ASUS Rampage III Extreme Black Edition - Layout and Design
Category : X58
Published by Marc B├╝chel on 02.03.11
With the Rampage III Extreme Black Edition, ASUS is planning the next strike in the high-end gaming and overclocking market. This board will come with a lot of features like for example an additional Xonar soundcard as well as a Bigfoot Killer NIC network card. For overclockers they further refined the power design and they've also overworked the BIOS and added some new options.




The Rampage III Black Edition will be ASUS upcoming high end motherboard regarding gaming and overclocking. The board will be based on Intels X58 chipset and will most likely be available somewhen between mid march and the beginning of april.

Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Connectors and I/O
Page 2 - Specifications / Delivery Page 5 - Conclusion
Page 3 - Layout  



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Specifications / Delivery

CPU Intel Socket 1366 Core i7
Chipset Intel X58
Memory Triple Channel DDR3, 6 x DIMM, Max. 32 GB DDR3, 2200(OC) / 2133 (OC) / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 / 1066 Non-ECC,Un-buffered
Multi-GPU 2-/3-way ATI CrossFireX
2-/3-way NVIDIA SLI
4-way with ROG Expander 
Slots 4 x PCI-Express x16
2 x PCI-Express x1
Sound - SpremeFX2 onboard
- Xonar High Precision USB DAC
Storage 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, JBOD)
6 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, JBOD)
2 x eSATA 3 Gb/s
I/O internal / Connectors 6 x USB 2.0/1.1 connector
2 x USB 3.0 connector
8 x Fan connector
1 x Onboard Bluetooth with two antennas 1 x Power-on switch
1 x Reset switch
1 x 24-pin ATX Power connector
2 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector
1 x Front panel audio connector
9 x ProbeIt measurement points
1 x En/Disable Clr CMOS header
2 x EZ Plug connectors (4-pin Molex Power connectors)
1 x RC Bluetooth header
1 x LN2 Mode switch
1 x Q_Reset switch
1 x Go Button
1 x BIOS switch button
I/O external 1 x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Combo port
2 x External SATA
1 x LAN(RJ45) port
2 x USB 3.0 ports
6 x USB 2.0/1.1
1 x USB 2.0/1.1 (also for ROG Connect)
2 x WiFi antenna connector
Audio Panel
1 x CLR-CMOS switch
1 x ROG Connect On/Off switch




Features

ROG CPU-z ROG CPU-Z is a special version of CPU-Z which follows the ROG theme. CPU-Z ROG has been fully authorized by CPUID and comes therefore with the same functionality as the original. There really is only one difference: it's look.
   
ROG Connect ROG Connect enables real-time overclocking via a notebook. For this purpose you connect your notebook via a USB cable to the rig you'd want to overclock. Afterwards you can overclock your computer remotely.
   
Ai Suite II Using this software it is possible to monitor onboard components in realtime. You can also adjust voltages, clock frequencies as well as fan rotation speeds whilst you're in Windows. Genereally this software allows you to comfortable tweak your system when Windows has already been loaded.


Xonar High Precision USB DAC

With their Xonar Series, ASUS has soundcards in its portfolio which are definitely able to compete with for example Creatives X-Fi series. In the past years ASUS really succeeded in establishing high qualitiy soundcards. Following we will tell you about some of the Xonar High Precision USB DACs key features. For example there is an effective EMI protective shield which guarantees protection from exterior signal and power noise which is all around the soundcard whilst being placed in a computer system. To deliver a clean and yet very stable power supply this card has been equipped with a separate power module. Furthermore ASUS uses Nichicon Fine Gold Muse acoustic capacitors which can deliver instant power to make a high dynamic ratio possible. For the use with headphones there are extra headset amplifier chips which come with three presets for low end, mid range and high end headsets or headphones.



Bigfoot Killer E2100 NPU

To provide gamers with latencies as low as possible Bigfoot developed their NPUs (Network Processing Units). The principle behind these cards is quite simple: there is a CPU on the expansion card as well as some RAM and an embedded linux. Combining these three things allows Bigfoot to optimize network traffic. One thing their doing concerns traffic shaping with a packet prioritizing algorithm. This has the result that small packets can pass the network with a lower latency. Another effect the onboard CPU has is that the load which is caused by the network traffic wont affect the CPU load. In other words there is more compute power for your games.



Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Connectors and I/O
Page 2 - Specifications / Delivery Page 5 - Conclusion
Page 3 - Layout  



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Layout

Like its name already says the Rapage III Black Edition has been covered almost completely with a black painting. There are only a few places where you'll find red spots like for example the SATA ports, the start button as well as some aluminium fins at the chipset cooler. Furthermore you can also see that the PCB is covered in matte black which in our opinion looks quite cool. In the end the Rampage III Black Edition is no exception regarding ASUS' ROG-series: it is a very good looking a nicly designed motherboard.


