For a number of generations, each motherboard company has had its halo product that pushes boundaries and wallets. For ASUS, the Rampage IV Extreme, based on X79, was a resounding success for sales. We sourced the next chipset iteration, the X99 based Rampage V Extreme, for review to see if ASUS can follow the trend.

The Republic of Gamers Ethos

ASUS has been developing their Republic of Gamers brand for over eight years. What started off as a single motherboard is now a range of components including graphics cards, monitors, peripherals and even for storage. On the motherboard side of the equation for Intel platforms, there have been three stalwart models in the line: the micro-ATX Gene, the sound and gaming-focused Formula (ATX) and the gaming/overclocking Extreme (ATX or EATX). This has been added to in recent quarters with the Impact (mini-ITX), the Hero (cheap ATX) and the Ranger (cheap ATX also). Depending on the focus of the platform, some, none or all of these focal points are used. Traditionally the Extreme line was on all the major Intel chipsets, but this changed last year.

When Intel released the Haswell line of processors, the new LGA1150 socket was paired with the Z87 chipset and ASUS went all in with every ROG model. The purpose of Z87 was to facilitate the Haswell processor line but to also provide an upgrade to Broadwell when released. Z97 was launched when Broadwell was expected to hit the shelves, offering a similar sort of package to Z87 but with minor transitional updates. Similar circumstances happened on LGA1155 with Sandy Bridge (P67/Z68) to Ivy Bridge (Z77) in the two generations previous. What made Z97 and Intel's mainstream 9-series different for the ROG line is that only a few models were launched, and an Extreme version was absent.

At the time, although we couldn't publish it, our sources stated that it was for a singular reason: they wanted the X99 launch model to be the best, and insisted in skipping Z97 to spend more time developing the X99 model. Arguably the Z87 Extreme model existed to fill the gap anyway. This makes sense in the context that the X79 Rampage IV Extreme was the best-selling motherboard for that chipset - the need to get it right for X99 was paramount to continue.

The launch of X99 came and went in September 2014, with ASUS focusing on very few models for launch. We reviewed the X99 Deluxe, which was well received, and within the next month the X99 Pro, X99-A and the Rampage V Extreme were launched. Compared to X79, this is very few models. Depending on who you ask, the new edition of the Extreme has also not been getting as much excitement as the previous model, even with Haswell-E giving eight cores in the hands of the user.

One of the arguments for the lack of excitement might be that X79 and Sandy Bridge overclocking turned out to be a fairly big draw to gamers and enthusiasts, whereas Haswell-E’s overclocking prowess is slightly tempered. The appeal of a chipset and motherboard stack is ultimately limited by the processors the power it, so it might be the fact that Haswell-E is not as fun to overclock, or the entry price is too high, or any other number of factors. We've seen a reasonable response to our X99 coverage, which might suggest that users are still interested.

All this aside, with ASUS not even releasing an X99 based Rampage V Gene, and the launch X99 Deluxe was set at an MSRP of $400 meaning that they went all in at the high end of the most extreme platform. Personally one might feel this is slightly an oversight, especially with several other overclocking motherboards mopping up the cheaper aspect of the range. However with the mentality of the halo product, the new X99 Extreme sits exactly where it means to.


For anyone who has never invested into an ROG Extreme platform before, opening the box and playing with the contents is certainly a lot of fun. The appeal of an external OC panel, multiple bundled cables and an entry into the ROG ecosystem yields several measurable benefits. For users upgrading from a mid-range platform, such as the Z77 or Z87 models, will have the novel benefits of the extreme platform and quad channel DDR4 to have fun with. For X79 users, they might wonder why the X99 Extreme is slightly smaller, and that comes from some of the modifications that X79 Black Edition users will identify.

ASUS has been advertising (at least via their technical marketing) that the Rampage V Extreme is the culmination of many months of effort by a variety of specialists. This includes in-house experts Shamino, TL, elmor, and even former AnandTech motherboard senior editor Rajinder Gill. The results of this effort should result in a wide range of memory compatibility due to increased testing, memory overclocking due to the use of the OC socket, other board level optimizations, cleaner power delivery and tools which should allow the most extreme overclockers the control they request. In this sense, the Rampage V Extreme should build on its predecessor.

