Review: ASUS ROG Rampage VI Apex (X299) Motherboard

The Apex is the newest member of the ROG product family that made its debut with the Maximus IX Apex in the Z270 motherboard lineup for Kaby Lake CPUs. The Apex is targeted at enthusiasts who are eager to reach the apex of gaming and performance.

For the new Intel X299 chipset, ASUS has released the ROG Rampage VI Apex. Specially designed with overclocking in mind, the new Apex incorporates best overclocking engineering including the 1-DIMM-per-channel DDR4 layout, Condensation Detection LEDs, Overclocking Zone, ROG OC Pin for Kaby Lake-X overclocking, Dual 8-pin CPU power connectors capable of handling more than 500W+ of power, Dual BIOS, and the list goes on.

First revealed during Computex 2017 not long ago, the ROG Rampage VI Apex has broken countless world records with the most remarkable reaching a staggering 7.56GHz of CPU frequency on all cores with the Intel Core i7-7740K “Kabe Lake-X” CPU. Extreme overclockers such as Der8auer and Dancop highly recommended the Apex as the best overclocking motherboard that money can buy.

Overclocking aside, the Apex also comes equipped with a revolutionary DIMM.2 design that allows for mounting of up to four blazing-fast NVMe drives vertically, with ability to be cooled by active fans to prevent M.2 thermal throttling while maximizing storage performance. Similar to its Maximus IX brother, the ROG Rampage VI Apex also features an X-Shaped PCB with the SATA ports located at the cut-out which looks really cool! Not just that, there is a unique customizable illuminated nameplate for DYI lovers to further enhance the overall look of the motherboard.

Should the ROG Rampage VI Apex be the motherboard for your next PC build? Let’s check it out and learn what the motherboard has to offer.

Product Link: https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/ROG-RAMPAGE-VI-APEX/

Suggested Retail Price: RM 2,439 including GST ($429.99 USD)


 

Specifications

On the paper, the ROG Rampage VI Apex is a beast of a motherboard. Built based on Intel’s X299 chipset and LGA2066 socket, the board is fully compatible with the Intel Core X-Series “Skylake-X” and “Kaby Lake-X” desktop processors. It sports four memory slots that support up to 64GB of memory capacity and frequency up to DDR4-4133 MHz (OC) in quad-channel configuration with the Skylake-X CPU and up to 32GB of DDR4-4500 MHz (OC) in dual-channel with the Kaby Lake-X processors. ASUS offers support for the Intel Extreme Memory Profile 2.0 (XMP) that allows you to overclock the DDR4 memory to perform beyond standard SPD specifications (DDR4-2666 MHz).

To make use of the huge PCIe lanes, the new Apex comes equipped with four full-sized PCIe 3.0 x16 slots and one single PCIe 3.0 x4 slot. With a 44-lane CPU, it supports single graphics card at x16, dual cards at x16/x16, triple cards at x16/x8x/x8 and 4-Way SLI/CrossFireX at x8/x8/x8/x8. The 28-lane CPU support up to 3-Way SLI/CrossFireX, with single graphics card running at x16, dual cards at x16/x16 and triple cards at x8/x8x/x8. Lastly, the 16-lane CPU support up to 2-Way SLI/CrossFireX, with single graphics card operating at x16 and dual cards at x16/x16.

To ensure users will not be running out of storage, ASUS provides a total of six SATA 6Gb/s ports in which four are being supplied by the X299 chipset while the other two are wired to ASMedia’s ASM1061 controller. With two vertically mounted DIMM.2, the Apex offers up to four M.2 sockets each capable of delivering 32Gb/s of data transfer at full PCIe 3.0 x4 bandwidth. Of course, these M.2 sockets support lightning-fast NVMe SSDs including the latest Intel Optane Memory.

For interrupted online gaming sessions, ASUS provides state-of-the-art Intel Gigabit Ethernet featuring LANGuard and GameFirst IV technologies. Furthermore, you also get an onboard 2×2 dual-band 2.4/5GHz 802.11ac MU-MIMO Wi-Fi + Bluetooth v4.2 module capable of transferring data up to 867Mb/s. As far as the audio solution is concerned, ASUS has incorporated its latest SupremeFX powered by a new S1220A CODEC for crystal-clear sound quality and intuitive Sonic Studio III and Sonic Radar III.

