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ASUS Rampage II Gene mATX LGA1366 Motherboard Review

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3oh6

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System Benchmarks

System Benchmarks



SuperPi Mod v1.5<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>When running the 32M benchmark of SPi, we are calculating Pi to 32 million digits and timing the process. Obviously more CPU power helps in this intense calculation, but the memory sub-system also plays an important role, as does the operating system. SPi 32M has been a favorite amongst benchmarks for these very reasons and is admittedly the favorite benchmark of this reviewer.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/asus/riigene/sys_bench-1.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">We like to think of SuperPi 32M as a synthetic benchmark so we group it in with the other synthetic benches but it really does indicate a good bit about system performance, particularly memory sub-system performance. Obviously this isn't a fair comparison between these two system but the overclocked result really is impressive coming in under 9 minutes without any tweaks or optimizations. Not to mention being ran in Vista.</p>

PCMark Vantage<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>The latest iteration of the popular system benchmark is PCMark Vantage from the Futuremark crew. The PCMark series has always been a great way to either test specific areas of a system or to get a general over view of how your system is performing. For our results, we simply run the basic benchmark suite which involves a wide range of tests on all of the sub-systems of the computer.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/asus/riigene/sys_bench-2.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Another synthetic benchmark, PCMark Vantage tests overall system performance by calculating a total score from a bunch of separate benchmarks of the sub-systems. Normally we see pretty close numbers but with such a discrepancy between system clocks, the PCMark results are a solid 1300 points apart. Again, another very compelling argument to overclock a system as performance increases substantially.</p>

Cinebench R10<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Another benchmarking community favorite, Cinebench renders an intense 2D scene relying on all the processing power it can. Cinebench R10 is another 64-bit capable application and is likely the most efficient program tested today at utilizing all cores of a processor. We will be running both the single threaded and multi-threaded benches here today.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/asus/riigene/sys_bench-3.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Cinebench is almost all CPU power dependent for its results. This equates to linear scaling in performance as processor power goes up. The result is a very large performance increase going from 3.2GHz to 4.1GHz, as one would expect.</p>

DivX Converter v7.1<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Next up is a real life benchmark where we simply time a common task done on the computer. Encoding DVDs for viewing on the computer or other devices is an increasingly important task that the personal computer has taken on. We will take a VOB rip of the movie Office Space, and convert it into DivX using the default 720P setting of DivX converter v6.8.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/asus/riigene/sys_bench-4.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">We are now getting into the real world benchmarks and going to see how the overclocked setup can really decrease processing time for a lot of common tasks. The DivX conversion of taking VOB files from a DVD and converting them to a 720p DivX movie takes a solid five minutes less on the overclocked system compared to the stock setup. This is a substantial savings of processing time when we consider the process takes only 20 minutes or so. We are looking at more than a 25% increase in processing speed for this particular task.</p>

Lame Front End<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Un-like the DivX conversion we just looked at, Lame Front End is not multi-threaded and only utilizes a single core of a processor. This will obviously limit performance but we should still recognize significant time savings going from the stock settings to the overclocked results. We will be encoding a WAV rip of the Blackalicious album, Blazing Arrow and converting it to MP3 using the VBR 0 quality preset.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/asus/riigene/sys_bench-5.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Like the DivX results, despite being only a single threaded application, the LAME conversion is cut by over 25% with the overclock we were able to achieve on the Rampage II Gene. If time is money, then overclocking ability is definitely worth it with the Gene. We are still pretty impressed that the 4.1GHz clock has held up on this motherboard because running an i7 with Hyper Threading enabled at 4.1GHz is not something to take lightly. This little board is definitely worth a look whether you need m-ATX or not.</p>

Photoshop CS4<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Adobe Photoshop CS4 is fully x64 compliant and ready and able to use every single CPU cycle our processor has available including the implementation of GPU support utilizing the GTX 280 in our test system. It is just a shame it can't fully utilize all 8 threads of the i7 processor yet. We have changed our Photoshop benchmark to more of a standardized test configured by DriverHeaven.net. Their Photoshop benchmark utilizes 15 filters and effects on an uncompressed 109MB .JPG image that will test not only the CPU but also the memory subsystem of our test bench. Each portion of the benchmark is timed and added together for a final time that is compared below.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/asus/riigene/sys_bench-6.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">The greater than 25% increase in performance continues right through the real world testing as Photoshop also took over 25% of the time off the DriverHeaven V3 benchmark. So despite the synthetic benchmark Cinebench showing less than a 25% increase in processing power, the real world benchmarks have all been over 25% in their gains. This just goes to show that the memory overclock and uncore overclock are clearly having an effect on performance. The CPU overclock is the primary reason for the better performance but all components play a role.</p>

