports, an IDE port, a floppy connector, and a 24-pin power plug. Behind the floppy connector and 24-pin power plug, you'll find the four DIMM slots. This motherboard supports up to 8GB of DDR2 1200(OC)/1066/800MHz RAM.
The heatsinks on this motherboard are all connected, and they all feature Pin-Fin technology, allowing them to cool more efficiently than stacked fins. The Intel X48 chipset is covered by the largest heatsink, which almost looks like waves in the ocean dipping down and going back up. The PWM has a heatsink on it that is smaller than the Northbridge heatsink, but it does have the ASUS logo on it. The area around the CPU does look a little bit crowded, but I had no clearance issues when I installed my Thermaltake V1 CPU cooler.
Now, let's move on and take a closer look at the BIOS!