27 Aug, 2015   Rakesh Sharma    Reviews . ASUS Maximus VIII RANGER Motherboard Review

Intel’s new Skylake feature packed platform is here and all motherboard manufacturers are introducing new products featuring Z170 chipset and new LGA 1151 Socket. With this new platform ASUS decided to re-design the Republic of Gamers (ROG) series of motherboards, with overall new design aesthetics and features. Instead of the old red and black colour theme, the new generation ROG series of board gives an enthusiast class feeling with black and soft gray colour theme added with few ROG red strips. Personally I love the new colour theme.

Today we have the honor of reviewing a top mid-range ROG motherboard, the ASUS MAXIMUS VIII RANGER Motherboard. A feature rich ATX z170 gaming and enthusiast motherboard designed for mid tower to full tower builds.

Now let’s see what this ROG board have for us.

Features

  • LGA1151 socket for 6th-gen Intel® Core™ desktop processors.
  • Dual DDR4 3400 (OC) support.
  • Best gaming performance – 5-Way Optimization with Auto-Tuning, 2nd-generation T-Topology and OC design
  • Best gaming audio – reinvented SupremeFX 2015 with intuitive Sonic Studio II.
  • Best gaming networking – best-in-class Intel® Gigabit Ethernet, LANGuard and GameFirst technology.
  • Best gaming protection – carefully-selected premium components to ensure maximum durability.
  • ROG gives you more – more gaming-oriented utilities, all free!

SupremeFX 2015 Audio - ROG provides you with the very best gaming-audio inputs and outputs, with special shielded designs, and a collection of carefully selected professional-grade audio components, including an ESS ES9023P digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with Hyperstream™ technology, ultra-low-jitter clock, Nichicon capacitors, 2Vrms headphone amp, and Sonic SenseAmp that automatically detects and optimizes any headset (32-600 ohms) for purest sound quality. SupremeFX 2015 also features intuitive Sonic Studio II for you to apply and enjoy different audio effects for perfect entertainment, plus Perfect Noise noise-cancellation technology for team conversations with total clarity.

SONIC STUDIO II - Intuitive audio-tuning suite.

ONE CLICK OVERCLOCK AND COOLING, DONE! - 5-Way Optimization at your disposal it takes just one click to tune complex settings — for instant, highly-controllable performance boosts! Our exclusive technology dynamically optimizes essential aspects of your system based on real-time use, so you get superb CPU performance, everyday energy savings, ultra-stable digital power, cool and quiet fans, and even networking and audio settings that are tailored for the apps that you are using. In short, 5-Way Optimization ensures that your PC is perfect for gaming, entertainment, productivity or just about anything else!

  • Games run swiftly and smoothly with high performance, prioritized bandwidth and vivid sound
  • Fans stay whisper-quiet for everyday computing, and ensure extreme cooling efficiency when gaming
  • Stutter is eliminated for smooth-running apps, even under heavy loading
  • Energy waste is reduced so you'll save money

TPU - Unleash your PC's full performance with the ASUS AI Suite 3 utility! The TurboV Processing Unit (TPU) offers precise voltage control and advanced monitoring for the CPU and the graphics card. This gives you the freedom to adjust CPU frequencies and ratios for optimized performance and the ability to unlock the potential from your graphics card.

EPU – With the Energy Processing Unit (EPU) you'll enjoy real-time, system-wide power savings. EPU detects and adjusts power consumption according to the PC's needs — automatically. It can also reduce CPU wattage to a set level and deliver even more savings with Away Mode. This creates an extreme energy-saving scenario by shutting down unused extra I/O controllers and reduces the graphics cards' power level while you're away, so the PC consumes only the energy it needs — and not a drop more!

Fan Xpert 3 – Advanced fan and water-pump controls for ultimate cooling and quietness with onboard thermal sensors and hardware-level 4-pin PWM/3-pin DC mode detection, Fan Xpert 3 makes sure every fan achieves the best balance of cooling performance and low noise!

