Describe the ASUS Rampage IV Extreme in two words? Love it! I really just do love this board - it's amazing, it's simply one of the best motherboards I've ever had the pleasure of using and the joy it brings is like that of the MARS II video card we looked at a while ago.
This board was built with purpose. It was built by people who love what they do and people who want to make sure you can get the absolute best performance out of the products that run in it. You don't have to look at a dozen other X79 boards to know that this is going to be one of, if not the best one on the market when it comes to getting the absolute most performance out of your platform.
The only gripe you can say with the board is that it's too over the top for us mere mortals who use high end air cooling or just basic water cooling solutions. The BIOS is scary, and when we say scary, we mean like, 'you're 5 years old and you think the boogey man is in your wardrobe'. The options are overwhelming, but the best thing is that you're able to yield these really strong overclocks in a press of a simple button.
Not only that, though, the profiles give you a really good jumping point to start with, especially when it comes to the Normal OC one - it doesn't set the voltages to anything insane. Once you're at the level that ASUS are showing us is safe, you can then start to mess around with settings like BCLK, Multiplier and RAM speeds. It just gives you this really nice starting point.
The same goes if you want to get some benchmarking going on, try and beat your mates scores, or those on local forums. You can move to that Low Current Extreme OC profile, see how everything goes and then again do a bit of tweaking. We could get into Windows as high as 5.2GHz when we started off at that profile, but as soon as we started to encode a video, our system would fall over. With some more time and tweaking, though, you'd find you'd be able to run 3DMark 11 higher than what we did today and that's because the overclock we want to show needs to be able to run everything including the super intensive encoding process. You won't need that, though, if you're just trying to have some benchmarking fun under 3DMark 11 or something similar.
There's just some things that this board offers that people simply don't need. The OC Key isn't going to be for everyone, the Hotwire VGA cables, 1366 back plate and Subzero temperature monitor. But what's our problem with the board? It's got too many features? How can that be an issue?
The price is going to be a little on the scary side, but we knew that the second we looked at the board. We knew that when we knew the board was coming - it's a top of the line ASUS ROG board, so of course it's going to be expensive. It's going to be so feature packed and offer us killer performance. It's hardly a shock.
Considering the cost associated with the 3960X, the board price isn't going to be too bad. Sure, if you're looking at a cheaper CPU option, then it might be a bit of a shock. The last thing you probably want is a board that's more expensive than your CPU.
The price isn't something I can harp on about too much, though. There's enough here to justify the cost of the board. There's also the options where little nublet overclockers can get decent performance out of the board without having to do anything much.
The only thing we don't know 100% is the price of the board, but the numbers we've kind of heard actually put it about $100 US cheaper than I thought it would be. Considering it's the most feature packed ROG board we've seen to date, the last thing I expected was for it to be cheaper than what I thought.
I think in the end, though, you look at the Rampage IV Extreme and you don't just see some dudes in white coats throwing ideas around, you see these people that live and breathe performance and have this unmatched passion for the products they make. When it all comes together, you have this board that just yells "I am ASUS, hear me ROAR!".
If you're a fan of ROG, you won't be disappointed. If you're a fan of Performance, you won't be disappointed. If you're a fan of computers, you won't be disappointed. The Rampage IV Extreme won't disappoint. Well, maybe it will disappoint the other half when they see what you spent powering this platform. When you're sitting behind the beast of your system that is powered by the Rampage IV Extreme and you're all wiggly and giggly, I'm sure they will understand ..I'm sure!