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ASUS Rampage II Extreme X58 Motherboard Review

by MAC     |     December 18, 2008

Specifications



As a necessary companion to the Core i7 processors, Intel recently launched the X58 Tylersburg northbridge, now known as the IO Hub (IOH). This reclassification has occurred because of the fact that the memory controller has been integrated into the processor itself. As a result, the IO Hub is now solely responsible for implementing PCI Express lanes and linking to the I/O Controller Hub (ICH) southbridge. Since the front side bus is no more, the X58 communicates with the processor via the new high-speed QuickPath Interfarce (QPI), and it is connected to the southbridge (ICH) via the traditional Direct Media Interface (DMI). The southbridge is the venerable ICH10 found on all P45 Express motherboards, and it supports six SATA II ports, AHCI, and Matrix RAID technology.

The X58 features 36 PCI-Express 2.0 lanes, which signifies that it supports two proper PCI-E x16 slots. However, depending on the motherboard manufacturer's design, those 32 PCI-E 2.0 lanes can also be utilized in a triple PCI-E x16 (x16/x8/x8) and quad PCI-E x16 (x8/x8/x8/x8) configuration. Clearly, all X58 motherboards have full CrossFireX support, but some motherboards such as the Rampage II Extreme that we are testing today have been certified for NVIDIA SLI as well, which is something that enthusiasts the world over have been waiting for with great anticipation.

Officially, memory speeds are limited to DDR3-1066. However, all motherboard manufacturers are marketing their models as DDR3-1600+ capable via overclocking, and some are even ambitiously claiming support for DDR3-2100 and above!

Now that we have examined some of the specifications inherent to the new platform, let's see what kind of motherboard ASUS have built around this new chipset:

 
 
 

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