ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Omega Motherboard Review: Taming the i9-9980XE

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It has been a long while since the X299 platform was released for use with the latest generation HEDT CPUs. At the time, we saw i9-7xxx series CPUs released, initially, with up to 10 cores and 20 threads. A bit later down the road, Intel added High Core Count (HCC) CPUs to the lineup increasing cores and threads to 18 and 36 respectively with its, at the time, flagship i9 7980XE. With the release of the these CPUs, and even the 10c/20t parts before it, a solid power delivery area as well as above average VRM cooling was required to keep the power bits cool, especially for those who delidded the i9-7 series and can push 500W through them or those using sub-ambient cooling methods. To that end, we saw some board partners re-release boards with larger heatsinks more capable of dissipating the massive heat loads the VRMs can output.

ASUS was one of those and have taken high-end motherboard to what initially feels like a whole new level with the new ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Omega. The Omega isn’t an upgrade from an existing board so much as it is a new design more capable of managing the new HCC processors. The Omega uses a 8-phase VRM with a unique twist on how it is implemented (hint: no phase doublers). It also sports a large, robust cooler that includes two small fans inside in order to keep them cool under heavy loads. ASUS’ goal with this board is to, “make a bold change by bringing rugged purpose to the forefront.” We’ll take a closer look at this implementation as well as take a look at the boatload of features this board has to offer!

Specifications and Features

Fast forward to today, Intel has released a new lineup of CPUs, also based on the Skylake-X architecture ranging from the i7-9800X (8c/16t ~$600) all the way up to the flagship i9-9980XE (18c/36t ~$2000). The new processors are all 165 W parts, but in testing these have pulled a few hundred watts with ambient cooling during stress testing. Due to increased power use, again we are seeing a couple of board partners releasing new versions of boards with even beefier VRMs and cooling to the new CPUs.

ASUS’ X299 lineup now consists of 13 motherboards ranging from the $240 TUF X299 Mark 2, up to the $850 ($650 MSRP) Rampage VI Extreme (RVIE). The Omega slots in just above the ‘regular’ RVIE by price at $750 from Newegg. All boards in the lineup are ATX size or larger (EATX), so outside of MicroATX and Mini-ITX boards, the lineup is filled top to bottom with options from workstations (WS X299 Sage / WS X299 Sage 10G), Gaming (Strix X299-E / Strix X299-XE), to Overclocking (Rampage VI Apex) and everything in between for these Low Core Count (LCC) and High Core Count (HCC) i9-7xxx and i9-9xxx series CPUs.

One of the big differences on this board compared to the Extreme (non-Omega) is the power delivery. On the Omega, it is an 8-phase teamed versus 8-phase with doublers arrangement. There is a full 6″ of space for the VRM on this board which runs across the top of the socket and DRAM slots (which were moved down to accommodate the VRM). The full 16 power stages are set up in a teamed fashion with an 8-phase arrangement/controller. ASUS says the change was inspired from multi-phase firing modes which are how some buck controllers work, but with a twist. This ‘multi-firing mode’ is said to provide a boost when the power supply is dealing with heavy transient loads, but typically they do not engage until a large change occurs which is said to create other complications in regulation and response times. The teamed approach ASUS is using they say is “preemptive” because each phase has two power stages hardwired to quickly deal with current changes.

Why not a phase doubler like we are accustomed to? A phase-doubler in the signal chain adds a processing delay of about 20 ns. While VRM temperatures will not be much different, it is the voltage sag or lack thereof, that is the difference between them. Large deviations like this can have a negative effect on stability during load transitions. How much this matters exactly, we’ll likely not know, but on the outside, it doesn’t look like it hurts anything. ASUS has provided an image of what this looks like on the scope as well.

In the end, these changes coupled with its large VRM cooler and active cooling can dissipate constant 500W loads which should help with HCC processors and overclocking or sustained loads over time.