For pure functionality, the Extreme is the second Asus motherboard to be fitted with a three antenna Wi-Fi solution, a 3T3R 802.11ac. This remains a premium add-on over the now standard 2T2R and by virtue of moving from 2 to 3 should allow for a 50% bandwidth improvement when facilities allow, as well as increasing potential range in complex environments and beam forming. Alongside the Wi-Fi is SupremeFX, the upgraded Realtek ALC1150 audio solution with increased EMI shielding and PCB separation across the left hand side of the motherboard as well as a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot driven through the CPU.

As with most ASUS motherboards, all the fan headers are DC and PWM capable with four extra fan headers coming from the OC Panel, which saves space on the motherboard itself. Fans can be controlled via the BIOS using the interactive tool or through software.

The BIOS and software also get the ROG treatment, increasing the number of options for overclockers in the former and an array of gaming utilities for the operating system. This includes the newer features such as KeyBot, SoundStage and an update to Sonic Radar.

The Extreme is a formidable weapon in the arsenal, courting a $100 premium in launch price over the X99 Deluxe with that going to the OC Panel, the ROG BIOS/software packages and full support for four-way graphics in an x16/x8/x8/x8 arrangement.

Visual Inspection

As with any purchase of a high end motherboard for gaming, taking it out of the box is an experience. Only a system builder that has to put together 50 systems a week would get bored of it. Similar to other EATX motherboards, the size of the Extreme is sometimes something to be wary of, because holding it at one end causes the mass to influence torque, and you would rather not drop something that costs­­ $500. 

Taking the motherboard out of the box instantly gave me a sense of bulk, as well as the imposing black and red to which the Extreme line has been using for years. The motherboard PCB does look a bit busy, but users of substantially older Extreme models will note that a number of onboard overclock buttons are removed as they have migrated onto the OC Panel, similar to what we saw with the X79-based Rampage IV Black Edition.

The heatsink arrangement puts the eight-phase power delivery connected to the extended rear-IO cover, with the main purpose of this cover to remove the look of the normal silver on the tops of the IO ports and keep the look intact. There is another heatsink below the socket and another for the chipset. The heatsink below the socket is in an awkward location as it kind of blocks the latch for the first PCIe slot when a large GPU is installed, making it difficult to remove GPUs without a screwdriver which could, with a slip of the hand, end up removing a component.

The DRAM slots are color coded in red and black with an onboard listing to show which slots should be populated first (in this case, the red ones). These DRAM slots use single-sided latches in order to facilitate the first PCIe card, so users should ensure that the memory is firmly installed when building. The motherboard has eight fan headers, all 4-pin, with two CPU headers in the top right of the board, a CHA3B header just underneath that, two CHA1 headers to the left of the 24-pin ATX power connector, a CHA3A header to the bottom-left of the DRAM slots and two CHA2 headers at the bottom. This makes an interesting element to the design, something I have been mentioning to motherboard manufacturers on and off for about a year – one way to add headers on board is to have two connected to the same control, meaning they act together and have the same voltage applied depending on the settings. Here the Extreme has three sets of chassis headers (CHA1, CHA2, CHA3) which act as groups when it comes to fan speed and response settings for hardware and software. It is an incredibly easy design choice to make, and I am surprised it has taken one of the high end ASUS models to use the paradigm to its fullest.

At the top right of the motherboard is the ‘OC Section’, giving power/reset buttons, a two-digit debug display, PCIe disabling switches, a slow mode switch, a MemOK button, a retry button, a safe boot button and voltage read points. There is also a small number of LEDs beneath the voltage read points to indicate which part of the POST process is currently in action.

On the X79 Extreme, all the overclocking options were onboard and a bundled display adapter for DVI-D was provided. However the X99 Extreme has gone the way of the X79 Black Edition which uses a separate bundled OC Panel with a display to be able to change and view frequencies and voltages on the fly. It also doubles up as a fan controller for system builds.

