The ASUS RAMPAGE V EXTREME is a high-end motherboard for the new Intel high-end “Haswell-E” processors, based on the new LGA2011-v3 socket. It includes four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, 12 SATA-600 ports (with two SATA Express connectors), 14 USB 3.0 ports, a high-end audio controller, an integrated Wi-Fi 802.11ac interface, and an overcloking panel. Let’s take a good look at this board.
The new Intel X99 platform supports the new socket LGA2011-v3 processors. However, it is not compatible with former socket LGA2011 CPUs, which require motherboards based on the Intel X79 chipset. The main difference between the two platforms is that LGA2011 processors are compatible with DDR3 memories, while LGA2011-v3 CPUs can use the new DDR4 standard.
The main differences between the X99 and the X79 chipsets, besides the CPU support as mentioned above, are the number of USB 3.0 and SATA-600 ports: the X99 offers ten SATA-600 and six USB 3.0 ports, while the X79 supports only two SATA-600 ports and has no native support for USB 3.0 ports.
In Figure 1, you see the ASUS RAMPAGE V EXTREME motherboard. It uses the E-ATX form factor (12 x 10.7 inches or 305 x 272 mm).
Socket LGA2011-v3 processors have a maximum of 40 PCI Express 3.0 lanes (some models have only 28 lanes) for video cards. This allows a very high-end configuration for the PCI Express x16 slots when a CPU with 40 lanes is installed, but the exact configuration used will depend on the model of the CPU that will be installed.
The ASUS RAMPAGE V EXTREME comes with four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots. With a 40-lane processor installed, the board supports x16/x0/x16/x0, x16/x0/x8/x8, x16/x8/x8/x8 configurations. With a 28-lane CPU, the board supports x16/x0/x8/x0, x8/x8/x8/x0 configurations.
The motherboard supports SLI and CrossFireX with up to four video cards, if you are using a 40-lane CPU, or up to three cards with a 28-lane CPU.
There is also a PCI Express 2.0 x4 slot and one PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot. The PCI Express 2.0 x4 slot shares bandwidth with one of the SATA Express connectors, two USB 3.0 ports, and the PCI Express x1 slot; if a PCI Express x4 card is installed, all of those features will be disabled. If a PCI Express x1 or x2 card is installed, only the SATA Express interface is disabled.
The RAMPAGE V EXTREME comes with one M.2 slot, compatible with both SATA and PCI Express M.2 modules.
[nextpage title=”Memory Support”]
Intel socket LGA2011-v3 CPUs have an embedded memory controller, meaning that it is the processor, not the chipset, which defines what memory technologies you can have and the maximum amount of memory that is possible. The motherboard, however, may have a limitation as to how much memory can be installed.
The integrated memory controller from socket LGA2011-v3 processors officially supports DDR4 memories up to 2,133 MHz. According to ASUS, the RAMPAGE V EXTREME supports memories up to 3,300 MHz.
One of the most important features of the socket LGA2011-v3 processors is the support for the quad-channel memory architecture, which allows the memory to be accessed in 256-bit mode for higher performance. Since each memory module is a 64-bit entity, four memory modules are needed to enable this architecture. If only two or three memory modules are installed, the memory will be accessed under dual- or triple-channel architecture, respectively.
The ASUS RAMPAGE V EXTREME has eight memory sockets (four at each side of the CPU socket) and you can have up to 64 GiB with this motherboard if you use eight 8 GiB modules.
In order to enable the quad-channel mode, you must install four or eight identical memory modules. When installing four memory modules, you will have to “skip” one memory socket, filling only the red sockets.
[nextpage title=”On Board Peripherals”]
The Intel X99 chipset is a single-chip solution, which is also known as a PCH (Platform Controller Hub). This chip supports ten SATA-600 ports (there are no SATA-300 ports), supporting RAID (0, 1, 10, and 5).
The ASUS RAMPAGE V EXTREME offers those ten SATA-600 ports (two of them are shared with a SATA Express connector), plus two SATA-600 ports controlled by an ASMedia ASM106SE chip, which provides a second SATA Express connector. All SATA ports are located at the motherboard’s edge and rotated 90 degrees, so that video cards will not block them. ASUS could have used different colors for the SATA/SATA Express port controlled by the auxiliary chip.
