ROG introduces Rampage VI Extreme, Rampage VI Apex, and Strix X299-E motherboards for Skylake-X

May 30, 2017 Written by:ROG Article

The next generation of high-end desktops debuted at Computex today, and ROG was there with three brand-new motherboards designed to help gamers get the most out of their PCs. Intel’s new X299 platform and accompanying Skylake-X processors raise the bar for CPU and memory performance with up to 18 cores and 128GB of quad-channel DDR4 memory. And they add bandwidth for an army of graphics cards and NVMe SSDs with up to 44 PCIe lanes through the CPU and even more from the chipset. It’s a gloriously potent foundation we’ve used to push the cutting edge for gaming PCs.

We have three models expertly tailored for different priorities: the Rampage VI Extreme lives up to its name for drool-worthy dream machines with custom liquid cooling and ultra-fast networking, the Rampage VI Apex unabashedly targets peak performance and record-breaking overclocking, and the Strix X299-E gives gamers the powerful tuning, cooling, and personalization options they need to get the most from their rigs.


Shared innovations define the ROG X299 family

All three boards share the same DNA—essential features that enthusiasts in the Republic of Gamers crave. That starts with critically acclaimed overclocking and cooling controls for liquid and air. There are dedicated pump headers for powering custom loops and all-in-one coolers, plus intelligent fan controls for optimal efficiency and quiet acoustics. Sensor grouping lets your cooling react to a mix of workloads, including GPU-heavy gaming via direct temperature monitoring for select graphics cards. Tuning your gaming PC is easy whether you want to perfect your setup with manual tweaking or automatically configure and overclock the whole thing with a single click using our 5-Way Optimization utility.

The X299 platform’s copious bandwidth is made for multiple NVMe SSDs and graphics cards. Intel’s VROC technology combines with our optional add-in card to enable insane M.2 RAID arrays made up of a stack of parallel drives with a direct line to the CPU. You can hit ludicrous speeds with enough capacity for overflowing game libraries. You can also put multiple onboard M.2 drives in RAID through the X299 chipset using slots placed carefully to maximize airflow and prevent thermally induced slowdowns.

Graphics cards plug into reinforced SafeSlots that protect against damage from heavy GPU coolers and rough handling. The x16 slots have enough breathing room to SLI a couple of monster ROG Strix GTX 1080 Tis, and you can squeeze up to four dual-slot cards into the Rampage VI Extreme and Apex to achieve peak graphics and compute performance.

Gaming PCs provide unprecedented options to express your style, including through personalized lighting. The RGB LEDs embedded on our boards are augmented by headers for multiple RGB LED strips to illuminate your entire chassis. All of the lighting is part of our Aura Sync ecosystem, which synchronizes harmoniously across compatible ROG graphics cards, peripherals, and monitors, along with other components from our partners.

Our drive to do more for modders and builders led to the addition of headers for addressable RGB strips on the Rampage VI Extreme and Strix X299-E. Addressable strips offer control of individual LEDs along the line, which will allow developers to create complex effects for next-level lighting. With our new Aura Sync SDK, we’re opening the lighting to game developers, programmers, and anyone who want to use RGB LEDs for enhanced functionality or aesthetics. We’re also working with Bitfenix, Cooler Master, Thermaltake, In Win, Phanteks, and CableMod to integrate addressable LEDs into their products.

Equipped with the latest generation of SupremeFX integrated audio, ROG’s new X299 motherboards boast enhanced recording quality for streamers who want their voice to come through clearly. You get all the latest I/O, including USB 3.1 Gen2 with Type-C ports and internal headers pushing speeds up to 10Gbps. Onboard Wi-Fi and Intel Gigabit networking are standard equipment, and you can add Intel’s new Optane Memory as a high-speed cache.

Imagine your dream machine with the Rampage VI Extreme

The flagship of this new family is the Rampage VI Extreme, which balances power and design to elevate showcase PCs. It’s made specifically for machines with custom liquid cooling and carefully bent tubing. Along with all of the usual fan and pump headers, we added dual flow headers that let you monitor the coolant coursing through your loop. There’s also a special connector that lets water blocks designed for the Extreme provide flow, temperature, and leakage data.

Almost every aspect of the Rampage VI Extreme has been enhanced to give you more. The usual Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller is bolstered by an onboard 10G chip capable of increasing networking throughput by an order of magnitude. We’ve also upgraded the Wi-Fi to the latest 802.11ad standard, increasing wireless bandwidth up to 4.6Gbps.

