Asus Rampage II GENE ReviewGeekspeak411 -
Let's see what all Asus was able to squeeze onto the RIIG's bundled disk. Right after you pop in the disk a blue window pops up that has all of your installation options. The interface is divided into six different tabs every one containing something that I used. For the actual installation Asus has a slick feature called InstALL which brings up a window that detects current hardware and software, and from that give you the option to have it automatically install every program that either does not exist, or is not as current. InstALL intelligently determines how many restarts will be necessary, all you have to click is OK, from there it is all taken care of.
Here we have Asus Direct Link and Asus Update. Direct Link is an application claiming to facilitate much faster networked PC file transfers, if you transfer a lot of files between PC's on your home network, then this app will be a great addition to your arsenal. Now there is Asus Update. As the title suggests, this will let you know when updates are available and let you pick what to do from there. If you have ever used a PC since XP came out with windows update, then you know whats here.
One of the coolest programs I have seen from Asus has to be MyLogo. MyLogo lets you completely customize your boot screen to show your own image, play your own sound, whatever you want to show off your system. MyLogo adds that awesome touch when your showing off your rig. PCProbe is a hardware monitor that shows all of the information that your board has to offer. Even though PCProbe has a lot of monitor points, it feels very limited and stripped down, I prefer programs like CPU-Z and SpeedFan to this but hey, it's included!
TurboV is the proprietary program from Asus that allows you to make certain BIOS changes from within Windows. Although I personally prefer the RIIG's excellent BIOS, this app is a definite boon to people just beginning to scratch the surface of overclocking. Once you get that record setting OC, you will want to post pictures of you rig etc. and to do so you need a good program to edit your pictures and apply your user name making the picture truly yours.
Flowing further from the necessities we come to the audio converter. It will take just about any audio file and will turn it into a large choice of different formats. Wave studio takes an approach to editing that audio that feels very intuitive.
After you have converted and edited your audio files and think you're ready to listen to them, you have the Media Source Player to help you out. Covering all of the bases, you of course have to a good tool to burn it or any other audio/video/whatever file to disk, yep, there's an all-inclusive disc burner as well.
Almost everyone has heard of WinZip. If you haven't, then just know that it takes big files and makes them smaller. The app here is the same as the version online. This is the only trial program on the disk but I suppose this little bit of "crap ware" is fine if it pays for the other stuff.
Possibly the centerpiece of the whole bundle is the X-Fi Console from Creative. Gamers will know X-Fi from it's awesome EAX experience. Audiophiles will know X-Fi for it's excellent audio quality and manipulation. Most of the features can be found in programs like Windows Media Player so I will let the pictures tell themselves, but you have to hear the performance to really understand what the hype is all about.
As if all of the other goodies aren't enough, you finally have the karaoke app which effectively removes the lead voice from just about any track you put through it. The program will allow you to set up a playlist and adjust microphone volume directly. This program would be an excellent addition to a HTPC hooked up to a nice stereo system and TV. The uATX form-factor is perfect for such a position as well!
I can happily say that Asus has lived up to its own reputation in providing a very generous accessory bundle! Now let's see how the BIOS measures up.