The Intel X99 chipset supports eight USB 2.0 ports and six USB 3.0 ports. The ASUS RAMPAGE V EXTREME offers six USB 2.0 ports, two soldered on the rear panel and four available through two headers located on the motherboard. It also supports 14 USB 3.0 ports, ten soldered on the motherboard rear panel (all of the controlled by one ASMedia ASM1042 and two ASMedia ASM1074 chips) and four available through two headers on the motherboard, controlled by the chipset.
The RAMPAGE V EXTREME does not support FireWire or Thurnderbolt ports.
This motherboard supports 7.1+2 audio format, i.e., eight channels plus two independent channels for audio streaming. On this motherboard, the audio is generated by the chipset using the Realtek ALC1150 codec (called SupremeFX by ASUS), which is an excellent audio codec, providing 115 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog outputs, 104 dB signal-to-noise ratio for the analog inputs, and up to 192 kHz sampling rate for both inputs and outputs, with 24-bit resolution. These specifications are good even for the user who wants to work professionally capturing and editing analog audio (e.g., converting LPs to CDs or MP3, converting VHS to DVDs or any other digital format, etc.).
The analog audio outputs are independent and the motherboard also comes with an on-board optical SPDIF output. It also has a header labeled “SPDIF_OUT”, where you can install an adapter to have a coaxial SPDIF output or to connect a cable to older video cards that required a physical connection to have audio on their HDMI outputs.
The analog audio outputs are independent only if you use a 5.1 analog speaker set. If you install a 7.1 analog speaker set, you will need to use the “line in” jack.
Figure 6 shows the audio section, with the codec covered by a shield against interference.
The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by an Intel i218V chip.
The RAMPAGE V EXTREME has an integrated dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi interface. It comes with a dual-band MIMO 3×3:3 antenna set. The board also supports Bluetooth 4.0.
This motherboard comes with a clear CMOS button and a “ROG connection” switch, which allows you to use another computer to control overclocking parameters.
In Figure 7, you can see the motherboard rear panel, with the “clear CMOS” button and “ROG connect” switch, shared PS/2 connector for mouse or keuboard, two USB 2.0 ports, ten USB 3.0 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, three Wi-Fi antenna connectors, one optical SPDIF output, and the analog audio jacks.
[nextpage title=”Other Features”]
The portrayed motherboard supports the installation of a TPM (Trusted Platform Module), in charge of storing encryption keys in order to increase the security of the computer.
This RAMPAGE V EXTREME has a POST diagnostics display that shows through a two-digit code which component is preventing the computer from turning on. It also has power and reset buttons, as shown in Figure 8.
There is also a “MemOK!” button, which allows you to test the compatibility of the memory modules that are installed, an “LN2_MODE” jumper (that helps the system to boot with liquid nitrogen cooling), a “retry” button (that forces a hardware-level reboot at any time), a “safe boot” button (that turns the system on and enters setup in safe mode), a “slow mode” switch (that increases the chances of an extreme overclocking to work), and voltage measuring points.
Figure 9 shows one of the coolest features of the MAXIMUS VI EXTREME: the “OC Panel,” which can be used to monitor and adjust overclocking settings. It can be used in “normal mode”, inside a 5.25” bay, or in “extreme mode”, with more controls and options, if you are using your system without a case. In the normal mode, it will show the temperature of the CPU, the speed of the CPU cooler, the CPU base clock and the CPU clock multiplier, and allows you to apply preset overclocking configurations.
In Figure 10, you can see the accessories that come with the ASUS RAMPAGE V EXTREME.
[nextpage title=”Voltage Regulator”]
The CPU voltage regulator circuit of the ASUS RAMPAGE V EXTREME has eight phases for the CPU. The voltage regulator is controlled by an ASUS DIGI+ ASP1257 chip, using a digital design. Each phase is controlled by one IR3550M integrated circuit.
The ASUS RAMPAGE V EXTREME uses solid electrolytic capacitors with a 10,000-hour life-span (10k capacitors), and alloy chokes.
If you want to learn more about the voltage regulator circuit, please read our tutorial on the subject.
