ASUS’ R.O.G. SERIES of motherboards have always been out of reach in terms of cost for your average consumer, but have been hugely popular with the enthusiast and high-end gamer market. The latest addition to the series has just made an appearance online and it’s yet another X58 model, although this time a somewhat more affordable board than Asus’ Rampage III Extreme which is a $380 board.
The Rampage III Formula as the new board is called was reveal by Lab501 in Romania which got hold of a couple of nice high-resolution pictures of the board. It’s the first X58 board from Asus in the Formula range. The board is packed to the brim with features without going completely over the top, something that should hopefully keep the price below $300.
Beyond the standard X58 chipset features Asus has added a Marvell SATA 6Gbps controller, a Renesas USB 3.0 host controller, an Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller (yes, this is indeed a rare addition on a consumer motherboard these days), a VIA FireWire controller, a JMicron SATA controller for the eSATA port and Asus’ SupremeFX X-Fi 2 audio, although the X-Fi part is software only. The power regulation isn’t as over the top as we’ve come to expect from many high-end boards, instead Asus appears to have gone for a fairly standard 8-phase design.
The board has three x16 PCI Express slots, although the bottom two only operate in x8 mode if both slots are used. If only two of the three slots are in use, then the middle slots work as a regular x1 slot. The board also has two x1 PCI Express slots and a PCI slot. The board also has manually switchable BIOSes which is done by pressing a small button in the lower right hand side corner. You also get Asus’ ROG Connect feature which allows you to overclock the system with this board in it from either a notebook, netbook or a second PC.
Ports around the back seems to consist of six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, a PS/2 port, an eSATA connector, a FireWire port, an Ethernet port, six analogue audio jacks and an optical S/PDIF. There’s also the ROG Connect USB port and a button to enable this as well as a clear CMOS button around the back. The board also has a couple of other unusual features such as points for reading various Voltages (although in our opinion MSI does a better job of this in terms of layout) and a jumper that sets the board up in LN2 mode for those overclocking it using liquid nitrogen.
We’d expect the Rampage III Formula to become a welcome addition for overclockers and high-end gamers, although the final price will of course have a lot to do with the popularity of this board. The R.O.G. series was never a mass market range of products for Asus and it’s unlikely that this will be a mass market board, but with a keen price we can see this board stealing some customers from Asus competitors, if for no other reason than the rather flash design.S|A
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