Asus Rampage II Extreme
Features and Layout
The Rampage II Extreme carries Asus’ Republic Of Gamers brand into the Core i7 era with overclocker-friendly features that continue to set ROG products apart from the company’s other product families.
But you might have to look twice before you notice the added overclocking features, since the biggest visual difference between the ROG series and other Asus products is its use of flashy lights and shiny covers that scream “overclocker.” Such excesses include a huge southbridge sink that covers otherwise uninteresting circuitry, a Republic Of Gamers logo that lights up but actually decreases the northbridge sink area, and red covers over the voltage regulator module (VRM) sinks that impede airflow.
That second look brings most people’s eyes directly to a toggle surrounded by buttons and miniature connectors, which are controls and connectors for the Asus TweakIT and ProbeIT features. Using an included monochromatic LCD external display, users can adjust voltage and frequency settings without interrupting other programs that may be running on their desktop display. ProbeIT connectors interface several included cables to allow a third-party voltage meter to be more easily connected to the motherboard’s voltage rails.
Three PCIe 2.0 x16 slots are properly spaced for double-slot graphics cooling, but any double-slot card in the third slot will extend one-space beyond the bottom of standard seven-slot ATX cases. Thus, although the board supports up to 3-way SLI configurations, enclosures that strictly adhere to the ATX standard will often limit builders to a maximum of two cards. Asus created this problem by placing its uppermost x16 slot in the third-from-top position, covering the top position with chipset sinks and filling the second position with an audio riser interface.
Like most X58 Express-based motherboards, the second and third slots also share pathways, limiting a three-card arrangement to x16/x8/x8 mode. Electronic switches detect a third x16 card, so that when none is present the second slot gets all 16 pathways automatically.
Other expansion includes a single 32-bit PCI and two PCIe x1 slots. The black x1 slot serves dual functions, since it can also act as an audio riser for an included codec card.
Another deterrent to putting the Rampage II Extreme into semi-portable mid-sized enclosures is that it’s exactly one inch wider than the “full ATX” form factor. Builders who are uncertain of their options should make sure they have 10.5625” of clearance between drive bays and the backs of their cases. Close attention should also be paid to any hard drive cages that might interfere with the installation of Serial ATA (SATA) cables, because the six ICH10R ports face forward.
Anyone who has properly selected a case to house such a large motherboard, in addition to any large graphics cards, probably won’t care that the floppy connector is nearly unreachable at the motherboard’s bottom-rear corner, since these ancient devices are typically only required for installing RAID or AHCI drivers with outdated operating systems such as Windows XP. Similarly, the Ultra ATA connector is located too close to the bottom of the Rampage II Extreme’s front edge to allow easy cabling to top bays, but related devices are now outdated.
|Asus Rampage II Extreme (Revision 2.01G)|
|Northbridge||Intel X58 Express|
|Voltage Regulation||16 Phases|
|133.3 MHz Base Clock||133.6 MHz (+0.20%)|
|Clock Generator||ICS 9LPRS918JKLF|
|Connectors and Interfaces|
|Onboard||3x PCIe 2.0 x16 (Two with Shared Pathways)|
|2x PCIe x1|
|3x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector).|
|1x IEEE-1394 FireWire|
|1x Ultra ATA (2 drives)|
|7x SATA 3.0 Gb/s|
|1x Fan 4-pin (CPU)|
|7x Fan 3-pins (Chassis, Power)|
|1x Power Switch|
|1x Reset Switch|
|1x External LCD Poster connector|
|3x TweakIt overclock controls|
|8x ProbeIt voltage probe connectors|
|I/O Panel||1x PS2 (keyboard)|
|6x USB 2.0|
|1x CLR_CMOS button|
|2x RJ45 Ethernet|
|1x IEEE-1394 FireWire|
|1x External SATA (eSATA) connector|
|Mass Storage Controllers|
|Intel ICH10R||6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)|
|JMicron JMB363 PCIe||1x Ultra ATA-133 (2-drives)|
|1x SATA 3.0 Gb/s|
|1x eSATA 3.0 Gb/s|
|2 x Marvell 88E8056-NNC1 PCIe||Dual Gigabit LAN with Teaming|
|SupremeFX X-Fi Riser (ADI AD2000BX HD Audio)||Eight-Channel (7.1 Surround) Output EAX Advanced HD 4.0, CMSS-3D, Crystalizer|
The classic JMicron JMB363 provides an additional SATA connection, an eSATA port, and the Ultra ATA interface.
Twin Marvell 8838056 controllers use separate PCIe pathways to provide dual Gigabit Ethernet with support for Teaming, while VIA’s VT6308P two-port FireWire 400 controller requires nothing more than legacy PCI.