USB options are plentiful. You get two USB 3.1 ports each Type-A and Type-C at the rear I/O panel plus one USB 3.1 header at the front for certain PC cases that offer USB 3.1 ports. You also receive a total of ten USB 3.0 in which six of them are located at the rear I/O panel while the other four coming from the USB 3.0 header at the front. Five USB 2.0 ports are also provided, totaling to 18 USB ports available across the board.

Physically, the ROG Rampage VI Apex measures 30.5 cm in length and 27.2 cm in width, which conforms to the Extended ATX (EATX) form factor standard. It is huge, so make sure that you have an extra-large chassis to accommodate the board before pulling a trigger on the purchase.

 

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Product Features

THE EXTREME OC BOARD FOR ENTHUSIASTS

Deftly tailored by ROG engineers, and tuned to perfection by the world’s best overclockers, the Rampage VI Apex is purpose-built to break performance records. Featuring an optimized 4-DIMM memory trace layout, innovative dual DIMM.2 modules that keep your M.2 SSDs cool, and a distinct X-shaped PCB that’s tactfully accented with Aura RGB lighting, the Apex melds no-compromise engineering with radical aesthetics. Build your next showcase rig and push the X299 platform to the limits with the Rampage VI Apex.

BUILT TO BREAK LIMITS

WORLD RECORDS SMASHED

Rampage VI Apex is built to break world records — and it’s already done just that. With its optimized layout, high-quality components, and its ability to withstand the rigors of sub-zero operation with liquid-nitrogen (LN2) and helium (LHe), Apex has already smashed seven world records and scored 16 global first-places.* These include the highest CPU frequency for Intel Core i7 at 7.562GHz with four cores and eight threads — that’s a staggering 75.87% overclock of the chip‘s default 4.3GHz frequency!

* World records and global first-place positions were verified on 27 July 2017, and are recorded at HWBOT.org.

OVERCLOCKER’S TOOLKIT

HARDWARE-LEVEL CONTROLS

Rampage VI Apex includes an overclocker’s toolkit with hardware-level controls to aid your overclocking experience. The motherboard’s Dual BIOS allows you to experiment with different firmware versions and provides a path for recovery in case one becomes corrupt, and the onboard switch allows you to easily change between the first and second BIOS. The overclocker’s toolkit also includes a Pause switch to halt the system, and four PCIe switches for quick slot toggling. Other tools include Safe Boot and ReTry buttons, an LN2 jumper to aid POST at sub-zero temperatures, and a Slow mode switch. Combined, they’re quick and easy time-savers designed to help you break more records.

 

CONDENSATION DETECTION

Specialized circuitry allows Rampage VI Apex to detect when condensation occurs on the back of the board. Divided into four distinct sections — CPU, DRAM_L, DRAM_R and PCIe — the feature provides a useful warning when an area may be at risk of short-circuiting.

 

OPTIMIZED TRACE LAYOUT

It’s the combination of intricate and innovative engineering that makes Rampage VI Apex such a big performer. Allotting just one DIMM slot per channel allowed our engineers to create shorter trace distances, which in turn means tighter control over impedance and reduced possibility for signal interference. We also adopted an engineering-first strategy, paring back the number of integrated circuits to enable the best possible trace routing. The end result is a motherboard with better stability and more overclocking headroom, allowing you to get the best performance from your memory kit.

DDR4 OVERCLOCKING STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

ROG engineers adopted a four-slot memory design on an EATX motherboard, enabling a highly optimized layout for memory trace paths to minimize noise and improve signal integrity. Rampage VI Apex allows for DDR4 overclocking to reach up to 4500+MHz in dual channel mode, and 4133MHz+ with 4 DIMMs in quad-channel mode. ROG also works with all the major DDR4 memory vendors to ensure the best compatibility and real-word performance.

