Archive Home arrow Reviews: arrow Motherboards arrow ASUS Rampage IV Formula X79 Motherboard

ASUS Rampage IV Formula X79 Motherboard E-mail
Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
Written by Hank Tolman   
Thursday, 15 March 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS Rampage IV Formula X79 Motherboard
Closer Look: ASUS Rampage IV Formula
Rampage IV Formula Detailed Features
Motherboard Features and Specifications
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Extreme Edition Tests
PCMark Vantage Tests
CINEBENCH R11.5 Benchmarks
CPU-Dependent 3D Gaming
PassMark PerformanceTest
Media Encoding Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Tests
SPECapc Lightwave
Blender and POV-Ray
Rampage IV Formula Overclocking
ROG X79 Express Motherboard Final Thoughts
ASUS Rampage IV Formula Conclusion

Closer Look: ASUS Rampage IV Formula Motherboard

The ASUS Rampage IV Formula Battlefield 3 Edition motherboard comes packaged in a box that is decked out in Battlefield 3 images and logos. The box also sports the requisite Intel logos and an SLI logo. All in all, it looks pretty cool.


Opening the flap on the front of the box reveals a windowed view of the motherboard. On the backside of the flap is a description of some of the more prominent features that the ASUS Rampage IV Formula comes with. You can read a short description of the SupremeFX III audio codec, the Extreme Engine Digi+ II, and the bundled software. It also mentions the inclusion of the X-Socket, which is a nice feature that allows you to hang onto your old Sandy Bridge CPU cooler instead of buying a new one.


The ASUS Rampage IV Formula comes with a pretty standard set of accessories. You get four SATA 6Gb/s cables, four SATA 3Gb/s cables, an SLI bridge, a 3-Way SLI bridge, and a ROG Connect USB table. There is also a ROG connect booklet, the I/O cover, some ROG cable labels, and your standard motherboard book and driver/utility disc.


In addition to those relatively normal accessories, the ASUS Rampage IV Formula Battlefield 3 Edition comes with some BF3 and ROG gear. As the front of the box says, the card at the top has a download code for the full version of Battlefield 3 from Origin. The motherboard also comes with a Republic of Gamers door-handle do not disturb sign, a ROG Sticker, and a BF3 Lanyard.


The ASUS Rampage IV Formula motherboard is a full ATX motherboard that sports a lot of the features you are used to seeing in other X79 motherboards. In true Republic of Gamers fashion, the Rampage IV Formula motherboard has a red and black theme. One of the first things I noticed was the conservative style of the heatsinks when compared to some of the ASUS motherboards of the past. The style of heatsinks and piping on the Rampage IV Formula looks very rugged and robust, ready to meet the demands of gamers everywhere.


The Rampage IV Formula has a lot to offer on the I/O end. You get a single legacy PS/2 port, 6 USB 2.0 ports, 4 USB 3.0 ports, 2 eSATA ports, a Gigabit LAN port, 8-Channel Audio ports with an optical S/PDIF out port, a clear CMOS button, and the ROG Connect On/Off switch. Comparatively, I'd have to say that the Rampage IV Formula falls somewhere in the middle. You get 4 USB 3.0 ports, which require the addition of an ASMedia controller since Intel doesn't include any on the chipset. That's two more than the Intel X79 motherboard, but two less than the P9X79 Deluxe. Two powered eSATA ports, also provided by an ASMedia controller, are more than the Sabertooth X79 (which has one powered and one not) and definitely more than the Intel motherboard. The Gigabit Ethernet is provided by the Intel 82579V chip, which has recently been proven superior to other provider's alternatives in a gaming environment. So the I/O sits somewhere in the middle.


