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Old 10-27-2011, 08:59 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default ASUS X79 Motherboard Preview

At its annual tech summit held a couple of weeks ago, ASUS talked in great detail about what's coming to its X79 mobo line-up. Certain NDA's have not yet lifted, but we can talk about a few of the new things ASUS is introducing, and also take an early look at four of the company's X79 motherboards.

Read through Robert's look at what's en route from ASUS, and then discuss it here!
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:21 PM   #2
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As I deal with multiple chipset/CPU launches each year, it's a little rare when I find myself more excited for one launch than another (after all, it takes time to innovate), but I admit this article piqued my interest in motherboards quite a bit for this launch.

Couple of things...

I can use 8 DIMMs at speeds of 4 DIMMs? That is awesome. With 8 DIMM motherboards looking to be rather popular for this platform, I hope other manufacturers will jump on this dedicated Digital VRM for DIMM bandwagon also.

SSD caching... to a RAMdisk. Might be time to splurge for 64GB, huh?

BIOS flashing... which can be done without a CPU even installed into the board. Amazing. I've had at least three experiences in the past two years where this feature really would have come in handy. Yes, only three experiences, but given I need to install an old CPU first to update the BIOS, and then the new one... a feature like this would have saved a lot of hassle.

6 fan connectors... at least on the Sabertooh. I've often hated the fact that most motherboards skimp out on these things, giving either just three or maxing out at four. It's not that I need six, it's that I want to have the option of plugging them in where I need them rather than be forced into a location and have resulting wires hanging in front of my motherboard.

Great showing all around, looking forward to giving one of the boards in this article a good test.
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Old 10-28-2011, 03:32 AM   #3
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These boards and the X79 line up are truly hardcore!
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:11 AM   #4
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I'm a big fan of GIGABYTE but ASUS boards are in a league of their own and these look so boss (yes, I used the term boss) that I can't pick which I like more, the Sabertooth or the Rampage.
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:42 AM   #5
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The Sabertooth looks absolutely gorgeous... (what!? That is important too!). I'm sure it goes very nicely with my office earth tones. All I need now is military green RAM and a brown GPU. But not mahogany. Or pine. Oak. Oak would be fine, thank you. Please ship to my usual address

On another account... Is it a given that this 8xDIMM setup with the 90 degree rotated CPU will present serious clearance challenges to the new line of big air coolers we've been seeing? I'm probably mistaken, but boy, those DIMMS seem way close for the sides of some of these coolers. And while they won't be facing a fan anymore, that back platting will... and seems very high on some cases.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:37 AM   #6
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I agree, marfig. You can't count out air coolers because they do offer a level of security for some folks who don't want to put liquid near their components but forward compatibility is likely to be an issue with this new design.

All the more reason to make the jump to an all-in-one liquid cooler.
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Old 10-28-2011, 12:05 PM   #7
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Yeah. I've officially been converted to an ASUS guy. It's all your fault Rob, for sending me to these events! Comparing everything I've seen to my experiences with Gigabyte... I'm done accepting the issues I've had with GB boards.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
I can use 8 DIMMs at speeds of 4 DIMMs? That is awesome. With 8 DIMM motherboards looking to be rather popular for this platform, I hope other manufacturers will jump on this dedicated Digital VRM for DIMM bandwagon also.
Yep, and I cannot underscore this enough. I couldn't list specifics in the article, but there is plenty of proof behind this statement!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
BIOS flashing... which can be done without a CPU even installed into the board. Amazing. I've had at least three experiences in the past two years where this feature really would have come in handy. Yes, only three experiences, but given I need to install an old CPU first to update the BIOS, and then the new one... a feature like this would have saved a lot of hassle.
When I got my Gulftown chip, I installed it into a new system build right away, pressed the power button... and nothing. The system wouldn't POST and I had to unmount my waterblock and open up the case, and fumble around to install the old Core i7 920 so I could flash update the BIOS. That was a ton of extra work and time wasted, and made all the more irritating given it was a new motherboard and Gulftowns had been on the market for eight months!

As a side note, this flashing ability is thanks to the TPU, it provides the CPU functionality required to make this work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig View Post
The Sabertooth looks absolutely gorgeous... (what!? That is important too!). I'm sure it goes very nicely with my office earth tones. All I need now is military green RAM and a brown GPU. But not mahogany. Or pine. Oak. Oak would be fine, thank you. Please ship to my usual address
You will get your wish, I distinctly noticed one unique Corsair RAM kit plugged into one of the Sabertooth boards... it matched the color scheme very well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marfig View Post
On another account... Is it a given that this 8xDIMM setup with the 90 degree rotated CPU will present serious clearance challenges to the new line of big air coolers we've been seeing? I'm probably mistaken, but boy, those DIMMS seem way close for the sides of some of these coolers. And while they won't be facing a fan anymore, that back platting will... and seems very high on some cases.
It might pose an issue for the largest coolers, but most coolers that can fit on an X58 board should not have an issue here either. The pinout for the cooler mount itself is still square, so anyone can rotate the coolers whichever orientation they want, unlike AMD's rectangle cooler mounts. That said, every system I saw was using a self-contained Corsair waterloop, so I didn't see too many extreme air cooler examples firsthand yet to be sure!

Also, I did mention the ROG series will be using the X-socket feature... I'm sure it can be applied to waterblocks and air coolers as well... it's a feature I hope ASUS will consider including in its Deluxe boards in the future!
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Last edited by Kougar; 10-28-2011 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 10-29-2011, 12:20 PM   #8
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Talking ASUS dual LGA 2011

The company has other workstation class motherboards, but as much as we want to, we unfortunately we cannot discuss them at this time. But what we can tell you, is that the EVGA SR-3 will no longer be the only choice this time around.

Did anyone notice that ASUS will be having a dual LGA2011 mobo
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:02 PM   #9
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I want the rampage it looks just so However..... I am sure the board will be a $400 board soooooo..... Techgage review one and send me the sample to keep muhahahahah
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:44 PM   #10
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I want the Rampage too! Send it to me. I'll private message you my address.
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Old 10-30-2011, 04:56 PM   #11
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Well, since everyone's digging the Extreme.... ASUS did mention a Rampage IV Formula in addition to the Extreme variant while I was at the event, so there will be a slightly cheaper alternative. I do not know what the differences are, and the price point of the Rampage IV Extreme had yet to be determined.
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Old 10-30-2011, 05:47 PM   #12
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When can we expect these to be released?
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:43 AM   #13
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I am looking at the Rampage and I see a six-pin EPS connector next to the first PCIe slot, but no 8-pin.
Also a "black box" next to the black SATA connectors.

Any idea what & why?
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
I am looking at the Rampage and I see a six-pin EPS connector next to the first PCIe slot, but no 8-pin.
Also a "black box" next to the black SATA connectors.

Any idea what & why?
Maybe an 8-pin connection would be overkill on a board that is equally so? Hehehe.

The black box next to the SATA ports is the LED display that shows status codes on POST/boot.
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:37 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optix View Post
Maybe an 8-pin connection would be overkill on a board that is equally so? Hehehe.

The black box next to the SATA ports is the LED display that shows status codes on POST/boot.
That's a nice feature! So have you shipped mine yet?!
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