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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?

Gaming: Call of Duty: World at War, Half-Life 2: Episode Two

While some popular game franchises are struggling to keep themselves healthy, Call of Duty doesn’t have much to worry about. This is Treyarch’s third go at a game in the series, and a first for one that’s featured on the PC. All worries leading up to this title were all for naught, though, as Treyarch delivered on all promises.

To help keep things fresh, CoD: World at War focuses on battles not exhaustively explored in previous WWII-inspired games. These include battles which take place in the Pacific region, Russia and Berlin, and variety is definitely something this game pulls off well, so it’s unlikely you’ll be off your toes until the end of the game.

For our testing, we use a level called “Relentless”, as it’s easily one of the most intensive levels in the game. It features tanks, a large forest environment and even a few explosions. This level depicts the Battle of Peleliu, where American soldiers advance to capture an airstrip from the Japanese. It’s a level that’s both exciting to play and one that can bring even high-end systems to their knees.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

The original Half-Life 2 might have first seen the light of day close to four years ago, but it’s still arguably one of the greatest-looking games ever seen on the PC. Follow-up versions, including Episode One and Episode Two, do well to put the Source Engine upgrades to full use. While playing, it’s hard to believe that the game is based on a four+ year old engine, but it still looks great and runs well on almost any GPU purchased over the past few years.

Like Call of Duty, Half-Life 2: Episode Two runs well on modest hardware, but a recent mid-range graphics card is recommended if you wish to play at higher than 1680×1050 or would like to top out the available options, including anti-aliasing and very high texture settings.

As we’d expect, no motherboard is really going to improve gaming a great deal, but for what it’s worth, the ASUS’ board came out on top here overall. But like most of our benchmarks here, the differences are minimal and are unlikely to be noticeable in real-world gameplay.