Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

ASUS Maximus VI Extreme LGA 1150 Motherboard Review

Earlier we looked at the ASUS Maximus VI Hero which is much more basic compared to other Republic of Gamers motherboards. Now we take a look at its flagship offerings in the ROG series, the Maximus VI Extreme. Let's see how the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme motherboard stacks up in a market packed with features.

Introduction

ASUS is one of the largest motherboard manufacturers in the world. It has produced some of the most stable, reliable, and popular motherboards the world has ever seen since 1986 and continues this trend today. The ASUS lineup has of course diversified and even branched out past motherboards. ASUS of course builds some very special motherboards here and there but some are more special than others.

While motherboards targeted towards gamers and enthusiasts are found throughout ASUS’ product lineup, you’ll find motherboards in the Republic of Gamers brand are something else entirely. These motherboards are purpose built to be the best in the ASUS stable. These include more tuning and diagnostic features than standard production motherboards do. These motherboards often represent the pinnacle of what’s possible technologically at the time of each motherboard model’s release.

Generally speaking you’ll also find that these motherboards tend to be the absolute "best" in its class when compared to all other brands. Naturally these motherboards command a hefty price premium compared to more conventional counterparts and often even competitors on the upper end from other manufacturers.

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The ASUS Maximus VI Extreme like all other "Extreme" motherboards in the ASUS Republic of Gamers brand is the top offering in terms of features. No other ROG motherboards offer as many ports, controllers, and features than these. As a result this Maximus VI Extreme model tends to be very expensive, coming in at time of publication of $399.99.

The features list includes the Extreme DIGI+ III engine, 8+2 phase power with 60A BlackWing chokes and NexFET MOSFETs, 10k metallic capacitors, ProbeIt monitoring points, onboard controls, PCIe lane configuration switches, LN2 mode support, 16 USB ports, fast boot switch, Direct Key, ROG EXT connector, dual BIOS ROMs, USB charger +, ROG Connect port, mSATA slot, 802.11AC/Bluetooth 4.0 support, SSD secure erase support, 4-Way SLI / CrossFire support, Dual Intelligent Processors 4, with 4-Way Optimization and more.

The feature list is staggering and the Maximus VI Extreme comes with an extra; the OC Panel. This module works as a front panel device that fits into a 5 آ¼ drive bay or as a handheld device. This device has a normal and an extreme mode. It allows for fan speed, voltage and even base clock, and turbo frequency controls. You can attach the subzero sense cabling to the side of it as well. But that’s not all it can do. There is a panel which comes off. This actually allows for the connection of additional fans or even voltage adjustment control wiring such as those used for the VGA hotwire feature found on many ROG motherboards. I’ll talk more about the OC panel later on.

Main Specifications Overview:

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Detailed Specifications Overview:

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Packaging

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The Maximus VI Extreme comes in the high quality Republic of Gamers motherboard packaging. The box naturally is found in the usual red and black theme that most of its motherboards use. Additionally this one has the usual flap showcasing the motherboard itself as well as additional information about it. The Maximus VI Extreme ships with one of the largest and most comprehensive bundles I’ve ever seen with any motherboard. Included are the following accessories: User's manual, I/O Shield, 10x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s), 1x ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compliant), 1x 3-Way SLI bridge(s), 1x 4-Way SLI bridge(s), 1x SLI bridge(s), 1x CrossFire cable(s), 1x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1), 1x ROG Connect cable(s), 1x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s)

1x mPCIe Combo II card(s) with dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth v4.0/3.0+HS module, 1x ROG Magnet, OC Panel Kit:, 1x OC Panel(s), 1x OC Panel 5.25-inch bay metal case, 1x OC Panel Cable(s).

Motherboard Layout

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ASUS has been designing motherboards for a very long time now. And with the price premium for a motherboard such as this one I have high expectations for layout and well virtually everything. (Editor’s Note: Looking back over the years since the super high end motherboard has come into the market, we have actually seen the price of these motherboards come down overall, but certainly none of these products are aimed at the value market.) When it comes to the layout the Maximus VI Extreme does not disappoint. The layout is well thought out and there are no major problems. About the only thing I don’t like is the location of the CMOS battery. It is after all right under the primary PCI-Express x16 slot. This means you will most likely have to remove the graphics card to replace or remove this battery should you need to do so, but this is a situation that we never ran into.

All over the Maximus VI Extreme you can find fan headers. Everytime I look at the motherboard or even pictures of it I feel like I’ve found another one. There should definitely be enough to please most people.

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The CPU socket area appears cramped at a glance. The memory slots are pretty close to the CPU socket area which is a requirement of Intel’s rather than something ASUS chose to do. The cooling for the NexFET MOSFETs is substantial and does take up a fair amount of room. Still you should have enough clearance for most CPU coolers. Though I do suspect that the bulk of people choosing to go with a motherboard of this caliber are likely to opt for something like the Corsair H80 or a full blown custom water cooling loop.

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The DIMM slots are color coded red and black as usual for ROG motherboards. The Maximus VI Extreme uses 4 DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of RAM using 8GB modules. Memory speeds up to DDR3 3000MHz are supported via overclocking. The onboard power and reset buttons can be seen next to the memory modules. The MemOK! button is also near the DIMM slots.

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The Z87 Express chipset itself is cooled by a passive heat sink which has been made slim enough to avoid clearance issues with expansion cards. 10 SATA 6Gb/s ports are found directly in front of the chipset. Just behind the chipset you’ll find the dual 64MB UEFI BIOS ROM chips.

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The expansion slot area has an optimal layout for supporting 4-Way SLI and CrossFire without being an XL-ATX form factor motherboard. In 4-Way SLI / CrossFire the Maximus VI Extreme supports a PCIe lane configuration of 8x16x8x8 thanks to an onboard PLX 8747 chip.

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The back panel drops some of the onboard video out connectivity options to increase the number of available USB ports as well as providing space for the WiFi controller, ROG connect and BIOS flashback button. On the back panel you’ll find 6x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x HDMI port, 1x DisplayPort, 1x optical output, 1x PS/2 keyboard/mouse port and six mini-stereo jacks.