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The ASUS Rampage V Extreme - Review

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ASUS Rampage V Extreme motherboard, armed with the X99 chipset and with that luxurious OC panel

Review complements of   on: 08/29/2014
Guru 3D.com


The ASUS Rampage V Extreme  - Isn't it just yummy?

In this review we check out the ASUS Rampage V Extreme motherboard, armed with the X99 chipset and with that luxurious OC panel this motherboard is amongst the most high-end X99 motherboards available on the globe. It's big, fast, ROG themed and has luxurious features and overclocking written all over it. The Rampage V ROG Edition is an E-ATX form factor motherboard for the new Haswell-E series of processors. The motherboard comes with a massive feature set like SLI/Crossfire support, AC WIFI, heaps of SATA3 connectors, overclock features, a nice audio solution, M.2 PCIe compatibility and yeah, the means to overclock. 

The Intel Core i7-5960X and other Haswell-E chips are released into the market in September 2014 and based on a new socket LGA2011-V3 infrastructure and DDR4 quad channel memory. The new Haswell-E series being released features three models, two 6 core and one 8core processor intended for the most high-end desktops anno 2014. For Intel it is the first 8 core desktop CPU for consumers. However, Intel has been offering 8 and even 12 core processors in their Xeon server line for quite some time now to the business channel.

With the new Haswell-E processor comes a new chipset and slightly revised processor socket. Intel still uses Socket 2011, but its a revision 3 socket meaning the older Socket 2011 will not work on the new X99 chipset motherboards. That of course goes both ways, you cannot use Haswell-E on say an X79 motherboard. Interesting is a first introduction of DDR4 memory. The new memory allows for lower voltage memory modules, this memory defaults to 2133 MHz at 1.2 Volts. However the memory controller is quad-channel compatible. As a result, with overclocked memory at roughly 3 GHz, you can reach 70, maybe 80 GB/sec on your memory bandwidth, which is an insane number. In this article we'll have a chat about a X99 motherboard in terms of the chipset and then we'll throw a decent photo-shoot and a benchmark suite at the products and get an indication of what performance is like with the Intel Core i7-5960X and X99 Platform.

With the ROG based Rampage V Extreme ASUS once again tried to raise the bar with features and overclocking potential. The board comes with the nice external OC panel, and the most exquisite LN2 options as well. Don't worry though if you are not a pro-overclocker, as for the enthusiast end-user there is plenty of other stuff that makes this board yummy! You will receive the cool ROG design motherboard with 3x3 802.11 a/b/g/n/AC Wireless LAN, M.2. PCIe SSD compatibility and SATA Express. ASUS markets this motherboard with 5-Way Optimization as it combines TPU, EPU, DIGI+ Power Control and Fan App functions to push the system Xpert 3 and Turbo Apps. ASUS takes overclocking even a step further as they have an LGA2011 OC socket. The Haswell-E CPUs actually have a few more pins that are not used. ASUS designed a socket allowing them to use these pins and that way they can add a little more voltage to the CPU and DDR4 memory allowing higher voltages with LN2 based overclocking. An improved audio section will get you quality sound, and then there's some extra bling to be found with nice subtle red LEDs making this board shine like a halo. The board comes with five PCIe gen 3.0 slots which we'll talk about in more detail over the next pages. Goodness, this is just the introduction page... so join us for another X99 motherboard review, a product that is bound to tease and please.
Product Showcase

The ASUS Rampage V Extreme follows a standard EATX form factor, that would be 12 in. x 10.7 in. (30.5 cm x 27.2 cm). The motherboard is located in the somewhat more high-end and pro-overclocker series. The uber flagship product is positioned in the ROG line of motherboards. The Rampage V Extreme features overclocking components, the new ASUS O.C. socket and a specially designed OC Zone. Rampage V Extreme also boasts new networking features like the 3X3 802.11ac WiFi module, an upgraded UEFI BIOS, SupremeFX audio, and an M.2 connector capable of PCIe Gen 3.0 32Gb/s speeds
 
Included with the motherboard are the regulars including; manuals, driver CDs, SATA cables and a rear IO plate.
  • CPU support: Haswell-E class Intel Core processors
  • Chipset: Intel X99 Express Chipset
  • Intel Gigabit Ethernet
  • Intel 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (1300 Mbit/s), BT 4.0, Intel Wi-Di
  • Storage: 8x SATA 6Gb/s, 1x M.2, PCIe 32 Gb/s and a SATA Express ports
  • Connectivity: 4x PCI-E 3.0 x16 and one PCIe x16 Gen 2.0 and one PCIE 2.0 x1 slot
  • 8-channel Audio ALC1150 Realtek
Well look at that; small and good looking. And really, as powerful as an enthusiast setup. Included in the bundle is one mighty fine motherboard and gear like SATA cables, SLI connectors and WiFi Antenna. Of course the OC panel is there as well and a bracket to house it into your PC chassis. 
 