WinRAR 3.80<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>We all know what WinRAR is and does. It is a compression and decompression tool that has a built in benchmark, a way to tell just how fast a system can do this programs given task. We simply run the benchmark up to 500MB processed and time how long it takes.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/asus/riigene/sys_bench-7.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Our 25% gain in performance streak ends with WinRAR but not by much. Overall we are quite pleased with the benchmark results from the Rampage II Gene's 24/7 overclock. We clearly have a lot to gain by overclocking a system and investing in quality cooling to allow further overclocks. The best part is that the Gene can really handle being a work horse.</p>
 
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3oh6

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Gaming Benchmarks

Gaming Benchmarks



Futuremark 3DMark Vantage<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>We have forced ourselves to step up to 3DMark Vantage results for all reviews because the public demands it. 3DMark Vantage is the newest in a long line of 3D benchmarking software from Futuremark and is the most elaborate to date. Featuring multiple presets for various system configurations, Vantage is the culmination of all 3DMarks past relying on system and GPU power for its results. We will stick to the Performance preset as it seems to be the most popular at this point in time.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/asus/riigene/3d_bench-1.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">In past motherboard reviews we have seen a distinct pattern of performance gains from overclocking the system in the benchmarks until we look at the gaming benchmarks. Having seen the same pattern of results in the system and memory benchmarks, we fully anticipate to see minimal gains in the gaming benchmarks. Of course 3DMark 06 and Vantage are going to show discrepancies because they both have CPU tests built into their final scores. It is the gaming benchmarks, particularly Crysis and Far Cry 2, that we are most interested in seeing.</p>

Crysis - Sphere benchmark<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>We all know what Crysis is and how much it beats up systems but we wanted to add it to the gaming benchmarks to see how system changes can improve performance on a mid-level system. Detail levels are all set to Very High with the resolution at 1680x1050 with 4xAA. We ran the benchmarks with a demo of the Sphere level in DX9 and 64-bit. The game looks great with this setup and plays just well enough to keep us happy.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/asus/riigene/3d_bench-2.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">As suspected, we have a virtual tie right down the board in Crysis. This game just continues to prove that it is being GPU limited at these settings. Even as drivers from NVIDIA continually improve games, our Crysis bench just stays the same; both overclocked and at stock settings.</p>

FarCry 2<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>Another new fall release of this past silly season Far Cry 2 has some beautiful scenery but does lack that buttery smooth game play in places. A lot of moaning and groaning has occurred with Far Cry 2 but acceptable frame rates are much easier to achieve than Crysis and the game play is plenty smooth enough to enjoy. We were really able to crank up the settings with this benchmark on this setup.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/asus/riigene/3d_bench-3.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">Well, we do have a bit of improvement here in FarCry2 compared to reviews of past, but we still have absolutely no performance difference from our stock settings when compared to the massive overclock. Even a single GTX295 is the limiting factor so for Far Cry 2 and Crysis gamers, spend your money on GPU power and not so much the rest of the system.</p>

Left 4 Dead<p style="text-align: justify;"><i>The newest game in our testing sweet, Left 4 Dead was just added after we were asked to include a Source powered game in our memory benchmarks. Being based on the Source engine, there is definitely a chance that system performance will heavily influence the results. We used FRAPs to measure frames per second on a custom time demo of the hospital rooftop level.</i></p><center><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/asus/riigene/3d_bench-4.png" alt=""></center><p style="text-align: justify;">The Source powered Left 4 Dead is a bit of a different story. The Source engine has always shown performance gains with system speed increases and Left 4 Dead continues to show those gains. The average frames per second improve markedly, but most important, the minimum frames per second raise significantly. During the intense fire fight on the hospital rooftop, the extra processing power from the overclocked system really helps keep frames per second up.</p>
 
