ASUS ROG Maximus VI Gene Reviewccokeman - January 30, 2014
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Asus ROG Maximus VI Conclusion:
As the third offering in ASUS Z87 ROG product stack I have looked at, you can see the apple does not fall far from the tree. You get all the overclocking performance and utilities that come on the full size ATX form factor ASUS ROG Maximus VI Hero and ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme without losing much in the way of overall feature set. In fact for the most part 90+% of the people looking for an M-ATX form factor gaming centric motherboard, the ASUS ROG Maximus VI Gene will have you covered. As far as graphics abilities go, Quad GPU support for NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossfireX lets the end user populate the PCIe slots with a pair of dual GPU cards, like the ASUS GTX 760 Mars, or if you have the coin a pair of AMD-based HD 7990s to drive an SLS multi monitor setup. If a multi monitor setup is not ideal for your usage scenario there is always the option of moving up to a 4K display, such as ASUS own PQ321Q. The vast majority of users use a single discrete video card, however ASUS has multi GPU covered for the best mix of options for the majority of gamers.
Using an add-in sound card adds expense to a build, but traditionally was a better option than using marginal onboard sound. ASUS has improved its onboard sound solutions over the years and continue to do so on this version of its Z87-based product stack. ASUS' Supreme FX sound solution is built to rival some of the discrete sound cards on the market using a shielded Realtek 1150 codec as the base of the system. Next the audio circuitry is isolated with ASUS red line moat to reduce EMI interference at the hardware level. Not to mention the added bling factor you get during operation. ELNA audio capacitors and an op amp are used to provide a "warmer" audio experience while gaming, watching hi-def content, or just listening to your favorite tunes. Launched with the Z87 ROG product stack, Sonic Radar is an in-game tool that shows a graphic representation of where the sounds are coming from. Some may consider it cheating, but if your ears cannot pick up the position of sound due to poor performing headphones than this should help out the end user.
While built and marketed to meet the needs of the gamer, an ROG motherboard such as the Maximus VI Gene also is built from the ground up to meet the needs of the extreme overclocker, something I found out while looking at the ASUS ROG Blitz Extreme back in 2008. As time has has gone by the feature set and build quality has improved markedly. Using ASUS' all digital Extreme Engine Digi+III 8+2 phase power circuit on the Maximus VI Gene, we have a board that is equipped with 60A rated Black Wing Chokes with gold plated coils, 10K Nichicon GT Black Caps, and NexFet PowerBlock to deliver improved voltage regulation, longer lifespan and higher efficiency. To that end overclocking no longer has to involve a myriad of adjustments in the BIOS to get that lat bit of clock speed.
ASUS' in-house tuning is good enough that you really only have to set just a couple voltages and set your clock and memory multipliers to reach good solid overclocks. Manual tuning is going to allow higher clock speeds, but the auto option gets you most of the way there. However you can use ASUS 4-way optimization tool in AI Suite III or the CPU Level Up tool to to do the work for you with three clock speed options available. Memory overclocking is top notch on the Maximus VI Gene and Z87 platform, with even mediocre chips able to run modules up to 3000MHz. Keep in mind, though, that Haswell overclocking is different from previous Intel processor families and most of your limitations are going to be at the hardware level with the added juice not worth the squeeze. Needless to say ASUS has overclocking covered from the novice up to the hardcore enthusiast.
The hardware is only part of the story when you get down to it. The CPU/memory combination is going to delver similar performance across different manufacturers' motherboard. No surprise there really. Points of difference are going to come down to looks, the accessory bundle and software package. The Maximus VI Gene comes with an impressive accessory bundle that includes everything needed to fully take advantage of the board's capabilities, with some ASUS specific pieces such as the Q-Connectors and Q-Shield. ASUS software package includes full versions of Kapersky Antivirus and Daemon Tools; a $40 added value to the package on top of all the cool tools that just work. ASUS RAMDisk, SSD Erase, Game First II, Sonic Radar, Boot Setting, and AI Suite III are all added value tools that leverage the hardware's capabilities.
At $199 the M-ATX ROG Maximus VI Gene delivers everything you would expect from the full ATX form factor ROG boards, but at an even better price point. There is still a price premium over competing brands, but for this price you really cannot go wrong when choosing the Maximus VI Gene if you are looking to put together an ASUS Republic of Gamers build.
- Software utilities
- UEFI Bios
- Quad GPU ready
- Overclocking options
- Mini ATX Form Factor
- PCIe Combo Card II
- USB 3.0 performance