You will notice that the Rampage V Extreme has the ROG looks, black and red with massive heatsinks and a rear IO shield. The I/O back panel reveals 10 USB 3.0 ports. A Realtek ALC1150 high definition audio codec is the source for audio. The integrated audio comes from Realtek ALC1150 combined with a DTS software suite. The audio unit has special capacitors and also has an added audio headphone amplifier. We spot one 10/100/1000 fast Ethernet jack (Intel I128-V). This motherboard comes with an exclusive IEEE802.11ac Wi-Fi module that supports up to 1.3 Gbps wireless networks and Bluetooth 4.0. Bundled 2.4GHz/5GHz dual-band, 3T3R Wi-Fi module is capable of supporting 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and gives you REALLY FAST onboard WiFi. At the back again, the much desired PS/2 combo port for either a keyboard or a mouse. The small grey button roughly a cm away from the lower left is a BIOS flashback button and also (on top) a CMOS clear button.
 
Check that, 4x PCIe 3.0 x16 (red) and one PCIe x16 Gen 2.0 (black) and one PCIE 2.0 x1 slot. The red x16 slots are PCI Express Gen 3.0 configurations ready, that's just more than plenty. Bear in mind that the Core i7 5960X and 5930K processors have 40 PCIe Gen 3.0 lanes while the Core i7 5820K 'only' has 28 PCIe lanes.
The Rampage V Extreme has 8 SATA ports (6 Gb/s) supporting RAID RST and SRT and SSD TRIM on RAID 0 configurations. SATA Express is supported with two connectors as well and empowered with an ASMedia IC. Located close to the ATC power connector you can see an M.2. PCI Express slot. The Intel chipset allows for 10x SATA3 usage and an ASMedia controller steers the SATA Express controllers.
The motherboard has embedded Wireless LAN 802.11 ac/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and even Intel WiDi (Wireless Display) by using a WiDi receiver (not included). The 802.11ac WiFi module supports up to 1.3 Gbps wireless networks and 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac in general gives you very fast onboard WiFi. Make note of all the USB lovin' you will receive. There are 10x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 ports available through rear IO and then on the motherboard Asmedia ASM 1042AE controllers add more USB 3.0 ports. 
This ROG Rampage motherboard implements new features incorporated into the O.C. Zone for a well-rounded overclocking experience, where these innovative ideas are perfectly included in the O.C. Zone area. ASUS will deliver power and reset buttons on-board. Close by is adiagnostic LED and clear CMOS button. Handy buttons and switches can be found for a better overlock experience and then there are pro-overclock features like Slow Boot Mod for liquid nitrogen cooling. To the left, under the ATX power connector you can see a DMM tap point to monitor voltages.
  • ReTry Button – Seeing a computer hang during POST is a common sight for extreme overclockers. However, this is not indicative of overly aggressive settings. Rather, it can often be a matter of luck and so what can you do besides a long-press of the power button, or switching off the PSU? ReTry button remedies this by offering the ability to immediately restart your computer regardless of its current state in hopes of hitting that lucky boot. Relieve yourself the hassle of long-pressing the power button for 5 seconds during processor hardlocks or tough memory settings.
  • Safe Boot Button – If the lucky boot remains unattainable, don’t reach for the Clear CMOS button. Instead, the Safe Boot Button allows you to power up the system using safe parameters without the need to clear any of your previous tweaks. Quickly dial back what you think is causing the boot issue and try again.
  • LN2 Mode – To increase overclocking margin for extreme OC needs when using LN2 cooling.
  • Slow Mode Switch – Enabling the Slow Mode jumper when the system is about to crash can help to slow down the CPU, allowing overclockers more time to adjust the temperature, then switch off, and continue overclocking.
  • ProbeIt – Voltage readout points have been extended from 7 to 9 key voltages to allow users to track the key voltages for both the onboard and add-on VGA cards remotely via the use of voltmeters. 
  • PCIe x16 Lane Switch – Allows for graphics cards to be disabled with the flick of a switch. With this feature, you no longer need to waste time physically uninstalling and reinstalling cards one by one in search for the failed card.
The R5E offers eight DIMM slots with support for quad-channel DDR4 memory up 3300 MHz (OC). You can install a maximum of 128 GB in total. XMP 2.0 is supported, we'll show you this petite setup running at 2133 and even 3000 MHz. There are more switches on-board as well, once you decide to go for 2-way or 3-way graphics you can dis/enable certain PCIe slots, though again that is integrated mostly for LN2 overclockers.
You can see a Diagnostic post LED, it will display the status/post code. Unfortunately, once booted into Windows it displays AA (OK), other manufacturers choose to display the processor package temperature on it. 
Here you can see the PCI-Express 3.0 slots. Just drop them graphics cards in there for a weird sexy combo, the lowest it'll drop to is a x4 lane configuration depending on your processor of course. You will have excellent bus bandwidth for current generation graphics cards as you are still using Gen 3.0 PCI Express lanes. The design is very recognizable and works really well in a black chassis we think. 
 
