Hot Looks. Cool Heatpipes.
The Rampage II Gene is the first micro-ATX motherboard to fully support both ATI CrossfireX and nVidia SLI graphics. It may not be evident by looking at the board at first glance, but it is what separates the board from the rest. Since most users opt for using only two graphics cards, this is right on par with what the bulk of enthusiasts need.
As you can see, the Gene is a sweet looking little motherboard. It offers a black, heat pipe design with a bold red ROG moniker on the main heat sink. A black PCB has been used to compliment the black theme which helps neutralize the deep blue and white expansion slots. Even the USB, eSATA, ATA, and power supply sockets follow suit. Thanks to the solid state capacitors and top of the line Ferite Chokes, there are very few noticeable components that come close to exceeding the height of the X58 Chipset cooler.
You'll find 6 blue horizontal SATA ports facing away from the graphics card slots. This ensures cabling will attach securely without interference. The rest of the USB, Audio, and Front Panel ports are all located at the lowest region of the motherboard also out of the way.
Looking at the DIMM slots, they appear to be far enough away from the CPU socket so that large aftermarket CPU tower coolers can fit. Given the nature of this motherboard, you can bet that most users are going to want something far more capable than a stock CPU cooler. Besides, it would be a shame to put stock coolers on this beauty.
Having the CMOS reset button on the rear of the board near all the USB, 6-Port audio, PS/2, and what not, makes tweaking the board that much easier. You don't have to open your case anymore just to reset your system's BIOS when you're attempting a super-insane-omg-NOS overclock. You will probably need a USB Hub due to the limited number of ports though. That's to be expected when you lose about two inches of prime PCB real estate.
Even the placement of the Power, Reset, and CMOS clear buttons are in a near perfect spot. Since the board will be sitting higher up in most computer cases, getting to the Power and Reset should be super easy.
Test System Setup
In order to build up a kick ass gaming rig for testing, the following components were picked for the mission. They include:
- Intel Core i7 965 Processor
- ASUS Rampage II Gene Motherboard (as tested)
- GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R Ultra Durable 3 Motherboard (used for comparison)
- Kingston 6GB HyperX 2000 MHz DDR3 Memory
- Zotac Geforce GTX 295 Graphics Card
- 2 x 500GB Western Digital Hard Drive
- Kingwin Mach I 1000 Watt Power Supply
- Thermaltake V1 CPU Cooler with LGA1366 Bracket
Our operating system of choice was Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit. The BIOS used was version 0705, our nVidia Video Driver was taken to 182.50 and the chipset driver was version 9-1-0-1007. Video card settings were left at default Settings with VSync disabled.