 

ASUS PRO CLOCK II TECHNOLOGY WITH EXTREME ENGINE DIGI+

A dedicated base-clock generator that extends CPU and memory overclocking margins. This custom solution works in tandem with the TPU to enhance voltage and base-clock overclocking control, providing the flexibility to extract every ounce of performance from Intel® Core™ X-series processors. And, of course, Rampage VI Apex includes Extreme Engine Digi+ — ROG’s revered digital power controller. With a Digi+ PWM controller, PowlRstage® IR3555 MOSFETs, MicroFine alloy chokes, and 10K black metallic capacitors, Extreme Engine Digi+ technology delivers consistently stable power.

Advantages of ASUS Pro Clock II:

  • Reduced boot time
  • Lower jitter under extreme conditions for higher overclocks
  • Increased stability under heavy overclocking

 

CUTTING EDGE INNOVATIONS

DUAL ROG DIMM.2

Rampage VI Apex includes two ROG DIMM.2 modules to support a total of four PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 SSDs. ROG DIMM.2 supports a wide variety of existing memory coolers, and the Rampage VI Apex comes with two fan mounts that support up to two 50mm fans or a single 80mm fan, making it easy to chill your M.2 drives. Each module features a pair of onboard thermal-sensor headers for temperature reporting, allowing control over fan speed and acoustics via Fan Xpert 4 software, or the ASUS UEFI. As a finishing touch, the modules have onboard RGB LEDs that are controllable via our Aura software, adding options to accent your build with a range of lighting effects.

 

RAID & VROC

 

VRM AND I/O HEATSINK

The latest high-core-count Intel Core i7 and i9 CPUs consume serious amounts of power, so Rampage VI Apex is equipped with serious VRM cooling. Featuring a high-mass, finned heatsink that connects to the I/O cover via heat pipe, the expansive surface area dissipates heat efficiently. And, for enthusiasts that want to push the platform to the absolute limit, we’ve even included a bracket that allows you to mount a fan to accelerate the airflow.

* Fan sold separately.

ROG WATERCOOLING ZONE

ROG’s innovative Water-Cooling Zone lets you monitor your cooling system like never before. ROG Water-Cooling Zone’s dual water-temperature headers and flow-rate header feed information straight into the AI Suite utility ─ so you can keep track of coolant temperatures, and the flow rate of the entire loop.

 

INTEL OPTANE MEMORY READY

Intel® Optane™ memory* is a revolutionary non-volatile memory technology supported by Rampage VI Apex. Offering dramatically accelerated data transfer speeds, Optane memory modules can be used to augment traditional mechanical hard-drives to improve storage performance.

*Enabled via Intel® X Series processor, driver and BIOS update. Only available on PCH_DIMM.2.

USB 3.1 GEN 2 TYPE-A & TYPE-C

ULTIMATE-SPEED 10GBPS WITH USB 3.1 ONBOARD

With backward-compatible USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A™ and reversible USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C™ ports, you’ll experience ultimate connection flexibility and blazing data transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps.

 

BEST GAMING CUSTOMIZATION

OUTSHINE THE COMPETITION

A well-tuned enthusiast system deserves a matching aesthetic. ASUS Aura offers full RGB lighting control with a variety of functional presets for the built-in RGB LEDs, as well as strips connected to the two onboard 4-pin RGB headers.* And it can all be synced with an ever-growing portfolio of Aura Sync-enabled ASUS hardware.

 

INFINITE LIGHTING POSSIBILITIES

ASUS Aura SDK allows developers to take full advantage of the vast eco-system of Aura Sync-capable PC gear. From in-system illumination to peripherals and beyond, the SDK provides an evolving toolkit of options to enhance games and software with RGB lighting. Game effects, alerts, and audio can all be portrayed via Aura-compatible hardware, creating subtle or dazzling visual cues to augment the action. There’s also scope to map system parameters such as temperatures to lighting, giving enthusiasts new ways to monitor vital information.

 

ILLUMINATED CUSTOMIZABLE NAMEPLATE

Use the bundled DIY kit to customize your nameplate, then see your personal mark illuminated with Aura Sync lighting!

