At first glance, you might think the Asus Rampage III Extreme board has just four PCI-E slots, which would be simply wimpy next to the whopping six slots in MSI’s Big Bang-XPower. But don’t be fooled by the optical illusion. The Rampage III actually has five PCI-E slots capable of fitting full x16 PCI-E cards, and one oddly empty space.
Need cold? Asus's RIIIE has modes to support booting in extreme cold conditions for liquid-nitro folks.
Like the Big Bang, the Rampage III gives you the option of running dual EPS 12V 8-pin power connectors for the terawatts it takes to overclock a Core i7. Additional power for GPUs is provided by two 4-pin Molex connectors on the board (one of which is poorly placed). And also like the Big Bang, the Rampage III’s DIMM slots conveniently feature one-clip release latches. In specsmanship, the board plays the same game with discrete SATA 6 and USB 3.0 chips as the other two boards. And in deference to the extreme-overclocking crowd, the Rampage III features switches to shut off individual GPUs and multimeter ports to check voltage directly. There’s even a switch to enable booting at ultra-low temps when running liquid nitrogen. Seriously.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the board, however, is RC Bluetooth. With the app on your WinMo, Symbian, or Android phone (sorry, iPhone), you can reboot, reset, or monitor the board’s temps, clocks, and voltage, as well as plain-English POST codes. We thought we’d hate it but it’s surprisingly cool.
Less cool is the north-bridge cooler on the board, which is big enough to block most large heatsinks. In Asus’s defense, the cooler is optional and most likely used when liquid-cooling, but c’mon, guys. We do, however, have to give Asus some props for continuing to drill the board out so that it will take either LGA775 or LGA1366 coolers.
Frankly, there’s very little to complain about with the board. It’s pricey, but it’s also feature-packed without being garish.