Asus Maximus Extreme review

£174
Price when reviewed
Both of this month’s Asus boards are from the company’s Republic of Gamers range and are aimed unapologetically at enthusiasts. The Maximus is, perversely, the lesser model, but it’s far from underspecified and offers many genuinely distinctive features.

Our favourite is the LCD poster – a little text display on a cable that provides details of any hardware problems. Although Asus sells the Maximus as a gaming board, this is useful to any sort of tinkerer and it’s backed up by Windows-based hardware-monitoring utilities.

We also liked the thermal sensors: you get three to connect wherever you like, and the BIOS will automatically shut down the system if any of them exceeds a specified temperature.

Naturally, the Maximus has internal power and reset buttons, and a “clear CMOS” button on the backplate. There are comprehensive overclocking options, too, while Asus’ Level Up system lets you simply pick a processor model from a list and emulates its clock settings automatically. A three-colour LED on the board itself glows green, yellow or red to indicate at a glance how aggressively your CPU is overclocked.

Some features are a little on the niche side: for example, the chipset cooler is hollow and has ports for connecting a fluid cooling system. And the three PCI Express slots can be configured either as two 16x slots, to eliminate CrossFire bottlenecks, or one 16x and two 8x slots to support an extra card – neat, but unnecessary for most of us.

The Maximus is expensive, no doubt about that, and power consumption is high at 114W in the BIOS. It needs expensive DDR3 RAM, too. But if you’re willing to pay for a high-end board, the Maximus Extreme goes the extra mile.

Details

Motherboard form factor ATX
Motherboard integrated graphics no

Compatability

Processor/platform brand (manufacturer) Intel
Processor socket LGA 775
Motherboard form factor ATX
Memory type DDR3
Multi-GPU support yes

Controllers

Motherboard chipset Intel X38
Number of Ethernet adapters 2
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
Graphics chipset N/A
Audio chipset SupremeFX 2 Audio Card

Onboard Connectors

CPU power connector type 8-pin
Main power connector ATX 24-pin
Memory sockets total 4
Internal SATA connectors 6
Internal PATA connectors 1
Internal floppy connectors 1
Conventional PCI slots total 2
PCI-E x16 slots total 3
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots total 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 1

Rear ports

PS/2 connectors 1
USB ports (downstream) 6
FireWire ports 1
eSATA ports 2
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 1
3.5mm audio jacks 0
Parallel ports 0
9-pin serial ports 0
Extra port backplane bracket ports 2 USB, 1 FireWire

Accessories

SATA cables supplied 3
Molex to SATA adaters supplied 2
IDE cables supplied 1
Floppy cables supplied 1

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