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Asus Rampage IV Formula review

A Republic of Gamers board not really meant for gamers

Our Verdict

For

  • PCIe 3.0
  • Good out-of-the-box speeds
  • Advanced overclocking options
  • Good for number-chasers

Against

  • Not the best gamers board
  • Needs an experienced hand and some LN2
  • Price

When you come up with an extreme, enthusiast-class platform like Intel's nouveau Sandy Bridge E, you want the motherboard boys to come in and sort you out with a blazing mobo to showcase its full potential.

Generally you can count on Asus, and generally it's the Republic of Gamers range that delivers. The Rampage IV Formula is the first of the Republic of Gamers boards we've seen tailored to Intel's X79 specs and we were hoping for something a little more impressive. Especially given that £300+ price tag.

The gamers' boards are now the Sabertooth series, offering a decent balance of price, features and casual overclocking capabilities. The RoG boards are creating an even smaller niche, catering only to the very obsessive hardcore clockers. These guys aren't gamers – they're after numbers, looking to get the fastest silicon going simply for the sake of it.

Cajones, hombre?

The RoG Rampage IV Formula fits this category perfectly. The BIOS itself feels familiar enough at first, then you start to notice there seem to be many more settings than you might have expected, with names the casual user probably won't recognise.

There's little of the hand-holding you get from the auto-overclocking options of the Pro or the Sabertooth X79. Instead, you just get an option to start at 4.2GHz, almost like the board is looking down its nose at you for wanting it to do the hard work for you.

If you know what you're doing at the extreme end of the overclocking spectrum then I have little doubt you're going to be able to squeeze an awful lot out of the Sandy Bridge E chips you choose to blow up. If you're more of a casual clocker, like this here reviewer, then you might well be disappointed.

Speeds are impressive out of the box though, with the board consistently delivering the top Turbo score of our Core i7 3960X at 3.9GHz across the benchmarks.

TechRadar Labs

tech labs

Multi-threaded CPU performance
Cinebench 11.5: Index: Higher is better
Asus RoG Rampage IV Formula: 11.33
Asus Sabertooth X79: 10.54

CPU encoding performance
X264 v4.0: Frames Per Second: Higher is better
Asus RoG Rampage IV Formula: 59
Asus Sabertooth X79: 49

Overclocking performance
Max OC: Gigahertz: Higher is better
Asus RoG Rampage IV Formula: 4.66
Asus Sabertooth X79: 4.8

But it's not about out-of-the-box speeds. We want to push the poor silicon to its very limits, but for some reason we can't. With the Sabertooth X79 and the P9X79 Pro we were hitting around 4.8GHz with the same chip. In this Rampage IV Formula we're unable to get far north of 4.6GHz.

To make matters worse, the Intel board we were sent with the chip will happily auto-overclock up to 4.625GHz with a simple twitch of a BIOS setting. There were none of the BCLK Strap/multiplier/ voltage tweaking shenanigans I had to pull to get the RoG anywhere near that speed. That's hugely disappointing given the price, as well as its stance as the overclocker's board of choice.

If you're handy with the LN2 then I'm sure you've got a better chance with this built-to-task board than any other. But no amount of pretty underslung LED lighting can disguise the fact that both the Sabertooth X79 and the fantastic P9X79 Pro boards are much better suited to anyone who doesn't have a tank of liquid nitrogen steaming away in the corner of their garage.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelX79 Express
Multi GPU SupportedSLI, CrossFireX
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots4
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket R LGA-2011
Brand NameROG
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedCore i7
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory32 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityREACH, WEEE
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces8
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots6
eSATAYes
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports1
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports10
Number of USB 3.0 Ports4
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports8
Number of Onboard USB 2.0 Ports6
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 3.0, PCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots6
Memory Form FactorUDIMM
Number of eSATA Ports2
Processor TechnologyTurbo Boost Technology 2.0, Enhanced SpeedStep Technology, Virtualization Technology, Hyper-Threading Technology
Width304.8 mm
Depth243.8 mm
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelRampage IV Formula/BATTLEFIELD 3
Product NameRampage IV Formula/BATTLEFIELD 3 Desktop Motherboard
Controller TypeSerial ATA/600, Serial ATA/300
Manufacturer Part Number90-MIBHI1-G0AAY0
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing Information

The Rampage IV Formula/Battlefield 3 motherboard is there to help you win in the heat of battle. Supporting the latest LGA 2011 socket for 2nd generation Intel Core i7 and Extreme Processors, as well as Intel's new X79 chipset, the Rampage IV Formula/Battlefield 3 motherboard is a surgical strike to opposing forces. Tactical video support up to 4-Way SLI and a SupremeFX III audio processor to power both video and audio senses, get immersed in a true gaming battlefield environment. For those that push themselves to the max, the Extreme Engine DIGI+ II is there to help like a combat medic, ensuring you have the strength to keep fighting. Move out! It's time to go on a Rampage.

Package Contents
  • Rampage IV Formula/BATTLEFIELD 3 Desktop Motherboard
  • User's Manual
  • I/O Shield
  • 4 x SATA 3Gb/s Cable(s)
  • 4 x SATA 6Gb/s Cable(s)
  • 1 x 3-Way SLI Bridge(s)
  • 1 x SLI Bridge(s)
  • 1 x CrossFire Cable(s)
  • 1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
  • 1 x ROG Connect Cable(s)
  • 1 x ROG Theme Label(s)
  • 1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s)
  • 1 x X-Socket Pad(s)
  • 1 x ROG Door Hanger(s)
  • 1 x BATTLEFIELD 3 Key Code(s)
  • 1 x BATTLEFIELD 3 Lanyard(s)
  • 1 x Support DVD
Limited Warranty3 Year