The board's new ROG Thunderbolt add-in card functions as both a sound card and a NIC
Asus has announced a revamped version of its ROG Rampage III Extreme board, dubbed the Rampage III Extreme Black Edition, which the company claims will feature ideas inspired by feedback from the gaming community.
The board has the same core specs as its predecessor
(X58 chipset, with support for 3-way SLI and 4-way Crossfire), but introduces a new ROG Thunderbolt expansion card. This new add-on, which can be seen in the pictures below, incorporates both a Xonar audio chip and a Bigfoot Networks LAN processor.
Asus claims that the audio provided by the Xonar portion of the card provides sound quality that's ‘four times better’ than that of a regular sound card. This is reportedly due in part to the dedicated headphone amplifier, which offers optimised impedance settings. The card also allows you to set up fine-tuned audio gaming profiles, which appear to adjust the audio output depending on the game you're playing.
Meanwhile, the networking portion of the card fulfils the same role as Bigfoot Networks' Killer 2100 NIC card
, purportedly optimising and prioritising gaming traffic more efficiently than the standard Windows network stack.
The design of the heatsinks that straddle the motherboard's chipset and VRMs have also been redesigned to, in Asus’ own words, ‘look more like a big ol’ gun.' Asus also stresses that there are more tweaks under the hood of the board, and has promised us more details about these in the near future.
Click to enlarge
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