ASUS Rampage V 10th Anniversary Edition
Finally, here it is in the flesh. The first thing that strikes you, other than the obvious build quality and how every spare centimetre of PCB is utilised, is how neutral it is. The ASUS Aura has taken over as the method by which you can pin your colours to the mast and shout loudly at the world that you love neon pink, or yellow or whichever particular hue floats your boat. This would be blunted if the board had unchangeable colours on it, so the "none more black" aesthetic really pays off.
PCI slot strengthening is one of those little touches that you'll wonder why it exists unless you, like us, have been in the unfortunate situation where your GPU pulled the socket off the PCB. If you've had to endure such a thing then you welcome any support at all, and the ASUS PCI slots certainly are reinforced to within an inch of their life.
At the top right we have two banks of dip switches. You might recall that the ability to turn off individual PCI Express slots was a feature of the previous Rampage, and designed to enable you to fault find under extreme overclocking, or just multi-card, scenarios without having to disassemble your entire system. We've been shouting for ages for companies to apply this to their DIMM slots too, and the Rampage V Edition 10 does just that. No longer do you have to do the dance of the RAM sticks to discover which one has failed nor, if you go in for the sub-zero life, find which one is suffering from frozen RAM. It speaks about the level of detail that has gone into this anniversary Rampage that everything is within the users control.
Yet another one of those "small things which mean a lot to us" items, the placement of the CPU power inputs. Our knuckles have lost so much skin trying to plug these into poorly designed cases, or behind giant tower coolers, that we could probably create a new member of the OC3D team from the spares. By positioning them above the CPU socket it makes them easier to change in a hurry, or just simpler to build in the first place.
Further enhancing the burgeoning list of high-end features that the Rampage V Edition 10 is building, next to the plentiful SATA ports is the U.2 slot. Horizontal, rather than vertically mounted. We know that owning a U.2 storage option is still something reserved for those who either get them for free or demand to be on the leading edge of technology regardless of expense, but an X99 setup is already for the well-heeled so why not go all out to supply every option under the sun.
Wherever you look on the Rampage there are headers for everything you can think of. Whether it is the simplicity of a front-panel USB port, or the complexity of voltage monitoring points and multi-GPU selectors, the Rampage V Edition 10 has you covered.
In amongst this sea of cutting edge hardware it's almost quaint to see the CMOS battery sitting there as it always has since days of yore. We're almost surprised that some boffin hasn't worked out a way to slip a little LiPo offering onto the motherboard. It's like having a rotary dial on your smartphone, or running your GTX 1080 through a CRT monitor. It makes us smile. What also makes us smile is the effort that has gone into separating the SupremeFX and sound components from the interference of the rest of the motherboard. The fact that modern motherboards have on-board audio you're not embarrassed to use is something which still surprises us. How quickly things evolve.
On the subject of evolution, the Rampage V Edition 10 has a patent-pending IO shield built into the rear of the motherboard. We love it. No more fiddling with fragile bits of backplate. No more accidentally bending it because the case refuses to play. No more struggling to get it flush so that our motherboard fits in the tray properly. Furthermore, it looks spectacular. Exceptional. It's so good we can't understand why it's never been done before. It's seriously gorgeous.
Come back for our full review later this month, and in the meantime let us know your thoughts on the OC3D Forums.