It’s been a long time coming but we got our first Republic of Gamers (ROG) product right here. We checked out a couple of Z77 boards this week and we have a few more coming but today we’re going to lock our crosshairs on ASUS’ micro-ATX flagship motherboard, the Maximus V GENE. Part of the ROG product line, this motherboard represents ASUS’s pinnacle technologies and is the culmination of what can only be described as a laborious design process. Let’s get started and let’s make this extremely showy!
ASUS should be no stranger to anyone. They make a lot of motherboards and laptops amongst other things, and they very good ones at that. At the motherboard game, they are heralded as the top brand. To further establish its grip in the enthusiast market, ASUS created the Republic of Gamers product line: a dedicated series of products that features ASUS’ top choice components, design considerations and aggressive styling. What started out as a motherboard exclusive has seen its way into the mainstream gaming market with graphics cards and more recently, gaming peripherals.
For today’s review we got ASUS’ ROG Maximus V Gene: A Z77 motherboard supporting the latest Ivy Bridge processors from Intel as well as the 2nd-generation Core series processors. This motherboard is a micro-ATX version of the more heavily feature-packed Maximus V Formula, and its more specialized brother the Maximus V Extreme. In true ROG fashion, this motherboard comes with all the bling that high-end motherboards have but fits in a nice micro-ATX form factor. Let’s get some specs out and images and move on to performance testing.
See full specifications in ASUS’ website.
|CPU||IntelÂ® Socket 1155 for 3rd/2nd Generation Coreâ„¢ i7/Coreâ„¢ i5/Coreâ„¢ i3/PentiumÂ®/CeleronÂ® Processors
Supports IntelÂ® 22 nm CPU
Supports IntelÂ® 32 nm CPU
Supports IntelÂ® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
* The IntelÂ® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 support depends on the CPU types.
* Refer to www.asus.com for CPU support list
|Memory||4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2600(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2200(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/2000(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1600/1333 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports IntelÂ® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
* Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs.
* Refer to www.asus.com or user manual for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).
|Graphic||Integrated Graphics Processor
Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DisplayPort ports
– Supports HDMI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
– Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
Supports IntelÂ® HD Graphics, InTruâ„¢ 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insiderâ„¢
|Multi-GPU Support||Supports NVIDIAÂ® SLIâ„¢ Technology
Supports AMD CrossFireXâ„¢ Technology
Supports LucidLogixÂ® Virtuâ„¢ MVP Technology *1
|Expansion Slots||2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8, red) *2
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4 (black)
1 x mini-PCIe 2.0 x1 *3
|Storage||IntelÂ® Z77 chipset : *4
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red
2 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s), black
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s port(s), red
1 x mini-SATA 3Gb/s port(s), black
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Supports IntelÂ® Smart Response Technology, IntelÂ® Rapid Start Technology, IntelÂ® Smart Connect Technology *5
ASMediaÂ® PCIe SATA controller : *6
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red
|LAN||IntelÂ®, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)|
|Audio||SupremeFX III built-in 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
– Output Signal-to-Noise Ratio (A-Weighted): 110 dB
– Output THD+N at 1kHz: 95 dB
– Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
Audio Feature :
– SupremeFX Shieldingâ„¢ Technology
– 1500 uF Audio Power Capacitor
– Gold-plated jacks
– X-FiÂ® Xtreme Fidelityâ„¢
– EAXÂ® Advancedâ„¢ HD 5.0
– THXÂ® TruStudio PROâ„¢
– Creative ALchemy
– Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection
– Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
|USB Ports||IntelÂ® Z77 chipset :
4 x USB 3.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)
IntelÂ® Z77 chipset :
8 x USB 2.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, black+white, 4 at mid-board)
ASMediaÂ® USB 3.0 controller :
2 x USB 3.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue)
|Overclocking Features||mPCIe Comboâ„¢ (mPCIe/mSATA combo card)
ROG Connect :
– RC Diagram
– RC Remote
– RC Poster
– GPU TweakIt
Extreme Engine Digi+ II :
– 8 -phase CPU power design + 4 -phase iGPU power design
– 2 -phase QPI/DRAM power design
UEFI BIOS features :
– ROG BIOS Print
– GPU.DIMM Post
USB BIOS Flashback
Overclocking Protection :
– ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
|Special Features||ASUS Hybrid Processor – TurboV EVO :
– CPU Level Up
ASUS EPU :
ASUS Exclusive Features :
– AI Suite II
– Ai Charger+
– USB 3.0 Boost
– Disk Unlocker
ASUS EZ DIY :
– ASUS O.C. Profile
– ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
– ASUS EZ Flash 2
ASUS Q-Design :
– ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
– ASUS Q-Slot
– ASUS Q-DIMM
– ASUS Q-Connector
|Back I/O Ports||1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x eSATA 3Gb/s
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
4 x USB 3.0
4 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to ROG Connect)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
6 x Audio jack(s)
1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
1 x ROG Connect On/ Off switch(es)
|Internal I/O Ports||1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
2 x SATA 3Gb/s connector(s)
2 x CPU Fan connector(s)
3 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s)
8 x ProbeIt Measurement Points
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x Go Button(s)
1 x mPCIe Combo header(s)
2 x SATA 3Gb/s cable(s)
4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x SLI bridge(s)
1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
1 x ROG Connect cable(s)
1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s)
1 x ROG Door Hanger(s)
|BIOS||64Mb UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI2.0a Multi-Language BIOS|
|Manageability||WfM2.0, DMI2.0, WOL by PME, PXE|
Sound BlasterÂ® X-Fi 2 Utility
DAEMON Tools Pro Standard
ASUS AI Suite II
|Form Factor||uATX Form Factor
9.6 inch x 9.6 inch ( 24.4 cm x 24.4 cm )
|Note||*1: LucidLogix Virtu MVP supports Windows 7 operating systems.
