ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Reviewccokeman -
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ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Introduction:
ASUS has packed its Z87 ROG product stack full enough to hit just about every niche in the market from Mini ITX boards all the way up to the Maximus VI Extreme we are looking at today. Back in June we looked at the Maximus VI Hero right after the launch of Intel's Fourth Generation Core i7 4770K. What we saw with the Maximus VI Hero was a board that provided a gateway to the ROG universe without the sticker shock long associated with the top of the line models like the Maximus VI Extreme. At $229 it proved to be a hit. While easily capable of delivering awesome overclocks and impressive performance, the Maximus VI Extreme just takes all of the positives and ratchets up the feature set well past the bleeding edge.
ASUS sends the M6E out the door with its Extreme Engine Digi+III all digital voltage controller and components such as Black Wing Chokes, 10K Black Mettalic caps, and NexFET™ Power Block MOSFETs. Included is an mPCIe Combo II card equipped to support socket M2 (NGFF) SSDs along with a Dual Band WiFi Bluetooth module. Add in the Overclocking command Center OC Panel, Quad GPU support for NVIDIA and AMD, USB BIOS Flashback, and all the included software tools that make the ROG brand a standout with a devout following.
Priced currently at $400, the Maximus VI Extreme is at the top end of the Z87 price point. However, the feature set is unique to say the least and is targeted at a specific audience; the extreme gamer and overclocking enthusiast. Time to see if the additional cost for this halo board from ASUS is all you ever wished for in a motherboard.
ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Closer Look:
When you see the big red box you know instantly that you are looking at a Republic of Gamers premium motherboard that comes with an unabashed feature set to take care of the gamer and extreme enthusiast. The front panel of the box is a bit understated with the ROG logo on the top left and the name of the board, in this case the Maximus VI Extreme, across the middle. Under the name of the board is an image of the most substantial part of the Maximus VI Extreme's accessory bundle: the multi function OC Panel. Along the bottom edge you can see that SLI and CrossfireX are supported features. The back panel lists the feature set of the Maximus VI Extreme highlighting the big ticket portions, including the OC Panel, ASUS Extreme Engine Dig+III VRM design, and that not only does the M6E support SLI and CrossfireX but supports it with up to four discrete GPUs from NVIDIA or AMD. Flipping open the front panel we get our first look at the board as well as an in depth look at the OC Panel's feature set, including Subzero Sense and VGA Hotwire. Again the benefits of the Extreme Engine Digi+III all digital VRM circuit are discussed along with another part of the extreme bundle: ASUS mPCIe Combo II riser card.
When you pick up the box, the board and accessory bundle have some weight to them. Inside the shell are a pair of boxes: one that houses the M6E and OC Panel, while the second holds the expansive accessory bundle that really is second to none in terms of the utility and functionality it brings to the motherboard.
How many ways can you say it, but ASUS really packs in the accessories with its halo boards. To start with you get the documentation that includes the well laid out manual, the driver disk, and a label kit for the SATA data cables. The hardware side of the bundle is where you get a ton of parts that include a total of 10 SATA 6Gbps cables (half with 90 degree ends); an ROG magnet; ROG Connect cable; Q-Connectors; Q-Shield; 2, 3, and 4-Way SLI Bridge connections; a single Crossfire Bridge connection; a 2T2R dual band WiFi moving antenna and mPCIe Combo II card that supports Dualband WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac plus Bluetooth v4.0/3.0+HS module; and last but not least the OC Panel kit including cable and drive bay mount.
The real star of the show when it comes to the bundle is the Overclocking Command Center, or OC Panel for short. If you have followed ASUS ROG enhancements and extreme overclocking tool set over the years you have seen them evolve as support grows for the overclocking community. We have seen Tweakit, ROG Connect, OC Station, OC Key, and now we get the next evolution in the OC Panel that allows real time overclocking. You get several modes, including Normal where the control is placed in a drive bay housing as more of a HUD with some funtionality than in the Extreme mode that lets you explore the entire feature set. When outside of the chassis the OC Panel has a leg that pulls out allowing the tool to stand up for ease of use or fold in to lay flat.
Across the front of the body are a multitude of buttons that work you through the functionality. When it's time to get serious the front panel comes off showing off all the hardcore tuning tools. A description will be shown below. The OC Panel gets its power and signalling from a SATA power cable and ROG EXT cable that plug in on the bottom of the OC Panel.
Rather than explain the functionality ASUS does it best on these slides.
Make no bones about it, the Maximus VI Extreme has all the features needed to deliver not only the ultimate in multi-GPU gaming but the tools with which to pull the highest clock speed out of your installed CPU and memory. Let's dig a little deeper into what ASUS has to offer with this halo board in its Z87 product stack.