Every inch of the motherboard has been chucked full with something. You have multiple connectors extra for USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and well... just look. Considering this is an EATX size motherboard you can see there is hardly any room left for anything. I counted 8 fan connectors and three thermal sensor connectors as well
The ROG Rampage V Extreme comes with SupremeFX 2014 to minimize electromagnetic interference (EMI), premium ELNA audio capacitors and 8-channel gold-plated audio output ports offer precision-engineered audio that is on par with dedicated soundcards. This fifth generation of ROG Rampage motherboards features new ROG audio technologies such as Sonic SenseAmp, which detects headphone impedance and automatically adjusts the built-in amp; and the Sonic SoundStage button, which provides an easy way to apply the best audio settings for popular game genres like FPS, racing, combat, and sports.
Rampage SupremeFX technologies also come with Sonic Studio, a brand new audio tuning suite that has a one-click Virtual Surround function for 7.1-channel audio even on a 2-channel stereo headset. It also features detailed settings for Reverb, Bass Boost, Equalizer, Voice Clarity, and SmartEQ to tailor audio to users ’preferences.
Once powered up you'll notice that the audio circuity has been isolated from the rest of the motherboard. A nice red lit trace shows exactly that.
More LEDs though as you can find LEDs (red) underneath the motherboard. So once you have it installed in your PC the following happens. You can spot them being reflected on the test-bench plexi-glass.
  
Yeah, looks good. And considering we receive red heatsink based DDR4 memory, we finally have a nice color combination going on here. Woohoo :)
 
The ROG OC Panel
ASUS bundles that cool and hip OC panel. You can use it externally outside the PC, but also install it into the PC with the help of a 5.25" bay (included). The ROG device features two modes of operation, Normal and Extreme, resulting in overclocking and monitoring capabilities.
 
It can be used as an external module, providing on-the-fly voltage, frequency tuning as well as access to Subzero Sense, VGA Hotwire, Slow Mode, and more. Navigation buttons are intuitive and match the aesthetics of the module. It can also be integrated into the chassis to display important info essential for overclocking, as well as quick access to CPU Level Up and CPU Fan Speed Control.
Mounted to a bundled 5.25 inch bay adaptor the unit can be seated in your PC chassis and be used for monitoring mostly. 


The OC Panel is a true marvel for overclockers which is directly connected to the ROG motherboard and shows readings on the on-board display and can also allow for VGA hotwire, VGA SMB, 4 x 4 Pin power connectors and several other overclocking features. 


The OC Panel offers lots of features for overclocking and extreme overclocking. Overall the ROG OC Panel is a great move, since ASUS is able to move quite a few features from the board into an external device
The X99 PCH chipset
The six and eight core Haswell-E processors need to be accompanied by the Intel series 9 chipset, X99 is what it's called. For those that are wondering, the internal codename for this chipset family is Wellsburg, for X99 motherboards this actually is the Wellsburg X-PCH. Compared all the way back to X58 with a Gulftown processor there have been significant changes, especially since the Northbridge is housed inside the actual processor these days. That means that Haswell-E processors will connect directly to the X99 Express chipset through a DMI interconnect.
For X99, you will only get ten SATA3 (6Gbps) ports supported natively by the chipset. Motherboard manufacturers could, and likely will, add Marvell, ASmedia and JMicron controllers to get that number up as well as bring eATA support. The chipset only now supports both USB 2.0 and 3.0. You get 8 USB 2.0 ports and 6 USB 3.0 ports.
 

 
DDR4 system memory
 
Starting with Haswell-E and the Wellsburg X99 chipset Intel is making a move towards DDR4 memory. Intel will support JEDEC timed DDR4 DIMMs in steps of 1333 MHz, 1600 MHz, 1866 MHz and 2133 MHz. DDR4 right now offers pretty high timings starting in the CL15 range. However the move towards DDR4 is needed as memory can be produced on small fabrication nodes, and thus they require less voltage. You'll notice that default DDR4 system memory only needs 1.2 Volts, whereas DDR3 starts at 1.5 Volts. Have no fear as many memory partners will release DDR4 memory at even higher clock frequencies and, over time, lower latencies. The modules will be low voltage (1.2V) DDR4 RAM. The DIMM connector now has 288 pins (as opposed to 284 from earlier). Most kits, if not all, will be Intel XMP 2.0 (Extreme Memory profile) enabled and are guaranteed to work
with motherboard partners like ASUS, ASRock, Gigabyte and MSI. With XMP memory you simply enable XMP in the System BIOS, and your memory will be pre-configured on the highest supported clock frequency, timings and voltage to ensure best performance versus maximum stability.
There's more though as Haswell-E supports Quad-channel DDR4 RAM.
Quad-Channel Memory
 
One of the more hip features of the X99 platform is the ability to use quad-channel memory. Back in 2008 we already reported that the initial Nehalem architecture was quad-channel ready, they had just never implemented it up-to X79. Intel's 64-bit memory controllers rock hard and a lot certainly happened. Over the space of a couple of years we went from dual-channel to triple-channel on X58 (Gulftown), then back to dual-channel with the Sandy/Ivy Bridge/Haswell architecture and with Haswell-E we get quad-channel memory support, this time round with DDR4 memory. 
 
