|ASUS Rampage IV Formula Gene Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Hank Tolman|
|Monday, 26 March 2012|
Page 15 of 16
ROG X79 Express Motherboard Final Thoughts
Let's talk about the ASUS Rampage IV Gene for a bit. I was absolutely impressed by the Rampage IV Formula motherboard because of the options it offered to enthusiasts. The Rampage IV Gene doesn't offer many of those options. One of the things that has been readily stated about the X79 Express Chipset over and over again is that it really isn't worth it unless you are going to take real advantage of the extras it offers.
One of those extras is the 48 PCIe 3.0 lanes that allow for four-way SLI or CFX configurations. With the near double bandwidth capability of PCIe 3.0 lanes, even the slots running at x8 should theoretically carry enough bandwidth to run PCIe 2.0 cards at full speed. The problem with the Rampage IV Gene is that the micro-ATX form factor can't support more than two cards realistically. Since the regular Sandy Bridge systems are more than enough to run any game with the right configuration, the only reason you would upgrade to Sandy Bridge Extreme anyway would be the extras, like running four GPUs.
One of the other reasons you might consider upgrading to a Sandy Bridge Extreme motherboard is the quad-channel memory. The issue with the Rampage IV Gene is that it only has a single DIMM slot for each channel. This is an issue I have with the Rampage IV Formula as well. There are plenty of motherboards less expensive than both the Gene and the Formula that have 8 DIMM slots.
The Rampage IV Gene doesn't even have the X-Socket fitter. I would say some of the people most likely to upgrade to the X79 Chipset are X58 Extreme users. That is especially true if you are upgrading to the Rampage IV Gene, since I would recommend this as an upgrade for any using a P67 or Z68 motherboard already. So if you are using an X58 Extreme CPU, you'll have to buy a new CPU cooler.
There are good things about the Rampage IV Gene too, of course. For one, I don't think you'll find overclocking capability like this in any motherboard for the same price. The Extreme Engine DIGI+ II pretty much ensures that. The ROG Connect functionality, GameFirst, Mem TweakIT, and GPU TweakIT help on that front as well.The ASUS Rampage IV Gene also address a couple of issues that overclockers have had for a while. For one, they fixed the variable voltage stepping on startup that causes cold boot issues. You can get the full voltage you need for your overclock right from the start. Also, the AI Suite II gives you excellent monitoring ability from within Windows. But those readings could vary a little too much, so the Rampage IV Gene offers probe points so you can use your own tools.