Asus Rampage II Extreme ReviewGeekspeak411 - January 26, 2010
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Taking the Rampage II Extreme out of the motherboard tray left me in awe at the size of this beast. It should be noted that the RIIE is 1" wider than the ATX standard calls for, so you will need to check your case if you plan on installing this in a mid-tower. It barely fits in the Antec Sonata Elite. Barely. Practically 0.0" inches left over. Asus needs the room however because there is still no space left over after all the additional iROG features are accounted for! Without further ado, I give you the RIIE!
First and foremost, I would like to point out the cooling system used on the RIIE because when it boils down to getting the most performance out of your system, chips can only be pushed so far before heat becomes the dangerously limiting factor. Every single heatsink on the RIIE is serviced by a common heatpipe stretching all the way from the voltage regulators to the IOH, allowing idle heatsinks to assist their overloaded counterparts. The cooler on the X58 chip is attached via Asus' fuzion standard, meaning you can easily swap the air cooler out for a compatible water block with just two screws. There is good quality thermal grease used on every contact, which is a very welcome change from some of the nightmarish compounds seen on other boards in the past.
On the RIIE, you will find all the toppings, including three PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots (in a x16, x16, x8 configuration), two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and a PCI slot for any legacy equipment you can't live without. There is a floppy header for those of us that still use floppies to create our RAID volumes. Two BIOS chips allowing for two completely separate saves and settings ensuring 100% up-ish time. Lastly, there are seven 3.0Gbps SATA 2.0 ports and one PATA port for the many of us out there still holding onto our trusty IDE optical drives.
The IO panel is fully stocked with six USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 port, dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, a Firewire 800 port, an E-SATA port, and a CMOS reset butten to top it all off!
Being a ROG board, the Rampage II Extreme has some features that are quite unique. First off, you have the TweakIt area of the board that not only has the power and reset buttons, but also live tweaking controls, allowing you to fine tune your overclocks from within Windows! Also, underneath the LED ROG plate, there is a dedicated Power Card that ensures reliability under all circumstances.
Wow, the RIIE's hardware isn't kidding around. Let's see if the software bundle keeps the trend going.