ASUS X79 Rampage IV Extreme Socket 2011 Motherboard Review

Author: Zac "Eldonko" Ryan
Date: November 19, 2011
Product Name: Rampage IV Extreme
Warranty: 3 Years
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Hardware Installation

Before delving too deeply into hardware installation, we are going to quickly go over changing the backplate of the RIVE so our 1366 cooler and backplate will fit. First you use the tool that comes with the board to physically remove the stock CPU retention mechanism.

Next remove the stock backplate and replace it with the X-plate. The X-plate holds the CPU socket in place while leaving space for users to install their CPU coolers using the holes where the original backplate was installed.

With the X-plate installed, our Zalman CNPS10x Flex fit without any issues whatsoever. This is an average-sized aftermarket CPU cooler so it should provide a good reference to see the kind of space we are dealing with.

As you can see, there is plenty of clearance above the boardís heatsinks and there is also room for additional fans on the Zalman.

Looking at memory clearance, we found the RIVE layout to be great and we didnít find any issues even when using a cooler equipped with dual fans. Although the red slots are required for 4 stick operation, we installed memory in the black slots to show clearance for 8 DIMM population. Using the red slots would give even more space.

As shown above, adding a trio of GTX 470 cards to the RIVE didn't cause any areas of concern in terms of clearance. The PCH fan is blocked to some extent but since many boards donít even have active cooling on the chipset we donít see this as an issue. The SATA ports are side mounted are the GPUs fit over top of them snugly while the USB headers are also accessible with three video cards installed.

Here you can have a better look that 3 cards do not create any clearance issues but if a 4th is added the USB headers and everything along the board's bottom edge would be covered. This is a common issue and unavoidable without extra real estate.

Running two GPUs on the RIVE really gives the cards a lot of breathing room for dual x16 operation. We did encounter one major issue however: releasing GPUs after they are installed is next to impossible. Shown in the picture above, the CPU cooler and boardís heatsink actually block the release for GPU 1 and the only way to get it out is to use a screwdriver to push down the release clip. This really is a poor design in our opinion.

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