ASUS Rampage III Extreme ReviewGeekspeak411 - August 3, 2010
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So at this point I've looked at the packaging, checked out the accessories, ogled the unique features, and pushed this board to the limit. Now I am expected to sum up my thoughts in a few, somewhat coherent paragraphs. Easier said than done because simply put, this board has left me speechless. I have always been impressed with ASUS and its execution of their Republic of Gamers line, and this motherboard doesn't disappoint. The company has been surprisingly reliable in their selection of ROG products as they have resisted the urge to dilute the line, selling dull and overpriced crap. Right now, the ROG line offers nothing but unique, high-performance, quality products. That fact alone is laudable because the temptation to cash in on that kind of potential must be huge. For instance, at the time of writing, the Rampage III Extreme is $390 after all is said and done. Instead of purchasing it, you could opt for a board that is closer to mid-range at around $200 and still have a pretty kicking system, so how in the world could this board be worth a 100% price hike? By having just half of the features that this board has. That's how.
Seriously, the Rampage II Extreme reinvented my expectations when it came out, and now the RIIIE is doing it again. ASUS is setting a new standard with the Rampage III Extreme. This board added so many features that were even new to me that I was almost interested in reading the manual over again! ROG Connect is awesome. The setup that ROG Connect allows reminds me of tuning a NASCAR car, being able to plug a laptop in to the board and monitor, edit, and dominate the BIOS from virtually any power state. It was really nice to have the power and reset buttons right on the laptop screen so that I could just stay comfortable in my chair. God forbid I had to reach around and press the Clear CMOS button on the back of the motherboard.
Even if a reset was required, it would be a non-issue here. Not only did the board make it through every stage of testing without having to clear the CMOS, but it made it so that if the issue ever arose, the solution was just a click away! Now, say you either, a) don't want to haul out your laptop for this, or b) don't have a laptop to take advantage of this. Have no fear - the ROG Android application is here! Yes, you can use your Android phone to connect the same way, but via Bluetooth! ASUS really pulled out all the stops here. I really like having an integrated Bluetooth dongle on the motherboard that is accessible from Windows. This board has a "GO" button, which, when pressed, will load up any batch file you like instantly! Save your OC settings and use this button as a toggle between them, live. Using that, you could have one side of the toggle OC for performance, and the other side switch to stock speeds for chip longevity, and power savings. The motherboard has two physical BIOS chips. All it takes to switch between the two is the push of a button - much sleeker than the RIIE's jumper, or BIOS switch solution. Now what good would dual BIOS be if you couldn't use them to get extreme performance? The motherboard has dual eight-pin CPU power sockets to handle the additional load when partaking in extreme overclocking. Judging from the amperages I was reading from ROG Connect, I could see how using two would probably be a good idea.
Oh yeah, overclocking. ASUS rocked that too. The Rampage III Extreme was able to clock my chip all over the map, handling some ridiculous suicide shots. It is definitely worth noting that the RIIIE never missed a boot through all of my testing. The worst I saw was blue-screening into Windows, so needless to say, this is a very overclock-friendly board. The BIOS is awesome - period. There are so many little tweaks that ASUS layers on top of the normal core functionality that it almost feels like punishment to go back to any other board. I love the design and organization of each tab, as it just makes sense. Bravo, ASUS. The excellent power system had some crazy scalable Load-Line Calibration settings, tons of options, and a very reliable logic system for auto-managing voltages that you didn't want to deal with. Actually, I was able to hit 4GHz with all voltages, but with the DRAM on auto. That's pretty impressive.
So really, you have some awesome features, a stellar BIOS, excellent quality hardware, a quality paint job and good cooling. What more could you want? Oh right, USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps, of course! This board has that too. I think ASUS hit a home-run with the Rampage III Extreme, because this board deserves to be on everybody's wish list. I thought the Rampage II Extreme was ground breaking, and here I am. I have been blown away all over again, and I love it. Keep it up, ASUS.
- Excellent value
- ROG features
- Excellent BIOS
- Dual BIOS chips
- Very overclockable
- Newest standards
- Included bundle
- Extremely innovative
- Four-way SLI not supported