We have received numerous emails about the upcoming X58 motherboards concerning price, availability, and of course performance. Pricing has yet to be determined as we believe each of the manufacturers are waiting to hear what their competitors will charge for a board before committing to a price. What we do know is that the $185 price target mentioned for several X58 motherboards back at Computex has quickly turned into an exclusive $250 and up club from all indications.

Retail availability and launch date is another question that we cannot answer, we know the answer, it's just that our hands (and mouths) are tied by an NDA. All we can say it that it will be soon, but soon for some is tomorrow and for others it could be a month for now. Let's just say they will be out sometime this quarter.

Performance is another subject that we cannot discuss either. The reason is the same as above. Starting to see a pattern develop here? That's what an NDA will do for you. At least we can say this without having the legal eagles from the blue team sweep down upon us; the board we are showing today is the fastest one in the labs to date. It will also probably be the most expensive one, but hey, if you have to ask for the price then you probably can't afford it anyway.

That board is the ASUS Rampage II Extreme featuring the soon to be released X58 chipset supporting an i7 processor. Designed for a very niche market and with limited production numbers, this board will be ASUS' primary weapon in the ultra high-end market against some stiff competition from Gigabyte and perhaps others. The Rampage "2 the" Extreme board is the latest and greatest contribution from the Republic of Gamers (ROG) design group.

How fast? Imagine a cheetah sprinting for a gazelle after devouring a case of Red Bull. Actually, that has more to do with the 3.2GHz i7 overclocked to a healthy X.XGHz (Ed: Sorry, not yet!) with a few gigabytes of Qimonda's finest running at a leisurely 2200MHz. Yeah, we broke the 1.65V memory guideline, but there is a trick to it without causing permanent damage to the CPU, although our benchmark programs are crying foul right now. To be honest, this board does bring out the best in the new i7 in a very easy manner once you learn the tricks of the BIOS.

While we wanted to show the BIOS options today, ASUS is still discussing it internally. We will provide a gallery update once we get permission. For those of you weaned on overclocking the Core 2 series via the FSB design, get ready for the shock of your life. Those with experience overclocking the Athlon 64 and now Phenom processor series will feel right at home - just start substituting HT with QPI. It is a little more complicated than that actually, as a few of Intel's new features require some additional study. The other problem we have noticed is each of the motherboard suppliers like to name various BIOS options differently, resulting in a need to have five or six BIOS guides ready for the launch on 1X/XX/2008 (Ed: Not going to get away with it).

All that said, let's take a quick look at the ASUS Rampage II Extreme and see what makes this board tick.

The Board
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  • Beno - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    motherboard manufacturers can choose to bond CPU voltage to memory or not
  • Beno - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    where are the water blocks? wtf
    the current rampage extreme have water blocks on it
  • Beno - Thursday, October 23, 2008 - link

    or maybe i wont need blocks. because theres no memory controler in the north bridge?
  • htgoetz - Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - link

    Well, i had a lot of problems with this controller and some optical PATA drives. I only could resolve those problems by going for a board with a Marvell controller providing PATA interface.
    Because i still have some quite good PATA optical drives, using the JMicron JMB363 controller for PATA causes the attractiveness of this board to be much reduced in my eyes.
  • strikeback03 - Monday, October 13, 2008 - link

    Are you allowed to tell us if there is something other than the ICH10R underneath that gigantic heat sink? Otherwise that would seem to be an area they could reclaim board space in.
  • lizrdfishr - Saturday, October 11, 2008 - link

    Why do I see DDR2 boards with 16G limits and all the DDR3 boards max out at 8G?
  • Rebel44 - Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - link

    IIRC x58 has 24GB DDR3 limit.
  • HexiumVII - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    I can tell you guys right now, it will be a good heft more than $250.
  • Mr Roboto - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    Umm.. yeah, the current Rampage Extreme P45 boards are $389 at newegg.com. Ridiculous.
  • HexiumVII - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    I just want to say thank you as i clean off my pants.

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