One of things that disappoints me on the Rampage IV Formula is the memory capacity. The less expensive Sabertooth X79 and Intel DX79SI both hold eight memory modules, as does the very similarly priced P9X79 Deluxe and the more expensive Rampage IV Extreme. The Rampage IV Formula does support quad-channel memory, with each DIMM slot representing a different channel; A1 is closest to the rear I/O panel and D1 is closest to the 24-Pin power connector. This still allows for up to 32GB of RAM and the speeds supported are the same as the other ASUS X79 motherboards at up to 2400MHz overclocked. The recommended configuration is for a single DIMM in D1, two DIMMs in D1 and B1, three in D1, C1, and B1, and the A1 slot only being used with all four DIMMs in place.


The Rampage IV Formula makes up for a lot, however, when it comes to the PCIe ports. One of the major selling points of the X79 chipset is that it has enough PCIe lanes to support four GPUs in a CrossFire or SLI configuration. Even so, the DX79SI and Sabertooth X79 only have room for three. The P9X79 Deluxe has four slots, but they are so close together that you can really only use three at a time. The Rampage IV Formula has PCIe GPU slots and they are spread out so you can use them all. Of course, if you are going to use them all, you'll have to buy the bridge separately. The configurations look like this:

PCIe X16 Slot #

Single GPU

























Let's talk about those PCIe lanes for a minute. The lanes here are PCIe 3.0 lanes. While the technology for PCIe 3.0 lanes has been available for over a year, it hasn't been used until now. The main reason for this is that even PCIe 2.0 bandwidth, at 5GT/s is underutilized by current GPUs. PCIe 3.0 takes that bandwidth up to 8GT/s, but really adds much more because it uses a new technique that does away with the traditional 8b/10b encoding. That 8b/10b encoding can cost up to 20% in bandwidth, meaning the PCIe 2.0 lanes really give about 4GT/s. The new technique, called scrambling, only loses about 1 to 1.5% in bandwidth, so PCIe 3.0 very nearly doubles the previous standard. With that in mind, even running at x8, the bandwidth could, hypothetically, allow the GPU to run at the same bandwidth as traditional x16 slots. This hasn't panned out in testing, but it might prove useful when more GPUs start taking advantage of the higher capabilities.


To finish off our closer look at the ASUS Rampage IV Formula motherboard, we have the SATA ports. There are eight on Rampage IV Formula, besides the two powered eSATA ports on the rear I/O. As you are likely aware, the X79 chipset, like the other Sandy Bridge chipsets, only supports 2 SATA 6 Gb/s ports natively. Here there are four, two powered by an ASMedia controller. The red ports are SATA 6 Gb/s and the black are SATA 3GB/s ports.



# RE: ASUS Rampage-IV Formula Motherboard BF3 EditionAthlonite 2012-03-16 03:27
pfft $610.10NZD forget it thats only 40 bucks less than what I quoted a guy for an mobo case and PSU cpu and ram for an AM3+ system
Report Comment
# EnthusiastWayne 2012-03-16 03:40
What part of enthusiast didn't you get? If you have the money and you like intel. I don't go crying about AMD whenever they review it. It just a preference.
Report Comment
# RE: Enthusiastwhynotv2 2012-03-16 04:12
I agree with Wayne's an enthusiast board. And Athlonite, that AM3+ system that would cost you 40 more would get destroyed by this system. I'm an AMD supporter and all but one computer in my house is built around an AMD processor (my netbook being the exception), but I can admit that i7 system will run circles around a $650NZD AM3+ system.
Report Comment
# RE: ASUS Rampage-IV Formula Motherboard BF3 EditionAthlonite 2012-03-16 03:34
Add $1,399.00NZD to that mobo for the Intel core i7 3960X and you soon find that intel are just way to expensive even without a case or GPU or ram it's already 3x times the price of an AM3+ system
Report Comment
# WhyMergatroid 2012-03-17 21:03
Why add $1399 when it already kicks the AM3+? Wasn't there an article here a few months ago showing a Bulldozer getting outperformed in most tests by an i5?
Report Comment
# RE: ASUS Rampage-IV Formula Motherboard BF3 EditionAthlonite 2012-03-16 03:40
Also you used the same HD6850 GPU through all of the systems so why no BF3 benchmark scores after all it came with the mobo
Report Comment
# No BF3 benchmarkHank 2012-03-16 11:09
Because this is a motherboard review, not a GPU review.
Report Comment
# So?Mergatroid 2012-03-21 15:27
Your answer doesn't make sense. When I purchased two 6970 cards I was using a Core 2 Quad and everything was awesome. Then came long BF3, and guess what was causing a bottleneck? Yup, my main board/cpu.