  Admittedly, the Intel memory controller, whatever platform you choose, is excellent. Sandy & Ivy Bridge and its dual-channel controller hauls ass, make no mistake there. At launch, for Haswell-E quad-channel 2133 MHz low-voltage DDR3 is supported out of the box, and that means an increase to 68 GB/s of available memory bandwidth depending on timings and latency of course. Quad-channel is fun stuff, crazy numbers is what you'll see. What the effect will be on real-world performance is trivial at best.
PCIe Gen 3.0
 
Fully supported with Haswell-E is the inclusion of PCI Express Gen 3. In a nutshell, PCI Express Gen 3 provides a 2X faster transfer rate than the previous generation, this delivers capabilities for next generation extreme gaming solutions. PCI Express Gen 3 has twice the available bandwidth, 32GB/s, improved efficiency and compatibility and as such it will offer better performance for current and next gen PCI Express cards. Going from PCIe Gen 2 to Gen 3 doubles the bandwidth available to the add-on cards installed, from 500MB/s per lane to 1GB/s per PCI Express lane. So a Gen 3 PCI Express x16 slot is capable of offering 16GB/s (or 128Gbps) of bandwidth in each direction. That results in 32GB/sec bi-directional bandwidth.
PCIe Lanes
 
The one thing that people grumble about the most is the relatively small number of available PCIe lanes (16) for graphics cards. If you are using a setup with two or more graphics cards (SLI/Crossfire), the PCIe bandwidth is limited at x8:x8. Here again the performance difference is trivial as running today's fastest cards barely utilizes all that bandwidth, but two x16 and then room for another x8 obviously is much better.
  • The eight core Core i7 5960X Haswell-E has 40 lanes (PCIe Gen 3.0) available.
  • The six core Core i7 5930K Haswell-E has 40 lanes (PCIe Gen 3.0) available.
  • The six core Core i7 5820K Haswell-E has 28 lanes (PCIe Gen 3.0) available.
You can split them up in a variety of combinations, two x16 links with one x8 link, one x16 link and three x8 links, or one x16 link, two x8 links, and two x4 links. So some examples, Intel Core i7-5960X and Intel Core i7-5930K Haswell-E would support multiple graphics card configurations with the first two cards running at x16 speed and say a third one running at x8 speed. Meanwhile a Core i7-5820K would only support 1 x16 + 1 x8 + 1 x4 multiple graphics card configuration. Again, all are Gen 3.0 so really (read plenty) that is a lot of bandwidth.
 

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The ASUS Rampage V Extreme Review - Continued 

LGA 2011 V3
 
Years ago we left LGA 775 and started with LGA 1366, then moved to LGA 1156, with Sandy and Ivy Bridge we moved to LGA 1155 and with Haswell, Socket 1150. Still with me? Haswell-E can stick to socket LGA 2011, so you can use the same cooler you used on your X79 motherboard for example, as long as it can deal with the 140 Watt TDP/Heat of the processor. But most LGA 2011 coolers will be perfectly compatible. Now though, Haswell-E uses a new version of that older old LGA 2011 socket with it. Dubbed LGA 2011-V3, the socket has the same dimensions and ball pattern pitch as LGA 2011. Even the number of pins remains the same. However, the processors are not backwards compatible. So Haswell-E needs to be seated on LGA 2011-V3 and will not work on X79. Neither does the new socket support older generation processors.
ASUS takes it even a step further as they have an LGA2011 OC socket. The Haswell-E CPUs actually have a few more pins that are not used. ASUS designed a socket allowing them to use these pins and that way they can add a little more voltage to the CPU and DDR4 memory allowing higher voltages with LN2 based overclocking.
The UEFI BIOS
 
Much like many motherboard manufacturers, you will get the new UEFI BIOS. The EFI BIOS is an Extensible Firmware Interface that complies with UEFI architecture, offering a user-friendly interface that goes beyond traditional keyboard-only BIOS controls to enable a way more flexible and convenient mouse input at BIOS level.
The screenshots are of the UEFI BIOS feature, and yes, it is as impressive as it looks. Admittedly that's a massive improvement over the classic BIOS alright.









 
CPU-Z Screenshots & System

Here we have CPU-Z screenshots of the processor in the motherboard we used today, let's have a look.

 







If interested, you can download CPU-Z here. Below, a SiSoft Sandra screen capture.
 


Power Consumption
Here's where we'll slowly move into physically testing the processors and respective motherboard. The new Haswell-E based processors are a bit of a redesign alright and as a result they are quite energy needy processors with a 140W TDP. What you'll notice a lot, is that in idle these things kick ass in matters of power consumption, whereas at peak TDP they behave quite normally.



Above, power consumption in respect to other processors and platforms. In an IDLE state the PC (X99 / 5960X / 16GB DDR4 memory / GeForce GTX 780 Ti / SSD / LCS) consumes roughly 64 Watts, very low compared to the X99 Deluxe, I think we have had an isolated issue with that board versus power consumption at idle. Bear in mind that we measure the ENTIRE PC, not just the processor's power consumption.
 

When we place load on the CPU and we see the power draw rise, the system now consumes roughly 192 Watts. This is merely with the gear as described above installed. Your average PC will draw a little more power if you add optical drives, HDDs, soundcards etc. Overall this is impressive for an 8-core processor setup. 

 
And here is an overview with some generic PC usage. Overclocked power consumption with added voltage, yes well, we'll discuss that in a later chapter in this article. I want to make it very clear that power consumption measurements will differ per PC and setup. Your attached components use power but your motherboard can also have additional ICs installed like an audio controller, LUCID chips, network controllers, extra SATA controllers, extra USB controllers, and so on. These parts all consume power, so this is an indication.
Next to that, we stress all CPU cores 100% and thus show a PEAK power consumption. Unless you transcode video with the right software your overall/average power consumption will be much lower.
 
