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Asus Rampage III Black Edition X58 Motherboard Review

The Asus Rampage III Black Edition X58 is one of the finest motherboards KitGuru has reviewed since we launched the publication a year ago. We thought the Gigabyte G1 Assassin was going to hold onto the ‘Number 1’ position for a long time, but Asus have already bitten back with an astonishing product set to appeal to hard core performance oriented overclockers and gamers. Sandybridge might get all the headlines in 2011, but X58 is still the most powerful Intel platform.

The Rampage III Black Edition presentation is fantastic, the lovely gatefold box highlights the main selling points and showcases the product within a transparent window, ideal for a store environment. Inside, the bundle is as good as we have seen, with Asus including a plethora of high quality cables, stickers, literature and extras. All of the attention to detail really does help the consumer feel as if they have bought into a full ‘exclusive experience’ and not just a motherboard.

The Thunderbolt combo card is a great addition to the bundle, as it offers both audio and networking improvements when compared to onboard solutions. We already know that Asus create some very fine sound cards, and while the Thunderbolt isn’t as good as the Xonar Essence STX which we recently reviewed, it is still leaps and bounds ahead of any onboard solution we have tested.

KitGuru has plenty of experience with the Bigfoot Killer E2100 networking hardware, and we still strongly feel that this is not a gimmick, it really does give tangible improvements to the networking experience. When we also factor in the intuitive software which offers many helpful networking settings, it is a good decision to include it on such an exclusive, high end motherboard.

The Asus Rampage III Black Edition is built using the finest engineering standards and the overall PCB layout is well thought out. It does excel when taxed with multiple graphics cards. The overall levels of performance are the highest we have recorded in our labs, and with two HD6990’s it is a tour de force of gaming excellence. Our tried and trusted MSI X58 motherboard, used in KitGuru’s high end gaming test bed is really starting to show its age.

Overclocking via the Rampage III Black Edition is as straightforward as it gets, and we are pleased that Asus have placed primary focus on power delivery and ensuring that V-Droop and rail stability doesn’t negatively interfere with the highest possible end results. We were limited by our inexpensive ‘all in one’ liquid cooling solution, but we managed to get the Intel 990x to 5ghz easy enough … with 4.8ghz a usable 24/7 configuration.

If you are in the market for a new X58 motherboard, or are wanting an upgrade to last you throughout 2011, then the Asus Rampage III Black Edition easily gets our highest recommendation. It is a close call between this board and the Gigabyte G1 Assassin, but the Thunderbolt combo card just swings it towards Asus.

The Asus Rampage III Black Edition X58 costs around £380 inc vat in the UK.

Pros:

  • overclocking powerhouse with every option available for the hardcore user
  • stable power delivery for the most serious demands
  • great board layout
  • connectivity is peerless
  • Thunderbolt add on card offers improved audio and networking capabilities
  • Gaming performance is class leading
  • bundle is extensive

Cons:

  • the cost means this is only for serious enthusiast overclockers and gamers

Rating: 9.5.

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