A Glimpse of the ASUS Rampage III Black Edition

A Glimpse of the ASUS Rampage III Black Edition

A Glimpse of the ASUS Rampage III Black Edition

Here's what you have missed so far in the motherboard industry 2011 - Intel and its board manufacturers are busy rectifying the glitch in Cougar Point, the 6 series chipsets for Intel's Sandy Bridge processors. While this settles the mainstream segment, enthusiasts are holding their breath in anticipation of Intel's Z68 chipset, which is reportedly launching in May. What to do between now and May then? Well, vendors appear to be favoring the older Intel X58 chipset and using it in some new, high-end motherboards.

Notably, we have previewed Gigabyte's new gaming oriented series, the G1.Assassin and the company has also just announced a new, extreme overclocking board, again using the Intel X58 chipset.

Of course, ASUS, which started the whole Republic of Gamers series to appeal to the gaming and overclocking enthusiast crowd, too has something to show and that is none other than a revamped version of its Rampage III Extreme board, known as Rampage III Black Edition.

What this high-end board has in common with the competition is the presence of Bigfoot Network's Killer 2100 Gigabit network chip. Touted to improve your internet connection by reducing latency and prioritizing your gaming bits, the Killer 2100 is also used in the G1.Assassin. For the ASUS Rampage III Black Edition, the manufacturer has integrated it together with its own Xonar audio card in a single PCIe x1 slot expansion card dubbed Thunderbolt. Yes, it's rather unfortunate that Intel too is using Thunderbolt for its new interconnect technology.

In any case, ASUS sent us some early images of the upcoming Rampage III Black Edition:

Black and red has always been the choice of colors for ASUS' Republic of Gamers series, but ASUS is turning up the black in this 'Black Edition'.

From the ROG Connect USB dedicated port and button to the BIOS reset button, the rear ports are recognizably that of a ROG board.

The familiar Republic of Gamers logo on the heatsink lights up in red when turned on. But you should know that already.

It's all black if you pair the ASUS Rampage III Black Edition with one of its larger (DirectCu, GTX 580 based) graphics card.

The distinctive, Lego-like design on the heat sink is something we are quite familiar with.

Based on the Intel X58 chipset, the Rampage III Black Edition has the PCIe lanes to support 3-way SLI or 4-way CrossFireX.

The connectors on the Thunderbolt combo card include an 4-pin ATX power connector.

The combo PCIe x1 card that holds both the audio and network processors. It's just too bad about the name but we believe ASUS came up with it first.

We'll have more to report once we get our hands on the actual hardware. The question is, would this or any of the newly released Intel X58 based motherboards tempt you now, or would you rather wait for an Intel Z68 board? 

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