ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Motherboard Review

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ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition: The New Flagship

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Motherboard Layout

ASUS recently launched their new flagship for their LGA2011 product stack, the Rampage IV Black Edition. The ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition is the newest Intel X79 motherboard from ASUS and features, well just about everything under the sun! Since the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition is an Intel X79 motherboard, it uses the LGA2011 socket and all the perks that go with it. The Rampage IV Black one of the highest price motherboards right now at Newegg and is currently retailing for $499.00 shipped. All things considered, the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition may just be worth the price for those looking for the ultimate motherboard!

It’s been awhile since we’ve looked at an Intel X79 motherboard so lets do a little refresher and take a look at the Intel X79 block diagram.

Intel X79 Block Diagram

The Intel X79 chipset brought with it quad channel memory, at the time the X79 chipset launched back in November 2011 the X58 platform was able to support triple channel memory. The addition of quad channel memory brought our memory bandwidth up considerably, compared to the first generation Intel Hex-core processors we saw more than double the performance(which you can check out here). It was noted at the time that the hex-core processors like the Intel Core i7-970 weren’t exactly vikings when it came to memory bandwidth. Another advantage to the X79 platform is the multi-GPU capabilities. The X79 platform has up to 40 PCIe lanes available for graphics. The Intel Z87 platform only has 16 PCIe Gen 3 lanes available, in order to run more than two graphics cards motherboard manufacturers needed to implement a solution, that came in the form of a PLX chip which added additional PCIe lanes, though there was a small hit to performance in a single card configuration.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Review

Taking a look at the layout of the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition it’s easy to see that there isn’t much, if anything that is missing from this beast of a board. The Rampage IV Black Edition has several significant features that are worth mentioning here, many of them are upgraded from the original Rampage IV Extreme the we looked at here! For starters, the original R4E had the Extreme Engine Digi+ II while the Black Edition has the latest Extreme Engine Digi+ III. The memory support on the Rampage IV Black Edition has been improved as well, the original had support only up to 2400MHz while the latest & greatest Black Edition features support to 2800MHz+.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Review

The Rampage IV Black Edition comes with an OC Panel that is capable of controlling almost every aspect of the board with regards to overclocking.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Review

The OC panel can be used two different ways. It can be used outside of the case in the normal mode or extreme mode, or it can be installed into the included 5.25″ bay adapter and be used in the ‘Normal’ mode.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Review

When the OC Panel is mounted in your case, you can use it to monitor your system vitals. The vitals include the CPU temps, ratios, BCLKs, and fan speeds. If you’re in need of a speed boost, you can utilize the CPU Level up, 2 different levels of the CPU level up are available. The OC Panel also allows you to toggle your fan speeds between Turbo, Standard, and Silent.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Review

Using the extreme mode of the OC Panel gets a bit more complex and involved. You can see above that the OC Panel includes features that are typically used by those cooling with Liquid Nitrogen and/or doing some serious overclocking sessions. The OC Panel has the ability to run two K-type sensors to monitor temperatures, VGA SMB, VGA Hotwire, remote power and reset buttons, four 4pin fan headers, and you can engage the slow mode and pause switches.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Review

ASUS has put a lot of work into the audio solution on the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition. ASUS has implemented features such as the TPA6120A2 Hi-Fi Headphone AMP, Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC (Digital to Analog Converter), WIMA Film Capacitors, ELNA Premium Audio Capacitors and of course shielding to protect the audio components from the EMI from the rest of the board.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Review

The Sonic Radar helps you hear where your enemies are before you even see them.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Review

The Sonic Radar is completely customizable to your needs, or it comes with presets that are optimized for certain games. I’ll admit that it does take a little getting used to, but after some time with it you may not even realize that you’re using it and loving it until it’s gone.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Review

SSD performance can degrade over time, the best way to get that performance back is to overwrite all of the data via a secure erase. Whenever I’m running the SATA and USB tests I perform a secure erase with a third party application so the performance is the same across the board. ASUS has included a ROG Secure erase app within the UEFI BIOS to accomplish this now, no extra applications are needed with the Rampage IV Black Edition.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Review

System RAM is incredibly fast, if you can harness unused ram and use it as a virtual drive, it’ll be a screamin’ fast drive. ASUS has included a RAMDisk application that allows us to do just that!

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Review

Allowing the system to use the RAM as a virtual drive and letting it Cache files can speed the system up, a RAMDisk can be as much as 20 times faster than a single SSD. The ASUS application creates junction points that can sync the cached data with the original directory for the fastest possible access!