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3oh6

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Voltage Regulation

Voltage Regulation

<p style="text-align: justify;">The last couple motherboards I have looked at were fortunate enough to provide voltage read points for a lot of the voltages. This made for easy voltage monitoring for this section. The Rampage II Gene does not offer such a luxury. With the smaller m-ATX footprint, this is of no surprise really. In fact, we would have been shocked to see such a feature on this board like it's big brother the Rampage II Extreme has. The Gene is also a fairly under reported motherboard for such things as read points so we won't be relying on the digital multi-meter much for this section. We will simply focus on the BIOS and software readings from within Windows.</p><center>
voltage-1.jpg
<p style="text-align: justify;">In addition to the standard software programs reporting voltages like Everest Ultimate, TurboV, PC Probe II, or the like; the Rampage II Gene also provides external monitoring through the LCD Poster and the Tweak-It function of the board. Now, unlike other Rampage boards with Tweak-It functionality, the Gene does not have a joystick on the motherboard. Again, space is at a premium with the Gene so ASUS took Tweak-It to the next level. We can enable Tweak-It functionality through the keyboard by holding down a selectable activation key. The keyboard arrow keys then hold the same functionality of the joystick on other Rampage boards. To be honest, we kind of found the keyboard Tweak-It to be a little bit easier because it didn't involve having to get up. Plus, if the motherboard is in a case, you still have full Tweak-It functionality.

Let's have a look at the voltage table outlining what type of variations we get from BIOS set, to Windows reported. Keep in mind that these voltages are from our 24/7 overall overclock.</p><center><table border="0" bgcolor="#666666" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" width="697"><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"><b>BIOS Set</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"><b>BIOS Report</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"><b>PC Probe II<br />Idle</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"><b>PC Probe II<br />Load</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"><b>DMM<br />Idle</b></td><td align="center" bgcolor="#cc9999" width="99px"><b>DMM<br />Load</b></td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">CPU Voltage</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.525v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.501v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.50v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.45v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.500v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.472v</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">CPU Pll Voltage</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.81592v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.819v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.82v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.82v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">x</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">x</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">QPI/DRAM Voltage</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.40000v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.422v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.40v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.43v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">x</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">x</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">IOH Voltage</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.11341v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.111v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.12v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.11v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">x</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">x</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">IOH PCIE Voltage</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.51106v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.508v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.51v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.51v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">x</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">x</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">ICH Voltage</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.11341v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.111v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.11v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.11v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">x</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">x</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">ICH PCIE Voltage</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.51106v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.501v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.51v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.50v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">x</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">x</td></tr><tr><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">DRAM Bus Voltage</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.63031v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.634v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.62v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.65v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.618v</td><td align="center" bgcolor="#ececec" width="99px">1.619v</td></tr></table></center><p style="text-align: justify;">It was nice to see pretty much every voltage report exactly what we had set. Obviously vCORE is different across the board but that is because we are running our overclock with vDROOP enabled. The only voltage that had us a little concerned is the vDIMM. We measured the vDIMM by taking one module out and measuring the first pin of the small section after the key. We have always used this voltage measuring point without issue on any other board so we have no reason to think the reading is being affected by the lack of a module in the DIMM. If the reading is true, then the board is supplying a good bit less voltage than we are selecting. Definitely not enough to cause the memory problems we were seeing but something you may need to keep in mind when clocking memory on this board.

Here are the OCCT charts with and without vDROOP enabled.</p><center><table cellpadding="10px" cellspacing="0"><tr><td width="50%"><b><center>vDROOP Chart from OCCT - vDROOP Enabled</b>
voltage-2.png
</center></td><td width="50%"><b><center>vDROOP Chart from OCCT - vDROOP Disabled</b>
voltage-3.png
</center></td></tr></table></center><p style="text-align: justify;">We won't get into the vDROOP discussion here, we are simply wanting to show that both options work as they should although disabling vDROOP does show an increase in vCORE under load instead of a flat line. Keep in mind that these are software readings so they should be taken with a grain of salt.</p><center>
voltage-4.png
voltage-5.png
voltage-6.png
voltage-7.png
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The last of the charts above are for vDIMM, vTT, vNB, and vPLL. These are simply the OCCT charts taken during our voltage and temperature testing. Same rules apply as above, take the results with a grain of salt as they are software readings. Overall though, things look pretty solid with this board. vTT and vDIMM seem to fluctuate a lot more than vPLL or vNB which is normal, but vTT does seem to jump around a lot.</p>
 
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3oh6

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Heat & Acoustical Testing

Heat & Acoustical Testing

<p style="text-align: justify;">We are finally going to get to look at north bridge temperatures of the X58 chipset under load in Windows. The ASUS Rampage II Gene is the first X58 motherboard I have had the ability to look at that allows for temperature monitoring in Windows. This was recently made a big deal with the EVGA X58 3X SLI Classified as there was a lot of concern by EVGA users that the Classified ran hot north bridge temperatures due to the passive cooler. We found the same thing with the DFI X58-T3eH8, and the Classified based on PWM temperatures, but were unable to monitor north bridge temperatures on either board. With the passive cooling and north bridge temperature monitoring on the Gene, we can finally see just what is going on with the north bridge when we remove all fan support and leave the cooling to the heat sink.

