ASUS has long been on the forefront of stable high performance motherboards. ASUS then stepped it up a notch and released their “Republic of Gamers” series. The branding is supposed to offer up extreme levels of performance and system control. Does the ASUS X48 Rampage Formula fall in line with these ideals, or does it fall short of its lofty goals? Read on to find out…
ASUS Rampage Formula Intel X48 Motherboard Review
Enthusiasts have experienced a rash of motherboard chipset releases as of late, with no shortage of such releases coming from the Intel camp alone. The new introductions have ranged from the X38, X48 and the P45. Compound that with the fact that both DDR2 and DDR3 flavors generally exist for each, and you have a large number of models making their way to the market. The X48 is widely regarded as nothing more than a handpicked (binned) X38 chipset for speed. However, some key support features were introduced with the chipset release.
The X48 feature list includes support for FSB speeds of 1600MHz, and CPU support including up to Intel’s Core 2 Extreme QX9770 processor. With the recent release of the P45 chipset, one might wonder why someone would still choose the elder statesman of the group. One of the most compelling reasons would be the full support of dual X16 PCIe slots when utilizing two ATI cards in crossfire mode, versus dual X8 PCIe operation the P45 chipset offers.
The Rampage Formula belongs to the Republic of Gamers (ROG) line of ASUS products and with it comes unprecedented control over BIOS and system settings. Even the experienced tweaker can become lost in the memory settings alone, but the hardcore enthusiasts will defiantly appreciate the added BIOS flexibility. In the memory department Asus decided to follow the DDR2 1200/1066 support path, not really a bad thing, when you considered the relatively low cost of DDR2 at this point. The board even includes 2-Phase DDR2 voltage regulation to aid in system stability.
The motherboard chipset cooling takes on a unique and fairly exotic approach. The board incorporates large copper heatsinks in a “Pin-Fin Thermal Module” configuration. Basically, it increases surface area to facilitate more efficient cooling, and also allows more air to flow through the passive heatsinks. Also, in keeping with their normal quality standards, Asus includes Stack Cool 2, and Uses 100% All High-quality Conductive Polymer Capacitors, for durability, improved lifespan, and enhanced thermal capacity.
In another interesting twist, ASUS places Voltiminder LED’s throughout the board. The LED’s display the voltage status for CPU, NB, SB, and Memory in a familiar green, yellow and red fashion. Red of course indicates high or even dangerous voltage ranges. One quick glance at the board when powered on, and you can get a quick visual reminder of the voltage levels you have selected for various board components.
So lets move on and take a look at the official feature rundown on this board…