We covered the OC Panel is great detail in our review of the X79 Black Edition so we won’t say much more here, except that if we look under the panel:

Here we get four additional fan headers, a slow mode switch, a pause switch, two VGA headers for voltage sensing and manipulation, with voltage points and supplementary SATA power as well. By partitioning some of these elements off to the panel, it allows for less complexity on the board for design as well as when it comes to RMA. At this point it might be worth mentioning that I rarely see extreme overclockers using the OC Panel outside of the basic controls due to the increase in VGA capabilities of external power cards. That being said, the OC Panel is designed to work as a display in a case as well with fan options, information on CPU temperatures and so forth.

Moving below the OC section on the motherboard gives us a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot which accepts PCIe drives at 2260, 2280 and 22110 dimensions (22x60mm, 22x80mm, 22x110mm). One of the USB 3.0 headers is here in red, and then follows a total of twelve SATA ports. The X99 chipset supports two AHCI controllers – one with RAID for six SATA ports, and one without for four SATA ports. Here the top six have RAID, whereas the next two do not. The X99 Extreme also has two SATA Express ports – one from the chipset and another via an ASMedia controller. Given the state of the market on SATA Express, it makes me wonder if we will ever see any commercial drives for it.

Below the SATA ports is the Keybot reset button, two SATA Express clock connections and a Thunderbolt header required for Thunderbolt use. The main bottom side of the motherboard also includes a BIOS Switch button for flicking between the BIOS chips, a front panel header, the OC Panel header (called ROG_EXT) which also has a USB 2.0 header, another USB 2.0 header, a second USB 3.0 header, the two Winbond 128Mb BIOS chips, a Soundstage button, a thermistor temperature sensor header, a TPM header, a four-pin molex for extra PCIe power and the front panel audio. Perhaps somewhat unfortunately we get a molex PCIe power connecter here for VGA power in 3-4 card situations – personally I prefer an extra 6-pin PCIe or a SATA power connector, but at this point due to how the board is designed the molex is the easiest to accomplish here.

The audio subsystem uses SupremeFX, ASUS’ brand for an enhanced Realtek ALC1150 solution with several added features. On the top are standard improved features – PCB separation of the audio channels as well as analog/digital signals, an electromagnetic shield for the codec itself, filter caps for the front panel audio and automatic headphone detection for low and high impedance headsets. The feature that users might not be familiar with is SoundStage which performs a configurable hardware based transform on the audio signal though the software. It comes with for presets for typical gaming scenarios (Driving, FPS and so on), although users can configure their own.

The PCIe layout might be a little difficult to get around. With 40 PCIe lane CPUs, the processor supplies x16/x8/x16/- in tri-GPU mode through the red slots or x16/x8/x8/x8 in quad mode. When the M.2 x4 is connected, the bottom PCIe slot reduces down to x4 mode, which means that quad-SLI is only available when the M.2 is not in use. With the i7-5820K, this reduces down to x16/-/x8 for dual graphics and x8/x8/x8 for three-way, leaving the bottom red slot disabled.

The black slot in the middle is a PCIe 2.0 x4 slot, which also comes with its own oddities. It can work in x1, x2 or x4 mode, and shares bandwidth with the first PCIe 2.0 x1 slot, two USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel and the top ASMedia SATA Express connector. When the PCIe x4 slot is in x4 mode, the USB ports, the PCIe x1 and the SATA Express are all disabled. When the PCIe x4 slot is in x2 or x1 mode, the PCIe x1 and USB3 ports are enabled, and SATA Express is only enabled with the PCIe x4 slot is disabled. In other words:

Here lies on of the fundamental issues to supporting many technologies on the same product. At some point you run out of bandwidth or space for routing, so in the end some features become an either/or scenario. The product is marketed as having them all, but the reality is split. Luckily in this case SATA Express is of limited use, and losing two SATA ports out of 12 is not that much of a loss when there are other PCIe slots available.

