Performance Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: A general consensus among hardware sites finds that the new wave of enthusiast level X58 motherboards offer very little (if any) performance benefit over the products they're supplanting. That's exactly what we saw when we compared the Rampage III to the previous version, which is almost two years old. The boards turned in similar results throughout testing, often trading the top two spots in our comparison group, which included the EVGA Classified. Of course, the quality of the boards we used for testing was already top notch, so achieving status quo in this particular case isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Looking at the high end motherboard market, we find a broad spectrum of price points. We previously mentioned Gigabyte's $699 UD9, and the $599 SR-2 from EVGA. If we look past those two models, the choices are priced in the $299 to $399. We recently reviewed the Big Bang X-Power from MSI, and were impressed with its overclocking ability and power consumption. At $299, it is the most affordable flagship X58 motherboard available from any company. The $339 X58A-UD7 is the board from Gigabyte's line up that competes directly with the RIIIE, from a cost and features standpoint. Note the UD7 only supports 3-way CrossFire but comes with a pre-installed chipset water block. EVGA's 4-way SLI Classified 762 motherboard costs exactly the same as the RIIIE, at $379. Although it has been on the market for awhile, the 762 does provide support for the super small niche' of those who run four NVIDIA cards. Just remember that SATA 6G and USB 3.0 are missing from this particular board.
If you're buying new, and
trying to decide between this model and the Rampage II, we feel its
worth paying the extra $20 for the latest version. But if you already own a high end X58
mainboard, it would be wise to stick with it for a bit longer as you
would only see minimal improvement in the majority of use cases. Anyone looking to buy a new
motherboard should keep SATA 6G and USB 3.0 high on their requirements
list. You may not need them now, but they will be essential soon enough.
This becomes especially true for high end motherboards, as it doesn't
make sense to drop $300 on a product that doesn't support the latest
I/O technologies right out of the box.
The Recommendation: The Rampage III Extreme is an excellent board. As expected, it offers the performance and quality one would expect from an ROG product. While we weren't blown away by the results when compared to the Rampage II, it's encouraging to find there was no drop off by adding several new features. The board's redesigned heatsinks and fantastic BIOS were nice improvements, while the addition of USB 3.0 and SATA 6G should keep it current for the next few years. With that said, if you're in the market for a high end X58 motherboard that holds nothing back, we recommend taking a look at the Rampage III Extreme from Asus.