ASUS Rampage III Formula Reviewccokeman - December 23, 2010
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With Intel's Sandy Bridge coming up right around the corner, the rumored switch to UEFI BIOS is quickly approaching. But at this time, the ROG Rampage III Formula is still equipped with a legacy American Megatrends BIOS. The version this board was equipped with was earlier than what is available on ASUS's website so an upgrade to the 0505 BIOS was in order. Of course, the update went quite smoothly using the 'Update from File' method in the AI Suite software. Let's take a stroll through this BIOS to see how well equipped it is for enabling exceptional overclocks.
The first section of the BIOS on this board is the Extreme Tweaker section. In this massive section you can pretty much adjust your way to a series of pretty incredible overclocks. You can adjust the voltages for the CPU, memory, QPI bus and so much more. You have options for over-voltage controls, skew levels, DRAM timings, the CPU Level Up feature plus much more. This section will see more than just a cursory look on the next page.
The Main Section of the BIOS shows the system time and date with separate tabs for the System Information and Storage Configuration functions. Under the Storage Configuration tab you can setup some basic parameters about the disks installed in the system. System Information gives you some top level information about the Rampage III Formula such as the BIOS revision and the installed processor.
Under this tab you have quite a bit of functionality. You can setup the energy saving tools for your Intel processor such as C1E and EIST. Chipset configuration and USB configuration will mostly be left at the defaults along with the LED control. The Onboard Device configuration allows for enabling and/or disabling SATA 6 Gb/s support, USB 3.0 support and how the High Definition Audio stream will be output. Toward the bottom of this tab you have the ROG specific features that let you enable or disable ROG Connect feature and how it interfaces with the RC Tweakit software.
In this section you are able to set suspend mode, ACPI and APM settings as well as monitor the temperatures, voltages and fan speeds. The final item in the Hardware Monitor tab is the Fan control tab so you can enable or disable the fan controls and set the fan profiles for the fans attached to the motherboard's fan headers.
As you might imagine, this section deals with setting the boot parameters on the motherboard. The first option is setting the boot device priority of the drives attached to the motherboard. The second option lets you choose which hard drive will be displayed in the boot device menu. Boot Settings configuration allows you to enable features such as Num Lock on start, setting quick boot, showing the full screen display and error codes and how they are handled. The last option is Security. This option lets you set supervisor level passwords to get in and modify the BIOS.
In this section you have options that are functional and have value if you know how they are to be used. ASUS EZ Flash is used to update the BIOS from an easy to use GUI. The OC Profile option lets you save up to eight separate BIOS profiles. This is useful when you are testing out new settings and want to keep a BIOS profile that works as your "go-to" and can restore baseline settings. If you do lose your way in this maze, it's a quick return to normalcy by applying the correct profile. The GO button allows you to setup a profile that is used when you need to recover from a failed overclock with no post under Extreme overclocking situations such as a cold boot under LN2 cooling. The BIOS Flashback functionality is accessed from this section and allows you to save multiple BIOS profiles that can be switched with the push of a button. Drive Expert allows you to setup a RAID set using the on-board hardware.
Last but not least, you have the EXIT function that allows you to exit the BIOS in several ways by either saving the BIOS and restarting or declining to save the BIOS changes made. Additionally, you have the ability to reset the BIOS to the factory defaults in case you really hose something up or you feel you need to start from scratch.
This gives you an idea of what's in store for you in the BIOS on the Rampage III Formula. More detail on the Extreme Tweaker section is next.