Because he's using the same video card in each board, if he had of also used the same RAM and CPU it would have been easy to see if there was any difference in BF3 caused by the main board. It would also have been interesting. At the very least, it could be reported that no difference was found in the game using different mobos.

However, I can excuse not doing it because it would have been a lot of extra work. Sure would have been interesting though.
Report Comment
# RE: So?Olin Coles 2012-03-21 15:41
I agree with Hank, this is a motherboard review and benchmarking a (mostly) GPU-bound game isn't as effective as CPU-bound tests. Street Fighter IV would be an exception, however, since it's VERY CPU-bound.
Report Comment
# Just one more piece of infoMergatroid 2012-03-21 16:04
I was trying to point out that BF3 was bottlenecked by the older/slower CPU I was using compared to the i5 2500k I use now, and that BF3 can be used as an indicator of CPU capability, all else being equal. However, that doesn't necessarily indicate there would be any difference between motherboards (all else being equal), but now we don't know for sure because it wasn't tested (but I doubt it).

What if it was tested and there was a difference? Wouldn't you like to know that? How would that not be classified as testing the motherboard if they all used the same gpu? (Again, I don't think there would be a significant difference between motherboards). Even knowing there was no difference would have been reassuring, if only a little. But it would have been a little extra work for something we're already 99% sure of.
Report Comment
# RE: ASUS Rampage-IV Formula Motherboard BF3 Editionwhynotv2 2012-03-16 04:13
I'd like to see the "Expensive enthusiast product" added to the Cons section as is usually done to higher end components. Nice review :)
Report Comment
# RE: ASUS Rampage-IV Formula Motherboard BF3 EditionDavid Ramsey 2012-03-16 08:27
You ran the memory voltage at 1.8 volts? You mad bastard...
Report Comment
# RE: RE: ASUS Rampage-IV Formula Motherboard BF3 EditionHank 2012-03-16 11:11
Well, I was trying to get 2400MHz. It didn't work.
Report Comment
# RE: RE: RE: ASUS Rampage-IV Formula Motherboard BF3 EditionJames Reece 2012-03-17 22:20
With what set of sticks? 1.8 can start frying things. Get a 2400 set of sticks, rather than OC, well we don't know, you don't specify the sticks you used, would suggest GSkill Ripjaws Z in a 2400 set, they are set to XMP 1.3 same as the mobo. And this config can run 2133 sticks fairly easily at 2400 if you have any cluse at all as to what you are doing - and it doesn't take 1.8
Report Comment
# Why botherMergatroid 2012-03-18 00:00
Why bother with anything (sticks?) over 1600 anyway? The performance gain is negligible. Not worth the extra cost.
Report Comment
# G.Skill Ripjaws X Serieshank 2012-03-20 22:17
They were G.Skill Ripjaws X Series at 1866. I figured they could get to 2400, but they couldn't. I just like to push the envelope a little. What's the point of calling myself an enthusiast if I don't get a little crazy sometimes?!

