ASUS Rampage 4 Extreme Review
So, the Rampage IV Extreme. It's alright I guess. Who are we kidding, it's amazing. There is so much crammed onto the board it's difficult to know where to begin to sum it all up in a pithy style. Even still, we're bound to miss something, which is why the preceding 21 pages are worth reading.
Let's draw a comparison. The last hardcore overclocking board we reviewed was the Gigabyte X58-OC. That was pared to the bone in the quest for sub-zero world record speeds. The Rampage IV Extreme has all of the adjustments and tweaks that any serious overclocker could ever desire, yet it hasn't forgotten that a few features would be nice. In fact we can't remember a board that came with quite so much.
The accessories package is plentiful. You get all the cables you need, including some that 99% of purchasers will never use. You get the OC Key, which we're a little divided upon. It's lovely to have such instant control over your system, and at the bleeding edge of overclocking running any software other than CPUz can have consequences, but it is just a little bit ostentatious and we could live with it being an option to help trim the price of the full package.
The motherboard itself is a fair looker. The Red and Black colour-scheme is a classic dating back to the 30s hot rods. It's slightly unfortunate that the sheer volume of stuff crammed on to the board, including those 8 DIMM slots, limit what can be done with the heat-sinks. It's perfectly fine, but a step back from the Rampage III Extreme. However whilst the looks might have suffered slightly, the technology and pure performance are a quantum leap ahead. Think of a technology you desire and it's here. Quad Channel RAM. Quad-GPU support. USB 3.0 aplenty. Bluetooth. Four SATA 6Gbp/s ports and four SATA 3 Gbp/s ports. RoG Connect. eSATA. Gigabit LAN. The list goes on and on.
A huge amount of effort has gone in to the overclocking side of things. So much so that it's almost a Republic of Overclockers board. For the LN2 crowd there is slow boot, sub-zero temperature monitoring and more amps than you can use. But that doesn't mean that it's incomprehensible to the standard user, or those who want a little bit of oomph without a degree in electronics. The BIOS is a work of art with all of the main stuff you need, including a robust one-click overclock, right there in front of you. Scratch the surface slightly and you discover everything is adjustable to the nth degree. You don't have to use it all, but it's nice to know it's there.
It's also quite a beast to those of you who just want to have the best, but not actually dare overclock it. The stock results are a fair bit ahead of the already good scores we saw from the DX79SI. But that's like owning a Ferrari and just going to the shops. Give your CPU a boost and this thing flies, breaking our benchmark records left, right and centre. You can't look at the results and not find yourself slack-jawed and reaching for your wallet.
That does bring us to the rather thorny issue of price. With a 'free' copy of BattleField 3 this is expect to retail for around £330. After getting used to the low pricing of the LGA1155 boards it's quite a shock to be back in £300+ territory, but this is a very premium product for those who demand nothing but the best. Like a tailored suit, or our aforementioned Ferrari. The only minor niggle we have is that Delta fan whining away. Even overclocked to 4.75GHz with a 125MHz BCLK the X79 chip reached 44°C, a long way below the alarm temperature of 60°C.
The ASUS Rampage IV Extreme is a Titan. We can't think of anything we'd like on a motherboard it hasn't got, apart from the 'Back to BIOS' button on the DX79SI. Performance is stunning in stock or overclocked trim. We're sure other boards will come close for in performance the average user, but if you want a motherboard that will take you to the stratosphere and beyond, the Rampage IV Extreme is the one, and a winner of our OC3D Performance award.
*Video will be added once uploading is complete*