[nextpage title=”Overclocking Options”]
The portrayed motherboard has several overclocking options. Below, we list the most important ones (0603 BIOS):
- CPU Base Clock: from 80.00 MHz to 300.00 MHz in 0.1 MHz increments
- CPU Core Voltage: from 1.000 V to 2.000 V in 0.003125 V increments
- CPU Cache Voltage: from 1.000 V to 2.000 V in 0.003125 V increments
- System Agent Voltage: from 0.800 V to 2.000 V in 0.003125 V increments
- CPU Input Voltage: from 0.800 V to 2.700 V in 0.010 V increments
- Memory Voltage: from 0.800 V to 1.900 V in 0.010 V increments
- Chipset (PCH) Core Voltage: from 0.700 V to 1.800 in 0.00625 V increments
- Chipset (PCH) I/O Voltage: from 1.200 V to 2.200 V in 0.00625 V increments
- VCCIO CPU 1.05V Voltage: from 0.700 V to 1.800 V in 0.00625 V increments
- VCCIO PCH 1.05V Voltage: from 0.700 V to 1.800 V in 0.00625 V increments
- VTTDDR Voltage: From 0.200 V to 1.000 V in 0.00625 V increments
- PLL Termination Voltage: From 0.200 V to 3,0982784 V in 0.006602 V increments
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the ASUS RAMPAGE V EXTREME include:
- Socket: LGA2011-v3
- Chipset: Intel X99
- Super I/O: Nuvoton NCT6791D
- Parallel ATA: none
- Serial ATA: ten SATA-600 ports controlled by the chipset (RAID 0, 1, 10, and 5), supporting one SATA Express connector; and two SATA-600 ports, controlled by an ASMedia ASM106SE chip, supporting another SATA Express connector
- External SATA: none
- USB 2.0: six USB 2.0 ports, two on the motherboard real panel and four available through two headers on the motherboard
- USB 3.0: 14 USB 3.0 ports, ten on the motherboard rear panel (controlled by one ASMedia ASM1042 chip and two ASMedia ASM1074 chips) and four available through two headers on the motherboard, controlled by the chipset
- FireWire (IEEE 1394): none
- Thunderbolt: none
- On-board video: no
- On-board audio: produced by the chipset together with a Realtek ALC1150 codec (7.1+2 channels, 24-bit resolution, 192 kHz sampling rate, 115 dB SNR for the outputs, and 104 dB SNR for the inputs), on-board optical SPDIF output
- On-board LAN: one Gigabit Ethernet port, controlled by an Intel i218V chip
- Wireless LAN: one IEEE 802.11ac dual band interface (MIMO 3×3:3 antenna set), Bluetooth 4.0
- Buzzer: no
- Infrared interface: no
- Power supply required: EPS12V
- Slots: four PCI Express 3.0/2.0 x16 slots (working at x16/x0/x16/x0, x16/x0/x8/x8, x16/x8/x8/x8 configurations with a 40-lane CPU or x16/x0/x8/x0, x8/x8/x8/x0 with a 28-lane CPU), one PCI Express 2.0 x4 slot , one PCI Express 2.0 x1 slot, and one M.2 SATA/PCI Express x1 slot
- Memory: Eight DDR4-DIMM sockets (up to DDR4-3300, 64 GiB maximum)
- Fan connectors: two four-pin connectors for the CPU cooler, and six four-pin connectors for auxiliary fans
- Extra features: support for TPM, POST status display, OC Panel
- Number of CDs/DVDs provided: one
- Programs included: motherboard utilities
- More Information: https://www.asus.com
- Average price in the U.S.*: USD 500.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this article.
The ASUS RAMPAGE V EXTREME is a motherboard for socket LGA2011-v3 systems aimed at overclockers. It allows the enthusiast to build a serious computer and play with a lot of settings in order to squeeze every single megahertz from the CPU.
Altough not having a PLX chip to automatically switch bandwidth to the slots that are requiring it, it has a high-end slot configuration, allowing the user to install four video cards in SLI and CrossFireX configuration if a 40-lane CPU is installed.
The storage configuration is excellent, with 12 SATA-600 ports and two SATA Express connectors, which is more than enough even for the hardcore user or server applications. And the rear panel with ten USB 3.0 ports is impressive.
Another highlights of this motherboard are the audio section, which uses a high-end codec with an outstanding signal-to-noise ratio, and the presence of a high-end Wi-Fi interface, based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard, with three antennas.
As with any real high-end motherboard, the only drawback is the price tag.