First we will take a closer look at said heat sink though.</p><center>
heat-1.jpg
heat-2.jpg
heat-3.jpg
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The north bridge and PWM heat sink assembly is very simple. A single heat pipe connects the two and the mass of cooling fins dissipate the heat. The thermal paste used on the north bridge - seen in the second photo above - is an interesting yellow substance. It dries hard and is quite the pain to get off. Our thermal testing done below was with the stock thermal material shown here so there really is no need to replace this material. It may not look like the norm, but it certainly seems to do its job well enough. We would have liked to see a copper plate sit on the north bridge instead of the aluminum one ASUS went with. Again, however, the thermal testing below will illustrate more than adequate cooling so we can't really demand much else.

The last photo above is showing the underside of the PWM heat sink and although there was decent contact across the MOSFETs, we can still see that the impressions are far deeper on the outsides of the heat sink compared to the middle. This means that the heat sink is bowing a little bit and lifting up in the middle. This is a common problem that plagues many PWM heat sinks. It will be interesting to see which manufacturer comes up with an innovative solution to allow more even contact across MOSFETs.</p><center>
heat-4.jpg
heat-11.jpg
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The MOSFETs lying beneath the PWM heat sink power the CPU and are identical to those that are located near the north bridge. These MOSFETs located near the north bridge are responsible for the VTT being supplied to the CPU's uncore but interestingly enough, are not cooled by anything. We would have really liked to see heat sinks on these MOSFETs but again, the testing results we are about to look at all but eliminate the need for these to be cooled as there were no stability issues, even with very little airflow over the motherboard.

The last photo above is the result of running the Gene on a styrofoam sheet. We have never quite encountered anything like this in all the years of running motherboards on styrofoam inserts, but boy did we get a little heat on the underside of the Rampage II Gene. Apparently the MOSFETs on the back side of the motherboard get hot enough to melt plastic and gave us a fresh protective plastic layer over this area. The white styrofoam insert was heavily melted and browned in this entire area. I guess it is time to get a couple more bench tables because this is definitely not something we will want to duplicate. So for those running the Gene on an open bench setup, make sure you have some room for airflow on the back of the board as it gets toasty.</p><center>
heat-5.jpg
heat-6.jpg
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The first photo above is of the setup with three fans, and the second photo on the right is the setup with a single 120mm fan pushing air through the TRUE CU. We won't be able to monitor the PWM temperatures as ASUS doesn't have that temperature reporting to the BIOS, but the north bridge does and that is what we are most interested in. It should also be interesting to see how the south bridge reacts with no fan support since it is not connected to the north bridge, unlike many other motherboard heat sink designs.

We will be using OCCT to load the system for 20 minutes which includes a minute of no load at the beginning and four minutes of idle at the end. This will let us see how quickly heat is dissipated in both setups. Let's look at the results of the north bridge temperatures first.</p><center>
heat-9.png
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">I think the chart is pretty telling in just how much additional airflow over the north bridge heat sink helps in cooling. With only a single fan pushing air through the TRUE, as may be the case in a normal setup, the NB climbs to over 70C at its peak and barely dissipates any of that heat after the system goes back to an idle state. With our three fan setup, the temperature barely moves and has a delta of about 5C with idle temperatures recovered within the four minute cool down period. This was completely expected, but the biggest item to note is the fact that the system had no problem running the full 20 minutes without the additional cooling. Our Classified testing of the same nature would not allow the system to run under load for more than 15 minutes. Obviously it wasn't the CPU getting too hot as we might have suspected and actually the NB or PWM causing the issues. The Gene seemed fine at these inflated temperatures, but we would still highly recommend some kind of air flow over the NB and PWM heat sinks.</p><center>
heat-10.png
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">We thought we would also log the south bridge temperatures and we are sure glad we did. Despite the additional cooling not blowing directly on the south bridge, the temperature differences between the single and multiple fan setups was as dramatic as the north bridge. With our three fan setup, the south bridge didn't register a single temperature change. With only a single fan the temperature quickly gained 20C and did not recover at all during the closing idle state. These results almost indicate that the south bridge temperature sensor isn't in fact on the south bridge and just a surface mount sensor near the south bridge. It is hard to say either way so we poured a little bit of LN2 onto the SB heat sink and the temperature quickly dropped from 38C to 18C. At the same time, the LN2 simply ran off the heat sink and boiled off on the PCB around the south bridge so if the sensor is simply on the PCB it could have possibly been hit with LN2 as well. Either way, it just goes to show how much stagnant hot air accumulates on the motherboard without appropriate cooling.