Transient Response Image from ASUS

As far as memory goes, the Omega also utilizes ‘choice’ Optimem II enhancements in order to push memory frequencies higher than the Extreme supporting up to 128 GB with speeds validated up to DDR4-4266. One item to note with the memory, we said it was moved down slightly in order to make room for the power delivery, but there is still very little space for the memory slot latches and are difficult to reach once memory sticks are installed. To that end, the board comes with an L-shaped tool for easier access and removal. Also due to this move, the board is missing its top middle mounting hole. The VRM heat spreaders on the top and bottom of the board are said to add rigidity and prevent the motherboard PCB from flexing in place.

When talking graphics/PCIe slots, the board has a total of three full-length PCIe 3.0 x16 and one PCIe 3.0 x4. slot. When using a 44-lane CPU, slots break down to x16/x8/x8/x4 with three cards or x16/x16/x0/x4 when using a dual card. 28-Lane CPUs are a bit different running x8/x8/x8/x4 with triple cards and x16/x8/x0/x4 for dual cards. The top two full-length slots are fed from the CPU while the bottom is sourced from the PCH along with the x4 slot. The Omega supports both 2/3-Way SLI and CrossfireX.

Moving on to storage capabilities, the Omega can support up to four M.2 modules using its DIMM.2 slot and two onboard slots as well as having six SATA 6 Gb/s ports and a U.2 port. The DIMM.2 device is directly connected to the CPU with each slot receiving full PCIe 3.0 x4 bandwidth. Using these will not affect SATA ports or the U.2 port. M2_2 on the board (the top M.2 slot) is also fed from the CPU PCIe lanes but is connected to the U.2 slot. If one is populated, the other does not work. M2_1 slot (bottom M.2 slot on the board) is fed from the chipset and supports both PCIe x4 or SATA protocols. The six SATA slots do not seem to be affected.

USB support on this board is plentiful in both back IO connectivity as well as front panel/headers. The rear IO consists of 12, yes 12, USB ports in total. There are a total of 10 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports and two USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports (Type-A and Type-C) with one of the former used for BIOS flashback capabilities (flashing the BIOS without a CPU). On the board itself, there is one USB 3.1 Gen2 header, two USB 3.1 Gen 1 headers, and two USB 2.0 headers. I’m pretty sure a total of 12 USB ports at the back panel is the most I have seen on a motherboard. Loads of USB connectivity here.

Networking capabilities on this board are some of the highest/most that one can find on a motherboard without an add-in card. The Omega includes two ethernet ports and integrated Wi-Fi. The hardwired ports consist of an Intel I219-V Gigabit port as well as an Aquantia AQC-107 10 Gigabit port making it one of a few that have such speeds. The Omega also includes an Intel Wireless AC 9260 module supporting 802.11ac/WiGig 802.11ad, MU-MIMO, and Bluetooth 5.0 with speeds up to 4000 Mbps. All your wired and wireless needs are covered. It doesn’t get much faster than this out of the box!

ASUS did not skimp on the audio here either as I am sure many expected. The Supreme FX S1220 CODEC/chip in use is made for ASUS and based off of the Realtek ALC1220 we see in many other boards. It also uses ESS Sabre 9018Q2C DAC/Amplifier, Nichicon Caps, switching MOSFETs for impedance sensing functionality to the front and back panels, as well as LED-illuminated jacks which help to see the ports in back and get things plugged in. Their Sonic Studio III software can be used to edit the sound to each user’s liking.

One of the cool things about this board is its ability to act as an entire cooling ecosystem. The Omega has a total of nine 4-pin headers for fans and/or pumps scattered around the board with most on the right side and bottom. The CPU and chassis fans support up to 1A/12W while the 2 W_Pump headers and the HS_Fan header support 3A/36W. Plenty for pumps and or high-speed, high-power fans. In addition to this, there are three headers on the board for water in/out temperatures as well as a 3-pin header for water flow (located by the SATA ports).

