ASUS ROG Crossblade Ranger Review

👤by Tony Le Bourne Comments 📅06-10-14
Closer Look

Socket and power delivery

Using the Extreme DIGI+ Engine III, comprised of 'New Alloy Chokes' that look like meat tenderisers, NexFETTMMOSFET and 10K Black Metallic Caps allowing for a fully digitised power supply to the CPU and DRAM.

DIMM slots

The top right area of the motherboard is very busy with features, starting with a pair of CPU 4 pin PWM fan headers for push/pull cooling, the Q-Code LED debugging indicator, power and reset buttons, followed by the 'probelt' area which is a row of voltage reading points followed by a LN2 mode jumper and 'slow mode switch' which are useful features for pro/enthusiast overclockers. Finishing up with the MemOK button followed by the 24pin ATX and the USB 3.0 front header connection.

8 right angle SATA

Getting down to some no nonsense business, ASUS offer all available SATA in a uniform right angle position, best for cabling, neatness and space. This may be considered a triviality, but when you consider that the popularity of eSATA is dwindling in light of the speeds offered by USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, the tendency to waste space on a feature that the majority of people will not use, ends up complicating matters where there are many more who would rather all available SATA ports internal, neatly laid out. This can be seen in various other boards in the FM2+ upper echelon such as the MSI Gaming G45 and the ASRock Killer A88X. On the right there is another 4 pin PWM fan header, while in the background the infamous ROG logo is seen on a large chipset cooler.

Bottom right area

From right to left there are headers for the ROG EXT, which also comprises of a USB 2.0 header, a 4 pin PWM fan header, a clear CMOS button, a pair of USB 2.0 headers, the keybot button and the front panel headers for your case.

Bottom left corner

In the audio area, the Crossblade Ranger has a dedicated audio section that is shielded and highlighted by red LEDs, which is becoming a common practice for higher end motherboards, we see the use of audio grade capacitors alongside the Supreme FX 2014 audio processor, which is also accompanied by a front audio panel header that is isolated with the rest of the audio components. There is also a button for on the fly 'soundstage' changes which is associated with the audio software in conjunction with the use of the frontpanel headset connection. When pressing the button, the LED Q-Code indicator will display which setting is selected (by displaying numbers).

Back panel I/O

Though there is no display port out, the VGA, DVI and HDMI outs should be suitable for most. There is a universal PS2 port, two USB 2.0 ports, the one closer to the PS2 port is specifically designated for the use of the Keybot function so if you want to take advantage of this feature, use this USB port with your keyboard. There is also a BIOS flashback button, allowing for quick and easy BIOS updates/ retrodate without the need for any system components to be installed. This is particularly handy for those with Kaveri APUs as they may get a board with an older BIOS that may not support the Kaveri APU, however at this point, it is likely that the ROG Crossblade Ranger will come ready out the box, but it's there should it be needed. Next up there is a foursome of USB 3.0 ports, the LAN connection, fitted out with LANGuard for an extra robust network connection and to finish off there are gold plated 8 channel audio jacks.

16 pages « 3 4 5 6 > »