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
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • piroroadkill - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    As much as I agree that Firewire 800 is really really awesome (it is); it's so seldom used that it may as well barely exist compared to USB. At least Firewire 400 had some initial exposure when that's all DV Cams supported.
  • takumsawsherman - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    Ah, but they still have the firewire port, don't they? So giving you the port, they give you the old one. Also, eSATA is pretty much storage only, and the connectors still leave something to be desired, vs. the very durable Firewire 800 cable.

    When you are paying $300 for a board, would it also not bother you if they had a USB 1.1 port for use with the Keyboard and Mouse, because you don't *need* 480Mbps for a keyboard and mouse. Unless, of course, you had other plans for your USB ports.

    Speaking of USB being slow, the speed of hard drives, scanners and the like over USB is horrible. If you are copying large files, or ghosting/acronising a machine, firewire is where it's at. While I have a couple of enclosures that have eSATA, most customers don't have eSATA, and the Macs all have FW800. This makes cloning faster, and I can service more systems in a day when I am not waiting extra time for patches to copy over, etc.

    Every Mac besides the Mini has FW800. That includes the $1200 iMac. When we are talking $300/board, they can be gracious and give you the best there is, not cutting corners at every opportunity.
  • 3DoubleD - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    Honestly, who cares about Firewire? USB offers 60 MB/s, which is more than enough for anything (flash drives, devices) except hard drives. In the case of hard drives, use an eSATA port for 300 MB/s. If you care about Firewire that much, buy a firewire card, you are in the small minority of users who actually use it. USB is the standard and when USB 3.0 is released Firewire800 will be completely forgotten (if that hasn't happened already).
  • bigboxes - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    Thank you. I remember some years back when I was building a pc that would do everything. I just had to have all the peripherals so naturally I had to install a four-port firewire card. You guessed it. I never used it. When it came time to upgrade my box I never put the thing back in. USB is definitely the standard and between eSATA and USB 3.0 you are never gonna need Firewire800 again.
  • CEO Ballmer - Friday, October 10, 2008 - link

    Works best when running Vista Ultimate though!

  • Mclendo06 - Thursday, October 9, 2008 - link

    So, the release date is under NDA, huh?

    Let me put it to you this way...

    When might you be able to tell us the release date?

    Or, if that doesn't work...

    When could you tell us about being able to tell us about the release date?

    Feel free to take as many steps as is necessary to throw Intel's lawyers off your tail.
  • Clockw0rk - Thursday, October 9, 2008 - link

    The original Rampage Extreme seemed like it was designed with water cooling in mind -first- and air cooling after. Maybe this falls into NDA territory, but can we confirm that water blocks will come with the board?
  • AmberClad - Thursday, October 9, 2008 - link

    The heatsink is under NDA too?

    Why are you guys not permitted to say anything as far as the cooling results with that Vigor Monsoon heatsink? Or does that fall under i7 itself, and its TDP and thermal characteristics?
  • Nfarce - Thursday, October 9, 2008 - link

    A minimum entry fee of $250 to join the i7 Club starting with the chipset? Not too bad for a high end rig, especially considering what high end X48 and 790i chipsets are going for now. AT, can you give us an idea of when we'll see a full test? If, as you hint, it's between tomorrow and next month before retail release on all this hardware, It's obvious people out there waiting for a new build decision, myself included, would consider the performance increase over the current platform as what would make their buying decisions, irrespective of when they know it would actually be available.
  • Nfarce - Thursday, October 9, 2008 - link

    Oops, I forgot to add that I'm also using a two year old rig, a P965/E6600 set up. If i7 real world (gaming) performance over a very affordable P45/E8xxx current build is only about 10-15% difference yet has a 25-35% cost increase, I'll pull the NewEgg trigger for the former. This waiting is torture I tell ya!

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now