ASUS Rampage II Gene
An ASUS microATX motherboard for Core i7 CPUs with advanced overclocking features.
- Lots of innovative tools and features, user-friendly BIOS, provides all of the power and most of the connectivity of the Rampage II Extreme
- Carries the stigma of being a microATX motherboard, it's not cheap (though the price is justified)
The Asus Rampage II Gene is easily one of the most powerful and feature-packed microATX motherboards on the market. It deserves to be a rampaging success.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
The ASUS Rampage II Gene is a microATX motherboard that features Intel’s latest X58 Express chipset for Core i7 CPUs (central processing units). It’s essentially a ‘Mini Me’ version of the ASUS Rampage II Extreme — a regular ATX board with familiar specifications. (This is reflected by the Gene’s near-identical packaging; albeit in a shrunk down form.)
Despite its micro design, the Rampage II Gene packs a Goliath-sized wallop that will do overclockers proud. It also comes with plenty of premium bells and whistles, including a diagnostic LED display, Power-on/Reset/Clear CMOS switches, X-Fi HD audio, area-specific LED heat indicators and a tweak-friendly BIOS menu. As befits a Republic of Gamers motherboard, both Nvidia SLI and ATI Crossfire are supported, which means you don’t need to stick to one manufacturer’s camp. While it’s certainly not cheap compared to other microATX boards, the ASUS Rampage II Gene represents solid value given what it offers.
In terms of connectivity, the ASUS Rampage II Gene provides a similar feature set to the ASUS Rampage II Extreme. The rear panel contains four USB ports, a PS/2 keyboard connection, FireWire, eSATA and a clear CMOS switch. The only notable absence is a PS/2 mouse port, which few people will miss. The Rampage II Extreme’s trio of PCI Express 2.0 graphics ports (x16) has been downgraded to two. Again, this is not something that should affect most users, especially considering the prevalence of multi-GPU graphics boards on the market (e.g. equipped with two ATI Radeon HD 4870x2s, you’ll still be able to install a quad-GPU setup using the Rampage II Gene). The other feature to get the chop is dual Gigabit LAN — instead, a single Gigabit port is offered.
Elsewhere, the ASUS Rampage II Gene comes with six SATA ports, an SPDIF optical connector, an extra pair of USB ports, a 4xPCI-E slot, PCI slot and 8-channel audio with Creative EAX 4.0 support. The board also boasts dedicated ‘Voltiminder’ LED warning lights for CPU and memory that keep you abreast of voltage levels (going from green, to orange, to red). We also liked the dinky Power-on and Reset buttons. According to ASUS’ Web site, the Rampage II Gene can support up to a whopping 24GB of DDR3 RAM, which is frankly a bit ridiculous. RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID10 are naturally also supported.
With dimensions of 244x244mm, the Rampage II Gene is around 4/5th the size of a regular ATX motherboard. ASUS has consequently been forced to make some superficial hardware adjustments to fit everything onto the board. For example, there are no locking clips at the bottom of each memory slot, due to their close proximity to the bottommost PCI-E x16 graphics card slot (instead, a metal spring is used). Likewise, the CMOS battery has been moved to an upright position on the upper corner. These small changes in no way hamper the installation process, though, and actually prove beneficial (e.g. swapping over RAM would have required removing the graphics card first, if it wasn’t for the unconventional spring mechanism).
We installed the ASUS Rampage II Gene into an ASUS AU-T1 PC case with an Intel Core i7-965 Extreme Edition CPU, a Kingston SSDNow M series SNM125-S2/80GB HDD and 3GB of Kingston triple-channel DDR3 RAM. For graphics, we connected a Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 x2, which the board recognised without any problems.
The ASUS Rampage II Gene utilises 180° SATA ports, which makes HDD installation easier if you’re using regular-sized hard drives. The inclusion of 775 and 1366 mounting sockets for two types of CPU coolers is also a nice touch. We found the entire installation process to be swift and hassle-free, and it was complemented by the user-friendly BIOS. Each setting comes with a cavalcade of options which are set out in straightforward English. There’s also a dedicated overclocking section called Extreme Tweaker with plenty of advanced settings for hardcore enthusiast types.
If you’re a tech-shy gamer who nevertheless wants a maxed-out rig, the BIOS also offers a host of automated tools and features. These include CPU Level Up (which automatically boosts your CPU’s voltage level and clock speed), Memory Level Up (which optimises memory settings) and a pair of overclocking tuning modes (Extreme OS and Gamer).
So, why go micro? If you’re a LAN party regular, the Gene’s small form factor will allow you to invest in a mini-tower for increased portability — without making any concessions to your hardware’s grunt (although getting graphics cards to fit may be a bit of a pinch). Alternatively, it will free up extra room in a regular-sized chassis, which can be very helpful if you intend to install water cooling solutions and the like. It may also be attractive if you want an unobtrusive home theatre PC to add to your home entertainment setup. Finally, there’s the difference in price — at $599, the ASUS Rampage II Gene is $100 cheaper than its Extreme brother. While it lacks a few of features found on the Rampage II Extreme, it hasn’t compromised on power, and certainly offers more overclocking potential than the average microATX motherboard. All in all, a rock-solid effort.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Ring Video Doorbell review
- 2 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 4 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 5 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
Latest News Articles
- NVIDIA Supercharges Rendering Performance with AI
- AMD's Ryzen Pro launch reveals Ryzen 3 details
- AMD, Nvidia coin mining graphics cards appear as gaming GPU shortage intensifies
- Radeon Vega Frontier Edition: Benchmarks and behind-the-scenes AMD interview
- Hands-on: AMD's Radeon Vega Frontier Edition vs Nvidia Titan Xp
PCW Evaluation Team
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
- Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- GAMOSPHERE: Your August Roundup of Gaming News
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTService Desk Consultant/Customer Service SpecialistOther
- FTDigital Marketing ExecutiveOther
- FTSenior DevOps Engineer - up to $800 pdOther
- FTPermanent Project ManagersACT
- FTSOC Analyst - Permanent Opportunity!!Other
- CCLinux AIX EngineerNSW
- FTSales Manager - Expanding, global software companyNSW
- TPHolistic BA - IT & Business upgrade - Bathurst location**NSW
- CCWintel Migration ArchitectNSW
- FTService Desk Consultant - Must have baseline or NV1 clearanceOther
- FTBusiness Development Manager Staff AugmentationOther
- FTProject Support OfficerQLD
- FTPractice Manager - SecurityVIC
- CCRadio Design EngineerVIC
- CCNetIQ DevelopmentNSW
- FTSystems Engineer - Managed Services (Level 3)NSW
- CCServiceNow Technical Architect - CANBERRA BASEDNSW
- CCInteractive UX - UI DesignerNSW
- CCProgrammer Analyst - BrisbaneVIC
- TPAgile Project ManagerQLD
- CCExcel Specialist - TelcoVIC
- CCBusiness Process Specialist - TelcoVIC
- FTGun Java Developers wantedVIC
- CCSplunk ArchitectNSW
- CCSAP ConsultantOther