Asus mATX ROG Rampage II Gene X58 Motherboard
'Size doesn't matter' so they say and if motherboards are anything to go by and on the back of this review I would be inclined to agree. The Rampage II Gene's diminutive size is misleading as it is a very capable performer. While we did not have any other mATX boards to compare the performance of the Gene to, I am confident that the Asus motherboard would be hard to beat.
The motherboard packaging is excellent with the balance of protection and aesthetics nigh on perfect. The motherboard layout is very well designed with no major issues encountered, this is reinforced by the fact that this is an mATX motherboard and to cram so many features into such a small space is nothing short of amazing. I could say the colour scheme is getting a little tired but it is certainly not offencive. The DDR3 slots positioning may be an issue for some but the only way around this would be to lose IDE, something which Asus decided would be a bad move and for the moment at least I am inclined to agree.
The motherboard cooling could be better, especially when you consider that this boards home is most likely to be in a small case with relatively poor airflow. In an open test bed the NB hit temps in excess of 70c so this would most likely increase further in a closed case environment. While we had no issues with stability at this temperature, 70c on the Northbridge is quite disturbing and one can only hope this was a sensor calibration issue which will be rectified by future BIOS releases. The modular Northbridge is another ingenious idea that will appeal to a lot of folk, especially those who intend to watercool as this eradicates the need to strip the whole of the heatsink and find suitable replacement waterblocks.
I would like to aim some sort of criticism at the Rampage II Gene to even out the review and I thought the price of the motherboard would put most people off as its £300+ bigger brother seems to have done. However, priced at a reasonable (for X58 motherboards) £223 at the time of writing is not something I can level any criticism at. Sure for £220 you can get a full size motherboard but with more features? With better overclocking? On board XFI? mATX? I think you would struggle. I could level criticism to the fact that its expansion card possibilities are severely limited but this is a design of the motherboard and there is simply no way of getting around this.
In short, this motherboard is simply amazing. Asus have done the impossible by including most of the features of it's bigger brother, increased overclocking potential, lowered the price, all bundled up in a small package ideal for LAN gamers and overclockers alike.
- Best overclocking performance bar none
- Great layout
- Onboard X-FI
- Onboard switches
- SLI/Crossfire Capable
- Fantastic BIOS
- Only 2 Sata cables included (non latch type)
- No USB expansion plate
- Cooling could be an issue under certain circumstances.
- It will certainly create a lot of envy!
Thanks to Asus for providing the Rampage II Gene for todays review. Discuss in our forums