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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

Rampage IV Formula Detailed Features

Now that we've had an overview of what the Rampage IV Formula has to offer compared to other X79 alternatives, let's look deeper into the more detailed features of this ROG motherboard.

To start off, the ASUS Rampage IV series moves one step ahead of even the other ASUS X79 motherboards by implementing their Extreme Engine DIGI+ II. DIGI+ II digitalizes the control of the voltages on the motherboard. DIGI+ II adds even more features than its predecessor, allowing for even better voltage regulation for extreme overclocking. The DIGI+ II on the Rampage IV Formula includes an 8-phase CPU power design, a little lower than the 16-phase on the P9X79 Deluxe, and the same 2 +2-phase design for DRAM power. It also provides a 3-phase VCCSA power design. The ability to tweak the VCCSA through the Extreme Engine DIGI+ II is very nice, considering a major part of overclocking the X79 chipset is through boosting the bclk. The Rampage IV Formula lacks the TPU we have become accustomed to on newer ASUS motherboards, but the purpose of the Rampage IV Formula , overclocking and extreme gaming, really precludes the necessity anyway. It does keep the EPU, however, for enhanced energy efficiency. In addition to DIGI+ II, the ASUS Rampage IV Formula protects overclockers from frying their machine through the use of COP EX component overheat protection, an LED called a Voltiminder that lets you know when things are a little off, and ASUS C.P.R., or CPU Parameter Recall.

ASUS_Rampage_IV_Gene_Chips.jpg

In the image above you can see the two DIGI+ chips found on the Rampage IV Formula, as well as one of the two ASMedia controllers (one for USB 3.0 ports and the other for the extra four SATA 6Gb/s ports). The Nuvoton chip is an I/O chip made for monitoring voltages, fan speeds, and temperatures. This chip allows you to use software such as the AI Suite II to monitor your components in Windows. The ICS chip is the internal clock generator and the SupremeFX III is actually just a cover for the audio CODEC, which we will explore more in just a bit.

ASUS_Rampage_IV_Gene_Bottom_Right.jpg

Speaking of hardware monitoring, the ASUS Rampage IV Formula has the fancy LEDs up by the CPU fan connector that correspond with a whole list of diagnostics you can find the user's manual. Not too far from those LEDs are a bunch of tiny probe points. You can connect a probe to these points to see the exact voltage levels as they are coursing through your motherboard. The above picture is actually of the Rampage IV Gene; the one I took of the Formula from that viewpoint didn't come out. On the Rampage IV Formula, these probes are right beside the onboard power and reset buttons. That set of switches next to the power and reset buttons? That's the switch for the PCIe lanes, in case you want to switch things up a little. There's another little switch up there too. It's small and black, and is the LN2 switch for the extreme overclockers out there who use liquid nitrogen as their cooling preference.

ASUS_Rampage_IV_Formula_Top.jpg

Now back to the SupremeFX III Audio CODEC. ASUS has forgone the usual Realtek 7.1 channel audio CODEC for a full 8-Channel Audio CODEC with a 1500 uF Audio Power Capacitor. The SupremeFX III carries support for X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity, EAX Advanced HD 5.0, THX TruStudio Pro, Creative Alchemy, and Blu-ray audio layer content protect. Probably my favorite feature of the SupremeFX III, however, is the new shielding technology. One of the biggest problems with audio CODECs is the interference from other components. As you can see in the image, ASUS has completely isolated the audio CODEC on the Rampage IV Formula. This should help to diminish, if not eliminate entirely, the interference with other components.

ASUS_Rampage_IV_Formula_Audio.jpg

To finish off, let's take a look at the ROG specific features of the Rampage IV Formula because these are what really set this motherboard apart from other X79 motherboards. To start, the Rampage IV Formula has ROG Connect. When you start it up by pushing the button on the I/O panel, the white USB port turns into the ROG Connect USB port. By connecting a laptop, you can monitor POST code and status readouts and make adjustments to your overclock in real-time. Another ROG feature is GameFirst. This program allows you to manage your internet bandwidth usage and prioritize it to meet your gaming needs. If you are gaming online, downloading files, streaming musing, chatting, and doing anything else at the same time and your internet speeds begin to slow, GameFirst will divert the flow from these less important functions to make sure your ping stays low. Pwn on! The final ROG feature I want to talk about is the X-Socket. The X79 ROG motherboards come with some additional hardware that will allow you to keep your X58 CPU cooler and drive on with your Extreme Edition CPU Usage. Since the prime suspects for Sandy Bridge Extreme usage are probably X58 Extreme Edition owners, this is a pretty good deal.

ASUS_Rampage_IV_Formula_Long.jpg

Finally, the Rampage IV Formula comes with some nice, bundled software. First up is an Anti-Virus, Kapersky specifically. With Microsoft Security Essentials out now, this isn't too much of a necessity anymore, but it's a nice feature. ROG CPU-Z is included too. CPU-Z is free, but this one looks like ROG. Way cooler. DAEMON Tools Pro Standard is also included, for "backing-up" CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays. It will also let you write your discs to your hard drive and run them off the optical drive emulator. Mem TweakIt and GPU TweakIt are also included, allowing you real-time manageability for your Memory and GPU similar to what you have for your CPU.



 

Comments 

 
# 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
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# 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.
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# RE: Enthusiastwhynotv2 2012-03-16 04:12
I agree with Wayne completely...it'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.
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# 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
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# 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?
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# 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
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# No BF3 benchmarkHank 2012-03-16 11:09
Because this is a motherboard review, not a GPU review.
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# 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.
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# 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.
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# 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.
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# 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 :)
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# 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...
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# 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.
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# 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
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# 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.
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# 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?!

-Hank
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# 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 X79....no 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
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# 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.
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# 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
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# 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
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# 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.
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# 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
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# 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. #valid.canardpc.com/cache/banner/2793351.png
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