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Asus Maximus VI Extreme Review

Asus Maximus VI Extreme (Z87) Review

Manufacturer: Asus
UK Price (as reviewed): £338 (inc. VAT)
US Price (as reviewed): Approx $450 (ex. Tax)

Having produced some of our top-rated high-end motherboards over the last few years there's little doubt that Asus' new range of ROG motherboards is among the most anticipated of the new raft of Z87 boards that is accompanying the launch of Intel's new Haswell CPUs. So it's with great pleasure we can finally get to grips with the boards.

We revealed a few details of the range a few weeks ago including a new addition to the ROG range, called Hero, which is meant to retail for roughly the same price as the micro-ATX Maximus VI Gene. The Maximus VI Formula also makes a return. Today, though, it's all about the top of the Maximus VI food chain as we look at the Maximus VI Extreme.

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Little has changed with the colour scheme, with the board sporting the mix of red and black that has come to signify the range. Largely these splashes of colour come in the form of substantial heatsinks that cover the usual hot spots on the motherboard. It looks pretty similar to its predecessor, the Maximus V Extreme, but with a few subtle design changes such as the repositioned red flash on the VRM heatsinks and the now all-red rank of SATA ports.

Layout, as you'd expect, is top-notch, with the vast majority of ports and connectors located right on the edge of the PCB, with all the SATA ports mounted parallel to it to aid cable routing. Power, reset and CMOS clear buttons are of course here, as is an LED post read-out, most of which are located next to the DIMM slots.

Additional power connectors are nothing new when it comes to ROG, but the Maximus VI Extreme certainly caters well for extreme overclockers with an on-board 6-pin PCI-E and 4-pin EPS 12V connector able to supply additional voltage to the graphics cards and CPU if needed.

There's a ton of new features with the new ROG range too. The Maximus VI Extreme sports a mini-PCI-E slot as well as a new type of storage socket known as M.2, which supports M.2 type 2242 SATA 6Gbps SSDs. Extreme Engine Digi+ II claims to offer greater than 90 per cent efficient mosfets, 60A BlackWing chokes and 10K black metallic capacitors that supposedly offer better low temperature performance (read LN2 overlcocking) and enhanced lifespan.

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If that wasn't enough to to have you reaching for your LN2 pots, then Asus' latest overclocking gadget probably will. The new OC Panel, which is bundled with Maximus VI Extreme flavours, looks like it's been designed in a Wayne Enterprises secret R&D department. It's possibly one of the most comprehensive overclocking tools we've seen, and is akin to having the EFI in your hand with access to everything you need for Haswell overclocking, from baseclock tuning ratios to vcore. Head over the page to check it out.

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For those of us with SSDs that can benefit from a secure erase, Asus has seen fit to integrate this directly into the BIOS meaning you don't have to find another PC or install Windows to download and use your own software. A complete list of the SSD's supported by the utility should be available on the ROG support site once the NDA has lifted, which should be when you're reading this.

  • Chipset Intel Z87
  • CPU support LGA1150 compatible
  • Memory support 4 slots: max 32GB DDR3 (3,000MHz)
  • Expansion slots Five 16x PCI-E 3.0 slots (Max two at x16, three 8x, one 4x), mini PCI-E, One 4x PCI-E
  • Sound 8-channel HD audio via Realtek ALC1150
  • Networking Intel Gigabit Ethernet LAN, 802.11 n/ac WiFi
  • Ports 10 x SATA 6Gbps (six via Intel Z87, four via ASMedia 1061) 8 x USB 3, 8 x USB 2, 1 x LAN, audio out, line in, mic, optical S/PDIF out, HDMI, DisplayPort
  • Dimensions (mm) 305 x 244 (ATX)
  • Extras OC Panel, on-board thermal probe connector, mini PCI-E Combo II