ASUS Maximus VII Gene micro-ATX Motherboard Review

Generally speaking ASUS Republic of Gamers motherboards set the bar extremely high in all categories. Fortunately motherboards have nothing in common with films and generally the sequels are as good if not better than the originals. In films this is almost never the case. Does ASUS have another hit with this micro-ATX sized motherboard?

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Motherboard Overclocking Software

As expected ASUS bundles its AI Suite III software with the Maximus VII Gene. The software package is an evolutionary step above the previous iteration of the software rather than an evolutionary one. Although one can easily argue that the software wasn’t in need of a revolutionary change to make it one of the best software packages bundled with a motherboard at the present time. ASUS streamlined this version’s main Dual Intelligent Processors window to make better use of the space. It’s far easier to understand and use now. The 5-Way Optimization button allows for tuning of the system based on system usage scenarios. Power savings can be selected from a series of presets from this menu. The TPU, Fan Xpert 3, and DIGI+ Power Control are the found on the left hand of the application’s main window. The right side has the Turbo App and EPU menus.

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The main window also has several readouts at the bottom. These are CPU frequency, voltage, temperature and fan. There are some gears to the far right which bring up the actual settings for these. The settings allow you to do things like set warning thresholds for each of the categories where applicable. You can also toggle between Celsius and Fahrenheit temperature scales should you wish to do so.

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The CPU frequency menu is quite easy to use. The BCLK frequency, turbo ratio and CPU cache ratio sliders are self-explanatory provided you know anything about Intel CPUs. Cores can be tuned individually or as a group. Sliders for all your major voltage adjustments are found below the frequency and ratio sliders. You can also save and load performance profiles from this menu should you wish to do so. The GPU Boost menu by comparison is rudimentary at best. Honestly these settings could be lumped in somewhere else given we have so few options to work with. The GPU boost menu just lets you adjust the graphics voltage and clock speed.

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The CPU strap menu allows you to adjust the base clock frequency from 100MHz up to 250MHz. The Fan Xpert 3 menu largely resembles Fan Xpert 2 but offers more in the way of customization. Tuning via fixed RPM and smart modes are supported via all headers. Fans can be auto-tuned just as before and a report is generated concerning what your fan supports with regard to tuning options. New for this generation is a spin up time and spin down time. This enables you to allow for more gradual fan speed changes which is helpful for people like me who don’t like the sound profile of rapid fan speed changes. I can handle loud or quiet but the constant switching between the two gets irritating fast. ASUS is also the only manufacturer I can think of that allows for fan header renaming for all headers. Simply select your fan, tell it the actual position in the system and then rename it.

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The DIGI+ Power control menu allows for adjustment of power phases and power frequency response control. ASUS went the extra mile in designing this menu. When you highlight a particular option the window pane on the right tells you about your selection giving you an idea of what changes to that option might do. The DIGI+ Power Control menu hasn’t really changed a whole lot since AI Suite III launched and that’s actually a good thing.

The Turbo application feature is a new one for this generation’s AI Suite III. It offers the ability to control performance and overclocking via application. Simply select an overclocking preset and associate with the appropriate application. This can be useful in getting the most performance in a given application. Sometimes an overclock is stable with some applications and not others, or you may wish to use a lesser overclock with applications that aren’t demanding.