ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Motherboard Review

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ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Motherboard Layout

The ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition is one of the better looking boards that I’ve seen. Personally I don’t put a whole lot of weight on the looks of the board, as long as it isn’t fugly, I can deal with it as long as it has the features I’m looking for. In the case of the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition X79 motherboard, it certainly has all the features I’ll ever need and likely a few features that I’ll never take full advantage of.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Motherboard Layout

The ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition motherboard is based on the Intel X79 chipset, and with that comes the ability to run quad channel memory. In order to maximize the potential of the Intel X79 chipset, the Rampage IV Black Edition features eight DIMM slots capable of running up to 64GB of DDR3 memory, with memory speeds ranging from 1066 MHz to 2800MHz(O.C.). Outside of the memory DIMMs, this is probably one of the busiest corners that I’ve come across in a long while. To start, there are four 4pin fan headers on this corner alone. On the very corner of the board is the debug LED, slow mode switch, LN2 Mode jumper, power and reset switches, MemOK! button, 24pin motherboard power, internal SuperSpeed USB 3.0 header, PCIe x16 switch as well as the voltage measuring points.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Motherboard Layout

 The ASUS Rampge IV Black Edition has no shortage of SATA connectivity. On the left there are six SATA III 6Gbps ports, four of them are from an ASMedia ASM1061 SATA III controller, while the remaining two are native to the Intel X79 chipset. The four black SATA ports on the right are SATA II 3Gbps ports native to the Intel X79 chipset. To the left of the SATA ports we can find the two BIOS chips, it’s nice that they are able to be replaced if needed. Working our way up the edge of the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition we come across the front panel header, ROG connector, BIOS switch, DirectKey, a pair of 4pin fan headers, and a pair of internal USB 2.0 ports.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Motherboard Layout

Picking up along the edge of the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition where we left off above, we have the T.P.M.(Trusted Platform Module), EZ Plug 4pin molex connector, front panel audio and SPDIF out. With the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition powered down, it’s a little tough to make out the line that separates the audio components from the rest of the motherboard. ASUS was the first to do this on their high end motherboards, many have followed since then. What is it they say? – imitation is the best form of flattery.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Motherboard Layout

The I/O panel is covered in a pretty slick looking shroud, while it may not appear to do much as far functionality, it does. In addition to adding a certain level of flare to the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition, it is also part of the heatsink on the PWMs and is connected via a heatpipe to the portion on the edge of the PCB.

ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Intel X79 Motherboard Layout

Underneath the shroud we have a rather full featured I/O panel with no shortage of USB connectivity. The ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition features ten USB ports, six SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and four HiSpeed USB 2.o. The USB 3.0 ports are not native to the Intel X79 chipset, rather added in with an ASMedia USB 3.0 controller. Between the two sets of USB 2.0 ports there is a Clear CMOS button (top) and the ROG Connect button (bottom). Below the center set of SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports is a pair of SATA III eSATA ports and above the right set of SS USB 3.0 ports is the RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet jack powered by an Intel 82579V Gigabit LAN controller. A top tier ASUS motherboard like the Rampage IV Black Edition wouldn’t be complete without their Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi Go!

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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.