Under load the temperatures remain quite okay, roughly 55 Degrees C - we use a very normal Corsair H105 liquid cooler with default fan settings (remains silent). 

Temperatures wise we can't complain either. This is Prime 95 (download v28.40), the temps with a fairly normal liquid cooling kit from Corsair is pretty good with this 8-core lover. The H105 remains whisper silent.
Hardware & Software Used
 
We now begin the benchmark portion of this article, but first let me show you our test system plus the software we used.

Mainboard - ASUS Rampage V Extreme
Processor - Core i7 5960X - Review
Graphics Cards - GeForce GTX 780 Ti - Review
Memory - 4x4 GB DDR4 2133 ~ 3000 MHz
Power Supply Unit - 1200 Watt Platinum Certified Corsair AX1200i - Review
Monitor - Dell 3007WFP - QHD up to 2560x1600
ASUS PQ321 native 4K UHD Monitor  at 3840 x 2160 - Review
OS related Software - Windows 8 64-bit (latest patches & updates installed) 
DirectX 9/10/11/12 latest End User Runtime  (Download)
Nvidia GeForce driver 337.88 (Download
Software benchmark suite
  • SiSoft Sandra
  • Aida
  • 3DMark06
  • 3DMark Vantage
  • Handbrake
  • Cyberlink MediaEspresso
  • CineBENCH 11.5
  • FryRender
  • Tomb Raider
  • BioShock Infinite
  • Thief
A Word About "FPS"
 
What are we looking for in gaming, performance wise? First off, obviously Guru3D tends to think that all games should be played at the best image quality (IQ) possible. There's a dilemma though, IQ often interferes with the performance of a graphics card. We measure this in FPS, the number of frames a graphics card can render per second, the higher it is the more fluid your game will display itself.
game's frames per second (FPS) is a measured average of a series of tests. That test is often a time demo, a recorded part of the game which is a 1:1 representation of the actual game and its gameplay experience. After forcing the same image quality settings; this time-demo is then used for all graphics cards so that the actual measuring is as objective as can be.
 
Frames per second Gameplay
<30 FPS very limited gameplay
30-40 FPS average yet very playable
40-60 FPS good gameplay
>60 FPS best possible gameplay
 
 
  • So if a graphics card barely manages less than 30 FPS, then the game is not very playable, we want to avoid that at all cost.
  • With 30 FPS up-to roughly 40 FPS you'll be very able to play the game with perhaps a tiny stutter at certain graphically intensive parts. Overall a very enjoyable experience. Match the best possible resolution to this result and you'll have the best possible rendering quality versus resolution, hey you want both of them to be as high as possible.
  • When a graphics card is doing 60 FPS on average or higher then you can rest assured that the game will likely play extremely smoothly at every point in the game, turn on every possible in-game IQ setting.
  • Over 100 FPS? You either have a MONSTER graphics card or a very old game.
Monitor Setup
 
Before playing games, setting up your monitor's contrast & brightness levels is a very important thing to do. I realized recently that a lot of you guys have set up your monitor improperly. How do we know this? Because we receive a couple of emails every now and then telling us that a reader can't distinguish between the benchmark charts (colors) in our reviews. We realized, if that happens, your monitor is not properly set up.
 
Looking at the above graph, what are you looking for?
  • Top bar - This simple test pattern is evenly spaced from 0 to 255 brightness levels, with no profile embedded. If your monitor is correctly set up, you should be able to distinguish each step, and each step should be visually distinct from its neighbors by the same amount. Also, the dark-end step differences should be about the same as the light-end step differences. Finally, the first step should be completely black.
 
  • The three lower blocks - The far left box is a black box with in the middle a little box a tint lower then black. The middle box is a lined square with a central grey square. The far right white box has a smaller "grey" box that should barely be visible.
You should be able to distinguish all small differences, only then you monitor is setup properly contrast and saturation wise.
Performance Processor: CineBench 11.5
 
CINEBENCH is a real-world cross platform test suite that evaluates your computer's performance capabilities. CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's animation software CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more. This test scenario uses all of your system's processing power to render a photorealistic 3D scene (from the viral "No Keyframes" animation by AixSponza). This scene makes use of various different algorithms to stress all available processor cores.
 

The Cinema 4D engine can use systems with up to 64 processor threads which makes it rather future proof and also excellent for multi-core processors. The test scene contains approximately 2,000 objects containing more than 300,000 total polygons and uses sharp and blurred reflections, area lights and shadows, procedural shaders, antialiasing, and much more. The result is given in points. The higher the number, the faster the processor. In these charts we show you several CPUs and platforms. 
Since Intel does not release reference X99 boards anymore we'll be comparing with X99 / 5960X from MSI, the X99S Gaming AC and the ASUS X99 Deluxe.
Performance Processor: FryRender
 
FryRender is a benchmarking framework for everyone, not just for 3D users; anyone out there, from hardware integrators or hardware reviewers to die-hard gamers. Since its conception, FryRender has been designed with the aim of being the most muscled engine in its category. As a result, and after several years of intense development, FryRender's core doesn't let a single CPU cycle be wasted. Its routines have been written to be cache efficient, and to take the maximum advantage possible of the new multi-threading capabilities present in modern CPU architectures.
 