* The pre-cut ROG logo is shown here as an example, but the content is easily customized.
**The LEDs for the customized nameplate are disabled by default by the LIGHT_BAR_1 jumper. Switch the jumper position in order to enable the LEDs

 

X-SHAPED PCB

With an asymmetrical X-shaped circuit board and a radical lighting scheme, Rampage VI Apex dares to be different. The unique X design enables simpler, cleaner cable routing, and features Aura RGB backlighting to make your build stand out from the crowd.

 

3D PRINTING FRIENDLY

3D-PRINTABLE ACCESSORIES

As system parts are visible in custom PC builds, make yours stand out from the competition with 3D-printed accessories.

 

 

BEST GAMING EXPERIENCE
5-WAY OPTIMIZATION

One click takes care of all that complex tuning. ASUS 5-Way Optimization makes your PC smart. It dynamically optimizes essential aspects of the system, providing overclocking and cooling profiles that are tailored for your rig.

・ An automated tuning utility that optimizes overclocking and cooling profiles for your unique system configuration.
・ Fans stay whisper-quiet for everyday computing, and deliver optimal airflow when the system is crunching through CPU or GPU-intensive tasks.
・ All-new stress test that allows users to optimize and overclock for CPU or memory-centric workloads.

CPU PERFORMANCE BOOST

Unleash your PC’s full performance with the ASUS AI Suite 3 utility. A TurboV Processing Unit (TPU) is the intelligence behind our automated system-tuning utility, offering the ability to fine-tune voltages, monitor system stats, and adjust overclock parameters for optimal performance.

ALL-ROUND ENERGY EFFICIENCY

With the Energy Processing Unit (EPU) you’ll enjoy system-wide power savings. The EPU automatically optimizes power consumption and maximizes savings with Away mode — a smart setting that creates an extreme energy-saving scenario by shutting down unused I/O controllers.

FLEXIBLE COOLING CONTROLS FOR AIR OR LIQUID

With ROG Rampage VI Apex, you have comprehensive control over fans, water pumps and even all-in-one (AIO) coolers, via either Fan Xpert 4 or our award-wining UEFI. Whether you’re cooling with air or water, Auto-Tuning mode intelligently configures all parameters with a single click. There’s also an Extreme Quiet mode, which reduces all fan speeds to below the default minimum – keeping your system whisper-quiet when performing light tasks.

 

PRECISE DIGITAL POWER CONTROL

Digi+ delivers real-time control over voltage droop, switching frequency and power -efficiency settings, allowing you to fine-tune CPU voltage regulation for ultimate stability and performance.

 

OPTIMIZE PER-CORE PERFORMANCE FOR EVERY APP

Intel’s latest processors feature per-core tuning, and the ASUS Turbo Core app makes use of this feature by enabling you to assign applications to specific processor cores, allowing you to prioritize compute power where it’s needed most.

 

COOLER BY DESIGN

Rampage VI Apex features the most comprehensive cooling controls ever, configurable via Fan Xpert 4 or the UEFI BIOS.

 

MEDIA-ACCLAIMED UEFI BIOS

The smoothest, slickest mouse-controlled graphical BIOS has been improved to make it even more gorgeous. Whether you’re a PC novice or a seasoned overclocker, the EZ and Advanced Modes help you find your way, quickly and easily.

 

SUPREMEFX

SHIELDED AUDIO, SUPERIOR SOUND

Rampage VI Apex’s awesome SupremeFX audio technology has levelled up, delivering an exceptional 113 dB signal-to-noise ratio on the line-in connection for best-ever ROG recording quality! We’ve also added a low-dropout regulator for cleaner power delivery to the SupremeFX S1220A codec. It all adds up to audio that envelops you as never before!


Audio cover
Effective shielding preserves the integrity of audio signals to ensure best quality.
PREMIUM NICHICON™ CAPACITORS
Fine-quality Japanese-made components that produce a warmer, natural sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity.
Audio line shielding
Blocks electromagnetic interference from the motherboard or add-ons to provide cleaner audio.