If the amount of headers on the board isn’t enough, ASUS includes the Fan Extension Card II with the board. The card itself is 2.5″ size similar to an SSD and is able to mount in 2.5″ locations in the case. The card adds six fan ports, three RGB LED ports (on top of the two onboard), as well as node ports to control other devices through this/the motherboard. This is by far the most complete cooling solution I have come across out of the box with a motherboard.

I believe if we look hard enough on the board or in the box, we’ll find a kitchen sink as well. This RVIE Omega is one of the most handsomely appointed boards we’ve come across.

Below is a list of specifications.

Specifications
CPU Intel Socket 2066 Core-X CPUs
Chipset Intel X299
Memory Supports up to 128GB Quad Channel DDR4 @ 4266MHz+ non-ECC UDIMM
Expansion Slots 3 x PCIe 3.0 x16 and 1 PCIe 3.0 x4 slots
Multi-GPU Support NVIDIA 2/3-Way SLI, AMD 2/3-Way CrossfireX
Storage From CPU:
1 x ROG DIMM.2 Module (PCIe 3.0 x4)
1 x M.2 (PCIE 3.0 x4)
1 x U.2 PortFrom Chipset:
1 x M.2 (SATA and PCIe modes)
6 x SATA 6 Gb/s Ports – Supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 10
LAN / Wi-Fi

1 x Intel i219V Gigabit (10/100/1000) Ethernet Port

1 x Aquantia AQC-107 10Gb (10/100/1000/10000) Ethernet Port

1 x Intel Wireless AC 9260 802.11ac+ WiGig 802.11ad + Bluetooth 5.0, Up to 4600 Mbps

Audio ROG SupremeFX (S1220 CODEC)
USB From Chipset:
6 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (4 @ back panel Type-A)
4 x USB 2.0 from headersFrom ASMedia USB 3.1 G2 Controller:
1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 front panel connector
2 x USB 3.1 Gen2 (2 @ back panel, 1 x Type-A and 1 x Type-C)From ASMedia USB 3.1 Gen 1 controller:
8 x USB 3.1 Gen1 (4 @ back panel Type-A, 4 from headers)
Fan Headers 5 x CPU/Chassis 4-pin headers (1A/12W – PWM and voltage control)
1 x H_AMP fan connector (3A/36W)
2 x W_Pump (3A/36W)
OS Support Windows 10 64 bit
Form Factor EATX (12″ x 10.9″)
Price $750 (Newegg), $785 (Amazon)

We have also included a list of features sourced from the ASUS website for the board:

ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Omega Features
Power Design that Bucks Trends
The monstrous compute power of high core count (HCC) processors necessitates a power circuit that rapidly responds to massive current swings. And those demands increase exponentially when the CPU is overclocked. Featuring an array of 16 strategically paired power stages, the Omega’s VRM is geared for any workload and all operating conditions.

  • Dual 8-Pin Power Connections
  • 16x POWIRSTAGE MOSFETs (60A)
  • 16x Microfine Alloy Chokes (45A)
  • 10K Japanese Black Metallic Caps

DDR4 4266+ MHz
HCC processors crunching multi-threaded compute workloads can demand colossal memory space and bandwidth. The Omega features choice Optimem II enhancements to maximize signal integrity and drive high-density memory configurations to speeds previously reserved for low-capacity setups.

Cooling Heatsinks

  • Active VRM Heatsink – dual fans turn on after 60C to allow for 500W sustained power draw
  • Aluminum IO Cover – connected to the primary heatsink via heat pipe for increased mass/surface area
  • Aluminum Heatsink Cover – for cooling the two onboard M.2 drives
  • DIMM.2 Heatsinks – passively cools M.2 drives with metal heatsinks
  • Dual Backplates – adds rigidity and the other cools the VRM (as well as adds RGB lighting)
  • PCH Heatsink – blends in with the aluminum cover and features the ROG logo
Cooler By Design

  • Multiple temperature sources (6)
  • 4-pin PWM/DC fan headers (6)
  • VRM heatsink fans (2)
  • Included Fan Extension Card II
  • Water Pump+ header (2 – supplies 3A)
  • Water in/out headers
  • Water flow monitor
  • Waterblock header (for blocks designed for ROG R VI Omega)

ROG Watercooling Zone
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.

