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ASUS Rampage V Extreme Review

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ASUS Rampage V Extreme Closer Look:

For the Z97 launch, ASUS revamped its entire set of utilities with a new look, as well as added features that work with the 5-Way optimization tool to deliver improved usability and functionality at the push of a button. The new look is something that ASUS worked on for a while and in the end, provides the end user with a smoother operating, better functioning set of tools. ASUS still has included all the tools we are used to using and testing, but just brought more to the table. Let's dig into the tools and see what we have and see how it looks.

AI Suite III: Let's start off with AI Suite III, the latest version of ASUS' popular software package that aggregates almost all the software into one simple-to-use tool. If you are familiar with AI Suite, you no doubt have gotten used to the application and how to navigate through it. With this revision, we get an all-new look that takes a few minutes to learn the layout and then it's right back to the familiar tools. The main screen contains a lot of information about each of the seven tabs. For this generation, we have the 5-Way optimization tool using ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors to manage the functionality. Using this feature, we get a nice conservative, yet realistic overclock based on the variability of the CPU samples out in the market.

The 5-Way optimization tool makes use of the five main tools (Turbo App, Fan Xpert III, TPU, Digi+ Power, and EPU), along with overclocking, sound profiles, and network setting. In all, it's a pretty comprehensive tool. Using the 5-Way optimization tool to tune the system resulted in a stable overclock of 4.4GHz on the Rampage V Extreme, with no other work on my part. All the parameters were set by the tool, including clock multiplier, DRAM, fan speeds, and power profiles. With that being said, it pulled the maximum overclock from the CPU level up tool in the BIOS and ran with it. This delivers a lower overclock for the novice user jumping onto this board but the targeted user base is going to work out the details to go higher than that.

 

 

 

The 5-Way Optimization tool worked flawlessly to deliver a nice overall tune, but we can always do better, or so we think, by manually tuning the system. Under the TPU section of the main window we can adjust the CPU ratio, CPU Strap settings, voltages by manual or adaptive modes, save and load profiles, as well as get into the warning setting mode by clicking the arrow in the bottom left CPU speed window. Here you can set the warning thresholds for voltages, temperatures, fan speeds, and set the desired temperature display by unit type, Fahrenheit or Celsius. By updating this tool from previous versions, the whole tool works together to give you a good sustainable overclock, adjusts the fan parameters and energy management to maximize the potential of each aspect of the installed hardware.

 

 

The EPU tab is all about managing the power profiles and rules for the system. There are four preset profiles under EPU: Auto, High Performance, where power consumption is not a large concern, Max Power Saving, and Away modes that are designed to minimize the power profile by adjusting sleep timers, fan speeds, and the wattage level to run the processor at. Be aware that setting the wattage level will reduce the overall CPU speed and system performance as you might expect.

 

 

 

Digi+ Power Control allows the user to set Load-Line Calibration levels, CPU Current controls, Active Frequency switching, and CPU Phase control for the CPU with Current controls, Voltage phase, and frequency controls for the ultimate in manual tuning. If manually tuning the system is not your bag, then the 5-Way optimization tool takes care of it for you. ASUS' auto rules are setup to deliver the best possible performance without any user interaction.

 

 

Fan Xpert III is a utility that manages the fan speeds dynamically to provide the best possible noise/cooling ratio based on thermal need. Connecting your fans to the six onboard 4-pin chassis fan headers as well as the two 4-pin headers for the CPU fans allows the utility to tune the fan speeds by finding the minimum and maximum values for the installed fans. This way, Fan Xpert III can slow down the fans' speeds to reduce the overall noise signature when max cooling is not required, as well as increasing the speeds when max cooling is needed. It is an interesting tool to watch, as it goes through the tuning algorithms, but the end result is as you would expect. If the self tuning feature is not to your liking you also have the option of using four preset profiles as well as manual tuning to suit your needs.

 

 

Once you get past the performance tuning 5-way optimization tool section, you have a wealth of other feature to use. AI Charger+ is a USB 3.0 fast charging tool that supports BC 1.1 compatible devices, including iOS devices. Enabling this option will allow a 3x speedup as long as you are connecting a supported device. I found my Google Nexus charged fully in less than an hour when connected to the high current USB 3.0 port. EZ Update is used to check ASUS' servers for the latest CrashFree BIOS 3 BIOS and motherboard hardware drivers. USB Charger is a more flexible application, where you can choose your device type and enable fast charging while in a sleep state by connecting your charging plug to the ROG connect port on the I/O panel.

 

 

 

System information gives you basic information about the installed hardware including the CPU, Motherboard, and memory SPD settings. USB BIOS flashback is a tool introduced on the last generation boards that proves its worth. You can use this functionality without the DRAM or CPU being in their sockets to update the system BIOS. As long as power is applied to the board, the flash drive is installed in the ROG Connect port, and the USB BIOS flashback button is pushed, the BIOS will flash the CrashFree BIOS. As a tool, it can come in handy if you manage to corrupt the BIOS from some spirited overclocking. USB 3.0 Boost is a truly unique tool that uses optimizations to the BOT protocols and UASP support to drive improved USB 3.0 performance. Push notice is a tool that can be set to inform the user remotely by pushing system alerts and operating parameters to your mobile devices. A pretty cool and functional tool if you leave your PC running more that the average bear. 

 

 

 

AI Suite III is an excellent and fully functional tool in its own right, but there is more to the software package that ASUS supplies with the Rampage V Extreme.




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