 

BEST GAMING NETWORKING
INTEL ETHERNET

LOWER CPU WORKLOAD, HIGH TCP & UDP THROUGHPUT

ROG Rampage VI Apex features the very latest Intel® Ethernet (I219-V) for faster, smoother gaming. Intel Ethernet controllers have a natural synergy with their processors and chipsets, reducing CPU overhead and offering exceptionally high TCP and UDP throughput, so there’s more power for games and other tasks.

 

2X2 WI-FI WITH MU MIMO

ONBOARD WI-FI WITH TRANSFER SPEEDS UP TO 867MBPS

Next-level 802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2×2 dual-band 2.4/5GHz antennas offer up to 867Mbps* transfer speeds — and the very latest Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) technology ensures that every connected user** experiences the best wireless and online speeds!

* Actual speed varies, and Wi-Fi hotspot feature operates at 802.11a/b/g/n. Windows 10 does not currently support Wi-Fi hotspot functionality.
** Requires MU-MIMO-ready client.

LANGUARD

PUMPED-UP THROUGHPUT, BEST SURGE PROTECTION

LANGuard means safer, more reliable connections for your battles. Advanced signal-coupling technology and premium surface-mounting processes join forces to protect your ROG Rampage VI Apex’s connection, while protected components (ESD Guards) provide 1.9X-greater tolerance to static electricity and 2.5X-greater protection against surges — up to 15kV!

 

BEST GAMING PROTECTION

SAFESLOT

SafeSlot* is the PCIe slot reinvented by ASUS and engineered to provide superior retention and shearing resistance. Manufactured in a single step using a new insert-molding process, SafeSlot integrates the slot with fortifying metal for an inherently stronger slot, which is then firmly anchored to the PCB through additional solder points.

*Patent pending

SAFEDIMM

SafeDIMM slots feature a metal key-pin that increases durability, versus traditional DIMM slots.

 

ROG GIVES YOU MORE

OVERWOLF

STAY IN THE GAME

A clever, unobtrusive overlay keeps you in the game and allows you to browse the Web, email, IM, stream or record while you play. The overlay is dressed in color-matched ROG skins to show you’re part of an elite pack. Grab it now from Overwolf’s app store!

IMAGE YOUR DRIVES, THE SMART WAY

ROG CLONE DRIVE

All-new ROG Clone Drive is the smart, convenient cloning solution that quickly and efficiently replicates hard drives or SSDs. Clone Drive is so smart that it can clone one drive to two target drives at the same time, or image any file from your disk at breakneck speeds.

SPEED YOUR GAME LOADS

RAMCACHE II

ROG’s uniquely-intelligent technology effectively caches an entire storage device so that favorite games and apps launch at breakneck speeds, getting to work the moment it’s activated. RAMCache turns milliseconds into microseconds to boost game-load times to stratospheric levels!

Automatically caches all your storage devices at the same time for optimal use of your system‘s caching resources.

VR READY

Maximus IX Apex isn’t just VR Ready — it goes way beyond! The ASUS ROG Beyond VR Ready marque means that Extreme has been tested with loads of class-leading components to ensure that your productivity, gaming and entertainment needs are tuned for maximum performance after you’ve taken off the headset. ASUS ROG Beyond VR Ready opens up a new way to configure and build your dream system with total confidence.

The Power of Intel

Intel® X299 chipset

The Intel X299 chipset supports LGA 2066-socket Intel Core X-Series processors. It provides improved performance by utilizing serial point-to-point links, allowing increased bandwidth and stability. Additionally, X299 provides a maximum 10 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 8 SATA 6Gbps ports and 32Gbps M.2 support for faster data retrieval.

Intel Core XSeries processors for LGA 2066 (R4) socket

Intel Core X-Series processors (6 core above): 4-channel (8-DIMM), 44/28 PCI Express 3.0/2.0 lanes. Intel Core X-Series processors (4 core): 2-channel (4-DIMM), 16 PCI Express 3.0/2.0 lanes.

 

owikh84

owikh84

OverClocker, Reviewer at OCDrift.com
A humble guy born in a town called "Mache", loves technologies, willing to learn new stuffs and share latest product updates to all readers in OCDrift.com
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