  • Auto-Tuning Mode: Scans fan parameters, and all fans with a single click.
  • Extreme Quite Mode: Reduces CPU fan speed to below the default minimum, for extra-quiet operation and power savings during light loads.
  • RPM Fixed Mode: Lowers noise levels to near-0dB silence, allowing to you fix the fan speed.

OC DESIGN - ASUS PRO CLOCK TECHNOLOGY – A dedicated base-clock (BCLK) generator designed for 6th-generation Intel® processors that allows overclocked base clock frequencies up to 400MHz. This custom solution works in tandem with the ASUS Turbo Processor Unit (TPU), to enhance voltage and base-clock overclocking control — granting an exciting new way to boost performance to extreme heights.

DDR4 OVERCLOCKING STRENGTH IN NUMBERS – ASUS 2nd generation T-Topology allows DDR4 memory overclocking to reach new heights: over DDR4-3400 MHz with all memory slots populated. Featuring a customized trace layout for reduced crosstalk and coupling noise, ASUS 2nd generation T-Topology ensures time-aligned signal transfer for improved memory stability and compatibility.

INTEL GIGABIT ETHERNET - ROG features the very latest Intel® Ethernet (I219-V) for faster, smoother gaming — always. Intel's LAN has the serious double advantage of reducing CPU overhead and offering exceptionally high TCP and UDP throughput, so there's more power for your game and your gameplay.

LANGUARD Signal-coupling technology and premium surface-mounted components ensure a more reliable connection and better throughput. Additionally, electrostatically-guarded and surge-protected components (ESD Guards) allow for 1.9x-greater tolerance to static electricity and 2.5x-greater protection (up to 15kV) against surges!

GAMEFIRST III - Exclusive GameFirst III prioritizes game-related packets and allocates more bandwidth to games, eliminating laggy gameplay, streaming stutters and file-sharing slowdown — so you'll always be the frontrunner. Choose from Optimization, Game, Media Streaming or File Sharing presets and watch your network fly!

ROG Protection -As a gamer you demand stability and durability, so ROG integrates long-lasting, premium components, plus exclusive smart DIY designs across the board — ensuring the best gaming experiences.

OVERWOLFThe clever unobtrusive overlay that keeps you in the game, so you can browse, email, IM, stream or record while you play, and all dressed up in color-matched ROG skins to show you're part of an elite pack — soon to be available for download on Overwolf's app store!

KEYBOT IIThe free keyboard upgrade.

Specifications

Package

Board comes in a nice Red cardboard box with model number, image of the board and details about supporting technology and features.

Inside the box

ASUS RANGER VIII comes with very nice set of accessories:

Looks

Board made with a Matte black PCB of size ATX (30.5 X 24.4 cm). The new generation ROG series of board gives an enthusiast class feeling with black and soft gray colour theme added with few ROG red strips.

Layout

Detailed layout of board.

1. Intel LGA 1151 socket

2. ASUS RANGER VIII is equipped with four DIMM for dual channel DDR4 memory supporting max. 64GB at 2133MHz in normal and up to 3400MHz when OC.

3. ATX Power connector (24-pin EATXPWR)

4. ATX CPU Power Connector 8-pin ATX12V_2x4.

5. Back I/O Ports - 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s), 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s), 1 x USB 3.1 , black)Type-C, 1 x USB 3.1 (red)Type-A, 2 x USB 3.0 (blue) , 4 x USB 2.0 , 1 x Optical S/PDIF out, 5 x Audio jack(s), 1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)

6. 7. 9. 10. 11. 12. 1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin), 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin), 4 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 x 4 -pin), 1 x Water Pump header (4-pin)

8.MemOK! Button when pressed automatically pick up the necessary parameters of the memory for a successful system boot.

