First Look at the Asus Rampage III Extreme Intel X58 Express Mainboard
HEDT mainboards are often examples of overengineering. Short of having SAS implemented onboard, Asus engineers have packed more Input/Output (I/O) options into the Rampage III Extreme than most users would usually need.
SuperSpeed USB3.0, “7.1″ audio, PS/2 keyboard port, even the BIOS reset switch is pretty standard for a mainboard of this calibre (read: price). What is interesting lies between the LAN/USB ports and the SuperSpeed USB3.0 ports. The socket and switch are part of the “Republic of Gamers (ROG) Connect” link which allows you to hook the Rampage III Extreme to another PC for the purpose of realtime tweaking.
Like Asus’s own competition, NEC’s SuperSpeed USB3.0 chipset is used.
Storage wise, there exists six SATA 3Gb/s ports (from the Intel ICH10R), two 6Gb/s ports (from a onboard Marvell SATA controller), and one internal plus two external SATA 3Gb/s ports (from the JMB363 controller).
Dual BIOS was originally meant to be a fallback option for PCs that have their BIOSes corrupted by certain hostile viruses that sweep the EEPROM clean and render the PC unable to boot. Knowing the dangers of overclocking, mainboard manufacturers have started marketing dual BIOS as an overclocking feature. Asus has used DIP8 EEPROMs that can be easily replaced, swapped, piggy-backed, and hot-flashed. Depressing the “BIOS SWITCH” will bring up the alternate BIOS EEPROM.
The Asus Rampage III Extreme uses a Winbond Super I/O component and a VIA Firewire controller. Possibly the most pricey components onboard:
Intel X58 Express Input Output Hub (IOH) and ICH10R Southbridge.