Revamp for the enthusiasts: ASUS Rampage III Extreme Black Edition review

ASUS has released the latest revamp of its extremely successful Rampage III Extreme motherboard. The Black Edition is the brainchild of Andre Yang and Peter Tan the newest additions to the ASUS engineering team and known for being premier overclockers.

From first glance you can see this motherboard seems to lack absolutely nothing. ASUS has replaced the passive coolers with a totally new design that really stands out. The specifications of this board are the epitome of enthusiast ASUS has left nothing out with six SATA 3Gb/s two SATA 6Gb/s two eSATA 3Gb/s ports four USB 3.0 11 USB 2.0 and a ROG Connect port. Storage and data transfer will not be an issue here. ASUS has also included an onboard Bluetooth and 802.11b/g/n Wireless LAN controller. Just in case.

Memory bandwidth is taken care of with six DDR3 slots capable of addressing 24GB of RAM with speeds up to 2200MHz. But this will of course be dependent on how good your CPU’s internal memory controller is. With four PCIe x16 and two x PCIe x1 slots with full support for 4x Crossfire and SLI configurations you’ll have no limitations on GPU power.

ASUS has included a PCIe add-on card featuring ASUS Xonar sound card and the Killer E2100 Bigfoot network controller dubbed THUNDERBOLT. This card and motherboard combination sets the board apart from the rest of enthusiast motherboards on the market today. The features on the THUNDERBOLT card are outstanding. Complementary software controls give you a clear indication of CPU usage NPU usage internet bandwidth memory usage the best fps in any game you’re playing along with UDP ping and ICMP ping. You also have the ability to manually adjust your bandwidth to any applications you have running. Giving priority to your games or web surfing for example.

When testing in a LAN environment we noticed a drop in latency speeds of 2ms over the standard Intel NIC. Of course along with our recent tests of the GIGABYTE G1-Killer Assassin any real and reproducible benefits were unable to be established. It can’t hurt though. The sound was exactly what you have come to expect from the XONAR family delivering amazing sound quality and crispness.

ASUS engineers have done a complete makeover of the BIOS. To fit the theme of around the Black Edition even the BIOS colour has been changed to black with an orange highlight. The available options in BIOS have been increased by over 50% compared to the Rampage III Extreme giving the user the ability to tweak nearly every setting. You can really see this board is engineered for the gaming enthusiast and extreme overclockers.

Available from ASUS retailing for $749.
APC rating: 9/10 (Editor’s Choice)