Ramapge III Formula Overview
At first glance the Ramapge III Formula is a very attractive board. ASUS has been using the red and black theme with many of their ROG boards and it just looks great! The PCB is all black and the rest of the components either have a black or red color, which makes for a board that really stands out, especially if you have a window in your case. There is a nice Republic of Gamers logo on the northbrige heatsink and an ASUS logo on the southbridge cooler.
This is an X58 motherboard so it supports an Intel Core i7 1366 processor. This board uses an eight phase hybrid digital/analog Extreme Engine Digi+ power design. Here is what ASUS says about this technology, “Extreme Engine Digi+ equipped with high performance digital VRM design can easily achieve the ultimate performance with adjustable CPU PWM frequency. It expedites heat dissipation and achieves better electric conduction keeping critical components reliable. Now you’ll be able to push your spanking new Intel CPU to the limit, hitting benchmark scores that others only dream of. Extreme Engine Digi+ balances the need for voltage and the desire for rock solid performance to bring the ultimate user experience.” ASUS uses a heatpipe cooling design that is interconnected to the northbridge heatsink.
With an X58 board of course you have triple channel memory. The memory slots are color coded red and black, which adds to the overall style of the board. The Rampage III formula supports memory ranging from 1066 MHz all the way up to 2200 MHz (O.C.). Moving down from the memory slots you have a few different buttons, the first 2 are the power and reset buttons. I really think that these should be on every motherboard, but hey that’s just me. Beside the reset button you have the Q_RESET button that is to be used when the CPU is stuck and will not post. It will kill power to the CPU temporarily so the system can recover and boot. Right above the Q_RESET button is the QPI_LL that keeps the QPI voltage from drooping under load. Right before the 24pin power connector you have a 4pin fan connector. Finally there is the GO_BUTTON which is like the Mem_Ok feature during pre boot and allows the system to boot and adjusts the memory frequency and voltages to the appropriate settings. Once in the OS the GO_BUTTON serves to enable and load a OC Profile specifically loaded in the bios that has a defined overclock. This was embedded for overclockers who want a easy one touch option to load a working point to begin overclocking the system without even having to enter the bios.
Moving down you will see eight SATA ports. Six of them are black and are SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports which are controlled by Intel’s ICH10R controller. These ports support RAID 0,1,5 and 10. The 2 red ports are SATA 6 Gb/s ports and are controlled by the Marvell 9128 PCIe SATA 6Gb/s controller. Along the bottom of the board you have quite a few different connectors. Moving left to right you have the S/PDIF header, firewire connection, a thermal sensor header, 2 4pin fan connectors, the OC Station connector, 3 USB 2.0 headers, another 4pin fan connector, the front panel connector and finally the BIOS switch, which allows you to switch between BIOS’s.
The Rampage III Formula has 3 PCI-E x16 slots (red), 2 PCI-E x1 slots and a single PCI slot. So this board will support 3-way SLI and CrossFire setups, although if you have 2 cards they need to be in slots 1 and 3 to be at x16. If you add a 3rd card the bottom 2 slots will drop down to x8. The PCI-E slots are spaced out quite well for optimum cooling for your video cards. You will also notice the SupremeFX X-Fi 2 sound chip on the end of the board. Right by the top PCI-E x1 slot is a 4pin Molex connection to add additional power for the use of multiple graphics cards.
Moving on to the rear connections on the board from left to right you have the PS/2 keyboard port, 2 USB 2.0 ports, clear CMOS button, optical S/PDIF out, 2 more USB 2.0 ports, firewire port, 2 eSATA ports, 2 more USB 2.0 ports, ROG connect on/off switch, a USB 2.0 port that is used for the ROG connect feature, ethernet port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and finally the 8-channel audio connections.