  • W_Flow Tachometer – Enables constant monitoring of the flow rate
  • W_IN/W_OUT T-Sensor – Monitoring of temperatures at the input and output of any component
Fan Extension Card II
ROG Rampage VI Extreme Omega includes our new Fan Extension Card II, which adds six headers that are controllable via FanXpert 4. The card has three temperature-sensor headers to complement the one available onboard and, more importantly, it comes with three thermistors that you can affix to different components. In addition to supplying extra headers for cooling, it has three primed for RGB LED strips.

M.2 Connectivity
Rampage VI Extreme Omega comes equipped with four M.2 slots to let you take full advantage of Intel VROC NVMe RAID for ultimate SSD storage speeds.

  • VROC – Use an onboard M.2 slot and the exclusive ROG DIMM.2 module to take advantage of Intel’s Virtual RAID on CPU (VROC) feature* by connecting the three M.2 drives in RAID configurations. With VROC, your RAID arrays are easily configured to be bootable, and traditional DMI bottlenecks are eliminated so your storage is not held back by other traffic.
    *Additional purchase of Intel VROC hardware key required for RAID 1, 5 or 10
  • PCH RAID – Wired directly to the X299 PCH, the lower onboard M.2 slot can be used in chipset-based RAID configurations to improve storage performance or provide a layer of redundancy.
SupremeFX
ROG is renowned for superior onboard audio, and Rampage VI Extreme Omega is no exception. The front-panel headphone output features a SABRE9018Q2C integrated DAC/amp capable of reaching -115dB THD+N to provide playback that conveys all the subtlety and nuances of the audio track. The improved resolution derived from the ESS Hyperstream DAC architecture expands the soundstage to give a better sense of positioning. Beyond resolution, the 121dB DNR provides an extremely low noise-floor, further accentuating dynamics and punch. And, when you want to shift priority to musicality, our Sonic Studio software provides an array of EQ options, allowing the sound signature to be tweaked to suit your cans.

  • LED-Illuminated Audio Jacks
  • ESS Sabre9018Q2C DAC/AMP
  • S1220 CODEC
  • Switching MOSFETs
  • Nichicon Caps
Network

  • Intel Integrated Ultra Wi-Fi Support – ROG Rampage VI Extreme Omega features Intel Wireless-AC 9260 Wi-Fi (802.11ac) with 2×2 MU-MIMO and HT160 support for wireless speeds of up to 1.73Gbps.* In fact, the integrated adapter pushes wireless data up to 2X faster than other Wi-Fi solutions — so you’ll get fast, smooth transfers, even when your rig is further away from the router. Intel Wireless-AC 9260 also offers Bluetooth 5.0 for connections that are up to 2X faster than ever before and with up to 4X the range.
    * Actual speed varies and depends on network conditions.
  • 10 Gbps Integrated Ethernet – Designed for the demanding requirements of power users and content creators who push the envelope, 10Gbps onboard LAN plugs you into a new era of home networking. With up to 10X the bandwidth of standard Gigabit Ethernet, you’ll enjoy streaming uncompressed 4K UHD videos, and backups and file transfers that are faster than ever before. And there’s also support for intermediate 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps connectivity, allowing you to step up to faster networks for maximum flexibility. Choose the bandwidth that meets your needs and enjoy ultra-low latency at any speed.
    *Minimum Category 6 network cables required for 10Gbps operation. Category 5e cables support up to 5Gbps.
  • Intel Ethernet – ROG Rampage VI Extreme Omega features the latest Intel® Ethernet (I219-V) for faster, smoother gaming. This Intel controller has a natural synergy with Intel processors and chipsets, reducing CPU overhead and offering exceptionally high TCP and UDP throughput – so there’s more power for games and other tasks.

