When picking a motherboard for a new build, it’s not about performance, but features and price. ASUS already has a fine selection of X299 boards ready and waiting, as was shown at Computex, but there was still room for a couple more ‘enthusiast’ grade boards. ASUS’ ROG Rampage takes a ‘no compromise’ approach to things, and decks these boards with pretty much every feature you could want, costs be damned.
The pair of EATX boards (you know, ATX’s bigger brother) are the ROG Rampage VI Extreme, and the Rampage VI APEX, both uncompromising in different ways. The Apex is for the nutters out there that want to play with fire extinguishers, blow torches,
probulators multimeters, soldering irons, and liquid nitrogen, while the Extreme is more for those that want everything, but at room temperature.
The LN2 board that is the APEX, is littered with probe points for voltages, and header pins for temperature readings from across the board. It’s already been used to set world records of 7.562GHz on all four cores on a single CPU.
The board only comes with 4 DIMM slots to maintain memory stability at such speeds. It also comes with a pair of DIMM.2 connectors, ASUS’ mounting mechanism to fit 2x M.2 SSDs (for a total of 4), plus another four M.2 connectors littered over the board (does this really support 8x M.2 in total?). These are split up across both the CPU and chipset.
In addition, there are 3 USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, plus another 10 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. Wireless is a little bit different compared to the Extreme, with 802.11ac and BT 4.2, but still has an Intel Ethernet port. The only thing really missing is RGB…. see ASUS, what about those of us who want to LN2 RGB?
For those that want RGB, the ROG Rampage VI Extreme would be the better choice, but just a little less extreme with the overclocking. It has some impressive connectivity with 80211ad WiGig and 10Gb Ethernet, all 8 DIMM slots, U.2, and three M.2 slots – which is odd for the more expensive board to have less M.2. The extreme comes with much better audio, plus some RGB illuminated audio paths on the board. Lots of USB 3.1 Gen 2 and Gen 1 ports, including USB Type-C too, plus integrated IO shield.
These two boards certainly look the part, and the price matches it all. With the overclock-heavy Apex costing $430 and the Extreme an eye-watering $650 (when they become available), these are certainly boards meant to paired with the equally pricey Skylake-X CPUs from Intel, now that we have confirmation of the 18-core behemoth.