Being a highly-optimized and extremely math-intensive application (mostly in floating-point) which makes a very efficient use of the system'scache, we think that FryRender is the near perfect tool for measuring "how much brute computational power" a computer is able to deliver.
Performance Processor: MediaShow Espresso
 
MediaShow Espresso then. The fun thing about this video transcoder is that it can utilize the GPU to assist it with the transcoding process. However, you can also solely use the CPU, making this a very interesting benchmark as you can check out behavior of CPU transcoding AND GPU transcoding all in one test. Mind you that hardware acceleration like AVX, GPU, OpenCl have been disabled for this test. This is pure unadulterated CPU performance

Above, you can find the results of this new test. In this test we transcode a 200 MB AVCHD 1920x1080i media file to a 1280x720P MP4 binary (YouTube format). This measurement is in seconds needed for the process, thus lower = better.
 
Performance Processor: Video Transcoding: H.264 (DTS5.1) to x.264 AC3 5.1
 
Video transcoding is well suited for systems that have more CPU cores. Encoding/transcoding to x.264 format is one of the most intensive tasks a processor can perform. As such this is one of the better tests in the entire review. We encode a h.264 DTS 1080P trailer of 150 MB to Matroska x.264 with 5.1 channels AC3. It's compressed in such a way that you can play it back with Haali media splitter and/or FFDSHOW codecs. We use the Handbrake software suite which is multi-core aware - the more processor cores it sees, the faster it can and will transcode. This software is also a wonderful benchmark for CPU and memory testing.

The displayed number is the number of frames rendered per second averaged out over the encoding process. The higher the number, the faster the performance is. It's exactly in applications like these where processors with more cores really shine as they are all utilized to the maximum.
 
Performance Processor: 3DMark 06 CPU Test

3DMark06 nowadays is very CPU limited, making it a good application to check CPU performance. The scores that you see are the CPU test itself, not overall 3DMark06 (P) scores.
Performance Processor: 3DMark Vantage CPU Test

3DMark Vantage focuses on the two areas most critical to gaming performance: the CPU and the GPU. With the emergence of multi-package and multi-core configurations on both the CPU and GPU side, the performance scale of these areas has widened, and the visual and game-play effects made possible by these configurations are accordingly wide-ranging. This makes covering the entire spectrum of 3D gaming a difficult task. 3DMark Vantage solves this problem in three ways:

1. Isolate GPU and CPU performance benchmarking into separate tests,
2. Cover several visual and game-play effects and techniques in four different tests, and
3. Introduce visual quality presets to scale the graphics test load up through the highest-end hardware.

To this end, 3DMark Vantage has two GPU tests, each with a different emphasis on various visual techniques, and two CPU tests, which cover the two most common CPU-side tasks: Physics Simulation and AI. It also has four visual quality presets (Entry, Performance, High, and Extreme) available in the Advanced and Professional versions, which increase the graphics load successively for even more visual quality. Each preset will produce a separate, official 3DMark Score, tagged with the preset in question.

 
3DMark Vantage has a standalone CPU test. It's very multi-core and multi-threading aware, up-to 16 threads. We'll look at the overall P score in the game segment of this article as well of course.
 

 
Performance Storage Subsystem - USB 3.0
 
With the modern age controllers we started adding SSD performance numbers measured on such interfaces (when applicable). Putting these in nicely styled charts would be better, but with technology so new we just do not have anything out there yet to compare to, so here are some raw peak performance numbers. 
 

Above, you can see the Corsair Flash Voyager GTX 128GB flash drive with today's tested motherboard. It is one of the fastest USB 3.0 sticks available on the market and makes USB 2.0 at 25~30 MB/sec look rather pale in comparison.

SATA 6 Gbps performance
 
Intel offers a grand total of 10 SATA3 (6Gbps) ports with their X99 chipset, and we think that is just excellent. Below we show SATA3 6 Gbps (BIOS at AHCI mode) performance with a SATA3 SSD. 
 

The SATA3 based SSD is connected to the SATA3 (6Gbps) Intel controller. AHCI mode is enabled in the BIOS, especially with SSDs that helps a little on peak performance. The native Intel SATA3 (6 Gbps controllers) are the fastest your money can get you really. The latest AMD Series 8 and 9 chipsets also offer really good performance.
 

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The ASUS Rampage V Extreme Review - Continued
 
M.2 PCI-E SSD Storage Performance
 
Aside from its naming I am pretty stoked about M.2 as I have checked out what it can do and immediately got excited. I think M.2 will be more widely adopted than SATA Express this year because it is easy, handy, transferable to any M.2 ready PC and it doesn't need complex RAID setups. That brings small form factor add-in SSDs to our PC platform at blazing fast speeds. There is an abbreviation for that, NGFF (Next Generation Form Factor). It is not just that though, SATA3 has not been amongst us for that long, but the SSDs evolved in a very fast manner, making SATA3 already a bottleneck for current generation SSDs as SATA3 SSDs end up at roughly 570 MB/sec in terms of read/write performance
 

M.2 PCI-E SSDs are merely small form factor SSDs that communicate over your PCI Express lanes, being supplied with 10 Gbps of bandwidth, eliminating SATA3 bottlenecks. M.2 PCI-E links directly to your PCI-E lanes and as such, it is an interface with much more available bandwidth. You can expect performance in the 700 MB/sec range with the latest products. We ran some tests with a Plextor M6 M.2 SSD unit. This specific product can handle a maximum sustained data read speed of 770 MB/s and the top write speed is 580 MB/s. Meanwhile, the random 4K performance is hovering at 100,000 IOPS (inputs/outputs per second). 
  

