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.

Asus Maximus Extreme review

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 factorATX
Motherboard integrated graphicsno

Compatability

Processor/platform brand (manufacturer)Intel
Processor socketLGA 775
Motherboard form factorATX
Memory typeDDR3
Multi-GPU supportyes

Controllers

Motherboard chipsetIntel X38
Number of Ethernet adapters2
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
Graphics chipsetN/A
Audio chipsetSupremeFX 2 Audio Card

Onboard Connectors

CPU power connector type8-pin
Main power connectorATX 24-pin
Memory sockets total4
Internal SATA connectors6
Internal PATA connectors1
Internal floppy connectors1
Conventional PCI slots total2
PCI-E x16 slots total3
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots total1

Rear ports

PS/2 connectors1
USB ports (downstream)6
FireWire ports1
eSATA ports2
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports1
3.5mm audio jacks0
Parallel ports0
9-pin serial ports0
Extra port backplane bracket ports2 USB, 1 FireWire

Accessories

SATA cables supplied3
Molex to SATA adaters supplied2
IDE cables supplied1
Floppy cables supplied1

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