ASUS ROG Maximus VI Gene Reviewccokeman -
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Asus ROG Maximus VI Gene Introduction:
Last year I had the opportunity to look at ASUS' ROG entry into the mainstream market with the Maximus VI Hero and later the upper echelon of the socket 1150 ROG lineup, the Maximus VI Extreme. Each of these boards hit definite price points in the Republic of Gamers product stack. Missing from the lineup at launch was a small form factor board for the ROG enthusiast. Sure ASUS had the form factor covered with its TUF series Gryphon Z87 and the Z87M-Plus, but again the ROG enthusiast was left out in the cold. Now ASUS has corrected this problem with the introduction of both the Maximus VI Gene for the mATX crowd and have even added a mini-ITX board into the ROG fold with the Impact.
Today, though, I will be looking into the ROG Maximus VI Gene, a board that has all of the ROG specific features demanded by the ROG user, but in a smaller footprint. When reducing the footprint, it's surprising how little functionality you lose. Ultimately it comes down to a pair of SATA 6Gbps ports, the loss of the ability to run a four card graphics solution, Native DisplayPort connectivity, and not much else outside of the pricier point for entry into the ROG realm that comes in at $199.
For that price the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Gene comes equipped with all the latest features, including ASUS' own high end Supreme FX audio solution, Extreme Engine Digi+ III with Blackwing chokes and 10K Black capacitors, Game First II used in conjunction with Intel networking, Dual Intelligent Processors 4, Sonic Radar, Quad Crossfire or SLI support, and so much more out of the Republic of Gamers feature set. I have a good idea how this review will turn out after playing with a large portion of the ROG product stack over the past seven years. Let's see if there are any surprises with the Maximus VI Gene.
Asus ROG Maximus VI Gene Closer Look:
From a packaging perspective, the Maximus VI Gene fits tightly into the ROG mold with a brick red scheme throughout the packaging. The front panel features minimal information, but does show that across the bottom that the Maximus VI Gene is equipped with an Intel Z87 chipset, supports both AMD's CrossfireX and NVIDIA's SLI technologies, as well as native support for resolutions up to 4K. The back panel illustrates the specifications and highlights the main components of the feature set, such as the included mPCIe Combo card, Supreme FX sound solution, Extreme Engine Digi+ III, and multi GPU support. A representation of the I/O panel is shown to illustrate the I/O connectivity. While you get a ton of information on the back panel, ASUS expands on the included feature set on this ROG offering when you flip open the cover of the front panel. You get in-depth explanations on the RAMDisk software, mPCIe Combo card, the Supreme FX sound, and gaming specific technologies like Game First II and Sonic Radar. You get enough information to make an informed decision on your purchase.
Inside the package the ROG Maximus VI Gene and the accessory bundle share space on two separate levels. One for just the board and the other specifically for the accessory bundle. It's a common arrangement that ensures everything gets to its destination unscathed.
I'll dig into the hardware on the next page, but first let's take a look at the accessory bundle. As an ROG offering you know that you are going to get a top shelf set of accessories. Holding true to this expectation, what you get for non-hardware parts includes a detailed manual, driver and software disc, door tag to let the rest of the family know you are gaming, drive cable labels, and an ASUS ROG case badge to show off your loyalty. The hardware potion of the bundle includes a total of six SATA 6Gbps data cables, three of which have 90 degree connections; a set of ASUS Q-Connections for the front panel connectivity and a single USB 2.0 header; the Q-Shield used to limit EMI interference through the I/O panel; SLI bridge connection; and lastly the mPCIe combo card that features both a mini PCIe 2.0 slot and M.2(NGFF) slot. This option allows the end user to purchase a Bluetooth or WiFi module for use in the mini PCIe slot to add wireless connectivity to the MVIG, while the M.2 slot can be used with the latest M.2 form factor SSDs taking advantage of Intel's Smart drive technologies.
The ROG branding is revered by gamers and overclockers for what it has to offer them. Specific features that play to those needs such as Game First II network traffic management, Supreme FX sound with Sonic Radar ,and solid build quality that starts with a well engineered power system in Extreme Engine Digi+ III. Let's see how the ROG Maximus VI Gene performs, but first a look at the hardware and software that makes the package come to life.