Once again, the passive cooling on an X58 motherboard proves that it is really pushed to the limits without some form of active cooling. Without decent case airflow or fans mounted as we have, you can expect high NB, SB, and PWM temperatures from the Rampage II Gene...like every other X58 motherboard we have tested.</p>
 
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3oh6

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Conclusion

Conclusion

<p style="text-align: justify;">We came into this review ready to tear this motherboard apart. We had overly high expectations since this m-ATX motherboard was not your typical home theater PC platform, so we thought it shouldn't be treated as one. Instead, we thought the Rampage II Gene should be treated as we treat all other motherboards that don't have onboard video and are advertised under the ASUS ROG nomenclature. Even with this mindset, the ASUS Rampage II Gene still managed to impress us.

The layout is superb from fan header placement to the PCI-E 16X expansion slot layout to the CPU socket area. ASUS has done a fantastic job implementing space saving features at the same time not compromising with anything. Despite measuring in at 23+ square inches smaller than a typical ATX motherboard, the Gene packs all the same features, capabilities, and amenities that the larger boards do. The effective chipset heat sinks don't interfere with CPU cooling installation and provide ample cooling. The heat sinks do need a little bit of active cooling in order to truly be considered capable, but even when that supportive airflow is removed, the heat sinks hold their own.</p><center>
conclusion-1.jpg
</center><p style="text-align: justify;">The one major disappointment is yet again the software package. ASUS is notorious with being overly ambitious with their software package and falling short. The software that comes bundled with the Rampage II Gene is no different. We understand the need for the marketing department to get energy saving features included so they can advertise such features in an energy conscious climate, but transparently disguising such features with a rather ineffective piece of software like EPU-6 on a motherboard designed for enthusiasts is quite insulting. TurboV is a nice step in the right direction for the enthusiast market, but further work is needed to join the likes of EVGA with their E-LEET overclocking software. ASUS needs to recognize who their market is for a motherboard and include an appropriate - simplified - software package for that market.

Software aside, there isn't much else we can complain about. The issues we encountered with the Elpida Hyper based memory kits can hopefully be cleared up with BIOS updates. We are confident the ASUS ROG team will be able to accomplish this task in a rather short period of time. The overclocking results speak for themselves and the ability for the little Rampage II Gene to handle such a huge system load that our overclocked i7 965 processor threw at it is commendable. We were caught off guard with how easy our i7 920 processor was able to climb the base clock ladder, but more than pleased to see how far it went. For the enthusiast that needs to have a small footprint in their case, but demands all the overclocking and potential power of a full size motherboard, the ASUS Rampage II Gene is definitely a top contender for your money. The best part about that statement is that you don't have to spend a relatively large amount of that money to make the Gene yours...as far as i7 motherboards go anyway.</p>

<b>Pros:</b>
  • m-ATX with all the features ATX offers
  • Despite a small footprint and tight real estate, excellent layout
  • Overclocks like the big boys, and handles a heavily overclocked i7 very well
  • For the first time ever, an i7 motherboards price is in the positive column
  • Overall a very well thought out and executed m-ATX motherboard

<b>Cons:</b>
  • The software package needs refining and simplification
  • Like all other X58 boards, passive chipset cooling needs active fan support
  • Potential compatibility issue with Elpida Hyper memory

<center><table><tr><td><img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/3oh6/dam_innovative.png" alt=" " /></td></tr></table></center>

<center><b><i>We would like to thank all of the folks at ASUS, particularly the ROG group, for providing us with such a robust little m-ATX motherboard.</i></b>


If you have questions or comments about this review please go to the Rampage II Gene Comment Thread</center>
 
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