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ASUS Rampage III Extreme

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Posted May 31, 2010 by Jake in CPU & Motherboards

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by Jake
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Summary

While there are many X58 motherboards on the market, very few are actually designed for extreme use. So before we wrap up, let’s address what many of you are probably wondering: "What about the EVGA Classified, how does it compare to the ASUS Rampage III Extreme?" Right, let’s tackle that straight up now. Both the Classified and Rampage III Extreme are extremely impressive, of that there is no debate. I’ve now had the pleasure of working with both boards and did notice a few distinct differences.

First, the Rampage has a better physical layout, particularly with the heatsinks and expansion slots, avoiding some of the shortcomings displayed on the Classified. Second, the Classified lacks several of the innovative features for the extreme user that help overcome unstable crashes such as the MemOK!/GO button, the LN2 jumper and Q-Button, the PCIe switches, and the external ROG Connect tweaking ability. The R3E also has SATA 6G and USB 3.0 that many non-extreme users will find useful. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I believe the Classified is more extensive than the R3E in terms of tweaking options, but more is not always better; sometimes more options are simply more confusing. As we’ve found with many ASUS boards, the Auto features are rock solid and nothing more is needed. Perhaps because of, or in spite of the tweaking options on the Classified, it is also more touchy than the R3E, especially with voltage combinations and settings. I found the Rampage III Extreme easier to work with, and it just felt more stable overall when pushing things. The only exception is the stalling at the DRAM boot stage on the Rampage, which was frustrating. Hopefully subsequent BIOSes improve this.

The ASUS Rampage III Extreme packs some amazing features, and in terms of usability and stability, the board is rock solid. It ran like a champ through all type of stress tests, and manual overclocking resulted in some of the highest numbers we’ve achieved to date. And if you’re a bit hesitant to tweak much in the BIOS, then just dial in a higher BCLK, set your RAM speed, and let the Auto settings take care of the rest; you’ll be pleased with the quick and easy results. A failed overclock recovers nicely here as well, and the GO and Q buttons are very handy for the more experienced users who tend to push things to the limit.

As for the extreme nature of this board, dropping in a 980X hex-core with some heavyweight graphics cards is a drool-inducing prospect that few people often get the opportunity to do. We have to admit, there’s something about seeing amazing results on sub-zero cooling that brings a smile.

In terms of price, this is the only real detraction on the R3E. Premium boards come with premium prices, and at $360 USD, the Rampage III Extreme sits at the very top of the X58 pricing heap. There are other boards that cost considerably less, and if you don’t plan on pushing things much then there are certainly better options for you. However, if you are in the market for a motherboard like this, then cost is not your primary concern. Frankly, if you want to extract the most out of your LGA1366 system, then this board should be at the top of your wishlist. ASUS has thrown everything but the kitchen sink into the R3E, and while some may scoff at the price tag and debate the necessity of certain features, that’s not uncommon when discussing top tech products.

The Rampage III Extreme is a premium LGA1366 motherboard, and by definition it is enthusiasts that look for a board such as this. ASUS has really focused their Republic of Gamers products toward those consumers who want big features and top performance, and don’t mind the big price tag that accompanies it. To complain the R3E is expensive or unnecessary is to miss the point entirely; it’s about potential, about pushing the boundaries, and wanting the very best. And the ASUS Rampage III Extreme brings an abundance of features, ease of use, stability, overclockability, innovation, and quality to market, proving this motherboard is for those who want the very best.

ASUS Rampage III Extreme

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