The SSD unit is getting a little degraded after all the testing this week but as you can see in AS SSD we very quickly reach roughly 700 MB/sec on read performance. So that's a little lower as advertised for this M.2 SSD, but still a lot faster compared to any traditional SATA3 SSD. Considering these M.2 SSDs are LESS complex and expensive to build over a regular SSD we expect the prices to match current generation SSDs, making this a mighty interesting option. The M6e combines the latest generation Marvell 88SS9183 dual-core server-grade controller and carefully selected synchronous Toshiba Toggle NAND flash.
 
DX11: 3DMark 2013
 
3DMark includes everything you need to benchmark your hardware. With three all new tests you can bench everything from smartphones and tablets, to notebooks and home PCs, to the latest high-end, multi-GPU gaming desktops. And it's not just for Windows. With 3DMark you can compare your scores with Android and iOS devices too.
 

Again for relevancy, here are the first 3DMark FireStrike results. Fire Strike is the new showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed forhigh-performance gaming PCs.  And below, just for the fun of it, I also quickly ran 3DMark Vantage, it is far more CPU tied opposed to being GPU tied - hence we include it. 

 
Overclocking - The Core i7-5960X on X99
 
 
We need to take a couple of steps if we want to overclock. Invest in good hardware by the way, the cheaper motherboards often are not well tuned for enthusiast overclocking. Also get yourself a good power supply and proper processor cooling. Overclocking with Haswell-E was a little more difficult than we expected. Your voltage should sit at roughly 1.3 to 1.4 Volts with an AIO water-cooling, dual rad preferred. Keep in mind that overclocking 8-cores is a tough job, and our processor sample certainly is not a very good overclocker. The 5960X has a base clock of 3.0 GHz. At 1.3 Volts we end up at roughly 4.0~4.2 GHz. We need a hefty 1.375 ~ 1.425 Volts range to reach 4.4 / 4.5 GHz.
Yes, we have received a pretty bad CPU in terms of overclocking.
Manual Overclocking

The true Guru3D audience overclocks from the BIOS and tries to find the maximum stable limit. The generic overclock procedure for multiplier based overclocking is as follows:
  • Leave base clock (bus) for what it is right now (if you enable memory XMP at 2400 MHz or higher, your base clock will jump to 125 MHz!).
  • If optional in the BIOS, increase your TDP limits of the processor to 250 Watts (by that you are allowing a higher power draw), mostly motherboards have this pre-configured pretty okay these days though.
  • Set the per core Turbo multiplier at a maximum of your liking:
  • example 2: 100MHz x 44 = 4400 MHz
  • Example 2: 125MHz x 37 = 4625 MHz (of you have XMP enabled - you will be defaulted to a 125 MHz bus)
  • Increase CPU voltage, though setting AUTO might work fine, we applied 1.3V on the processor to reach 4100 MHz and needed 1.4 Volts to reach ~ 4.5 GHz
  • Make sure your processor is properly cooled (we used the Corsair H105 LCS cooler)
  • Save and Exit BIOS / EFI





Overclocking wise our sample isn't the best, we need a LOT of voltage to reach ~4.400 MHz. During overclocking increasing the DDR4 Voltage could help you a bit on stability. You should allow a baseline clock of almost 4400 MHz that can actually still throttle down to 1200 MHz in idle, which helps us in power consumption.
Due to our sample limitations, pretty much ALL motherboards we have tested to date max out at the 4300~4400 MHz range. 
 
 
Here is an example at 4400 MHz -temps remain fairly OK for an 8-core processor and merely a Corsair H105 LCS cooler. 
 
Above, a quick look with a Prime95 stress test with all eight cores active and stressed at almost ~4400 MHz. You'll need a rather reasonable cooler, eight cores versus overclocking require a higher-voltage, and that creates more heat to deal with.


In the chart above you can see what will happen to power consumption. The 'Load Overclocked' was at ~4500 MHz which requires ~1.425 Volts on the eight CPU cores. That is a LOT of voltage. So the 1000 MHz overclock made our power consumption double (under load). Let me clearly note here that this is the power consumption for the PC measured at the wall socket.
 
Results Core i7-5960X / ~4400 MHz / 3000 MHz DDR4
 
Below, you can find a handful of results we ran with the overclocked settings as explained. The same settings as previous benchmarks have shown have been used here as well.










