Board Layout

The layout is pretty much as good as can be given the small size, although the colour scheme lacks a little uniformity compared to its bigger brother. The blue and white theme on black is predominant, but the splash of red in the centre looks out of sorts. OK, yes, while this is similar to the Formula, it just doesn't look quite so good on such a small board.

That said, it certainly doesn't look bad, but the hardware has been cut back compared to the full ATX version in order to squeeze everything in. The CPU power hardware has been cut down to eight phase from sixteen - not that it really matters, eight is plenty, but the cooling surrounding the CPU has been minimised as well, and doesn't extend to the southbridge which is now on its own with only a small, low profile heatsink.

Asus hasn't compromised on some of the core RoG features though - a section of northbridge fins is still removable for alternative coolers, like waterblocks (Swiftech does one), and there's still the desktop LCD Poster to show the boot readout as well.

*Asus Maximus II Gene Genes Size: S *Asus Maximus II Gene Genes Size: S
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The board gets a whole set of Fujitsu super long life solid aluminium capped capacitors as well, like all RoG boards, and there's also the obligatory iRoG chips in the bottom corner that Asus claims helps to boost overclocking, as well as the large, pimp onboard power and reset buttons as well.

*Asus Maximus II Gene Genes Size: S *Asus Maximus II Gene Genes Size: S
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You might notice the memory slots look a bit weird too - instead of having both ends with clips, one end simply squeezes the memory by angling and pushing it into that end first, before clipping it down securely on the other. We've found this method is just as secure as the classic dual clip method, but solves the temptation for people to moan about the memory slots too close to the PCI-Express graphics card.

Down by the end of the memory is the Mem-OK button too. When we saw Asus before Computex this year, it was explained this button launches an algorithm that cycles through different memory configurations in order to get the PC to boot. This is because Asus cannot QVL every board with every memory DIMM available - new and old - and also when BIOSes are no longer developed it still affords compatibility. This is particularly good if you're investing in a chipset that is close to the end of its life - while the board will be new, there's no saying for how much development time Asus will put into the Gene compared to the demands of newer platforms.

*Asus Maximus II Gene Genes Size: S *Asus Maximus II Gene Genes Size: S
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Finally the peripheral slot layout is as good as it can be - with multi-GPU still supported, although two dual height cards will have a very hard time breathing without additional airflow forced in from the side or space underneath. It does also mean that the PCI-Express x1 and PCI slots have a questionable use, but that's the inevitable cost of a smaller form factor and this board is geared for gaming first and foremost.

If you're unfamiliar with the limitations of P45, despite the two physical x16 slots it's either a single x16 or two x8s available at Gen 2.0 bandwidth, and only ATI CrossFire is supported - there's no love for Nvidia's SLI technology, but that's not Intel's (or Asus's decision).

*Asus Maximus II Gene Genes Size: S *Asus Maximus II Gene Genes Size: S
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Seven SATA ports are more than most people will ever use in a mATX case, but it does potentially yield some nice smaller form factor server opportunities given a custom case build and the right angled connectors (all except one) make it compatible with long graphics cards as well. Asus uses the not so great JMicron chipset for IDE (extra SATA and eSATA though); thankfully though, the large floppy port has been forgone in favour of more useful use of space.
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