Articles: Mainboards

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If you are reading this article, then you must be really interested in the new mainboards for LGA 2011 processors. In this case you must have already checked out our previous reviews of the new mainboards for the today’s highest-performing platform. We started with Asus P9X79 Deluxe, which made a great overall impression and scored very high in our tests. We even assumed that it will be among the best if not “the” best among other similar products. After that we checked out Gigabyte GA-X79-UD7. The major intrigue of this review was the fact that Gigabyte’s new mainboard lineup has finally transitioned to UEFI BIOS. We were also overall pleased: the new “3D Power” technology was up to contemporary standards, and “3D BIOS” gave us the opportunity to see the traditional BIOS in the new light. However, Intel DX79SI mainboard was more of a disappointment, unfortunately. It didn’t allow us to overclock our test processor as successfully as other mainboards did, and it proved suspiciously slow in identical testing conditions. Considerably lower power consumption allowed this mainboard to make up for its slow speed, but it definitely was not what we had expected from a flagship product.

We revisited the conclusions of our previous reviews for a reason: to ensure that you have a complete picture in front of you, because our today’s main character will change it completely. We are about to check out another Asus mainboard called Asus rampage IV Formula from the “Republic of Gamers” series (RoG), which is targeted for gamers and overclocking enthusiasts. LGA 2011 platform was launched last November and Battlefield 3 game came out just a few weeks earlier. Even at the development stage it was the talk of the town among gaming fans and numerous previews predicted its unprecedented success that is why Asus decided to team up with the game developers on this one. Besides the regular Asus Rampage IV Formula mainboard, they also released a special Battlefield 3 modification with a free game coupon inside. This is the model we are going to discuss in our today’s review.

Packaging and Accessories

The design of the Asus Rampage IV Formula/Battlefield 3 box is dramatically different from the traditional Republic of Gamers packages, which allows you to easily distinguish between this special model with a game coupon inside and the regular one.

The front flip cover of the package reveals a large window, through which you can see pretty much the entire board. Numerous accessories are packed into an individual box:

  • Eight SATA cables with metal connector locks, half of them with L-shaped locks and another half – with straight ones. Two pairs designed for SATA 6 Gbps devices (with white inserts in the connectors);
  • “12-in-1 ROG Cable Label” – a sheet with twelve paper labels for marking SATA cables;
  • A flexible bridge for two-way AMD CrossFireX graphics configurations;
  • A flexible bridge for two-way Nvidia SLI graphics configurations;
  • A hard bridge for three-way Nvidia SLI graphics configurations;
  • “Asus Q-Connector Kit” including adapters for easy connection of the system case front panel buttons and indicators and a USB port;
  • “ROG Connect Cable” – a cable with two USBs to connect to other PCs;
  • I/O Shield for the back panel;
  • Backplate and a hex key for “X-Socket”;
  • “ROG Theme Label” a 3D sticker with the “Republic of gamers” logo;
  • “Powered by Republic of Gamers” sticker;
  • User manual;
  • DVD disk with software and drivers (including DAEMON Tools Pro Standard and a one-year Kaspersky lincense).

All “Republic of Gamers” mainboards come with extended accessories bundles, but there are no questions about the included items, in general. The only thing we would like to comment on is the backplate with a hex key and the idea behind “X-Socket” feature. The retention holes on LGA 2011 mainboards are laid out in exactly the same way as on LGA 1366 mainboards, but the cooler retention itself has changed, so you can’t use old coolers on the new mainboards. However, this is where “X-Socket” feature steps in. Using a special key, you remove the default backplate and replace it with a special one included with the accessories, which will allow you to install a cooler originally designed for LGA 1366 platforms. This feature works fine on Asus Rampage IV Formula and Rampage IV Extreme mainboards, and the list of compatible coolers is available here for your reference. We didn’t use this feature, because we have a variety of LGA 2011 coolers to choose from, but it will definitely be very handy for those who upgrade from LGA 1366 to LGA 2011.

The regular Rampage IV Formula comes with exactly the same accessories and the only differences between the regular board and the Battlefield 3 edition one is a Battlefield 3 key band with a clasp and a game access coupon.

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