ASUS Rampage III Extreme ReviewGeekspeak411 -
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At the heart of every great motherboard, there is a great BIOS keeping everything running smoothly. This holds true today more than ever. With standardized chipsets available only from Intel, it has become more and more difficult for manufacturers to differentiate themselves from one another. With only a few options on the hardware front, companies like ASUS have turned and waged war on the software front. This has brought out some really cool and useful features such as one-touch overclocking, front panel voltage monitoring, you name it. Has ASUS brought it to another level with the Rampage III Extreme? If anything, they are off to a good start with their awesome, yet incredibly useful ROG Connect feature, but I want to see if the BIOS really has what it takes to make all of the extras worth it!
As with the Rampage II Extreme, I have really come to appreciate the dedication that ASUS has shown to enthusiasts and overclockers. The company has been good about creating a fairly potent mix of frills and functionality. They create almost an expert balance between the two, and the BIOS is about as perfect of an example as you're going to get! To call the BIOS on the Rampage III Extreme 'Feature Laden' I believe, would be an understatement. Almost every function of the board is customizable in one form or another. The layout is top-notch with links leading to pertinent pages on different tabs. This move really eases the initial customization process and speeds up the configuration stage greatly. As much as I might like to think I could explain the BIOS better than pictures could show, I know better than to believe it any other way, so the rest of this page is filled to the brim with a complete walkthrough of all the various pages and options available. I have omitted the Extreme Tweaker section from this compilation, as there are simply too many things to cover on one page, so I dedicated the whole next page to that section. Enjoy!
This tab contains the standard grade chipset and ROG setting pages. Here are settings to control IO ports when going for those extreme overclocks, as well as controls to specify which component's voltage is represented by each of the various voltage LEDs around the board. Pretty much all of the non-specifics can be found here.
This tab, as expected, has most of the motherboard power settings. There aren't too many controls beyond the standard set to be found here, just suspend modes, wake settings, and a few other options. At the bottom of the tab is a link to a simple in-BIOS hardware monitor.
If you want to customize any of the motherboard boot settings, this is the place to go. Customizations for which drive to attempt a boot from first, which hard drive is used for boots, and some boot settings and security options to make sure your system is secure.
On the Tools tab, ASUS has its EZ Flash 2 utility ready and waiting to let you flash the BIOS quite easily. Once the application loads, the BIOS can be flashed with a new file from any disk recognized on the system. I have never had failed flashes with this utility, and find that it is very reliable. You can also access the OC Profile, Go Button, Flashback, and Drive Xpert settings here. OC Profile is a great tool for overclockers - it is a must for anyone going anywhere beyond mere dabbling. The feature provides space to save eight entire BIOS profiles that can be pulled from and applied at any time. It makes for an excellent way to step back after a failed overclock reset and keep going right where the system left off. Excellent!
Not surprisingly, used for exiting.