Rampage IV Extreme Conclusions

Halo products are big news and big business.  If your product is the best, and everyone says it is the best, then those that ask will get your product as the answer.  As a result, the person who asked may then go out and purchase one of your products.  The downside of a Halo product is that it requires a lot of time and investment - lots of research and development that may not pay off if another company jumps ahead of you.  Chances are as well that due to all that investment, the halo product itself will not even break even.  However, you are hoping that it will filter down to the regular products and boost their sales.

I should stress that the halo product is different to the 'ultimate' product.  The halo product only has to beat the competition to be number one, rather than cater for every single need in every single category.  There are many examples of this in the history of motherboards where particular companies have placed on their products a variety of superfluous functionality that means nothing to most people, often at great expense.

With the ROG brand, and particularly with the Rampage IV Extreme, the prize is the Halo effect.   In the minds of ASUS, they needed a product that would achieve the pinnacle of performance, whilst still being a great board to manipulate.  This is why they hired, inter alia, Andre Yang and Peter 'Shamino' Tan on to the team - two of the world's best overclockers, in order to invest time into improving the range of ROG products.

Performance wise, it is hard to stop the Extreme it its tracks - as with all the other ROG motherboards in this review,  the MultiCore Enhancement at stock means that out of the packet, this X79 board is one of the best performing on the market.  If we couple that with some other hardware and nice overclocks, we can break records, or with some sub-zero cooling, world records for performance.  The features on board to aid this are also numerous: VGA Hotwire useful for GPU overclocking; the enhanced LN2 mode gives the already substantial BIOS a kick in the rear; SubZero Sense removes the need for thermometers; and the added OC Key is a marvelous piece of technology to allow the enthusiast to view and adjust values on the fly.

To be the best, you have to perform the best.  If you have enough green in your wallet, then the Rampage IV Extreme will offer you that base of performance from which to launch any world record attempt.  While it may not be for everyone (regular users would prefer the Gene or Formula), as an overclocker we can tweak the RIVE to our hearts content.

At $430, double the price of the ASRock X79 Extreme4-M, is the Rampage IV Extreme a good buy?  Compared to the 4-M, the RIVE feels like more than double the board, in terms of features and performance.  Let us not forget, users of the RIVE may also be spending $999 on a processor, so there would be good reason to pair it with a board more geared to deal with the power and price is probably not an issue.

With all this in mind, I would like to give the Extreme an AnandTech Editors' Choice Silver Award.  If your usage scenario is power, and you want an array of tools in order to take down the best scores of a CPU generation, then the Rampage IV Extreme is the best tool to do it with should money be no object.

ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
Silver Award

Conclusions - Rampage IV Formula: Recommended Conclusions - Republic Of Gamers as a Brand
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  • iamkyle - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    Has anyone used the included utilities on these series of boards that can comment on their usefulness compared to some other well-known OCing utilities out there? Reply
  • Jambe - Friday, August 3, 2012 - link

    "Here on the Gene, ASUS are using two SATA 3 Gbps from the chipset (black), two SATA 6 Gbps from chipset (red) and two more SATA 6 Gbps from a controller (black, ASMedia)."

    The ASMedia 6 Gbps ports are red, not black. It might also be worth pointing out that the outside cluster is the ASMedia set and the middle one is the Intel set.
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - link

    Many thanks for pointing this out. In my reviews I do go down the right hand side in order, especially in that paragraph. 24000 words and the odd one sometimes goes astray!

    Ian
    Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - link

    Doesn't the OC Key have a Single DVI limitation? You say in your article, "As long as you've got DVI, you're fine," or something along those lines, but the reality is that most of the high end users now use dual DVI (or Displayport) for 2560x1600/1440. After all, what's the point of pimping out your drag racing ride with the highest of the high end and then shrug and say, "1920x1200/1080 for yous!"

    Soooo... the high end are not using the OC Key because the OC Key doesn't support what the high end users are doing.

    http://rog.asus.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1128...

    Honestly, I think the OC Key is just one big wasted opportunity because of this. Anyone willing to fork over $450 on a motherboard, $500+ on a CPU, have 8 sticks of memory, have four GPU's...

    You think they need just a single-DVI OC Key? It's really rather absurd. It might be true, but people who spend that scratch will probably need the superior bandwidth sooner rather than later.
    Reply
  • IanCutress - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - link

    OC Key is not designed for gamers. It is designed for extreme overclockers who are competing for scores, most likely also using sub-zero cooling (Dry Ice, Phase or LN2). I have used it on occasion for competitive overclocking, and also have seen it used in overclocking competitions.

    That is its usage scenario.

    Ian
    Reply
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  • Laststop311 - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - link

    I have an m18x desktop replacement. Has a 4.1 Ghz on all 4 cores OC without using turbo, the i7-2960xm, 4x4GB 1866MHz RAM, Crossfire Radeon 6990m's with both with a healthy overclock.

    It chews through almost every game on my 27" dell ultrasharp external monitor at 2560x1440 at at least 45 fps soe more some less but almost ALWAYS at very min above 25-30. Once I get the money to change out the 6990m's with 7970m's in crossfire I'll be playing every game at 45+ fps at 2560x1440 and full yltra settings.

    So don't sit there and tell me laptops suck for LAN partys. Because actually I can carry my m18x in a little carrier like it's a backpack and set up at the lan and be ready to go in a hurry.

    And the funny part is the laptop pulls higher fps then a lot of my friends pc's and that's not even with the 6990's upgraded to 7970m's.

    ALSO the r2 version of the m18x came with a new specially designed beefier heatsink set up for the XM processor that is triple the surface area but fits right in place. So I'll also be getting that much larger cpu heatsink to crank my OC from 4.1Ghz to 4.3-4.4 or so, basically a crazy killer speed demon laptop cpu
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  • Laststop311 - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - link

    Claro Halo has a very very nice clean headphone amp (Headphone output with TPA6120 AMP IC) that can drive up to 600 ohms like a champ.

    It has incredibly high quality stereo RCA outputs for a low line level signal to a high quality stereo receiver (hardly any cards have gold plated RCA outputs which is crucial for a high quality connection to a high end receiver.) As well as a 5.1 optical output. If you require 7.1 output you can get the add on XT card that plugs in a connector on the sound card for additional gold plated 7.1 analog outputs.

    It also has 120dB s/n which is +2 better. It also has swappable OP-AMPS to customize the character of the sound exactly how you like it. You can also switch it to 32 ohm output mode from 300/600 ohm mode on the headphone amp output to adjust between huge full size cans and in ear monitors that are much more sensitive.

    Uses C Media CMI8788 8 channel sound processor with full duplex 2 channel 24bit/192khz AK4396 DAC's and 24bit/192khz AK5385 ADC for recording.

    Every input and output is gold plated.

    Claro Halo is the best sound card hands down.
    Reply
  • macforth - Saturday, August 4, 2012 - link

    A very interesting read.......Thanks for that Ian.

    I have just bought an ROG, but it's the Maximus V Extreme..I am about to build a WC setup and run 690's in SLI.

    The reason I chose the 1155 as against the 2011, is the cost of the top MB and top CPU (given the gaming world's belief that there's little gain), PCIe 3, and I don't need the abilities that the 2011 shines in. I more play games. And to be quite honest, to me ROG spells GAMER!

    It's a while since I have seen any comparison of an ROG 2011 v 1155 just for games......and certainly not since the last proliferation of 1155's game to town.

    Ahhhh it would be very very interesting!
    Reply

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