ASUS equips their upcoming overclocking and gaming motherboard with a digital power design, whereas the CPU gets eight. Furthermore also QPI, northbridge and memory, each get three additional phases. Of all the components which can rely on separate phases CPU, QPI and DRAM also get a proadlizer. Another thing one can do with the Rampage III Black Edition concerns the realtime adjustment of power behaviour.


Totally you'll find six DIMM-slots on the ASUS Rampage II Black Edition. Officially supported are DDR3-2200(OC) / 2133 (OC) / 1866 / 1600 / 1333 / 1066 with up to 32 GByte capacity. Positioning of the DIMM-slots has been well thought which means they aren't too close to the CPU socket. Therefore there wont be too many incompatibilities between huge CPU coolers and big memory modules. What might also be a reason that there is more space than with other boards is the fact that the Rampage III Extreme Black Edition comes with an extended ATX form factor.


Northbridge as well as the current converters are being held at adequate temperatures via a passive heatpipe cooling solution. The southbridge got a passive cooling block which has not been integrated into the heatpipe loop of northbridge and VRM. The fact that the cooling blocks around the CPU socket aren't too big makes it comfortable to install a big aircooler. We also noticed the very high manufacturing quality of the cooling blocks and their weight which is quite immense.

  


Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Connectors and I/O
Page 2 - Specifications / Delivery Page 5 - Conclusion
Page 3 - Layout  



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Connectors and I/O

Totally ASUS provided the Rampage III Black Edition with eight angled SATA ports which should be enough for any office PC or gaming system. You'll also find practical onboard power- and reset-buttons. ASUS even thought of a debug display which is very useful if you should once have issues with one of the components in your system. In combination with multi GPU setups it's very practical that there between the different PCI-Express x16 slots there is space. In this case the cards can get plenty of air to operate at adequate temperatures. If you should choose to place a video card into the last PCI Express x16 slot close to the bottom edge of the board all the connectors will be covered by the card.

  

Totally you'll find eight fan headers on the ASUS Rampage III Black Edition which is more than enough, to provide a well equipped midrange or even a high-end-system with fresh air. The fan headers are located around the CPU and their also spread over the whole board which makes them easily accessible from any position in an enclosure.

  

Looking at external connectors and buttons directly at the back-panel ASUS equipped the Rampage III Black Edition with a PS2 mouse/keyboard connector, six USB 2.0 and two USB3 ports, two eSATA ports, one gigabit ethernet port, an analogue audio panel as well as a Clr CMOS button and two connectors for WiFi ariels.



Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Connectors and I/O
Page 2 - Specifications / Delivery Page 5 - Conclusion
Page 3 - Layout  



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Conclusion

General   + -
Like every motherboard from the ROG series also the Rampage III Black Edition shows stunning looks and therefore a really nice design. We also like the accessories which are in the bundle very much. The Xonar sound card really is perfect for gaming and throughout the past years ASUS definitely succeeded in building high quality sound cards. Another very nice addition is the Killer NIC network card which also is perfect for gamers needs. It is generally interesting to see that after a lot of motherboards which have been optimized more for overclockers than for gamers ASUS is a again more thinking about the gaming community.   - Design
- Layout
 
       
Layout   + -

Generally the ASUS Rampage III Black Editions layout is well thought. Once more very practical are the angled SATA connectors as well as the power- and reset-buttons. Also the debug display can become very useful in case you should have issues with a component in your system or the board itself. If your thinking about a multi GPU setup you'll definitely like that there is plenty of space between the different PCI Express x16 slots which allows an adequate cooling of more than one GPU. One of the very few things we didn't like was the fact that when you plug a video card into the last PCI Express x16 slot the connectors at the bottom edge of the board will be covered and rendered inaccessible. Another thing is that there are only a few USB 3.0 connectors. With such a high-end product it would be nice to finde some more USB 3.0 connectors at the back panel.

  - Angled SATA connectors - Power/Reset-Button onboard
- Debug display
- Plenty of space between PCI Express x16 Slots for Multi-GPU-Setup
 
- Only two USB 3.0 connectors at the back panel - Connectors at bottom edge of board can be covered by video card
       


Page 1 - Introduction Page 4 - Connectors and I/O
Page 2 - Specifications / Delivery Page 5 - Conclusion
Page 3 - Layout  


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Author: m.buechel@ocaholic.ch