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ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Extreme Review

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ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Extreme Testing:

Testing this new platform will involve running it through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which includes both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications, to see how each of these products perform. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual gameplay, in which we can see if similarly prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest drivers for each board and NVIDIA drivers for the NVIDIA GTX 770. In the past we had locked the clock speed on the processor to eliminate any easily controlled variables due to processor speed. However, there is a difference in how each manufacturer handles the CPU default and boost speeds, creating opportunity for one board to deliver a higher level of performance. This variable is a point of difference between boards. The majority of users will run the stock settings, making this point a valid concern, so we are changing up the test methods to capture this difference.

Testing Setup: Intel Socket 1151

 

Testing Setup: Intel Socket 1150

 

Comparison Motherboard:

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

 

Much like I saw with the MSI Z170A Gaming M7 and ASUS' own Maximus VIII Hero, there are a myriad of options available to the end user when it comes to overclocking your Skylake processor. In this case I am beating on an Intel Core i7 6700K. ASUS makes it easy for the end user looking for a robust overclock that really takes little more than answering a couple questions when you overclock using the ASUS EZ Tuning Wizard. It's reached by pressing F11 while in the EZ or Advanced sections of ASUS UEFI BIOS. Using this option will give you a stable overclock that helps improve system performance, since clock speed is usually king when it comes to some benchmarks. However, you can configure a more robust overclock by using the 5-Way optimization tool in ASUS' AI Suite III software suite. On top of these means you can tune the board and hardware manually or even use the preset options in the BIOS under the Extreme Tweaker section of the BIOS.

By using the EZ Tuning Wizard in the BIOS, the board sets a modest 4.64GHz overclock. The cache ring ratio is set to 42 with the memory just under 2200MHz with tweaked timings. Doing nothing more than answering questions about the intended use and your cooling solution, this option takes about 15 seconds if you move quickly through the menu. Following a reboot, you should have a solid overclock that will maximize system performance for very little of your time. By using the 5-Way optimization tool in ASUS' AI Suite III, you not only boost up the clock speed, but you optimize the fan speeds to get the best mix between fan speed, noise, and cooling performance. Using this tool, ASUS' options deliver a 4.9GHz clock speed. I found the voltage applied was a little robust for most cooling setups and really was a bit more than my chip is comfortable with. By dropping the multiplier down to 48 and reducing the applied voltage, 4.8GHz was stable. After each type of overclock you apply be sure and check the applied and resulting voltages to ensure thay are not to high for your cooling solution.

On the ASUS Republic of Gamers motherboards, manual tuning allows for tweaking all of the available options in the UEFI BIOS. The Maximus VIII Extreme offers an impressive set of tuning options for the experienced tuner. But if you don't have the time or the inclination to bust out a massive overclock, then the hardware and software on the board is there to back you up with respectable results.

By manually tuning the board and installed hardware, I was not able to improve the core clock speed of the CPU any more than the board could do on its own. However, I was able to get the Cache ratio up and running at 47 while the bclock multiplier was set to 48. After tuning those clock speeds for reliability, I pushed the G.Skill memory up to 3000MHz using the XMP tuning. All in all, 4800MHz on the core, 4700MHz on the cache, and 3000MHz on the memory was not bad at all. I did find that, thanks to the Extreme Engine Digi+ voltage control system, I was able to use less voltage to the core and components to reach these higher stable overclocks. A win all the way around.

ASUS uses a dedicated BCLK generator called Pro Clock that enhances the bclock range that you can run, as long as the processor is capable. Using the 340MHz preset in the Extreme Tweaker section of the BIOS, my processor would run and post at the preset configuration of 340MHz x 8. I could up the multiplier to 9 and still post, but 10 and up were no fly zones. I could boot at 345MHz with no problems and pass LinX at will. An additional tool that comes with the Maximus VIII Extreme is ASUS OC Panel II. This standalone device is connected directly to the PCB by means of a cable to pass information back and forth for display and action. Many of the options In the OC Zone at the top right of the PCB are integrated into this tool. Its features make it just another part of the overclocking process.

Any way you go, ASUS gives you a robust set of overclocking options. It's up to the end user to put the tools to good use.

 

 

 

Maximum Core Clock Speed:

Each CPU has been tested for stability at the listed overclocked speeds. These clock speeds will represent the level of performance shown by the overclocked scores in the testing.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. PCMark 8
  2. SiSoft Sandra 2014
  3. Cinebench R15
  4. X.264 5.1
  5. AIDA64 3.00
  6. CrystalDiskMark
  7. ATTO 2.47
  8. iPerf
  9. Rightmark Audio Analyzer
  • Gaming:
  1. 3DMark
  2. Batman: Arkham Origins
  3. Metro: Last Light



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