The ASUS Crossblade Ranger has retail pricing of $159.99 at Newegg and $164.99 at Amazon in the USA. In the UK pricing is £119.99 from Overclockers, which includes a complimentary copy of Sniper Elite III. ASUS provide a 3 year warranty with this product.
AMD’s FM2+ A88X platform isn’t going to be everyone’s first preference for building a gaming system: I anticipate even ASUS acknowledge this. However, the fact remains that what ASUS are doing is commendable; they are responding to what their customers want which is a gaming board for the FM2+ platform.With the Crossblade Ranger we find all the applauded features from the ASUS Z97 Republic of Gamers boards are now available to AMD users. This gives gamers much more flexibility and puts the FM2+ platform on equal footing with Intel’s equivalents, CPU performance aside of course, when building a gaming system.
To build yourself an equivalently priced and performing Intel ROG system you’d need to opt for the Maximus VII Hero (or Ranger if you’re within Europe) and on the CPU side you’d be torn between the cheap and overclockable Pentium G3258 Anniversary edition, or the more expensive hyper-threaded Haswell Core i3s. That’s if you want to stick to the same budget as the Crossblade Ranger with an Athlon X4 860K or 760K. To put that into perspective here’s some pricing summaries:
- ASUS Crossblade Ranger ($160) + AMD Athlon X4 860K ($90) = $250~
- ASUS Maximus VII Hero ($205) + Intel Pentium G3258 ($70) = $275~
- ASUS Maximus VII Hero ($205) + Intel Core i3 4150 ($120) = $325~
In the UK the availability of the cheaper Maximus VII Ranger makes the Intel platform with the Pentium an equivalently priced option but I would still be inclined towards the Crossblade Ranger on the basis you can get four real cores. Although, the Pentium Anniversary Edition does benefit from greater power efficiency and single-threaded performance. If it isn’t already obvious the situation is a little bit muddled. The segment to which the Crossblade Ranger appeals is very competitive, but the Crossblade Ranger still has its merits.
The main reason for commending the Crossblade Ranger is that in a motherboard market saturated with so many “gaming” motherboards, that deliver very little to gamers, the Crossblade Ranger offers a refreshingly positive experience for gaming. Sure, it isn’t the cheapest route for a gaming system but with everything that’s included the deal is still a very strong one.
- Brings the ROG feature-set to a more competitive price point
- Excellent software package and BIOS
- Great styling
- Offers a nice alternative to Intel’s LGA 1150 for gamers
- Premium audio quality
- Expensive relative to other A88X motherboards
- The limited CPU performance of the AMD Athlon X4 860K/A10-7850K may put some prospective buyers off
“The Crossblade Ranger brings the ROG treatment to the AMD A-Series platform in style. A beautiful design matched with some great gaming features should make anyone take a second look at AMD’s FM2+ for a budget gaming system.”
Thank you to ASUS for providing this review sample.