Retail Packaging and Accessories

The ROG Rampage VI Extreme Omega’s retail packaging follows their ROG black and red theme we have been accustomed to for years now. The name is prominently written across the front along with a large red ROG symbol in the upper right-hand corner. The back of the box displays pictures of features including the DIMM.2 module, 10G Ethernet and a lot more. Opening up the box reveals the motherboard on top under a protective plastic cover and below is where all the accessories are stored. A complete list of accessories can be found in the specifications list for the board (and there are a lot!!).

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Meet the ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Omega

In our first look at the board, we can see all the heatsinks and such for removing heat from the VRM as well as for the M.2 slots hidden beneath. The back of the board has a backplate for additional rigidity for the beefy board. On the back side of the board under the VRMs is a flat plate also designed to remove heat from the power delivery located directly on the front side of the board and also adds rigidity. There is an RGB line below the Rampage VI name above the rear IO as well as slashing between the chipset heatsink and M.2 heatsinks. On that PCH heatsink, the ROG symbol is also lit up. Last, there is a full RGB LED strip that runs along the right side of the board. Overall the look will fit into most any black theme and the tasteful RGB implementation really makes it a good looking motherboard. All LED colors are bright (not overwhelming) and saturated.

A Closer Look

Looking at the top half of the motherboard we can now see more detail on the huge dual heat pipe connected heatsinks cooling off the 6″ worth of power bits. The other heatsink also has a lot of mass and is located over the rear IO. On the top part of the heatsink are the two small fans used for cooling when under heavy loads. By default, these do not start to spin until 60C. While on auto and testing our overclock for 30 minutes, the fans spun up but were barely audible. That said, when these are bumped up, they can be some high-pitched screamers. But even when stress testing at 4.2 GHz, they weren’t obnoxious. Sending power to the VRMs are dual 8-pin connectors located above the right DRAM bank. The second is optional, but if the plan is to run an HCC CPU and overclock, it couldn’t hurt to use both.

The mirror finish on the IO cover contains a small OLED panel called LiveDash OLED which displays information and customizable graphics. During POST it shows key progress statistics in ‘simple language’ as well as through traditional POST codes. When booted LiveDash will display CPU frequency device temperatures, fan speeds, or information from the water cooling zone. LiveDash can also be customized to display your own image or animation using LiveDash software.

Next we can see the eight DIMM slots flanking the CPU socket on both sides along with the DIMM.2 slot further to the right. We can also see two CPU fan headers while below that is a water block connector (for those made for this board). The two small switches are for slow mode while the other is RSVD. To their right in white is one of two RGB headers. Last in this area is the 24-pin connector and the front-panel USB 3.1 Gen 2 connector.

The images below show the DIMM.2 add-in card which supports two M.2 modules up to 110 mm in length. DIMM.2 now has hefty heatsink which will attach to a naked M.2 module to help dissipate the heat. These are probably the biggest, mass wise, heatsinks I have seen for an M.2 device and should do a good job, especially with good case airflow.

The bottom portion of the board looks nice and clean because of the large chipset heatsink with a brushed aluminum finish, the ROG name towards the top and a large ROG symbol edge-lit with LEDs. It continues to the left covering dual M.2 slots (one supports up to 110 mm the other 80 mm), cleaning up the typically busy area underneath. The audio area is covered as well with a few of the Nichicon capacitors poking out. To the far right, we can see a front panel USB 3.1 Gen1 header, the six SATA ports, as well as the U.2 port towards. Across the bottom are numerous buttons and headers from dual USB 2.0 and one more USB 3.1 Gen1 header, Power/Reset buttons, retry/safe boot buttons, a Molex header for additional power for SLI configurations, and two more RGB headers.

The bottom right-hand corner is the ‘water zone’. It is here where one can plug in the water in / out sensors, two high-amperage water pump headers are found here as well as the water flow header. Also found in this area is a pause switch and another RSVD switch, the VROC hardware key for RAID setups can also be spotted here.