The rear panel is practically full, and it comes enclosed in the shroud fitted to the motherboard. The shroud is designed to complete the look of the motherboard by removing the silvery IO ports from sight. On the back itself we get Clear CMOS and ROG Connect buttons, two USB 2.0 ports (bottom port for ROG Connect), a PS/2 combination port, 10 USB 3.0 ports (from ASMedia hubs), an Intel I218-V network port, the 802.11ac 3T3R dual band WiFi module and the audio jacks with an more gold plating. Two things are worth noting here – the network port is part of ASUS’ GameFirst III strategy which includes LANGuard shielding and surge protection, but also that the BIOS Flashback utility has been moved from a rear button to the same as the ROG Connect and USB port.

Board Features

ASUS ROG Rampage V Extreme (X99)
Price US
Size E-ATX
CPU Interface LGA2011-3
Chipset Intel X99
Memory Slots Eight DDR4 DIMM slots supporting up to 64 GB
Up to Quad Channel, 1600-3300 MHz
Video Outputs None
Network Connectivity Intel I218-V
Dual Band 3T3R 802.11ac
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC1150 (via SupremeFX)
Expansion Slots 4 x PCIe 3.0 x16
- 40 PCIe CPU: x16, x16/x16, x16/x8/x8, x16/x8/x8/x8
- 28 PCIe CPU: x16, x16/x8, x8/x8/x8
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4
1 x PCIe 2.0 x1
Onboard Storage 6 x SATA 6 Gbps, RAID 0/1/5/10
4 x S_SATA 6 Gbps, no RAID
2 x SATA 6 Gbps via ASMedia
1 x SATA Express (PCH)
1 x SATA Express (ASMedia)
1 x PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 (2260/2280/22110)
USB 3.0 6 x USB 3.0 via PCH (2 headers, 2 rear panel ports)
10 x USB 3.0 via ASMedia Hubs (8 rear panel ports)
Onboard 12 x SATA 6 Gbps
2 x SATA Express
1 x M.2 x4
2 x USB 3.0 Headers
2 x USB 2.0 Headers
8 x Fan Headers
TPM Header
Thunderbolt Header
MemOK! Button
Slow Mode Switch
9 x Voltage Measurement Points
3 x Thernal Sensors
Power/Reset Buttons
BIOS Switch
LN2 Mode Jumper
ROG Extension Header
Keybot Button
SoundStage Button
Safe Boot Button
ReTry Button
Front Panel Audio Header
Front Panel Header
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX
1 x 8-pin CPU
1 x Molex (for PCIe)
Fan Headers 1 x CPU (4-pin)
1 x CPU_OPT (4-pin)
6 x CHA (4-pin)
IO Panel 1 x PS/2 Combination Port
1 x Intel I218-V Network Port
2 x USB 2.0
10 x USB 3.0 via ASMedia
Clear CMOS Button
ROG Connect Button
WiFi Module (3T3R 802.11ac)
Audio Jacks
Warranty Period 3 Years
Product Page Link


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  • frodbonzi - Monday, June 22, 2015 - link

    This board is many months old... why is the review coming out now?!!?!?

    Saying that, it's a great board... If you are trying to use the M.2 SAS connector I should warn you that the cable will force your video card up in the first slot... Had a buddy blow his board that way (ASUS sent a replacement and acknowledged that it's a known problem!).

    If you are trying to use a PCIE HD (I have the Intel 750), triple SLI AND use the USB 3.1 add-on card... let me know, as I'm still unable to get it to go (I thought I could get the SSD into the black PCIE_X4 slot, but there doesn't seem to be enough room with all the red PCIE_x16 slots occupied (3 TitanX and the USB 3.1 card)...
  • mazzy80 - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Why add a M.2 slot on a EATX board, with limit capacity, even more on a Extreme board ?
    The space is not a problem on a Big Tower, a PCI-e slot SSD is not limited on the PCIe lanes or capacity.
    maybe a day it'll possible to buy a full slot x16 PCIe 3.0 SSD for extreme performance...
    SATA Express is a waste of space, useless..
    why a integrated Audio card ? If I can pay $500 for a motherboard I can pay $100 for a top of line Audio card of my choice.
    I don't see how X99 can match the X79 success. A underwhelming High-End platform that will look old in 2 month when Skylake will be out... 2 gen ahead... with the new DMI 3.0, new SAS ports, cheaper and faster.
  • frodbonzi - Monday, June 22, 2015 - link

    Another thing... when reviewing such a high-end motherboard, why are all of the benchmarks (except for the last Shadow of Mordor one) in 720p or 1080p?

