Skip to main content

System Builder Marathon: The $5,000 Extreme PC

Motherboard And Memory

Motherboard: Asus Rampage II Extreme

We haven’t finished our upcoming high-end X58 motherboard roundup yet, and instead made our choice based on a wide range of opinions from professional testers and competitive overclockers. With two of its three PCI Express (PCIe) x16 slots in advantageous locations, the Asus Rampage II Extreme easily supported our twin-graphics-unit configuration.

Read Customer Reviews of Asus' Rampage II Extreme

Performance and stability were primary considerations in our motherboard selection, neither of which is a problem for the Rampage II Extreme. However, a quick look at Newegg’s buyers' comments did turn up a few humorous examples of builders who didn’t know how to install an X58 motherboard. For example, many buyers have complained of boot failures when they filled DRAM slots 2-4-6 (white) rather than slots 1-3-5 (blue) with their three-module kits.

A complete description of the Rampage II Extreme will be forthcoming when it is reviewed.

Memory: 6.0 GB Mushkin Enhanced DDR3-1600 CAS 7

Mushkin’s 998679 6.0 GB triple-channel kit first got our attention as a high-end value in our recent high-end memory comparison, with a lower-than-average price and tight DDR3-1600 CAS 7-8-7-20 timings. As the third-best overclocker in that shootout, the kit was almost 50% cheaper than the second-place kit.

Read Customer Reviews of Mushkin's 6 GB DDR3-1600 CAS7 Kit

Recent discounts have made the 998679 triple-channel kit an even better value than it was when we selected it for this month’s build.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • xx12amanxx
    Nice article!

    I wish i could own a rig like that,but it would be that or a 383 stroker for the F-body..lol I can dream cant I?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    xx12amanxxNice article!I wish i could own a rig like that,but it would be that or a 383 stroker for the F-body..lol I can dream cant I?
    383 strokers are for copycats. Basically, too many bad 400 blocks and people found a cheap way to re-use the cranks to make their 350's bigger. If you have THIS kind of money, you'd might as well go BIG BORE too. Maybe a bowtie block? At any rate, you'll win more races with a real 400 (or larger custom size) so long as the block is good.
    Reply
  • one-shot
    It is interesting to note on Page 14. On the Sandra XII Multimedia test the Core i7 965 @ 4.2GHz scored 486,971, while the i7 920 @ 4.0GHz scored 386,867. The difference was 200MHz and made such a large difference. Did the Intel SSDs influence such a large gain in performance or the DDR3 @ 1800MHz or perhaps a combination of both?
    Reply
  • Crashman
    9469314 said:
    It is interesting to note on Page 14. On the Sandra XII Multimedia test the Core i7 965 @ 4.2GHz scored 486,971, while the i7 920 @ 4.0GHz scored 386,867. The difference was 200MHz and made such a large difference. Did the Intel SSDs influence such a large gain in performance or the DDR3 @ 1800MHz or perhaps a combination of both?

    The 965 has a higher-bandwidth QPI link, so it should be good for boosting at least a few synthetic scores.
    Reply
  • gim159
    BAH!! Why is it always Intel? Only Servers and people that wish they MAC should use Intel stuffs.. Who else is going to use all of it's features? Not gamers, that is for sure!! Like a gamer is going to spend the extra $$ for ECC memory and not spend it on more important stuff like a GC or a great board. That and an economy minded PC buyer will go AMD anytime, more bang for the buck...

    Also, Ati is better a better card, for linking I mean. The support may be crap, but it is usually worth it to get them! 4850 X2, Water cool one and watch the clock go through the roof!
    Reply
  • xx12amanxx
    Intel is the fastest thats why...This is supposed to be an uber rig.

    Ya crashman thats the problem i dont have that kind of money..lol A fresh stock rebuild bolt on's and spray will have to hold me off until better times!
    Reply
  • gim159
    ¿ "Intel is the fastest" ? Amd 2.0 is a 4.0 in the intel world...
    Reply
  • JeanLuc
    I would love to seen those Windows boot times with those RAID 0 Intel SDD's!
    Reply
  • gim159
    Yeah, Optimize the heck out of it and take all of the unnecessary stuff out.. Probably 4 sec boot, Awesome!
    Reply
  • Crashman
    xx12amanxxIntel is the fastest thats why...This is supposed to be an uber rig.Ya crashman thats the problem i dont have that kind of money..lol A fresh stock rebuild bolt on's and spray will have to hold me off until better times!
    I spec'd out a friend's 406 C.I. mouse a few years ago and he got through under $4500 with aluminum heads and a roller cam!
    Reply