ASUS Rampage IV Extreme Reviewccokeman - March 5, 2012
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The Extreme Tweaker section of the UEFI BIOS is where the overclocking magic happens. ASUS gives the end user the tools to get the most from their hardware. To start there are four different overclocking presets that are where the user can choose to use and not move any further into the BIOS. Then there is the rest of the world that will look to adjust the parameters in the BIOS to varying degrees. After the presets are the start of the adjustments with the AI Overclock tuner, bclock and bclock strap adjustments, and clockgen reset feature to keep from shutting down completely after a bclock adjustment. Turbo Ratio is to set the bclock multiplier from this menu. EPU or the Energy processor function can be shut down, and then there are several drop-down menus for the DRAM Timing control, Digi+ Power control, CPU Performance settings, and the GPU DIMM Post indicator that can be used to show whether or not the installed hardware is detected and functioning. Further down this first part of the Extreme Tweaker section are the voltage tuning options. Several can be set manually or set by adding an offset to the base voltage. At the bottom of the page are the Tweaker menus that have options for the extreme or enthusiast user. The CPU, GPU, Memory, and PCH are options here.
Under the DRAM timing control sub-menu you can, as one would suspect, set the primary and secondary timings for the installed DRAM. To start, much like the main tab, there are a series of presets that can be used based on popular performance memory modules. Shown here is just the top of this tab, as it gets deep into the sub-timings. Elpida and PSC profiles are available with a loose set of settings to push for the highest memory MHz. The Digi+ Power Control section is where the user can configure the load line calibration, the VRM switching frequency, current capacity, and overheat protection for the VRM circuits. The CPU Performance setting is where the bclock multiplier is set, as well as where Intel Speedstep and Turbo mode can be enabled or disabled. The wattage used by the cores before they throttle down can be adjusted in this section.
GPU/DIMM Post is a functional area that allows the user to see if the memory modules are fully engaged and in operation. The slot assignment and speed are shown on the BIOS screen. The same is done with the GPU. The manufacturer and the slot in use are shown, as well as the PCIe lanes being used — in this example, 16.
The Tweakers' Paradise menus on the bottom of the Extreme Tweaker section are for those looking for that last MHz and one tweak that can make the performance difference needed. For the CPU, there are CPU I/O Skew and I/O Drive Strength, and PCIE CLK Skew settings to increase overclocking margins. The memory settings include drive strength and reference voltage settings not addressed in the DRAM timing section. The PCH section adds clock skew control again, all in the name of higher overclocking margins. The VGA tweaking section contains the controls for adjusting the voltage for the installed GPU's core memory and PLL when using the VGA Hotwire feature of the Rampage IV Extreme.
The BIOS on the Rampage IV Extreme is easy to navigate through and contains all the tools needed to meet your overclocking goals. The UEFI interface is much more enjoyable to work through than the old school BIOS of the past. The key now is to see just how this motherboard compares to some of its peers.