Our next images are of the back panel IO area and the SATA/U.2 ports. The rear IO comes with a premounted IO plate which is becoming a common thing, especially on mid-range and up motherboards. To me, this gives it more of a high-end feel when it is already mounted to the board. As far as what is on it, at the far left are two buttons, one for BIOS Flashback, and the other to reset the CMOS. We can see the two Wi-Fi antennae mount points in gold, a total of 10 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports (blue) which surround the Intel Aquantia 10G ethernet port. To the right of that are the two rear USB 3.1 Gen2 ports (Type-A and Type-C) while above that is the Intel I219-V Gigabit port. The audio bits on the far right consist of five 1/8″ plugs which are LED backlit as well as a SPDIF port.

Storage on the Omega consists of four M.2 slots (between the DIMM.2 and integrated slots), one U.2 port, and six SATA ports. With a 44-lane CPU, the only consideration one needs regarding port sharing are with the U.2 port and M.2_2 (top M.2 slot on the board itself).

Below is a closeup of most of the power delivery area with this image showing off the chokes spread across the top portion of the board. We can also see the opening for the VRM heatsink and its two fans mounted on top to help keep them cool. The fans when set on auto are nearly inaudible but spin up to an annoying pitch when cranked (such as the nature of tiny fans). Users will not have to crank these to keep the VRM cool, but when playing with the fan control in AI Suite 3, they can get pretty loud.

The slideshow below covers many of the IC’s used on the board, from the Aquantia 10G chip to the Nuvoton Super IO chip.

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UEFI BIOS and Overclocking Software

ASUS’ UEFI BIOS has typically been one of the more refined out of the major AIBs and what we see here isn’t any different. The BIOS is easily readable with a lighter black background along with white text for any editable fields. The BIOS includes an Easy Mode which takes care of monitoring some high-level things such as CPU and motherboard temperatures CPU voltage, DRAM status and storage information, as well as fan profiles/speeds and boot priority. Once the system is tweaked this screen and favorites are likely the only screens needed.

The Advanced Mode for the BIOS will look familiar to any who have used ASUS boards for the past couple of years. Across the top are function key shortcuts to get to My Favorites, QFan functionality, EZ Tune Wizard, as well as an AURA on/off function which is unique in this part of the BIOS.

Below those, the major headings across the top consist of My Favorites, Main, Extreme Tweaker, Advanced, Monitor, Boot, Tool, and Exit. We’ll spend most of our time initially when overclocking in the Extreme Tweaker section which holds all the keys to the kingdom. CPU BCLK and multiplier control, voltage and power limits, DRAM options, and more. Under Advanced, users will find options to tweak the guts of the CPU, storage and network options, and more.

Inside the Monitoring section is where QFan functionality is found. The ASUS software has the ability to learn your fans so it knows the minimum and maximum speeds which can then be set on each. There are options for water pumps (those high power headers) as well. Between all the monitoring, fan control modules, and BIOS options, the board can really be a single ecosystem of cooling (and RGB lighting).

Ease of use on ASUS BIOS’ is one of their strong suits. For the overclocker, the majority of items can be found in one screen outside of the first initial setup (power limits and such are a bit down the pike here). But overall the mouse is smooth, transitions are quick and have no issues.

The slideshow below contains the rest of the BIOS screens (32).

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Overclocking/Monitoring Software – AI Suite 3

ASUS’ Windows-based monitoring/overclocking application is AI Suite 3, a suite we are all familiar with, it includes a lot of useful functions including monitoring temperatures, voltages, and fan speeds. There is also a screen for EPU power profiles to set the system to save power or high-performance.

Also included in the images below is ASUS’ driver disc. The good news here… it’s not a disc, but a small USB device that is packed full of drivers. No driver disc, folks! That makes EVGA and ASUS the only that are doing this so far. I prefer this method over a disc as it is a lot faster and the drives smaller. I hope to see this from budget boards on up!