*2: PCIe3.0 speed is supported by IntelÂ® 3rd generation Coreâ„¢ Processors.
*3: The mPCIe 2.0 x1 slot is located on mPCIe Comboâ„¢ expansion card.
*4: The mSATA 3Gb/s slot is located on mPCIe Comboâ„¢ expansion card.
*5: Supports on IntelÂ® Coreâ„¢ processor family with WindowsÂ® 7 operating systems.
*6: These SATA ports are for data hard drives only.
*7: Due to IntelÂ® chipset limitation, P8Z77, P8H77 and P8B75 series motherboards do not support WindowsÂ® Vista operating system.
Here we have the ASUS Maximus V GENE. Clad in all black with red highlights, the board is busy with a lot of components packed into its Micro-ATX form factor. If you haven’t noticed it yet, there’s a curious-looking spot on one edge of the Maximus V GENE. We’ll check that out later and I’ll bet you’ll love it.
We start our tour of the motherboard layout by checking out the rear I/O ports. From the left we have 2 push buttons: the first one is the CMOS Reset button for clearing the BIOS of any previous settings. Note that this does not delete and previously-saved BIOS profiles. Next to this is is the ROG-Connect button. There is a a space in-between those two buttons reserved for the mPCI-E/mSATA mini-expansion card included in the package which we unfortunately didn’t have the pleasure of checking out since our sample did not include one. Further to the right we have quadruple USB ports, eSATA with USB3.0 ports, an optical SPDIF-OUT port that shares its area with HDMI and DisplayPort outlet. Rounding out this part of the board is the internal Intel LAN port and USB3.0 ports with the 8-channel output powered by Realtek ALC898. Notice how the audio ports are internally lined with gold-plating.
As a micro-ATX motherboard, there isn’t much space for internal expansion but as with previous GENE iterations, ASUS has made it a point to accommodate dual-card configurations. The Maximus V GENE is PCI-e 3.0 compliant and is backwards compatible with older standards. The PCI-e x16 slots run at x8 mode when in dual-card mode. A lone PCI-e x4 slot rounds out the expansion ports on this board. The lower edge of the Maximus V Gene features a Port 80 debug LED along with a humble set of front panel connectivities with a pair USB2.0 headers, a Thunderbolt header (more on that later), onboard buttons, and a front panel audio header. That large shielded bit on the lower right corner is the SupremeFX III audio solution: a shielded Realtek ALC898 sustained with choice capacitors and components that is separated from the entire board layout by a gap in the PCB.
Turning the board slightly around, we check out the SATA ports. The red ones are SATA3 6GBps, 2 of which are controlled by the ASMedia and the other pair is powered off the Z77 chipset. Speaking of chipset, the PCH is covered by a proud ASUS ROG branded heatsink. Along this edge is the front USB3.0 header, the 24-pin PSU connector, the Go button and voltage checkpoints. The Go button is an ASUS-exclusive tech that when used loads a pre-configured setting on the motherboard.
The socket area is also busy but we’ve had no problems mounting our Corsair H80 or a CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ on the board. Checking out the heatsink which looks sexy in matte black, these things help cool a 8-phase VRM.
Another angle on the upper area of the board, we see a couple of fan headers on the top. Nice touch from ASUS of including two CPU fan headers for cooler which uses dual fan.
Different angle of the Supreme FXIII audio.
The Maximus V GENE ships in ASUS’ distinct Republic of Gamers packaging. The box is of a different styling than ASUS’ mainstream products with the product name highlight the box.Â The back of the box gives us some specifications and feature highlights.
The main box cover has a flap on it which showcases some of the technology and features integrated into the Maximus V GENE.