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The ASUS Rampage V Extreme Review - Continued 

 
Final Words & Conclusion

The Rampage Extreme series is a classic line from ASUS, much like the X79 version we must admit this X99 SKU is downright terrific, we do hope to see a black edition though as them looks would be killah! Yeah, these are amazing motherboards, I love that. X99 and an 8-core Intel CPU is cool stuff alright. Specs and features wise there is also very little to complain about. This motherboard can be the infrastructure for your 2/3/4-way SLI or Crossfire build. Next to that you will receive WiFi, WiDi, no less than eight 6 Gbps SATA 3 ports and two SATA Express ports as well as an M.2 interface. There are many USB 3.0 ports assigned to the board so you will not find yourself lacking at all. Interesting to see is the improved audio segment with an extra preamp for headphones. Motherboards are slowly reaching audiophile levels, we like that. Nice to see is the vast amount of LAN connectivity with the one Gigabit Ethernet jack both based on Intel NICs, we prefer these jacks over the Killer ones. And the Wireless Ethernet WiFi functionality is just awesome on this board, passing 1 GHz and offering 1.3 GHz on wireless. But we also acknowledge that this will be a little more difficult to position the product as it is pushed so extremely far into the pro-overclockers range with the OC Panel and LN2 functions and so on. 
 
The Platform Experience
 
The motherboard manufacturers simply went berserk with their motherboard designs, and I believe that 2014 has to be the best year of them all if you look at what the motherboard manufacturers did and are now offering. The overall per-core performance remains seriously nice but is at the level of pretty much any previous Nehalem architecture based processor core, Turbo 2.0 kicks in nicely up-to 3.5 GHz per core for the Core i7 5960X. For the professional user who uses heavily threaded software like content creation, that's where Haswell-E will make a nice difference. Add to that quad-channel DDR4 memory that will offer insane bandwidth and plenty of PCIe lanes and you'll have a platform that will be hard to beat. The Intel X99 chipset is by all means a huge plus and with this release you'll receive huge amounts of SATA3 and USB 3.0 ports among others. The motherboard manufacturers have gone to great length and offer the most luxurious products. It is a feast to the eyes to see and experience really.
Storage
 
Combined with eight SATA 6Gbps ports we can hardly argue about anything. SATA Express is supported in two-fold, but I foresee that'll be an un-used connector as I do not see or expect SATA Express taking off anytime soon. More interesting I find to be the all new M.2 interface, pop in an M.2 compatible PCI-E SSD and you'll see your SSD quickly perform in the 700/800 Mb/sec range. Overall your SATA and M.2 connectivity is plentiful and top notch when it comes to performance
Aesthetics
 
Looks are subjective. Some like skinny and thin, some require a little booteeeh... but hey, taste matters yet will differ. And that makes this a tidbit personal, I find the Rampage V Extreme Edition a nice good looking motherboard with a proper layout and stuffed with features. I really seem to dig the dark design but also have to state that all ROG motherboards tend to look a little too similar. As such, a black edition of this motherbaord would make all the difference in the world. 
Tweaking
 
The tweaking performance of this motherboard was on par with what our sample can handle, and we do have a poor CPU sample in terms of tweaking. Realistically at 1.30 Volts you should be able to get the Core i7 5960X to roughly 4400~4500 MHz on all cores. However we need 1.40 Volts for that. And even though that seems a little shy as a tweak, it remains to be almost 4400 MHz on 8 physical CPU cores. We learned from others that they have been able to reach 4.5 GHz on all 8-cores with just a 1.25v Vcore. Some clock great on low voltages, others behave like a pig, in our case we needed 1.4 Volts to reach 4.4 GHz and have gotten a pig. Regardless, overclocking wise, you will have plenty of headroom to fool around with. It really is a fun processor to tweak with and the motherboard certainly isn't preventing a bad overclock, to the contrary, this board was designed to offer all features needed to quickly get you up-to snuff tweaking wise. 
 
Final Words

The per-core performance among all the motherboards we have tested remains nice but very similar, and since our CPU sample won't go beyond 4.4 GHz all our tweaking results are fairly similar as well. However, if you have a better CPU than we have, then this motherboard will have no problems tweaking the very maximum out of it. This is a Rampage Extreme Edition motherboard, they are designed for exactly that. But sure, the baseline performance of the Rampage V Extreme Edition is on par with any other X99 motherboard. The motherboard offers all that is needed for a long time, features like the eight SATA 6 Gbps ports, the two Gigabit Ethernet interface and that excellent WiFisolution bring a smile to my face. Then there's the 7.1 channel HD audio as delivered by the high-end Realtek ALC1150 codec in conjunction with an amplifier so you get support for quality headphones that have an impedance of up to 600 Ohms. This motherboard is multi-GPU ready up-to 2/3/4 way SLI/Crossfire. Then you can add features like onboard buttons, diagnostic LEDs, a great design, USB 3.0, SATA3, PCI-E Gen 3.0, ease of tweaking. The sky is the limit, as such everything you need from an enthusiast class Haswell-E processor platform is there. The one thing you might dislike is the design and color schema, other than that we cannot think of any significantly negative at all. We have not received pricing info just yet though, so I will have to reserve judgment on that right now however we expect this board to be at 350 EURO. It really is a terrific product though with everything included and then some more, like that hot little gadget - the OC panel. We really like the Rampage V Extreme Edition, but also acknowledge that it probably is a product best served to extreme enthusiast PC users and pro-overclockers solely. The reality is that 99% of you guys that will have a good heat-pipe cooler or All In One Liquid cooling kit, each and everyone of you will reach 4400 MHz as a maximum and for that you do not need an OC Panel or all the LN2 features this board has to offer. The Rampage series motherboard serves a very specific type of crowd. If you are enticed by it, then this puppy might be just what the doctor ordered.

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