Intel Core i9 10980XE and ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme Encore Review
Published: 25th November 2019 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
Intel Core i9-10980XE
Normally when we're wrapping up our thoughts about a particular product we do our best to not consider the price as all that important. We all have different budgets and different amounts that we consider good value. What might be our "50 a head is insane" dinner is someone else's "another bottle of Bolly and stick it on my tab". If you want/need something badly enough then price doesn't really come into it. With the Intel Core i9-10980XE the price is such a big part of what it has to offer that it is inextricably linked to our thoughts.
The Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-9980XE are both high-end, high core CPUs that came with a price point which reflected Intel's market dominance. The release and performance of the Ryzen Threadripper CPUs has forced Intel to review their pricing policy and thus the Intel Core i9-10980XE is hitting the market at half of its predecessors. Half the price. That makes the fact that the performance speaks of a processor which has been revised rather than redesigned less of a bitter pill to swallow. You're getting slightly better performance than the i9-9980XE, but for a greatly reduced entry cost. Better still the additions of some AI and the selective core overclocking make it a much more attractive option for those of you who like to install your processor and get on with the business of creating, rather than spent a week fettling it. Manually overclocking does bring some serious performance benefits, but at significantly increased heat and power requirements. So if you plan to run it at its limit then youll need something like the Encore and proper watercooling to be in with a chance of having a system you can live with.
You need to have a large budget, and a genuine need for 18 cores, but if you have the workflow that will utilise the i9-10980XE to its fullest capabilities and have always dreamt of owning one of Intel's XE processors then the massive price cut means there has never been a better time to get on board the 36 thread train and it wins our Enthusiast Award.
Youll probably notice we have not mentioned the 3950X from AMD and thats because they have not sent us one to test yet (they dont have many samples) so until we do we can only really comment on the products we have reviewed and the data we have to hand.
ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Encore
Speaking of refinements, the ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Encore pretty much gives away its entire design ethos with the fact it's called the Encore and not the Rampage VII. The Rampage VI Extreme was launched in early 2017, and had the X299 chipset and plenty of eye-catching aesthetic touches to leave us all yearning to own it. A year later the Rampage VI Omega arrived, and it had lost a little bit of its flash and flair, being very much an evolution rather than a revolution. Now the Rampage VI Extreme Encore is here and, apart from one area, is even less flashy than even the Omega was. Yes, it has gained a full colour OLED display for the LiveDash feature, replacing the monochrome one of old, but otherwise it's all a bit aesthetically... fine. We know that performance is what matters but whereas other manufacturers have been beefing up their performance and adding new touches that make us pleased we invested such an enormous sum in the foundation of our system, it appears ASUS have been doing all they can to cut down on the flair elements that made the ROG brand so famous in the first place. If we didn't know better we'd think it was the Rampage VI Formula.
Fortunately whilst the light show and swooping heatsinks might have been consigned to the bin, the performance that has made the ASUS Republic of Gamers range the market leader is still here in abundance. The board is festooned with high quality components in every area you could hope for, with plenty of connectivity options and enough high bandwidth technologies to keep even the most power hungry user satisfied. The layout is very good too, with all of the overclocking controls on the bottom edge, whilst there are enough cooling headers to make sure that your system runs to its fullest potential.
If you plan on overclocking the Core i9-10980XE then you'll need a seriously big cooler to do the job, as on the Extreme Encore we very nearly hit triple digit temperatures. However, the VRM temperatures were outstanding. The dual fan and heatsink combination that ASUS have employed on the Rampage VI Extreme Encore works like a champion, ensuring that your limiting factor will never be the power phases nor their temperatures. Perfect for those of you with exotic cooling solutions for your processor.
Just like the Zenith II on TRX40 platform the ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Encore finds ASUS resting on their design laurels a little bit, whilst everyone else has caught or passed them. However, just like the Zenith II, the actual performance and hardware quality hasn't dropped even the tiniest bit, giving rock solid performance and all the features you could demand. It might have gone from being the choice of the knowledgeable enthusiast to the safe choice of almost everyone these days, but the Rampage is still a board to be reckoned with and wins our OC3D Performance Award.
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