ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Review
Since the launch of the Rampage IV Extreme it's been the backbone of our graphics card test rig here at OC3D Towers, so it's fair to say that we know the ins and outs of it probably better than the ASUS R&D team. It's been absolutely bombproof in its reliability, never minding the endless hardware swapping and mad bouts of overclocking we've subjected it to.
So you can safely say that when we cast our eyes upon the Black Edition we were amazed that there was far more going on than a merely palette swap. It would have been so easy to keep the reliable Extreme and switch the colour scheme, but ASUS have pared the board right back and released something so different, and yet the same, that if it was called the Rampage V we wouldn't have batted an eye lid.
You're already familiar with the Rampage IV Extreme, so we'll be focussing our attention on what is new to the party with the Black Edition, and it's fair to say it's more than you might expect.
Now it's not only the colour scheme that's changed on the Rampage IV Black Edition. In keeping with the endless refinement we'd expect from ASUS there have been the following changes ;
Memory now supports 2666MHz and 2800MHz out of the box. Memory has always been the weak point of the X79 chipsets and so it's great to see an improvement in the supported speeds. Bluetooth support has been bumped from the old 2.1 specification to the latest 4.0 version, and in keeping with the wireless world that we live in the Black supports 802.11n by default. It's always nice to have onboard WiFi.
Power has been changed too. As well as the improvement from the v2 of the Digi+ to v3, the Black comes with 60A chokes, 4 way power optimisation and additional GPU power only requires a Molex rather than the 6-pin PCI needed by the Extreme. USB ports have been greatly increased to a total of 10 rear and 8 front, split between USB3.0 and 2.0. It's good to see the majority of the ports are at the rear as well, with 6 of them being the full speed USB 3.0 protocol.
Sound is the real change though. Whereas the Extreme just utilised the Realtek ALC898, the Black Edition has the full SupremeFX HD offering, which combines the CS4398 analogue converter and TPA6120A2 headphone amplifier to provide the equivalent of an onboard Phoebus sound card!