    If you're buying a $1000+ processor and $400+ motherboard, you are most likely gaming at at LEAST 1440p, if not 4k...
  • ggathagan - Monday, June 22, 2015 - link

    Generally, sites will test motherboards and CPU's at lower resolutions to eliminate the GPU from the equation as much as possible.
  • pseudoid - Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - link

    Thanx for the review!
    Back in the day of Intel X38 Core2 Extreme, I had the Asus Maximus Formula SE MoBo, based on AnandTech's review! It would not die! But now that Asus has decided the ROG boards are not worthy of dual NICs, I won't go near them, as I got spoiled running a NAS off the 2nd LAN. It is also funny that Asus has never seen fit to integrate a cheezy $2 speaker on their MoBoz, when boot errors are detected/occur!
  • AnandKid - Friday, June 26, 2015 - link

    I like the RAMdisk solution - they should work on that in next generation of MOBOs. For instance add a Li-ion battery to keep RAM disk refreshed for some time - that would enable using it as 'normal' disk drive and boot the system option should be then added. I still remember in 2006 Gigabyte i-RAM card - amazing thing! ( should make another one for PCIe 3.0. no need to wait for PCIe 4.0 - come on ASUS bring it on!
  • skypine27 - Friday, June 26, 2015 - link

    Im a high end, and target audience, user of this board. System specs:
    *CPU: Intel 5960x @ 4.2 ghz on Corsair H110i GT WaterCool Unit
    *Mobo: Asus Rampage V Extreme
    *RAM: 32 GB DDR4 G.Skill Ripjaws4 3000 (set to 2400)
    *Graphics: 2 x Titan X (Nvidia Reference cards) SLI
    *Monitor: LG 34UC97 curved 34" 3440 x 1440 @ 60hz
    *Storage A: Samsung SM951 512MB Windows 8.1
    *Storage B/C/D: 2 x V-Raptor 1.0TB Raid0. 1 x Crucial M4 512MB. 12TB USB 3.0 External Raid0
    *Case/PSU: Thermaltake V51+ Corsair AX1200i PSU + Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit

    People that are complaining "E-ATX kills it for me...". Well, go back and google the Extreme lineup from Asus. They have been E-ATX for a LONG time. These aren't, and never were, aimed at guys going for a tiny build.

    I like the M2 slot. The SM 951 Im running as a boot drive (+ Star Citizen) gets performance that clobbers even a 2 x SSD Raid 0 setup. And, it tucks out of the way and is totally concealed beneath my #1 Titan X.

    Anyway, if size is a concerning, don't waste your time ever looking at an Asus Extreme product. They will always be "max size"
  • Oscarcharliezulu - Friday, June 26, 2015 - link

    The grammar in this article is giving me headache. It reads like a clean up of a google translation.
  • Oscarcharliezulu - Friday, June 26, 2015 - link

    One benefit I found from my old gene mtx board other than it worked so damned well was the fantastic resale on eBay - I bought it second hand and sold it 2 years later and got a lot of my money back. ROG are top of the line so people seek them out rather than cheaper boards. And this was a 775 chipset which was 2 generations old when I sold it.
  • godzrule - Monday, July 20, 2015 - link

    Can I have a 5820k i7 running 2x980ti in 16x and 8x(or16x?) and then have my 951 M.2 running at its full speed on 4x as my Boot drive? The 5820k has 28 pcie lanes and so 16+8+4=28 But i would like everyones thoughts on this as its been impossible to find solid info thanks!

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