Asus reveals Rampage III Extreme

After a brief flirtation with happy blue and white plastic on its Rampage II Extreme, Asus has now gone back to darker basics with the Rampage III Extreme. We’ve just been sent some photos of the finished board, and Asus has returned to its seductive red and black colour scheme.

A few unfinished samples of the board have already done the rounds this month, but this is the first time that we’ve seen the finished board with the complete cooling assembly. The finished board shows some very stylish pointy fin assemblies adorning not only the X58 chip and ICH10R southbridge, but also the VRMs next to the LGA1366 socket. Asus has also stuck with its Republic of Gamers brand on the chipset heatsink.

Being a top-end hobbyist’s board, the Rampage III Extreme has been designed specifically for Intel’s Core i7 CPUs, and sports a full rack of six DDR3 DIMM slots. These can support up to 24GB of DDR3 memory clocked at up to 2,133MHz. Meanwhile, the Rampage III Extreme adds a fourth PCI-E graphics slot to the three found on the Rampage Extreme II. If the badges on the box are anything to go by, then the board will support both SLI and CrossFireX.

Elsewhere, you’ll find all the usual mod cons expected from a new top-end board. These include a pair of 6Gb/sec SATA ports (the red ones), which sit next to four further 3Gb/sec SATA ports. Similarly, you’ll also find two USB 3 ports (the blue ones) on the back, along with a further six USB 2 ports. There’s also another USB port on its side on the back, and this is for hooking up an Asus Eee PC as a remote overclocking station via Asus’ RoG Connect software.

Most of the other expected ports and connectors can be found on the board, including a single PCI slot and a PS/2 keyboard connector. However, there’s a notable lack of IDE connectors on the board, showing that the age-old storage interface is finally trundling off to the museum.

There’s also a FireWire port on the back, along with an Ethernet connector, an optical audio output and an eSATA port. Interestingly, the board also has all the usual analogue audio connectors on the back, which were provided by an audio riser card on the Rampage II Extreme.

Of course, no enthusiast’s board would be complete without a few tweaking gadgets, and there are plenty to be found here. For a start, the board comes with two BIOS chips, which can be selected via a switch on the motherboard; good news if a BIOS flash ever goes wrong. There’s also a handy Clear CMOS switch on the back, along with a Bluetooth module.

As with its predecessor, however, the really geeky features are on the right hand side of the board. Here you’ll find the Start and Reset buttons for easy experimenting, as well as multi-meter probe points.

There’s no word on pricing or availability yet, but we’d imagine that the board’s availability will coincide with the launch of Intel’s six-core Gulftown CPU. Seeing as the Rampage II Extreme currently costs £263.40, we can’t imagine it will be cheap either.