ASUS Z87 Motherboard Roundup October 2013
Maximus VI Extreme
Maximus VI Gene
Maximus VI Hero &
Maximus VI Impact
Over the last week we have spent a lot of time looking at the latest range of Radeon GPUs, including the ASUS R9 280X and R9 270X. We have more to cover on that front soon but moving away from these newly released GPUs and launch overload for a day or two we have something a little different today.
For some time now ASUS haven't been shy to release a wide range of boards for each socket/CPU. In fact some of their product families are well into the double digits in terms of different models. Size, features, price, performance... all can be tweaked to offer a range that meets the needs of every consumer. And that goes for the high end boards too, under the Republic of Gamer branding. So today we take a look at what they offer there in the form of the Maximus VI Extreme (ATX), Hero (ATX), Gene (mATX) and Impact (mini-ITX).
We have of course seen the Gene before in a previous roundup so let's take a look at that to refresh our brains first and then we can continue on with the new, to us, models.
ASUS Z87 Maximus VI Gene Motherboard
It's familiar branding for ASUS with their latest Gene board due to it being part of the Republic of Gamers sub brand. The box top flips open to reveal some key feature information and then inside we find a good bundle which includes plenty of extra cables, the I/O shield, SLI bridge and product software/documentation. Also included is a separate add-on card which allows us to install Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules while also being future proof with a M.2 connector for new generation SSDs.
The Gene naming from ASUS tells us that this is a mATX board and due to the red/black design it looks fairly similar to the last version. It has three passive heatsink blocks, two of which cool the power circuitry and ASUS have managed to squeeze some voltage read points at the top of the board along with status LEDs on the edge. Powering the board we have one 8pin connector and a 24pin connector, no extra power is required.
Moving around the board we see that ASUS stick with the Digi+ branding and in this case it is Extreme Engine 3 which includes 10k black metallic capacitors, 60A BlackWing Chokes, NeXFET Mosfets and fully integrated voltage regulators, all combining to maximise stability, performance, efficiency and to minimise temperatures.
With this being a Z87 board we have PCIe slots which see the main slot running at 16x PCIe 3.0 spec, changing to dual 8x slots in multi-GPU use. We get an extra 4x slot below and then just beside the PCIe slots it is also possible to see ASUS dedicated ELNA audio capacitors and Supreme FX controller.
The on-board power and reset buttons are located on the bottom edge then down at the right corner are our eight SATA ports. As expected six use Intel tech (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10) and the other two are ASMEDIA 1061.
Next, at the top right we find our power connector and four memory slots which ASUS say utilise a 2nd generation T-Topology design for minimal noise and signal reflection for enhanced overclocking. These are of course split into a dual channel configuration with support for XMP and 32GB capacities.
Moving to the back panel we have ROG Connect button, bios reset, 4x USB 2.0, 4x USB 3.0, HDMI out, optical out, Intel GB LAN, 2x USB 3.0 and our 3.5mm audio connectors.
ASUS have enhanced their UEFI BIOS and now we get some nice extras such as a screen where we can add our favourite settings, a summary of changes on exit, renaming of SATA ports and even the ability to perform a secure erase on our SSDs to maximise performance. Extreme Tweaker handles our overclocking/tweaking needs (including auto mode and profiles) and then we can also flash the BIOS from a USB drive.
ASUS also supply their Windows based control software as well as rebranded apps like GPUz. The overall control panel is well set out, easy to understand and therefore simple to use when tweaking performance.