As soon as some time passes without ASUS giving their competition a “homework”, we can safely expect an avalanche of exclusive products. This time it's the new motherboard which will make most of overclockers around the world drool. When we say Rampage IV, many will immediately start to daydream, and when we add Black Edition, we believe that will get even more attention. Whoever is paying attention to the motherboard scene knows that Rampage IV motherboard is the ultimate product of the ASUS company. Of course, since it was presented nearly two years ago, it was time for users to be reminded who has the best and best-equipped LGA2011 motherboard. We’re glad that ASUS didn’t decide to just implement black components, but completely refreshed it’s strongest LGA2011 RoG platform.
Armed to the teeth
As soon as you see the packaging box, you’ll understand that ASUS paid attention to the details. Even though it’s counted in important features, we have to say that Rampage IV Black Edition is shipped inside of the most quality packaging box that we’ve ever seen. The content is no less impressive and it very soon becomes clear why the packaging box weighs so much. Inside there are many cables, even four SLI bridges of various types and sizes, Wi-Fi antenna in a magnetized chassis, spare backplate, OC panel for monitoring important motherboard functions and a symbolic addition in shape of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. Aside from the above-mentioned, there’s a great many more trifles that will be useful. However, let’s get to the most important thing in the box.
Rampage IV Black Edition
The board has expanded ATX dimensions, which was necessary in order to accommodate every piece of equipment that it has. Unlike the standard RoG color scheme which includes black and red colors, this model is dyed completely black. The board is based on Intel's LGA 2011 platform, and it has X79 chipset (as expected), so in those terms, nothing has been changed. Next to the processor sockets, on the both sides, there are symmetrically placed eight memory slots. Of course, this means that the board supports four-channel memory use, in order to achieve the maximum memory bandwidth. Impressive news is that it supports memory frequency up to 4072 MHz, and that's the result of collaboration of ASUS with G.Skill which has a kit for support of this dazzlingly high frequency. The processor inside the Rampage IV Black Edition has the best power unit imaginable – Extreme Digi+ Engine III with new NexFETs, BlackWing 60A coils and Black Metallic capacitors. It has 8+3+2+2 phases, out of which eight powers the processor core (VCore), three are for iGP and two times two phases are charged for groups of four memory modules. Complex and cheaper was obviously ASUS’s motto when they did the design of the Rampage IV Black Edition motherboard.
Next to the power unit there even four full-sized PCI-Express slots. You can use practically all of them for video cards, because even when all of the slots are active, the first will work in x16 mode, and the rest three in PCI-Express x8 mode. That's absolutely phenomenal. Next to them there are two PCI-Express x1 which will serve for less-demanding components, such as audio cards, expansion cards, etc. The board has a large number of connections, thanks to the additional controllers which are implemented next to those in the Intel X79 chipset. Therefore, it has even 10 SATA 6 Gbps connectors, while on the back panel there's a plethora of colors. Next to the ten USB connectors, out of which six support USB 3.0 standard, there two eSATA ports, PS/2, Wi-Fi, Gbit LAN, S/PDIF and five 3.5 mm audio connectors. Integrated audio system is top quality and even though we prefer the sound that Gigabyte G1.Sniper provides, the quality is indisputable it's only slightly more oriented towards gamers, rather than audiophiles. It has components that can be found in quality sound cards, such as Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC, Texas Instruments TI 6120A2 headphones amplifier, ELNA and WIMA capacitors. Lastly, everything is protected from electromagnetic interferences by an EMI shield.
|Memory slots and capacity||8, max. 64GB DDR3 1066-2800 MHz, Quad channel|
|MultiGPU support||4-Way CrossFireX, 4-Way SLI|
|Expansion slots||4 x PCI-Express 3.0 x16 (x16 or x16/x16 or x16/x8/x16 or x16/x8/x8/x8), 2x PCI-Express 2.0 x1|
|SATA/ATA||6 x SATA 6Gbps, 4 x SATA 3Gbps, 2 x eSATA 6Gbps|
|Audio||ROG SupremeFX Black 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC|
|Network||1x Intel 82579V Gigabit LAN|
|USB||8 x USB 3.0 (6 back, 2 inside), 10 x USB 2.0 (4 back, 6 inside)|
|Internal connectors||2 x USB 3.0, 8 x USB 2.0, 8 x Fan (CPU, Chassis), 1 x 24pin power, ATX 12V power, Audio (Front panel), MemOK!, ClearCMOS, Bios change, Power, Reset switch|
|Back panel||1 x PS/2. 4 x USB 2.0, 6 x USB 3.0, S/PDIF, 1 x LAN, 5 x Analog audio, 2 x eSATA, ClearCMOS, RoG Connect, Asus Wi-Fi GO!|
|Price [US $]||430|
The only downside that has to be mentioned is the imminence of the main PCI-Express slot and the board's cooler. Due to extremely small distance between them, pulling out the video card will bring you to tears. Only with the help of another person and a really long screwdriver which will enable you to put the pressure on the PCI-Express slot will be doable in a remotely simple way. The alternative is taking out the cooler and memory which will provide you with a semblance of access.
|Cinebench R15 x64|
|CPU Single Core [pts]||135|
|x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 (Pass1/Pass2) [fps]||40.5 / 158.6|
|Blender v2.64 [s]**||164.4|
|AIDA 64 2.5 memory read / write / copy [MB/s]||39487 / 32996 / 36844|
|AIDA 64 2.5 memory latency [ns] **||66,1|
|7-Zip 7.20 x64 comp./decomp. [kB/s]||18798 / 234096|
|WinRar 5.00 Benchmark [KB/s]||6911|
|**less is better|
|Test configuration: Core i7 4820K, 4 x 4 GB Kingston DDR3 2133 MHz, Kingston SSDNow HyperX 120 GB, Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit|
When all's said and done, saying goodbye to this board is hard. Simply put, this board is a remarkably complete and functional platform for a PC, and with a good processor it can last for years and to be surpassed in any way. Starting with hardware specification up to the best designed USEFI BIOS that exists on the market; Rampage IV Black Edition is extremely good. In case you prefer quality that will certainly cost you an arm and a leg, and you and you don’t mind spending a couple hundreds of euros, there’s no reason to look further than this motherboard.