ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Reviewccokeman -
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ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Conclusion:
Over the course of the years I have been writing for OCC I have looked at a broad range of ASUS motherboards. One segment has stood out as the gold standard for all things extreme and has grown almost into a brand of its own: ASUS ROG or Republic of Gamers series motherboards and the associated products. In that time frame the focus has shifted from an extreme overclocking-only product to one that is built for and targeted exclusively at the gaming community, with the best LAN and sound components on board. Not to mention software utilities to manage gaming traffic along with the rest of the software bundle. The other benefit is that ASUS builds a bulletproof product that the extreme overclocker can use to effect when reaching for that all important world record. The hardware is incredibly solid and ASUS has put in the tuning time to ensure the software side of things is up to the task of allowing the end user to have that all important positive gaming experience.
As far as the software side of the bundle goes, we can start with the ASUS Crash Free UEFI BIOS that is far and away the best on the market. Navigation through the BIOS is easy and works as it should, with a wide variety of mice and keyboards and just plain works. Each tab is clearly labeled and the functionality for each tab is in a window to the right so you know what you are toying with. You get useful extras such as Quick Note and a Last Modified window to track your adjustments in the BIOS, plus an EZ Mode for the novice and an Advanced mode for, well, the advanced user. Tools such as Secure Erase, ASUS EZ-Flash, and OC Profiles all add value and functionality here.
In the process of flashing the BIOS using ASUS' tool, I failed to pay attention and lost track of the process and shut down the computer before the flash finished. After a reboot all I would get on the Q-Code display was a pair of 0s. Totally a user induced failure that was remedied using ASUS' USB BIOS Flashback feature that fixed the problem in a matter of a few minutes. Add in having every conceivable option in the BIOS with enough memory module presets and some pretty robust auto rules, you can go as mild or as wild as you and your hardware are capable of. Once you get past the BIOS, ASUS includes Daemon Tools and Kasperskey Antivirus that add value since they are included in the bundle. Additionally you get a host of ASUS software tools including RamDisk, Sonic Radar, AI Suite III featuring DIP4 technology, Fan Xpert 2, Mem Tweakit, ROG-based CPU-Z, USB 3.0 Boost, and ASUS' own Game First II network traffic management software.
Hardware wise you get a massive bundle with all of the accessories this board will ever need, from the wealth of SATA 6Gbps data cables; ROG Connect cable; 2, 3, and 4-Way SLI Bridge connections; an mPCIe Combo II riser card featuring 802.11ac/Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity; ASUS OC Panel that is an add on component that takes hardware off the board to save space and integrates it into an add on device; Q-Connectors; and more. On board build quality is not compromised with ASUS Extreme Engine Digi+III 8 + 2 phase power design using NexFET™ Power Block MOSFETs, 60A BlackWing Chokes, and 10K Black Metallic Capacitors throughout the board. The Maximus VI Extreme has the ability to run up to four of your favorite brand video cards with 4-Way SLI and CrossfireX supported.
When you look at the performance delivered by the Maximus VI Extreme at stock speeds, it is going to deliver performance within a few percentage points across the entire test suite. Really there were no surprises here with the stock performance. When overclocked, the M6E delivered performance increases across the board making for a truly inspired performance. On this board I was able to eek out another 50MHz of bench stable performance out of my 4770K thanks to the flexibility and the granularity of the voltage options in the Crash Free BIOS BIOS at up to 4749MHz by manually tweaking many of the options, even though the auto rules for all three of the Level Up options are robust enough to get clock speed levels of 4.2, 4.4, and 4.6GHz stable as long as your chip can run the number. If manually tweaking is not your strong suite, you have the previously mentioned Level Up feature in the BIOS as well as the 4-Way optimization tool in AISuite III.
At $400, the Maximus VI Extreme is pricey, there's no doubt about it. But when you look at the feature set and hardware options, it has the ability to back that price up with an incredible array of functionality, the inclusion of the OC Panel for the extreme enthusiast, and the same stunning good looks we have come to know oh so well over the past few generations of ASUS ROG hardware. If $400 is a bit too stiff a penalty, then you have the option of picking up a board a little lower in the product stack, which thankfully ASUS has infused with much of the same hardware capabilities found in this board. A three-year limited warranty is standard on this board in case something goes horribly wrong.
All in all I am pleased with what ASUS continually brings to the table in its ROG series boards. If you like the look and feature set there is no reason that it to can take up residence in your chassis.