ASUS’ Republic of Gamers range is soon to have a new member, in the shape of the ASUS Rampage III Formula.  Using the X58 chipset, this board is designed for looks, uncompromised performance, overclocking, and the best possible online gaming experience with the new SupremeFX X-Fi 2 audio solution.  However, based on our recent high-end X58 roundup, the X58 market is stagnating between the budget X58 and high end, where the minor features that few people end up using seem destined to create a huge markup price.  ASUS hopes to alleviate such issues with the release of the Rampage III Formula, by finding a happy medium.

To dissect a motherboard in 2010 requires carving through the marketing fluff, and looking at the meat on offer.  In this case, the Rampage III Formula offers a lot of what you would expect from a high-end X58 board – six DDR3 memory slots supporting 2200MHz and a maximum 24GB, three PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (in x16/x16/x0, x16/x0/x16 and x16/x8/x8) supporting 3-way SLI and CrossFireX, two SATA 6Gb/s via the Marvell 9128 controller, Gigabit LAN from the Intel 82567V Ethernet controller and USB 3.0 from an NEC Controller.

For the overclocker, ASUS give the usual ROG Connect, allowing the tweaking of parameters in real time via a notebook, as well as Probelt, an easy access panel for motherboard measuring points.  For the gamer, ASUS give you GameFirst, a network traffic management feature that allows prioritisation of gaming ping over other network traffic coming from your machine.  For the audiophile, the built-in 8-channel SupremeFX X-Fi 2 features hardware-accelerated EAX 5.0 and OpenAL for cinematic in-game audio, as well as supporting THX TruStudio PRO.

From the images, we can tell this board is at least aesthetically pleasing.  For extra PCIe power, there’s a 4-pin molex connector near the top of the PCIe slots which could end up being fiddly inside a case.  We like the fact that ASUS are at least spending some money on the better class of component in the Intel LAN controller.  Until some tests and numbers come out the woodwork can we tell you if it’s any good or not, compared to the already saturated X58 motherboard market.  ASUS are unfortunately being tight lipped on release date and pricing, but expect news ‘over the summer’.

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  • blunt14468 - Friday, August 6, 2010 - link

    Sure looks sexy. I await a review
  • BubbaJoe TBoneMalone - Friday, August 6, 2010 - link

    Should have PCIe 3.0 motherboards next year fitted with, of course, the standard USB 3.0 with SATA 6Gb/s. SSDs will be cheaper and more refined to include a Revodrive in my system. ATI may announce graphic cards that put to use the PCIe 3.0 bandwidth. Hopefully, 2011 is a big year but I'll wait til 2012 if DDR4 is not out.
  • searanox - Friday, August 6, 2010 - link

    Although I like ASUS and their motherboards, the Republic of Gamers line has always struck me as a bit overpriced and under-featured. The boards look excellent, to be sure, and even if you're not the type to care that much about that sort of thing it may be a selling point, but when you can get a better-performing board from Gigabyte or MSI that has similar features and performs far better, you have to wonder what the point is. It doesn't help that ASUS doesn't have the overclocking crown, either.
  • LoneWolf15 - Friday, August 6, 2010 - link

    If the X-Fi solution is just a software codec and not a real "in-hardware" X-Fi chip, then I give it a meh. The XtremeAudio codec-only solutions are just a way of marking up a board because Creative's name is on it, without providing anything better than a Realtek or other similar solution. In that case, far better to buy a board with great features but base onboard audio, and use the money saved to buy a real X-Fi or ASUS Xonar.

    When you review this board Anand (and company) PLEASE address the audio, and what we as enthusiasts are really getting for our money.
  • bigboxes - Friday, August 6, 2010 - link

    If you are correct then I agree. I thought it was a chip, but at second glance I'm not sure if it's just a sticker. I too would like clarification on this aspect of the board.
  • searanox - Friday, August 6, 2010 - link

    Yeah, I have to second this. I have a stand-alone X-Fi Titanium which is excellent (at least with modded drivers installed), but the X-Fi Supreme stuff is typically all software acceleration and just a marketing gimmick. That's not to say that regular Realtek HD Audio stuff isn't perfectly capable for most people, but the X-Fi stuff that gets packed in is never much better, if any better than Realtek.
  • ggathagan - Friday, August 6, 2010 - link

    It's not really a marketing gimmick, but it *is* software only, so you don't get the advantage dedicated hardware for sound reproduction.
  • Acanthus - Friday, August 6, 2010 - link

    LOL X58.

    Has Intel dragged out a chipset for so long at any other point in history?

    I guess this is where zero competition gets us.
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - link

    I'm not sure what you're complaining about.... Intel was always slagged for bringing out new P4 chipsets for relatively minor improvements like a 133MHz FSB increase creating a ton of CPU incompatibilities and consumer confusion.

    Now that there has finally been some stability for a while, you want them to bring out a new chipset just for the hell of it? Is USB3 and SATA 6Gbps from add-on chips really a problem? X58 is just fine, if it ain't broke don't fix it (Socket 1156 is another story)
  • Exodite - Friday, August 6, 2010 - link

    Love that they're using an Intel controller, the market is saturated with Realtek LAN chips and while they're fine for most uses they do have their limitations and don't belong in high-end boards.

    I've been plagued by 150-200ms latency in WoW for the longest time and I were never able to track down the source of this issue until very recently. Turns out that disabling all hardware offloading done by the Realtek LAN chip brought my latency almost all the way down to what it used to be on my old 965p board with a Marvell controller.

    Almost, and at the expense of a noticeable increase in CPU usage.

    Realtek works, it's just not good for everything.

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