Press shots and presentation slides of the Rampage IV Formula started making waves today. Pictures reveal the board to be standard ATX. Unlike the Extreme, Formula has just four DDR3 DIMM slots (one slot per memory channel), yet it supports all the DRAM multipliers Extreme does. The CPU is powered by a 11-phase Digi+ VRM. It is wired to four PCI-Express 3.0 (capable) x16 slots, among which two are PCI-Express 3.0 x16 capable, and all four are x8 capable, depending on the way they are populated with addon cards. Apart from these long slots, there are two PCI-E 2.0 x1. 4-way SLI and CrossFireX are supported. Storage connectivity includes four SATA 3 Gb/s (black), four SATA 6 Gb/s (red, two from the PCH, two from third-party controller), and two eSATA 6 Gb/s (also from a third-party controller).
ASUS deployed a new audio solution on this board, putting its experience with audiophile-grade sound cards to 'sound' use. The board features what's called ASUS SupremeFX III. It combines a new conventional high signal-noise ratio (high-quality/fidelity) HD Audio CODEC (probably ALC898), with an active circuit that works to eliminate EMI noises commonly found on motherboards. The circuit consists of a 1500 uF capacitor that works to dampen EMI noises, the CODEC chip is covered with an EMI shield, and the area where the CODEC is located is electrically isolated from the rest of the board. At the analog output cluster, the audio jacks are gold-plated. As a neat cosmetic touch, ASUS used its PCB printer to lay a fiber-optic trace like a wire on the topmost PCB layer, at one of its ends is a blood-red LED, this wire ends up looking a a groovy red line connecting the CODEC to the audio jack cluster and front-panel HDA header, and a glowing ROG "eye" logo. Again, this is a purely cosmetic touch.
There is one Ethernet connection, driven by an Intel-made controller. There are six USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel, two via header. A bunch of USB 2.0 and PS/2 combo make for the rest of the rear panel. Here, you will also find ROG connect and CMOS clear switches (can be disabled), and a BIOS flashback button that helps the UEFI BIOS recover from bad settings/flashes. It's basically a panic button.
ROG exclusives include a feature-rich ROG UEFI firmware setup program, TweakIT, ProbeIT, LN2-safe mode, Voltiminder, onboard OC switches, ROG Connect, ROG Flashback, ROG Gamefirst, and XSocket. XSocket is a unique CPU socket retention clip custom-made by ASUS, which lets you use any socket LGA1366-supporting cooler or water-block on the LGA2011 socket. Expect the ASUS Rampage IV Formula to have a sweet price.
Rampage IV Gene
ASUS announced Rampage IV Gene to its internal partners (and not to the general public), it is a micro-ATX motherboard for the LGA2011 platform, though it didn't talk about it much. In fact the slide detailing it had its picture blurred, and used the wrong picture for Rampage IV Formula picture. We'll try to find out more about this board in the coming days.