ASUS Rampage V Extreme Reviewccokeman -
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ASUS Rampage V Extreme Introduction:
ASUS ROG based motherboards have become, over the years, the standard with which all other gaming motherboards are measured. It's a position that ASUS has earned through constant innovation and by listening to what its community wants. Then putting the best possible combination of hardware and software to meet the consumers needs. Gaming is only part of the equation for the end user as ASUS makes sure the hardware is right for the extreme overclocker, looking to maximize the capabilities of the installed hardware regardless of whether your cooling scenario is high-end air, liquid, or sub-zero using liquid nitrogen, or a mechanical refrigeration system. The hardware is in place to make it happen.
To meet those hardware needs, you get ASUS upgraded Extreme Engine Digi+ IV VRM circuitry with PoweIRstage® IR3555, Microfine alloy chokes and 10K black capacitors, ASUS own OC Socket, OC Panel, and more. For the gamer in us all you get Sonic Radar, Supreme FX, 4-Way SLI and CrossfireX support, KeyBot, and the list goes on. Not to be left out, the extreme overclocker gets a set of features as well with ASUS' own 2011-v3 OC socket, used to reduce vdroop at the hardware level, the overclocking command center, which adds a bit of extreme functionality with sub zero sense, VGA hotwire, up to four more fan headers, Safe boot and Retry buttons, USB BIOS flashback, slow mode and pause buttons, and ASUS' outstanding UEFI BIOS. When you put it all down on paper, the ASUS Rampage V Extreme has it all for just about every user base. That fantastic layered performance potential does come with a price premium when you get down to it. The ASUS Rampage V Extreme will set you back just shy of five Benjamins at $469. It's a steep price tag, but it provides all that you could want in a hardware/software package. Let's see how well it performs.
ASUS Rampage V Extreme Closer Look:
If you are at all familiar with ASUS ROG brands, then the packaging of the board is not a drastic change from what we have seen out of the last few ROG releases. The front panel features minimal information outside of the name of the board, the ROG logo, hardware support listed across the bottom of the panel including Intel core series processors and the use of Intel's X99 chipset, and graphics support for NVIDIA and AMD dual GPU solutions. The back panel goes a little deeper into the functionality, listing the basic specifications while showing I/O connectivity. Flipping open the front panel allows the end user to get a good look at what lies inside as well as getting a good detailed explanation of ROG feature set including ASUS' own OC socket, Direct CU cooling for the Extreme Engine Digi+ IV VRM, OC Panel, and Supreme FX audio solution. Inside the box is, of course, the Rampage V Extreme, OC panel, and the box holding the rather gratuitous bundle of accessories.
There are not many boards that can rival ASUS ROG series when it comes to the amount of accessories that come packed inside. One exception is some of the Deluxe Edition boards from ASUS. Starting with the soft parts you get the user guide, quick installation guide, safety brochure, driver and software disk, SATA data cable labels, and a two sided door tag that takes the slogan used by Gandalf in the Lord of the rings trilogy when facing down the Balrog and applies it to effect. Yeah I know, but it was the first thing I thought of when I saw it! After the soft parts we get to the meat and potatoes of the bundle. Starting off you have ten, count them TEN 6Gb/s SATA data cables, some with 90 degree ends that aid cable management, a set of three thermistors to better visualize the boards thermals, ASUS X-bracket so you can use your previous gen heat sinks, 2-3-4 way SLI bridge connections, 2-way CrossfireX bridge connection, Q-Shield, Q-Connectors, OC Panel and 12 wire connector, 5.25 inch bay adapter for the OC panel, and last but not least, the Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compliant 3T3R dual band Wi-Fi antenna.
Far and away the accessory that adds the most functionality is the ASUS OC panel. Introduced back in 2013, the OC is at this point the culmination of the work down with previous hardware such as Tweakit, ROG Connect, OC Station, and OC Key. Now we have the OC Panel. At the top of the OC panel is an 2.6 inch LCM display flanked with four buttons that allow you to toggle between normal and extreme mode. A power button to turn the system on and off, a fan speed control button and a CPU level up button. These are the only buttons you will have access to if the OC Panel is mounted in your chassis using the 5.25 inch bay mount. In the middle of the device are power button directional keys, an ok or enter key, and a clear and reset key. Further down is a removable cover that houses the functionality for the extreme overclocker to use. Added fan headers, slow mode and pause buttons, VGA Hotwire connectivity on select ASUS video cards, and on the left side is the Sub Zero sense sockets that enable the user to plug in a couple k-series temperature probes for true hardware based temperature readings when running under LN2. Along the bottom are the SATA power port and 12 wire connection that mounts to a header on the lower edge of the Rampage V Extreme.
Here's a couple slides from ASUS to show how the OC Panel works when put into each scenario. I'll let the slides do the talking.
The accessory bundle hints at the true capabilities of this board. Although many will buy it for the gamer centric feature set just as many of the Extreme ROG faithful will move up to this board for the hardcore hardware incorporated into the build. To find out what the rest of the board has in store, we can dig a bit deeper.