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ASUS Rampage II Extreme – The Definitive Overclocking Board?
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by Rob Williams on December 1, 2008 in Intel Motherboards

ASUS has long supported overclockers with their motherboards, but the Rampage II Extreme takes things to the next level. In addition to an even more robust BIOS than what we’re used to, we’re given the ability to put our multi-meters to good use with the help of easy-access board contacts. When all said and done though, is the RIIE really worth the $400 asking price?

SYSmark 2007 Preview

Synthetic benchmarks have typically been favored for performance testing, but the results they provide can be fairly abstract, and the methods they use to assign their scores can be dubious at times. By contrast, real-world application benchmarks provide performance metrics that apply directly to real-world usage, and we endeavor to apply both in our performance comparisons.

SYSmark 2007 Preview from BAPCo is a special case, because its synthetic scores are derived from tests in real-world applications. However, we still believe that synthetic benchmarking scores are best used to directly compare the performance of one piece of hardware to another, and not for developing an impression of real-world performance expectations. SYSmark is more useful than most synthetic benchmarking programs in our opinion, because its tests emulate tasks that people actually perform, in actual software programs that they are likely to use.

The benchmark is hands-free, using scripts to execute all of the real-world scenarios identically, such as video editing in Sony Vegas and image manipulation in Adobe Photoshop. At the conclusion of the suite of tests, five scores are delivered: an E-learning score, a Video Creation score, a Productivity score, and a 3D Performance score, as well as an aggregated ‘Overall’ score. These scores can still be fairly abstract, and are most useful for direct comparisons between test systems.

A quick note on methodology: SYSmark 2007 requires a clean install of Windows Vista 32-bit to run optimally. Before any testing is conducted, the hard drive is first wiped clean, and then a fresh Windows installation is conducted, then lastly, the necessary hardware drivers are installed. The ‘Three Iterations’ test suite is run, with the ‘Conditioning Run’ setting enabled. Then the results from the three runs are averaged and rounded up or down to the next whole number.

The results here so far are great, although I think the benchmark was a little generous to the Rampage II Extreme for some reason. This is one benchmark that fluctuates more than we’d like (given the workloads, it’s understandable), so overall, the main interest we have is to see if one board underperforms compared to the rest. That’s definitely not the case here.


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