Asus Rampage II GENE ReviewGeekspeak411 - August 11, 2009
Whenever a new chipset is released there is always a rush to be the first on the market and take advantage of the high prices that invariably come with almost every new hardware release. Unfortunately this rush to the market causes premature releases meaning unstable drivers, a performance hogging BIOS and many other unfortunate shortcomings remedied by later editions. One fairly standard rule though is that if you want all the features, then you have to have all of the board. This means that if you want to play with things like SLI, Crossfire, Overclocking, and pretty much every other enthusiast feature available, then your sights are narrowed immediately to just the ATX style and the gigantic eATX style motherboards. Far from perfect for the mobile gamers out there forced to lug a huge case around simply for lack of a smaller motherboard that doesn't skimp on the features. Enter the Asus Republic of Gamers branded Rampage II GENE motherboard.
The RIIG is the first uATX style motherboard to join the ROG family, and it is as deserving of the title as every other product in the ROG line! With features like full 24GB 2000MHz RAM support, SLI/Crossfire abilities, support for 12 USB 2.0 Ports (6 built-in, 6 on-board headers), Fuzion waterblock compatibility, and integrated X-Fi sound, the RIIG is as packed on paper as it is in real life but with all of these capabilities is it just the jack of all trades or does truly perform with the big boys? Let's find out!
The Rampage II GENE come packaged in style. Sporting the same design as the rest of the motherboard's current RoG brethren, the Rampage II GENE comes in a flashy red box with Rampage II GENE artistically plastered on every side in a gray to silver gradient contrasting beautifully with the bright background. One of the truly stand out features on the packaging however is the remarkably refreshing absence of some cheesy alien/cyborg/elitist object attempting to proclaim the units superiority through outright lack of any taste whatsoever. Instead, there is a simple yet modern flame motif originating from the bottom right corner of the package around none other than the Asus logo itself. Words can only go so far when describing an object so see for yourself. Asus has packaged the Rampage II GENE to blow away the big boys but it's the innards that count. Still, Asus would be foolish to present a dud in a warriors outfit so I'm interested to see what's to offer. You get a small peek at whats inside when you lift the flap on the front cover, underneath you can see some of the stand-out features that Asus wants you to know about such as the on-board X-Fi.
Opening the box you get full frontal view of the Rampage II GENE protected by a clear plastic shield. Once you remove the motherboard tray you come to the bountiful assortment of accessories, the most prominent of which is a copy of the flame motif seen on the front of the packaging in case sticker form, just what the avid LAN gamer needs to prove the superiority of his or her system. The inclusion of this was thoughtful seeing as how the small form-factor will make this board very attractive to the LAN going types.
Well we have seen the shining armor, now to see if a true knight resides within.