13. 17.2 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.0 port(s) (19-pin)

14.2 x SATA Express connector: gray, Compatible with 4 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports,2 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)

15. M.2 Socket 3 with M Key design, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (Supports both SATA & PCIE SSD)

16. System Front panel(s) (Q-Connector) and 5-pin EXT_FAN(Extension Fan) connector.

18. USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)

19. ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header(s)

20. 21. Power-on button, Reset button(s), Clear CMOS button(s) and TPM connector(s)

22. 23. Thunderbolt header and Front panel Audio connector

24. Expansion Slots - 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8, gray), 1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode, black), 3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1 (x1 mode, black)

Removing Heat-sinks

Heatsinks are made up of dense aluminum with thermal pad installed, giving great passive cooling to VRM MOSFETs and Z170 chipset.

Component Layout

Let’s now see what all components ASUS have planned for this board.

1. Digital 10-phase CPU Power VRM Section with Texas Instruments 87350D MOSFETs rated up to 40A each along with 60A Ferrite Chokes and 10K Black Capacitors.

2. Asus DIGI+ VRM Asp 1400 voltage controller chip.

3. Two separate DRAM Power section

4. ASUS ROG chip handling USB BIOS flash.

5. Etrontech EJ179V chipset is the USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C switch with logic control chip.

6. ASMedia ASM1142 is PCIe-to-two-port USB 3.1 controller

7. Intel's i219v is used as the integrated GBit LAN solution.

8. The nuvoTon NCT6793D is the main SuperIO controller used for fan control, voltage and temperature monitoring, and the PS/2 port.

9. ASUS SupremeFX 2015 audio solution is powered by Realtek ALC1150 audio codec coupled with ESS ES9023P DAC with Hyperstream technology, Nichicon Premium Audio capacitors, SupremeFX Shielding, 2VRMS Headphone Output, NEC De-pop Relay and Dedicated Clock Crystal.

A semi-transparent line on motherboard separates the whole audio section from the rest of the board in order to minimize interference. Front Audio section features Sonic SenseAmp for best headset sound experience.

RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) suite is used for testing test ASUS RANGER VIII audio against Asus Xonar DX Sound card. You can see clearly the difference between Noise level, dynamic rang and Total harmonic distortion percentage produced by on-board audio.

RMAA Asus Xonar DX

RMAA SupremeFX 2015 Audio

10. Intel Z170 Chipset.

11. UEFI BIOS is stored in a Winbond 25Q128fV 128MB 8-Pin DIP Package chip, installed in a DIP socket 8-Pin for easy user replacement.

12. 13ASUS custom ROG & TPU controllers.

14. ASMedia ASM1480 PCI-e lane switch chips.

Testing

CPUIntel Core i5 6600K
Board ASUS MAXIMUS VIII RANGER
RAM2 X 4GB G.SKILL Ripjaws4 DDR4 3000Mhz
SSDKingston SV300 120GB
CoolerCorsair H100i
GFXAsus HD7750
PSUCM 750
DisplayAcer S220HQL
OSWin 8.1 Pro / Windows 10

BIOS

Bundled Softwares

Overclocking

Benchmarks

Power Consumption

Wattage reading as per displayed by APC Pro 1000VA (Model no. BR1000G-IN) UPS.

Pros

  • Great looks
  • PMW pump header
  • Good Audio
  • Solid build Quality
  • Excellent Overclocking

Cons

  • Low Price difference with ASUS Maximus VIII Hero

Conclusion

First we like to thanks ASUS for providing ASUS MAXIMUS VIII RANGER Motherboard for review. Asus have always impressed me with the build quality and design of their products. The new ROG Series of motherboard are having great appearance and Maximus VIII Ranger is also a having great eye catching design with features and functionality enthusiast and gamers are looking for.

Finally, if you are planning to upgrade to a new Z170 platform and don’t want to spend a fortune for motherboard alone and would like to enjoy the best gaming and great overclocking experience, then you should consider ASUS Maximus VIII Ranger board. Will all the features and price segment ASUS Maximus VIII Ranger is worthy of our PC TeK REVIEWS EXCELLENCE Award.

Manufacturers Info

Site Link

Thanks.

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