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Asus Rampage II Gene - Asus Rampage II Gene

By Leo Waldock



Our Score:


Despite its small size the Gene has to take on some full sized competition so let's see if it is up to the task. The build quality of the Gene is superb and despite its tiny size we had no problem installing a chunky Noctua CPU cooler and a Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics card. The memory slots are worth mentioning as they only use a retention clip on the end of the module at the top of the board. The other end - the one near the graphics card - has no clip yet there is a distinct sound as the memory snicks firmly into place. This means that you don't need to remove the graphics card in order to release a module of memory, which is very considerate of the designer.

We had no need to use the external LCD Poster device as the Gene appeared to behave itself throughout testing but we did note some odd quirks that can probably be fixed with a BIOS update. Our initial runs with a Core 965 Extreme were done on Auto settings and all seemed well however the score in 3DMark Vantage was rather low. Boosting the CPU voltage to 1.4V fixed this mysterious problem. We had another issue with the Core i7 965 Extreme when we tried to use the Crazy Overclock profiles in the BIOS as they simply didn't work. The two options for the 965 Extreme are 3.60G and 4.00G with the 3.60G simply raising the base clock from 24x133MHz to 24x150MHz. No matter what we did, though, the system wouldn't take it. Manual overclocking up to 3.87GHz went as smooth as silk so the Gene can do the business, just not if you use the automated settings.

We appreciate that most home PC builders won't be slipping an £840 965 Extreme into their new rig so we also tried a Core i7 920 and it behaved perfectly in the Gene. We could overclock with the Crazy Overclock 2.93G and 3.20G profiles and also manually took the speed all the way to 3.80GHz without any trouble.

No doubt Asus will sort out Core i7 965 Extreme overclocking with all due haste but there's a glitch that seems to be inherent to the Gene. The passive coolers on the chipset look great but they are rather small and the Southbridge cooler isn't even connected to the coolers on the Northbridge and the power regulation hardware. The result is that the temperature of the coolers hit a steady 60 degrees Celsius which is rather hotter than we like to see.

Our overall impressions of the Gene were very favourable and the loss of the third graphics slot is something we see as a complete irrelevance. Likewise we didn't find the small form factor presented any problems but then, neither did it offer any obvious benefit.


The Rampage II Gene shares its DNA with the Rampage II Extreme, offering similar superb performance at a considerably lower price. Add in the potential to stuff all that power into an even smaller space than is usually possible and you have a motherboard we really rather like.


March 19, 2009, 10:31 pm

But when will etailers start listing them? I've only seen it on a few sites, and would rather buy from a trusted etailer newegg, or zzf :|


March 20, 2009, 1:53 am

I like how the X-fi is built into the I/O panel unlike the Rampage II Extreme makes it far more tidy


March 20, 2009, 8:37 pm

I know that technology trailblazers pay a steep price but when you consider I just put a Q6600 in an Asus motherboard costing 㿏 that runs at 3.2Ghz stock voltage and 3.6Ghz easily I do feel these latest motherboards are ridiculously overpriced for the tiny increase in real world performance they yield.

Not to mention the i7 processor.


March 20, 2009, 9:36 pm

@ basicasic - That's an apples to oranges comparison really because the X58 chipset is high-end in the same way X48 is for 775 motherboards, almost all of which are the same price as X58 boards (𧵘+). They all support SLI and Crossfire as well as DDR3, all of which you have to pay more for if you want that with your Q6600. Intel just made sure all the expensive kit was released first to make those with enough money to upgrade pay through the nose for it. Besides, I'd never even think of pairing a 𧵘 processor with a 㿏 motherboard in the first place.

Wait until the summer when you can get yourself the more mainstream i5 and P55 motherboard, so that Nehalem upgrade won't seem so expensive.


March 20, 2009, 11:54 pm

I build systems for a living. I get to play with plenty of kit. You may scoff at a 㿏 motherboard and a Q6600 cpu but for a customer after performance on a limited budget its the bargain of the century. Stick in a decent graphics card and in a blind test you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between that and an X58/i7 system.

My main point is that never has there been such a huge discrepancy in price between high-end and mainstream kit for such a small gain in performance and features. No doubt as a result of lack of competition at the high-end.


March 22, 2009, 2:13 am

more room for water cooling?

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