ASUS’ UEFI is in my opinion the snappiest, most responsive and most visually appealing implementation I’ve encountered. Well, the Easy Mode that is. Easy Mode provides performance presets, boot order and other basic necessities to get your system up and running. But this being a Republic of Gamers motherboard, we don’t care about the easy stuff. Diving into the Advanced mode (accessible via the exit button) we are presented with a plethora of options. Similar to Gigabyte’s implementation, ASUS’ UEFI presents the overclocking options immediately.
Pardon the Easy Mode screenshot, it’s not supposed to be like that but apparently my screenshot turned out that way as I’m writing this.
Preset overclocking profiles, highly defined voltage control options, exclusive ASUS Digi+VRM controls, memory timing profiles, and so and so forth make the ASUS UEFI one of the richest BIOS implementations out there.
|Processor||Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 3770K 3.5Ghz (Turbo up to 3.9Ghz)|
|Motherboards||ASUS ROG Maximus V GENE,Â Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H, Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H-WB, ECS Z77H2-A2X Golden Board|
|Cooling||Corsair H80 (Maximum Fan Speed)|
|Power Supply||Silverstone Strider Plus ST65F-P 650W|
|Memory||Kingston HyperX T1 DDR3-2400|
|Video Cards||ASUS HD7870 DirectCUII|
|Hard Drive||Kingston HyperX SSD 120GB|
|Operating System||Windows 7 64-bit SP1|
ASUS has a feature in the BIOS called Extreme Tweaking that aims to “aid” results in certain benchmarks. This option was disabled all throughout testing. Why? Because:
We also changed to the Turbo Boost multiplier to the default Intel values as the Maximus V GENE’s Turbo Boost ratio comes clocked in at 39x for all cores.
SiSoft’s SANDRA is a benchmarking, testing and system information application which provides plenty of options in gaining information regarding your system. For this test, we gauge the raw computational power of the CPU with the Processor Arithmetic benchmark based on the Whetstone and Dhrystone test. Both tests run completely within the processor so it gives a good picture of how a processor performs.
Straight off the gates of our benchmark gauntlet, the small Maximus V GENE shows off it can hang with full ATX motherboards scoring just a touch shy of tying two pair of Gigabyte boards in our charts. Â
wPrime is a multi-threaded benchmarking application designed to measure the raw computational power of a CPU. It can be configured to run on a custom number of threads to accomodate multi-core CPUs.
For this test we watch the other boards play catch-up to the Maximus V GENE, shedding off just a few seconds in stock performance. Overclocked however, it fights neck and neck but doesn’t secure the lead.
Maxon offers a nice benchmark tool called Cinebench which really stresses your entire system to render a very complex scene. The output score is completely unique to Cinebench but allows us to have a rough idea of how the CPU works with 3D rendering tasks.
Now moving on to something multimedia, the ASUS board once again takes the stock performance crown but still a few small notches away from the overclocking performance crown for this benchmark.
SuperPI is another benchmarking tool that utilizes the pure computational power of a CPU. This test however is purely single-threaded and shows us the performance of a single core which gives us a good picture of how a processor performs on similar tasks.
As a single-core test, this is very much the easiest all our boards can go through and won’t strain them much which should show us what they can do in a simple task situation. The Maximus V GENE takes home both stock and overclock lead shedding of some major times in the higher value runs.
3D Mark06 is a benchmarking software designed to measure the performance of a system in DirectX9 applications. The test has long been updated with newer version of the software for more modern use but the CPU test is still relevant and still gives us a good image of system performance by loading the CPU with logic, path-finding and physics computation tasks.
Stock performance is tops and overclocked seems to carry that lead giving the ROG board a good lead.
3DMark Vantage is the successor to 3DMark 06 and is targeted for DirectX10 compliant devices. Similar to our 3DMark 06 test, we only take the CPU scores using the Performance preset.
After some very impressive show of performance, the Maximus V GENE stumbles a bit in Vantage in stock runs but manages to hold off its ATX rivals in the overclocked run.
We use a 150MB 1080p MP4 video and convert it to standard iOS format using Xilisoft Video Converter. GPU acceleration is disabled and conversion is purely done by the CPU.
This motherboard seems to like multimedia workloads as again, we see some very impressive scores in this test.
We use WinRAR 4.0 on default settings to compress 3340 files of varying types including MP3s, various images and documents for a total of 2.40GB of data.
Now 5 seconds may not be a lot for a lot of people, but for these kinds of tests every second counts. And that said, the Maximus V GENE edges out every other board in the stock performance run leading 5 seconds over the second place UD3H. The overclock test however had the other boards catch up but ASUS still holds on to the top spot in our chart.
