ASUS Rampage IV Extreme Reviewccokeman - March 5, 2012
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ASUS is using a UEFI BIOS implementation with the same user interface seen on the P67 and Z68 socket 1155 Sandy Bridge offerings. While the interface hasn't changed, what's under the skin is an upgrade to what ASUS has given the end user in the past. For instance, there is a "shorcut" menu to quickly access commonly used functions or areas without having to search the BIOS for them. There is an EZ Mode and an Advanced Mode to accommodate any and all users from the, dare I say it, noob to the extreme overclocker looking for that last MHz. There are a pair of 64MB Flash ROMs on board in case a BIOS flash goes bad or you just want to switch between BIOS if the eight programmable file presets are not enough. ASUS offers BIOS Flash protection via its Crash Free BIOS 3, USB BIOS Flashback so that the BIOS can be flashed without a CPU or DRAM being installed in the system, 2.2TB+ HDD support, and GPT Boot. Overclocking recovery via CPR (CPU Parameter Recall) makes a failed boot a one-time occurrence. The BIOS on the ROG series boards from ASUS are usually chock full of settings that most users will never use, as the auto settings will get most people to the promised land. It used to take a camera and some time transferring images over to the computer to share settings for either diagnostics or just to share an ovcerclock. Now ASUS has a screenshot feature called ROG BIOS Print to allow screenshots of the BIOS to be saved to a flash drive. Add in so many other features and you can understand why this board is for the extreme or power user. Let's take a tour through this implementation of ASUS' ROG-themed UEFI BIOS. It is by far the most complex I have been through in some time.
EZ and Advanced Mode:
The EZ Mode allows the user to make a limited amount of changes and is more to show what the time, date, and what the installed devices are. Advanced Mode gives the user the entire shooting match with access to every setting and feature allowed in the BIOS. Advanced Mode consists of six sub-menus to take advantage of the installed hardware.
Advanced Mode: Extreme Tweaker:
This section is fairly expansive and is where ASUS spends the time to make sure that if you want to look for it and use it, there is a setting for just about every parameter on each device installed in the system. Starting off, there are four predefined overclocking profiles that can be set in addition to any XMP profiles, CPU Level Up or AI Overclock tuner settings. EPU power saving presets, voltages, DRAM timings and "Tweaker" functionality for the CPU, Memory, PCH, and VGA can be found in this one tab in the BIOS. You can literally spend days in this section to understand what each setting does. We will dig a little deeper on the next page.
This section is sparse by comparison to the Extreme Tweaker section of the BIOS. In this section, you'll be able to access the time, date, BIOS revision, iROG revision, CPU information, amount of installed memory, system language and security features, such as admin passwords.
Under this tab, one can set the CPU configuration parameters, such as the bclock multiplier, enable Turbo Boost and Intel Speed step, C-states , SATA, USB, and have the ability to enable or disable the onboard device functionality. Under the SATA configuration, you can set the connection type for disk drives to AHCI, RAID or IDE and turn on or off the hot swap feature. Under the USB sub-menu is the ability to configure how the USB interface is managed. Last but not least, is the onboard device configuration that allows the user to enable or disable the sound, Bluetooth, USB 3.0, LAN, and Boot Rom, as well as the USB 3.0 controller.
Under this tab is the monitoring functionality for the board. Here the voltages, fan speeds, and temperatures can be checked. The first sub-menu below Anti Surge support is the voltage monitor. This tab is to check the voltages delivered to all the key components of the system. You can verify the voltages displayed against what is actually delivered by measuring the voltage check points on the Rampage IV Extreme. Temperature Monitor lets the end user monitor temperatures on the board and installed components, as well as several optional sensors. Warning temperatures can be set to alert the user when a specific component's temperature exceeds the set warning level. It's a tool that does work, as the warning levels are displayed through the AI Suite. Fan speed monitor does just what the name implies and displays the speed of up to nine fans. The last tab is fan control, where you can enable ASUS Q-Fan controls and set fan speeds individually to meet the end user's needs.
The Boot menu is where to set the sequence that the drives are polled for bootable media. The primary drive can be identified when more than one is installed. The full screen ROG logo can be enabled or disabled at POST, Wait for F1 if Errors can be enabled or disabled, the length of time the POST report shows can be altered, and the setup mode that the BIOS will open into can be set to EZ or Advanced.
This section comes in real handy. ASUS' EZ Flash 2 utility is hands down one of the easiest ways to flash a BIOS. It has been imitated, but not duplicated. Search for the BIOS file on any installed media, choose the BIOS file, choose to flash the BIOS, and the process is automated from that point on. SPD Information shows the SPD profile on the memory DIMMs. Under ASUS OC Profile, the end user can save up to eight distinct profiles. BIOS Flashback is used to force the system to boot from either of the BIOS chips or copy the data from one to the other. The Go Button File is the group of settings used when the Go Button is pushed on the R4E.
The Exit tab at the top right allows you to load optimized or safe default settings, save or discard changes made to the BIOS settings, launch the BIOS in EZ or Advanced mode, or launch the EFI shell.