Ai Suite 3 – TPU

 

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Test Setup and Performance

Here we take a slightly different approach to CPU testing with ours based on a lot of Hwbot.org benchmarks since that is what we are known for, overclocking and benchmarking. We use real-world testing as well with Cinebench, x265, POV-Ray, and 7Zip in order to give readers a good idea of the general performance of the product tested.

Test System Components
Motherboard ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Omega
CPU Intel i9-9980XE
CPU Cooler Alphacool Eisbar Extreme
Memory 4×8 GB G.Skill Trident Z RGB 3200 MHz CL16-18-18-38
SSD Toshiba OCZ TR200 480 GB (OS + Applications)
Power Supply EVGA 750W G3
Video Card NVIDIA RTX 2080 (417.71 drivers)

Thanks go out to Alpahcool for providing the Eisbaer Extreme 280mm AiO cooler to keep this monster CPU under control, EVGA for the 750 W G3 Power Supply to power the system, G.Skill for the Trident Z DRAM, and Toshiba OCZ for the 480 GB TR200 SSD storage running the OS, benchmarks, and games. With our partners helping out, we are able to build matching test systems to mitigate many differences found between using different hardware. This allows for multiple reviewers in different locations to use the same test system and compare results without additional variables.

We’ll perform our usual set of benchmarks which test rendering, memory performance, and single/multi-threaded CPU performance. For 2D benchmarks, we’ll use SuperPi 1M and 32M, wPrime and Intel XTU. For rendering it’s Cinebench R11.5 and R15. Memory performance is checked against the AIDA64 test suite. For encoding, we use x265 (HWBOT Version) and PoV Ray. A more real-world test is included in 7zip. Testing is performed with the CPU at stock speeds (set BIOS optimized defaults, XMP only no MCE). Memory speed is 3200 MHz using the XMP profile unless otherwise specified.

Performance

With only two data sets available, our performance testing will be a head to head with the ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Omega as it is the only other board we have with this processor. What we will see here is a battle of current limit throttling on stock speeds as in some of these tests, that comes into play. For the most part, these CPUs are neck and neck performance wise.

AIDA64 – Memory Bandwidth and Throughput

AIDA 64 Memory Tests

AIDA64 Cache and Memory Benchmark – Raw Data
Motherboard Read Write Copy Latency
ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Omega 95304 82149 79549 70.7
ASRock Z299 OC Formula 95102 77994 79972 67.5

AIDA64 – CPU Tests

AIDA64 CPU Tests

AIDA64 CPU Benchmark – Raw Data
Motherboard Queen Photo ZLib AES Hash
ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Omega 166568 45663 1547 77978 20641
ASRock Z299 OC Formula 167457 41217 1546 77957 20638

AIDA64 – FPU Tests

AIDA64 FPU Tests

AIDA64 FPU Benchmark – Raw Data
Motherboard VP8 Julia Mandel SinJulia
ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Omega 9086 158708 89909 20627
ASRock Z299 OC Formula 9418 158699 89863 20620

Real World Tests

Cinebench R11.5/R15, POVRay, x265 (Hwbot), 7Zip

Cinebench R11.5/R15, POVRay, x265 (HWBot), 7Zip – Raw Data
CPU R11.5 R15 POVRay X265 7Zip
ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Omega 37.8 3705 7232 88.5 122726
ASRock Z299 OC Formula 38.3 3765 7308 89.2 118068

Pi and Prime Based Tests

SuperPi 1M/32M, wPrime 32M / 1024M, Intel XTU

SuperPi and wPrime Benchmarks – Raw Data
Motherboard Spi 1M SPi 32M WPrime 32M WPrime 1024M Intel XTU
ASUS Rampage VI Extreme Omega  8.138 434.7 2.372 41.287 2538
ASRock Z299 OC Formula 8.357 459.7 2.34 38.4 2212

 

Gaming Results

Gaming Benchmarks

The HCC CPU and motherboard performed well in this test its results landing in line with the other boards/CPU tested. If gaming is your thing on this CPU, it will perform fine as well as stream at that same time with its loads of extra cores laying in wait.

