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Should You Get an Asus Rampage IV Extreme Intel X79 Motherboard?

Editor’s Notes: This review comes from a contributor and does not reflect any perspective from the Back2Gaming Review staff (spec. BossMac)

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About Asus and Republic of Gamers

Asus was founded in Taiwan on the 2nd of April 1990, the company name’s derived from that of Pegasus, the mythological winged horse. The Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand was officially established some years later in July 2005, although it was at the end of 2004, with the creation and success of the award-winning A8N32-SLI motherboard, that the ROG revolution began. The deluxe version of the A8N32-SLI, which Asus credit as effectively functioning as the prototype for the entire range, was the first motherboard to support dual NVIDIA SLI graphics cards, it able to beat the GeForce 6800 Ultra in benchmark tests when combining two GeForce 6600 GT graphics cards.

Originally known as Project G, the Republic of Gamers name was assumed in June 2006 in order to coincide with the release of the Crosshair (codenamed Pluto), the brand’s first product and indeed also the first motherboard specifically tooled for gaming.

So what about the Rampage IV Extreme?

While the Rampage IV Extreme Intel X79 motherboard isn’t brand new any more, it still packs a pretty damn powerful punch: as motherboards go, it’s definitely a bit of a beast. The first Rampage was released to rave reviews in February 2008, with November 2011’s Rampage IV Extreme garnering an even greater amount of praise thanks to its cumulative upgrades. But what’s actually
under the hood?

The specifications

  • LGA2011 Intel® Coreâ„¢ i7 – Powerful, energy efficient and helps deliver excellent graphics performance
  • Intel® X79 Express chipset – Provides improved performance and lightning-fast data retrieval
  • PCIe 3.0 ready – Unprecedented data speeds and backwards compatibility with PCIe1.0 and PCIe 2.0 devices
  • Multi-GPU technology – Supports both SLI and CrossfireX graphic card setups, and is capable of running up to four of them together for truly mind-blowing visuals
  • Quad-Channel DDR3 2400 MHz memory capabilities – Ready to deal with whatever high bandwidth tasks you throw at it
  • OC Key – An attachment that plugs into the DVI port of any graphics card, thus allowing for the easy on-screen monitoring and adjustment of performance and overclocking options
  • X-Socketâ„¢ – This allows you to switch out the LGA 2011 bracket for a 1366 cooler one should you have one you want to use
  • 7.1-channel audio system – Onboard HD audio CODEC enabling 192KHz/24-bit audio output and other useful features such as jack sensing, retasking functions and multi-streaming technology
  • Intel Gigabit LAN – Provides superior throughput, stability and low CPU utilisation
  • Bundled software – Comes with Kaspersky® Anti-Virus Personal and DAEMON Tools Pro, the perfect combination to provide your PC with both protection and backup capabilities

Additionally, the Rampage IV Extreme also has a number of ROG-exclusive features, including:

  • VGA Hotwire – Allows for easy and accurate overvolting by simply plugging the two-wire cable onboard and soldering two wires onto the VGA’s voltage regulator
  • Subzero Sense – Can read your system’s temperature even in the coolest of subzero degrees, great for if you love overclocking in LN2 mode
  • Extreme Engine Digi+ II – Enables optimum performance by offering adjustable CPU and memory power management frequencies, creating greater efficiency, stability and performance
  • ROG Connect – Allows you to connect your main system to a notebook and tweak parameters in real-time as well as view POST code and hardware status readouts
  • GPU.DIMM Post – Means you can quickly and easily check the status of your graphics cards and memory DIMMs in BIOS
  • ROG iDirect – Allows you to fine tune your PC’s voltages, frequencies and more wirelessly and in real-time from your iPhone or iPad via the accompanying Bluetooth card
  • USB BIOS Flashback – Allows for convenient BIOS flashing simply by plugging the thumb drive into the ROG Connect port and pushing the ROG Connect button for two seconds (which automatically flashes BIOS under standby power)

As you can see, the Rampage IV Extreme is certainly jam-packed with features. However, what did reviewers make of it?

Review roundup

Around the time of its release, the Rampage IV Extreme proved incredibly popular with critics and picked up no less than 87 awards, garnering praise for everything from its excellent performance to superior overclocking potential. Although like any piece of hardware the Rampage IV Extreme was deemed to have both pros and cons (the chief of the latter mainly being its price, which, fortunately for those looking to purchase one today, has since dropped significantly), there were a few key things reviewers tended to agree on. Named best for overclocking, best for enthusiasts (including gamers) and even editor’s choice by a number of publications both on and offline, few could fault its suitability for the more demanding user.

Numerous video reviews were also made, including a few promotional and unboxing ones from Asus.

Here’s Asus’s own hands-on video review:

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And here’s OC3D TV’s:

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A motherboard for gamers?

So how does the Rampage IV Extreme fare when inevitably faced with the resources demands of number of today’s high-end video games, arguably the primary reason for many people’s purchase of the motherboard?

The below video shows gameplay of Betheseda’s RPG masterpiece The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim using a rig featuring the Rampage IV Extreme Intel X79 motherboard:

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As you can see, the board effortlessly proves itself to be more than up for the task.

Going beyond mere appearances, the Rampage IV Extreme also holds its own quite successfully in benchmark tests, demonstrating a similar degree of capability to the other hardware it was tested up against in this review.

The final verdict

So is it wise for you to invest in an Asus Rampage IV Extreme Intel X79 motherboard?

Although the motherboard is now more than a year old, this doesn’t detract from its impressive specs, and if you’re looking for something that can cope with the rigours of a demanding, high- performance system, the Rampage IV Extreme can certainly still deliver.

Its current price, significantly less than what it was upon release, is another pertinent reason to consider getting your hands on one; it’s a superb piece of kit for a reasonable amount of money. Its excellent potential for customisability and easy tweaking makes it a great choice for the eternal tinkerers among us, it able to fit snugly (it is necessarily quite hefty, so make sure your case is big enough before ordering) into a wide variety of weird and wonderful rigs.

In short, if you’re looking for a serious motherboard without breaking the bank, you could do a lot, lot worse than the Asus Rampage IV Extreme.

BossMac’s note: If ASUS wants to send over their X79 flagship, we’d love to take it for a spin.

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