We resize 3,030 varying images of different formatsand sizes (a total of 883MB) to our standard 1200×900 resolution and note the time it takes to finish up the batch job.
The Maximus V GENE ties for 1st place in the stock run and stumbles in the overclocked test.
X264 HDÂ is a free benchmarking tool that shows the performance of a system by converting a 720p video clip.
Good scores all across the board in this one but not enough for the Maximus V Gene to take the lead. Still, the results are by a hairline difference.
Ungine’s Heaven benchmark is a DirectX application designed to measure the performance of a system in game-like loads.
Very solid numbers and performance as we see the ASUS board take out overclocked motherboards even at stock settings. This performance didn’t scale enough as it gets pushed by 1 point by our ECS board from 1st place.
3DMark 11 is the most recent iteration (not counting the version for the upcoming Windows 8) of the popular benchmarking software from Futuremark. For this test we run the Performance preset of the benchmark which comes with the free version of 3DMark 11 which should present a more reproducible scenario for a lot of people.
Regaining glory for itself once again though, the Maximus V GENE shows off it can knock out overclocked boards again taking out the UD3H and holding the overclock performance crown for this test.
The benchmark modes in Civilization5 are designed to stress and test various aspects of the users hardware and supporting software. This benchmark is designed to simulate a late game workload as it exercises all aspects of the game engine pipeline since all simulation and renderable object types are represented at a frequency consistent with a game that has been in progress for 300+ turns. We capture the full render score for our comparison graphs.
Demolishing every board in the stock run, the Maximus V GENE showcases some very impressive number in this test for the stock run.
Battlefield 3 is the latest intallment in the highly-acclaimed FPS franchise from EA. Battlefield 3 puts players in modern combat situations with highly detailed environment and in-game graphics, whose Ultra detail settings, can bring most systems to their knees. Graph results are for average FPS.
An even contest all throughout. We see ASUS give the reason why it’s the gamers’ choice.
ASUS’ overclocking options are rich. Simply rich. Loading the Gamer’s Profile we see it has presets for easy overclocking but we prefer the manual way. We stick to our standard method: set a fixed VCORE voltage of 1.3v and find-out which board flakes out and which stands. ASUS takes the lead edging off the UD5H by just a small notch.
The Maximus V GENE falters by half a megahertz in our maximum BCLK with a stable 108.5 clock.
ASUS, with its rich overclocking options, doesn’t skimp out on the memory department also. That said, the ASUS board takes both XMP memory overclocking test.
TEMPERATURE and POWER CONSUMPTION
We check to see how motherboard makers tune their default BIOS settings and see how it impacts temperatures and power consumption. The system is left to idle for 30 minutes before readings are taken and load data is taken 30 minutes while Prime95 blend test is running. Power readings are taken for the entire system from the socket.
With not much stuff on the board to power, the ASUS Maximus V GENE consumes just a wee bit more power than the just as bare UD3H.
At default settings, ASUS tends to go with a higher voltage than most of our boards hence the idle temps being at that number but its rock-tight voltage control seems to work nicely as it manages to be the coolest in our load test.
It’s hard not to be impressed with the ASUS Maximus V GENE. So let’s get down to business: how much and is it worth it? The Maximus V GENE retails for around Php12,900. For a micro-ATX motherboard, that’s particularly high but the Republic of Gamers line from ASUS are known to command such a premium. For this board, you’re getting lots of reason. One is its top notch performance, we’ve yet to test that other mATX board we have for comparison, but as it stands the Maximus V GENE is certainly a winner. Another reason is you’re just getting a castrated Maximus V Formula. Sure, there’s a lot of cutdown features like more PCI-E lanes and the ThermoFusion heatsink but you’re buying this mATX board for the sole reason that it is mATX.
Another fact that we didn’t touch on this review much is features, and this board is oozing with it. First is the SupremeFXIII which is by far the 2nd most favorite feature of this motherboard (1st being the rich UEFI options which I’ll get to later). It’s audio delivery is simply superb. We tested the board using a Sennheiser PC360 straight off the back audio ports and there has been no onboard audio solution that has given us such a crisp and defined listening experience. Going back to the UEFI options I mentioned, this board is screaming to be fiddled with and that we did. We overclocked and undervolted, whatever made us happy and the board complied. Simple as that. There’s a lot of things we didn’t cover but hopefully when we see it’s bigger brother we’ll get to explore the Maximus V features more.
So in closing, there is no aspect of the Maximus V GENE we didn’t like. For the mATX crowd, this is THE motherboard right now. No questions asked and for that we give it Back2Gaming Gold and our highest recommendation.
- Very good performance
- Great overclocking potential
- Rich BIOS options
- Excellent features and components
- Rich software bundle
- Aggressive looks and styling
- How is ASUS going to top this?