Asus Republic of Gamers Rampage III Gene review

So just how much can you fit onto a micro-ATX motherboard?

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Asus rog rampage iii gene

If you made it through the rather breathless specs section without flinching, then you'll be keen to know exactly what this motherboard is like to actually use. Let's start off with the problems.

First of all, there's really little point in the dual graphics support. One double width GPU renders all of the other expansion slots more or less unusable, and no single slot card suitable for a high end system like this springs to mind as obvious candidates for replacement.

Then there's those overclocking tools. They're incredibly detailed, but there's no documentation supplied to help you use them, or inline help files to explain what all the settings do.

That's a problem, because some can conflict and cancel each other out, and you'll only know it after a lengthy set-up and full system restart. The EPU, for example, is a great idea, but enabling that and TurboV EVO overclocking effectively borked both for good.

The automated overclocking came back in at some point, but our test system actually drew 70W less power once the EPU software was uninstalled.

Nothing, however, tops the bizarre horizontal placement of the CMOS battery. It stands upright just beside the memory slots, so it's right in the line of fire when you're fitting, well, everything. It's hinged to avoid damage, but nevertheless is far too easy to snag and twist.

But that's the griping over and done with. Everything else about the Rampage III Gene delivers exactly what it should.

The TurboV EVO didn't push our Core i7 980X to extremes of overclocking, but it did push it a good 100-200MHz further than the on-chip Turbo allowed. And when it comes to overclocking, the ability to tweak just about anything, and remotely from another laptop, is hard to find fault with.

Performance is good, at least on a par with other X58 boards and occassionally better, while overclocking beyond 4GHz was smooth and remarkably trouble free.

But everything comes back to that original point. If you're going to build a system for overclocking, it's unlikely you'll want to do it in a microATX case.

This is a great niche board if you're planning some customised watercooled rig, and we're glad it exists. But as the price suggests, it's really not one for the masses. If you're after a small motherboard, there's a good chance it isn't this.

We liked:

Other than multiple GPUs, there's little you sacrifice for the cut-down size of the microATX Rampage III Gene, and it's as feature packed as its RoG brethren. There's attention to detail with power buttons and reset switches, and it's stable under overclock.

We disliked:

The only question about the Rampage III Gene is whether or not you can find a small form factor case with suitable cooling, so you can actually play around with its incredible overclocking abilities. Or even get to grips with them in the first place, given the lack of documentation.

Final word:

The biggest problem, though, is the price – it's a niche product with a very well-defined audience.