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  • intrepix

    It looks as though they didn’t think about the PCIe x1 slots or how the graphic cards would bury them which brings me to wonder why bother putting them there at all ?
    A few USB 3.0 ports would not have been out of order either instead of the USB 2.0 ports but then I’m beginning to wonder why Asus hasn’t made any attempts to offer up any off the board, graphic card slots as in a modular PC system that doesn’t require everything to be jammed onto one motherboard. Imagine a box with its own cooling system plugged into your PC from outside the box ! Now that would be something for these motherboard manufacturers to start thinking about considering the heat, the amount of room and the size of the cards. Time to think outside the box and forget about the eye candy and the all black board doesn’t impress me as much as logical thinking.

  • Calvin Summerlin

    Supposedly this board is better for DDR3 overclocking than the original Rampage IV Extreme when paired with IB-E, it’s too bad they didn’t test it any. Those Dominator 2133C9 probably have Samsung D-rev ICs that love the volts.

  • Serpent of Darkness

    Nice reviews. Originally, I was under the assumption that this was going to have two 8747 PLEX Chips on the mobo. It doesn’t. I think I will stick with my AsROCK X79 Extreme 11. Overall, the RIVBE is just RIVE2.0 with the ability to use Ivy-Bridge Extreme. Looks like it only pushing 4.6GHz Core naturally, but some tweaking would push it up to 5.0Ghz. That’s probably a 13% increase +/- another 5 to 10% for PC Games. Knowing Ivy Bridge Extreme at 1.4v core, will be hitting temperatures around 30 idle, 60 degs C on load at 4.60Ghz, water-cooled. At 5.0Ghz, you’re looking at 1.52v + c, and temperatures above 70 degs C. X79 is a dying market since z87 is only, really needed for PC-Gaming, and 4770k i7 has better single thread performance for a day in age which there isn’t a lot of multi-core utilization needed for Gaming. Only BF4, Crysis 3, Planetside 2, etc… Probably when Star Citizens and EQN comes out, you’ll see CPU multi-threading performance as a more viable solution… Overall, I think this is Asus’s way of dipping into the market of consumers who want upgrades from their old x79 mobos. Offering probably 10% more performance with new bells, whistles, and razzle dazzle. No point in investing when x99 is already making an appearance into the mainstream media with talks of 8 cores CPUs, DDR4 memory bandwidths, and possibly a better PCIe lane version.

    • Serpent of Darkness

      AsRock Extreme RAMDISK is a lot better. 50 GBs stable, and you don’t need to pay any additional license to use it. So long as you have the buffer size, and you’re not exceeding what’s already being used by the OS–other processes, you’re good to go… My setup is 65.6 GBs, and it’s stable at 666.67 MHz dram frequency (1333 MHZ). Rendering large videos with a 50 GB RAMDISK cuts down time by a lot… Now if R9-290x would actually work with GPU acceleration for Sony Vegas Pro 11.0, rendering times would be even smaller. 15 minute videos (AVI files looking at over 1 GB in size) would be rendered and done in 5 to 10 minutes…

  • Tequila_Mckngbrd

    I got my RIVE’s as Open Boxes for under $300, the only drawback is when you RMA, you’d have to ship the RMA board back first, whereas if you bought any RIVE new, they would ship a replacement to you, and then you ship the RMA’d board back. Just a thought for some future purchasers.

    RAMDisk is free up to 4GB, anything more is $15, although Dataram started limiting it up to 32GB for personal licenses, and $19 up to 64GB. I’m not sure why. When I got mine for $15, it had no limit, and I got a free T-shirt. A free T-shirt with the RIVBE would have been nice.

    Using the Samsung Wonder RAM, you can overclock it to 2400MHz speeds on a RIVE if you’re using only 4 slots. If you use all 8 slots, no such luck. I was limited by my CPU to 2133MHz. I doubt the RIVBE can change that, so overclocking to 2800MHz, you might still be limited by your CPU and/or memory. It would be interesting if using the same CPU and memory from a RIVE to RIVBE, if I can hit the 2400MHz overclock on all 8 memory slots.

    I do like the OC Panel and the Black PCB. I wonder how the VRM temperatures are with high overclocks. I had to put my RIVE’s under water so I could overclock to 4.8GHz and higher.

    • Calvin Summerlin

      It’s probably your CPU’s memory controller holding you back rather than the RIVE. I’m guessing you have a SB-E chip?

      • Tequila_Mckngbrd

        Yeah, that’s what I said, I didn’t say it was the RIVE holding me back, but did wonder if using the RIVBE would somehow get me different results (which I doubt).

        • Calvin Summerlin

          It might actually do worse, since RIVBE is optimized for Ivy Bridge-E. Some users of the RIVE still on SB-E that have updated to the newer IB-E compatible BIOS versions have been complaining of issues.