Core i7 (Nehalem) is almost upon us, and I can't remember a time in the recent past where a product release has drawn so much excitement and hype before its release. Sure Conroe made a very large splash when it arrived, as it gave enthusiasts a reason to return to an Intel-based system after what can only be described as a very long time. This time around though, Intel has a new socket, a new processor and a chipset that will provide many features and performance that enthusiasts have been yearning for.
By now I'm sure that many of you have seen previews of Core i7
and what the new platform will entail, as well as preliminary performance benchmarks. Upon Core i7's release, we will see the move from the current LGA775 socket, to the LGA1366 socket; the inclusion of an integrated memory controller (IMC); SLI and CrossfireX support, and the near disappearance of the aging FSB thanks to the new QuickPath Interconnect (QPI). Although the biggest surprise would have to be the return of HyperThreading. Gone are the inefficient days of Pentium 4 CPU's struggling to cope with running two threads on a single core - Core i7 will be able to handle eight threads (two per core).This time around though, Core i7 promises significantly more power under the hood.
With all these new features and increased performance, there is a need for motherboards capable of providing performance equal to and complementing that of this new CPU. Which brings us to the subject of today's preview - the ASUS Rampage II Extreme
motherboard. Today we've been sent what will be the actual retail version of the ASUS Rampage II Extreme for some early analysis. Unfortunately, we cant post any performance figures of the board yet as we still have our commitment to the current NDA, but we're still going to take an up-close look at some of the board's finer points. Here are some words from ASUS' recent press release:
ASUS...today unveiled the most advanced and highest performing enthusiast motherboard at present: the Republic of Gamers (ROG) Rampage II Extreme. In keeping with ROG’s commitment to producing cutting-edge, boundary-redefining products for the serious gaming and overclocking community, the ROG Rampage II Extreme incorporates the latest innovations and components into its architecture, such as the latest Intel chipset and SLI/CrossFireX on Demand—delivering blistering performance through its support for the new range of Intel processors and multi-GPU technologies such as 3-Way SLI and CrossFireX™.
To enable users to push the capabilities of the new platform to the limit, the ROG Rampage II Extreme features ROG Extreme Engine, a true multi-phase power management system—16 phases for the CPU and 3 phases each for QPI/DRAM, the Northbridge and memory—with premium Multilayer type Polymer Capacitors (ML Caps) that keep the power supply stable even under the most demanding loads.