Power Consumption

Power Consumption

Power use on this CPU was around the other platforms at idle, but then, as expected, skyrocketed during stress test loads. At default settings, the board’s current limit had to be adjusted to prevent current limit throttling in AIDA64. For some odd reason, P95 didn’t show this same limitation and allowed the CPU to hit a power limit before the current limit. In this case, during P95 Small FFT, the system hit 380W at the wall in default settings.

Overclocking

Overclocking on the ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme Omega was more or less straight forward. In order to reach the full potential of the chip and board, current limits (both options), as well as the power limits, should be raised. In the case of the current limits, the first setting should be at 240% while the second value should be manually entered at its max of 1023A. This adjustment allowed for the CPU to run without Intel’s limits in place allowing for overclocking and no throttling.

If you recall, our test system typically consists of the EVGA CLC240 which could barely keep this thing cool at stock speeds. To that end, we pinged our friends at Alphacool who provided their latest Eisbaer Extreme 2x140mm AiO cooler. The larger radiator and fans help keep the HCC cool when under stress.

After all the settings were adjusted and cooling setup, we were able to reach 4.3 GHz using all cores and threads. This raised temps up to TJMax of 110C during AIDA64 testing (good luck on the FPU only test here.. it will not work). We saw tiny blips of throttling and 4.2 GHz is likely a bit more realistic for a 24/7 overclock. The key here is just removing all the heat.

The Omega handled this overclock without issue once power and current limits were raised. Our trusty Kill-A-Watt meter showed over 525W power use at the wall (so ~475W total from the system) with the vast majority of this power coming from only the CPU. P95 Small FFT pushed that to over 560W at the wall. The VRM heatsink remained warm to the touch with the tiny fans ramping up a bit and becoming audible during this 30+ minute test. If the board can handle the i9-9980XE, it can handle the lesser chips, also without issue.

Conclusion

ASUS’ latest X299 based motherboard has brought with it darn near everything available on the platform and then some. The board features four slots for M.2 based devices, the ability to have a complete water cooling ecosystem controlled from the board itself, as well as a monstrous VRM with active cooling (fans) specifically designed to handle the latest HCC Intel CPUs for the X299 platform. Along with the beefy hardware, the board includes two NICs, an Intel Gigabit as well as a 10G NIC from Aquantia – only a couple of X299 boards have this. All of these features and the extra robust VRM and cooling come at a price… currently, that is $750 (Newegg) and $785 (Amazon). Pricey, no doubt. Its relative worth though is found in the ability to handle such a power-hungry CPU as well as its ability to single-handedly run your cooling ecosystem.

The only complaint I had about the board outside of dreaming of a lower price, is how it acted for me during a BSOD. During initial overclock testing, when I would get a BSOD (WHEA UNCORRECTABLE), the next reboot, be it to BIOS or in Windows, we lost some cores and threads – I would boot at 15c/30t instead of 18c/36t. I reached out to ASUS to inform them of what happened and they shared they hadn’t seen this before except with the cooler or backplate too tight. I loosened both things and the behavior still happened. All that is required to move past this is to reset to defaults and reboot, then all was well again. That said, it seems like this is a one-off issue, though it couldn’t be reproduced on the OC Formula with the same setup/CPU.

The ASUS ROG Rampage VI Extreme Omega is one of the most feature-laden boards that have come across our desk for review… also having the highest price for a board we have reviewed. Users can find systems with four M.2 slots or an Aquantia 10G card, but not at the same time (3x M.2 slots in the ASRock Fatal1ty X299 Professional Gaming i9), but none that control a cooling ecosystem quite as good as this. The beefy VRM, oversized heatsinks and their included fans ensure whatever HCC CPU is installed will have plenty of clean and stable power to use. If looking a board that can do it all on the X299 platform and the price point is in your budget, look no further, you’ve found the board dreams are made of.

 

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Joe Shields (Earthdog)

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