Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Motherboard Review

The ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition is the second offering to carry the "Black Edition" moniker and as a result there is much riding on this particular edition as this will be the last hurrah for the X79 platform. The previous edition was the absolute best X58 motherboard money could buy and we expect no less from this Black Edition.

Introduction

ASUS is a motherboard manufacturer every enthusiast has at least heard of. ASUS has a reputation for making quality motherboards in various price points and feature sets. Some products need to be differentiated and set apart from the rest. The Republic of Gamers brand was established to set apart ASUS top tier enthusiast class motherboards from the standard offerings. ROG motherboards are have features tailored specifically for the most demanding and discerning enthusiasts. All the normal production line features are included and many more are added to ensure the place at the top.

Even among the elite, there is opportunity to stand out. The last time this occurred is when ASUS introduced the Rampage III Black Edition. That motherboard represented the pinnacle of the X58 product line and was frankly the single best X58 motherboard I’ve ever seen or worked with. The ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition is the second offering to carry the "Black Edition" moniker and as a result there is a lot riding on it as the reputation of the last one is unparalleled even among ROG motherboards.

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The ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition is based on Intel’s X79 Express chipset and uses the LGA2011 socket. Optimized for Ivy Bridge-E, the Rampage IV Black Edition has an all digital 8-phase power design, with 3 phases dedicated for VCCSA power and a 2+2 phase power design for the memory. Additionally the Black Edition uses 60A chokes and 10k Black Metallic Capacitors. Other features centered around overclocking and performance include but are not limited to ProbeIt, ROG Connect, and Subzero Sense, VGA hotwire, and the OC panel. ASUS added a ton of other features for the enthusiast as well. These include integrated WiFi, additional SATA ports, eSATA, and 4-Way multi-GPU capability and more.

Main Specifications Overview:

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Detailed Specifications Overview:

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Packaging

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The packaging is similar to other ROG motherboards however the package color scheme was changed to reflect the motherboard’s name more appropriately. The motherboard arrived in tact with all accessories accounted for. Included in the box are the following accessories: User's manual, I/O Shield, 4x SATA 3Gb/s cable(s), 6x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s), 1x ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compliant), 1x 3-Way SLI bridge(s), 1x 4-Way SLI bridge(s), 1x SLI bridge(s), 1x CrossFire cable(s), 1x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1), 1x ROG Connect cable(s), 1x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s), 1x X-Socket pad(s), 1x ROG Magnet, OC Panel Kit: 1x OC Panel(s), 1x OC Panel 5.25-inch bay metal case, 1x OC Panel Cable(s). Naturally the RIVE Black Edition has one of the richest bundles you’ll find with any motherboard.

Board Layout

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Visually the Black Editions are distinct as the black and red color scheme is replaced by an all black theme. The layout of the Black Edition is nothing short of spectacular despite the sheer volume of components integrated into the motherboard. The only problem with the layout relates to the primary PCI-Express x16 slot and the cooling system that covers the PLX chip. This essentially creates a clearance issue for removing the video card should you need to after it has been installed.

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The CPU socket area is as clear as it could ever be on any X79 motherboard. Installed memory could create clearance issues for very large air cooling solutions, so you’ll want to select your cooling hardware very carefully.

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The Rampage IV Black Edition has 8x DDR3 DIMM slots which support a total of 64GB of RAM. These slots are color coded to denote proper dual/quad channel memory mode operation. Like all other current ASUS production motherboards this one uses the single sided retention tabs for locking down the memory modules.

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The south bridge is cooled with a flat and passive heat sink. In front of that you’ll find 10 SATA ports. Next to those are the motherboards dual socketed BIOS ROM chips and front panel connectors. To the left you’ll also find the Direct Key button for entering the BIOS and the CMOS switch that toggles between the BIOS ROMs.

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The expansion slot area is well laid out minus the one issue with the top PCI-Express x16 slot. The spacing for multi-GPU solutions is good and 16x0, 16x0x16, 16x8x8, and 16x8x8x8 are all supported. Both NVIDIA’s 4-Way SLI and 4-Way CrossFire are supported.

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The I/O panel has a multitude of ports. 4x USB 2.0 ports, 6x USB 3.0 ports, 1x RJ-45 port, 2x eSATA ports, 1x RJ-45 port, WiFi antenna connectors, 5x mini-stereo jacks, 1x optical output a clear CMOS button and an ROG connect toggle.