Report Comment
# Can't figureJames Reece 2012-03-16 17:29
Don't even begin to understand the testing methodology i.e. X58/12GB 1600 then to a P67, w/only 8GB 1600, then to a 990FX with only 4GB 2133, crippled down 1866 (yeah the DullDozer stinks at 2133 (if you can even get it to run), but to cripple the sticks down to 9-9-9-24??? These sticks are native 7-10-7-26, @1866 they should be run about CL6, then throw 16GB at the offense but RAM does affect overall performance and different amounts across the board, different freqs, and using crippled timings makes no sense. All the mobos could have handled 8 or 16GB of 1600 rather than this, just throwing junk together. Very poor selections
Report Comment
# Matching configurationshank 2012-03-20 22:21
The point of testing the motherboard is to test the motherboard, not the RAM. We try to get the RAM speed and latency to match as much as possible so it doesn't affect the testing. The reason for the different amounts is to maintain 4GB on each channel. X58 has triple-channel, thus 12GB, the P67 and 990FX both have dual-channel, so 8GB there (There were 2 x 4GB sticks for the 990FX, it was a typo), and 16GB on the quad-channel X79. That's the reasoning.
Report Comment
# RE: Matching configurationsJames Reece 2012-03-21 17:55
Your explanation makes some sense, but not much. The same set you used on the X79 could have been used on all the mobos, and I'm sorry but sticking still crippling native CL7/2133 down to to 1866 at CL9. You use the same GPU on all why not the same DRAM. Also, since this is about the X79 mobo, why not test with DRAM native to the mobo like the XMP 1.3 Ripjaws Z instead of XMP 1.2 Ripjaws X
Report Comment
# more the 16GB cost more then just the memoryLeadSled 2012-03-21 01:30
First 4.7Ghz is slow I am running a Rampage Extreme @ 5.2Ghz at 1.48 volts with 3930K.If your would like to use more then 16GB of memory you will need a greater version of Windows 7 then Home Premium since it only supports 16GB so add another $100 for Untimate and if I want more then 16GB to run higher then 5.2Ghz I will need Extreme cooling such as a phase change unit at least on the Rampage you do.There are limits just read the manual. I still cannot get break into the 6 second braket 7.12 is my best in SuperPi 1.5. Memory may do it but not many boards will run with the 166 BCLK although even 125 doesnt do much more then 100 and its more stable then 166 by far. I would spend the extra $50 for the Extreme you get more then $50 worth of extras. They are fun mobo's there are lots to learn if you want GHZ and who doesnt. Ram drives are not worth it unless you want to brag about benchmarks
Report Comment
# Enthusiasts with Home?Mergatroid 2012-03-21 15:47
Windows 64 Pro supports 192Gb. It's not much more than the Home Premium version, and it's worth getting because of other features aside from how much memory it supports.

Who spends thousands of dollars on computer hardware and then chinces on the operating system over a few dollars?

Nice o/c by the way.
Report Comment
# I failed to OC by emulating your settings - Please may I ask for your help?Myles Thomas 2013-03-02 05:30
Hi there, I wonder if you could help me? I used your exact settings for my system: 3820 (h100 water cooled), Rampage IV extreme, 16gb 2133mhz ram, GTX 680 4gb sli. Unfortunately, all I got when I saved and restarted was a blank screen, and gently humming fans. I had to manually hard reset the system. Can you give me any advice? I'm a beginner to OCing, the only stable OC I've had is the "Normal" 4.3ghz OC profile pre-provided. Any help be REALLY greatly appreciated, I just want to OC for a performance boost to games like Crysis 3, but I find the guides to be a huge headache, and none of the settings provided by sucessful overclockers of my same rig seem to work for me.

Thank you for your time,

Myles Thomas
Report Comment
# first time doing anything like thisAlex 2013-05-04 05:42
so, i followed this guide but after a fair bit of research i dropped back a few thing like core volts and stuff just from what i've read. and i had a couple of little hickups (ram at 1333 or 1666 can't remember) but just using what i think is common sense i was still able to get 4.625 easily, that's running at 1.375v. so i would just like to say THANKYOUSOF******MUC H! i love you man.
Report Comment

Comments have been disabled by the administrator.

Search Benchmark Reviews

Like Benchmark Reviews on FacebookFollow Benchmark Reviews on Twitter