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Back in Black: The Rampage III Black Edition.

The Rampage III Extreme has had a bit of a makeover – the Black Edition is, well, a lot darker than before as all the ports and sockets now don a black and dark grey coat, rather than a dash of red as well.

Firstly you’ll notice the heatsinks have also been upgraded to match the recently launched Maximus IV Extreme. If you look carefully at the VRM heatsink there’s even an ROG logo stealthily incorporated too.

Revised PCI-Express

ASUS has designed the Black Edition to give the best of both worlds, whether you prefer to use anything from a single GPU to four of them.

The four PCI-Express lanes can be split up to 8x/8x/8x/8x, however there is no Nvidia NF200 chipset on the actual PCB itself. This means the PCI-Express performance is as fast as native X58 offers, so for anything less than four-way SLI setups this is the best option. Still, because the Rampage brand has always been about offering the ultimate performance platform, the ASUS Xpander – with its additional pair of NF200s – still fits the Black Edition, which means four-way SLI is still possible!

Where’s the kitchen sink?

The board is packed with even more kit than the last generation. If you already know the Rampage III Extreme you’ll be familiar with the OC Zone, dual-BIOS with a switching button, Intel Gigabit Ethernet, ROG Connect USB and RC Bluetooth however the Black Edition also has 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 3.0+HS, USB 3 front panel header and an upgraded SupremeFX X-Fi 2 all onboard too.

New to the BIOS is the GPU.DIMM Post that helps identify any potential problems with memory DIMMs and PCI-Express graphics cards as well.

If all that isn’t enough (really??), ASUS has also included a brand new ROG PCI-Express card, dubbed ‘Thunderbolt’ with even further pimped up hardware.

Killer NIC and ASUS Xonar Powahhhh!

The Thunderbolt combines both Bigfoot Networks NPU (Network Processing Unit) and an ASUS Xonar soundcard with built-in headphone amplifier onto a single PCB.  This is the first time both technologies have been included not only on in an ROG box, but on the same PCB, and it should further reinforce the aspirations of Republic of Gamers to appeal to both PC Gamers and Overclockers. ‘Save the kitchen sink, I can’t think of what else anyone might possibly need… In fact, let us know your thoughts on that.

We’ll do our best to get around to some unboxing and dismantling soon! In the mean time if you’re into this seasons colour, let us know in the comments below!

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