CPU & Motherboards

ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME LGA1200 Motherboard Review

ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME (Z490) LGA1200 Motherboard

I highly urge readers to read through our review of the Core i9 10900K and Core i7 10700K before reading these motherboard reviews to get an idea on how the processors place themselves and how much value a board holds for this release. Also, these reviews assumes that you, the buyer, has decided to go with the Intel 10th-gen CPUs, and will not factor a what-if-AMD scenario unless when necessary when making a point.

Let’s start with the obvious, this is a premium motherboard and with a price of $800 or almost PHP46,000, is asking a lot of money but with what Intel is putting to the table, the motherboard is focusing on offering the most it can be for this platform: a content creator board for watercooling enthusiasts and gamers. Now there exists this genre of people. Film editors/gamers is a notable example of this type of user. The key factor here is that you need to be able to afford this kind of platform, not just as a hobby but part of a workflow to really justify the cost of the board. In a purely functional sense, the ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME offers a great motherboard for watercoolers first because of its ability to mesh an entire multi-rad setup by powering more than 6 fans and a pair of pumps straight from the board. This unifies the cooling ecosystem by adding a control module for the watercooling in one place and allowing the board to react to CPU temperatures excellently. Still, it’s not a “need” kind of thing and a loop powered off the MOLEX can easily be just as good. The argument, again, is control. Which brings us to the UEFI BIOS aspect of this board and its pedigree, the EXTREME line of boards were always overclocking boards and the MAXIMUS XII EXTREME retains that, allowing anyone capable and daring enough to push their Comet Lake S CPUs to the utmost limit of what 14nm can offer.

The content creator part of this equation though is a bit murky. While the board readily compliments the 10th-gen’s CPUs multitasking capability, there’s a two lines of thought that needs to be addressed here but first I’ll need to mention that ASUS has shipped the ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME with Multi-core Enhancement turned off. That’s right. This high-performance board has the high-performance option turned off. This is in stark contrast to previous releases which saw Multicore Enhancement enabled and unrestrained that performance getting a little boost in exchange for power and temperatures. This is quite odd. As a watercooling board with a high acquisition cost, why does this motherboard go with stock settings? Now on first boot you’re given the option to choose which mode you want to run in and you can also change this in the BIOS, but given that the every-Joe does not know this, ASUS could’ve done a better job highlighting in the boot-up or BIOS option.


ASUS ThunderboltEX3-TR Thunderbolt III PCIE Expansion Card

Going back to the content creator discussion, the slight boost in performance is obviously appreciated most of the times but the Thunderbolt accessory feels forced at this point especially with Thunderbolt built-in to the ProArt Z490 Creator 10G motherboard. Perhaps a late addition by ASUS to justify their price tag but there is simply no way, an optional daughter card will sway anyone to go with this board when it exists as a stand-alone product already. Why not just sell the ThunderboltFX-less version for less cost?  The Extreme boards peaked at $500 and I see no reason for ASUS or GIGABYTE or anyone else start this 1000$ motherboard trend just because they’re motherboards have this extra fancy card I may or may not need.

Those previous statements are meant to frame the value situation of the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME. It’s a motherboard that aims to be a lot of only excels in one thing. Ultimately, it’s price is what hurts its situation and with Intel’s 10th-gen Core processors existence in immediate jeopardy because of an imminent Rocket Lake arrival, the only use-case I am recommending this board if you are 1) heavily overclocking, 2) watercooling and  3) do hobby video editing. Because you won’t be going this route if you’re doing this for work.

So, with those out of the way, the ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME is an excellently built motherboard and quality-wise, usability-wise and aesthetically, it’s an awesome motherboard. Its overbuilt VRM, and heavy shroud makes this one of those boards that has more metal in it than it should.  So do you this motherboard? Of course not but its a status symbol and luxurious functional motherboard that’s luxuriously priced as well… and as a luxury product, the choice is up to the user.

Its an excellently built board with not much in terms of innovation but I’ll dock those points on Intel rather than ASUS as they force them to do some desperate things despite the stagnancy that Intel CPUs are maintaining during these times. The ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME is a great board in terms of its offerings and the choice falls to the user.

ASUS is still at fault for the unnecessary baggage that is Thunderbolt card on this package.

ASUS backs the ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME with a 3-year warranty. We give it our B2G Silver Award.

EDIT: 05/21/2020 10:24am – Corrected final rating as initial publication had both Value and Final Rating as the same. This is a mistake and has been update to reflect our rating for this board.

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BossMac Suba

Owner and lead reviewer for Back2Gaming. More than 10-year of corporate IT experience as well as consumer IT journalism. His extensive skill set and experience in communicating complicated technical details into easily understandable bits. He's been with you since dial-up and the ISA slot. His favorite animal is the scapegoat.

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