To help avoid unsightly wiring, three M.2 SSDs can be added to the board without using the VROC card. One slots under the Extreme’s outer skin, while the other two ride our DIMM.2 module next to the memory slots. A U.2 connector is also included for compatibility with enterprise-grade PCIe SSDs. The onboard Thunderbolt header lets you extend high-speed connectivity to external devices with our optional add-in card.

A reinforcing backplate helps the Rampage VI Extreme support heavily loaded rigs. The metal bracing also includes a separate GPU Holder that shoulders the weight of sagging graphics cards. The low-profile bracket leaves enough clearance for SLI bridges, and it’s strong enough to handle the beefiest cards.

New for X299, the Rampage VI Extreme integrates a LiveDash OLED screen that lets you monitor system temperatures, frequencies, and fan speeds right on the board. The dashboard also displays custom messages and graphics to add a little extra flair to your build. It’s complemented by enough onboard LEDs and strip headers to put on a show.

Even the audio goes the extra mile. Backlit audio jacks save you from fumbling around in the dark, and they’re set into an integrated I/O shield that simplifies motherboard installation. Our Sonic Studio III software completes the package with new VR functionality that extends its HRTF effects to headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Simply put, no other motherboard matches what the Rampage VI Extreme can do.

Set overclocking records with the Rampage VI Apex

ROG’s commitment to pursuing the highest overclocks and top performance manifests in the Rampage VI Apex. This model is purpose-built for setting records at sub-zero temperatures—not just with LN2, but also with more exotic liquid helium. We’ll do whatever it takes to eke out a few more MHz.

Less is more on the ragged edge. The Apex has only one DIMM slot per channel, which allows optimized trace routing that can improve stability with the fastest memory kits. You can load the board with 64GB of DDR4 memory running at blistering speeds and extremely low latencies.

Memory is flanked by dual DIMM.2 slots that take up to four M.2 SSDs between them. The left DIMM.2 is connected directly to the CPU and capable of taking advantage of Intel’s VROC technology, while the other runs through the X299 chipset. Both are positioned to exploit airflow from off-the-shelf memory coolers, preventing thermal throttling from slowing your storage during record attempts.

The Rampage VI Apex proudly wears its attitude on its sleeve—or rather PCB. It thinks outside the conventions of its Extended ATX form factor by cutting out sections of the board to facilitate cleaner cable routing around your pristine test bench. The distinctive shape visually sets the Apex apart from the competition, while the customizable name plate provides space to add a personal touch.

Our overclocking experts have already used the Apex to set a new world record with the Core i7-7740K at a staggering 7.56GHz. We've added several benchmark world records and global first places, as well, and we’re just getting started. Expect more records to fall as we cement ROG’s legacy as the absolute performance leader.

Game in style with the Strix X299-E

Where the Rampage VI Extreme and Apex are highly specialized, the ROG Strix X299-E takes a more straightforward approach. It represents a more affordable entry point into the Republic of Gamers without sacrificing the looks and features that define the brand.

Like its Rampage siblings, the Strix wears a monochrome motif that won’t clash with other components or your lighting choices. But unlike those larger EATX beasts, it conforms to standard ATX dimensions to fit into compact mid-towers. Despite more limited real-estate, the Strix still comes with all of the slots, ports, and headers you’d expect from a modern ROG motherboard.

Although there’s no room on the board for a DIMM.2 module, the Strix X299-E offers dual M.2 slots for NVMe SSDs. The first is tucked under the angular chipset heatsink, which helps dissipate the drive’s thermal energy. The second mounts drives on a bracket that sticks out from the board near the 24-pin power connector, allowing for greater airflow compared to conventional slots that lay drives flush with the PCB.

Ready for liquid cooling and RGB lighting, the Strix X299-E has headers for dual pumps and both standard and addressable LED strips. We also include a couple of extension cables that make it much easier to get the look you want. ROG does more than just offer checkbox features—we take the time to ensure each one is empowering for enthusiasts and accessible for beginners.

Pricing and availability

The Strix X229-E will be available first, followed by the Rampage VI Apex and Extreme. Check with your local ASUS or ROG representative for specific pricing and availability info for your region.

If you want to see more of what ASUS has to offer for X299, check out our Edge Up article on the motherboards from the Prime and TUF families. ROG is only one part of the picture.