Asus Maximus VI Extreme review – maximus overclockus performanceus

After the Asus Z87 Expert torture, I have put on the testbench the most powerful motherboard in the Z87 ROG series. This is the review of Maximus VI Extreme, the flagship of Asus' motherboards for Intel Haswell CPUs.

Gamers and overclockers alike love this board and need to know how it performs just before they buy it. This article covers all the aspects of Maximus VI Extreme. (In the end, if something is missing, just let me know to add it. ;) )

Asus Maximus VI Extreme facebook

Specs:

CPU

Intel Socket 1150 for 4th Generation Core i7/Core i5/Core i3/Pentium/Celeron Processors

Supports Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0

Chipset

Intel Z87

Memory

4x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 3000(O.C) MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory

Dual Channel Memory Architecture

Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

Graphics

Integrated Graphics Processor

Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DisplayPort ports

- Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz

- Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x2160 @24 Hz / 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz

Supports InTru 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider

Supports up to 3 displays simultaneously

Audio

Realtek ALC1150 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC

- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking

Audio Feature :

- Optical S/PDIF out port at back panel

- BD Audio Layer Content Protection

Storage

Intel Z87 chipset :

6x SATA 6Gb/s ports, red

Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10

Supports Intel Smart Response Technology, Intel Rapid Start Technology, Intel Smart Connect Technology

Intel Z87 chipset :

1x M.2 (NGFF) Socket 2 on mPCIe Combo II expansion card, black

Support M.2 (NGFF) Type 2242 SSD card (22mm x 42mm),

Support PCI express 2.0 x1 and SATA 6Gb/s standards

ASMedia ASM1061 controller:

4x SATA 6Gb/s ports, red

LAN / Wireless

1x Intel I217V Gigabit

1x Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

Bluetooth

Bluetooth v4.0

Back I/O Ports

1x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port

1x DisplayPort

1x HDMI

1x LAN (RJ45) port

6x USB 3.0 (blue)

2x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to ROG Connect)

1x Optical S/PDIF out

6x Audio jacks

1x Clear CMOS button

1x ROG Connect On/ Off switch

Extensions headers

 

1x USB 3.0 connector supports additional 2 USB 3.0 ports

3x USB 2.0 connectors support additional 6 USB 2.0 ports

10x SATA 6Gb/s connectors

1x CPU Fan connector

1x CPU OPT Fan connector

3x Chassis Fan connectors

3x Optional Fan connectors

1x S/PDIF out header

1x 24-pin EATX Power connector

1x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector

1x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector

1x 6-pin EZ_PLUG Power connector

1x 4-pin EZ_PLUG Power connector

1x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)

1x System panel

1x DirectKey Button

1x DRCT header

1x MemOK! button

1x Slow Mode switch

10x ProbeIt Measurement Points

3x Thermal sensor connectors

1x LN2 Mode header

1x Power-on button

1x Reset button

1x BIOS Switch button

1x FastBoot switch

1x ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header

1x mPCIe Combo II connector

Expansion slots

5x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8 or x8/x16/x8 or x8/x16/x8/x8)

1x PCIe 2.0 x4

1x mini-PCIe 2.0 x1

Supports NVIDIA 4-Way SLI Technology

Supports AMD CrossFireX Technology

ROG Exclusive

mPCIe Combo™ II (mPCIe/M.2 combo card)

ROG Connect :

- RC TweakIt

- RC Diagram

- RC Remote

- RC Poster

Extreme Engine Digi+ III :

- 8 + 2 phase power design

- NexFET™ Power Block MOSFET

- 60A BlackWing Chokes

- 10K Black Metallic Capacitors

ROG Extreme OC kit :

- Slow Mode

- LN2 Mode

- PCIe x16 Lane Switch

- EZ Plug

ProbeIt

UEFI BIOS features :

- ROG BIOS Print

- GPU.DIMM Post

- Tweakers' Paradise

- ROG SSD Secure Erase

ROG RAMDisk

Extreme Tweaker

Form factor

ATX,  30.5 cm x 24.4 cm

 

Build and features

The package is the well-known dark red ROG box with a window to eye-peak the motherboard.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme set

The motherboard has the ROG aesthetics, in red & black, with the big radiators covering the VR and the chipset.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme

CPU has an 8-pin connector (EATX12V_1), giving the overclocking all the power it needs. If that is not enough, another 4-pin interface (EATX12V_2) is there to complete the request. Next to them lives the mPCIe Combo II interface. The mini-PCIe slot is pre-installed with a dual-band Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 802.11a/b/g/n/ac module on mPCIe Combo II expansion card. SATA 6Gb/s port 5 will be disabled when M.2 slot on mPCIe Combo II is in use.

The radiators have the ROG design and, pretty sure, the performance. They are cooling the 8 phases digital VR. For perfect stability, new generation technology Extreme Engine Digi+ III is integrated, supporting the most extreme tuning.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme VR

The 4 memory slots work in dual-channel architecture and support 32GB DDR3 @ 3000MHz (overclocked) non-ECC DIMMs. They are deserved by a 2-phase digital VR. The 2nd generation T-Topology technology optimizes layout to minimize coupling noise and signal reflection, increasing DRAM overclocking speed.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme top-half

Asus installed a 2-digit LED display, buttons for Start, Reset, MemOK, a switch for PCI-E lanes and one for Slow Mode (LN2). For overclockers and enthusiasts Maximus VI Extreme benefit from the ProbeIT measurement points.

The top-half of the motherboard offers 6x 4-pin fan headers.

For configuration with 4-way SLI or CrossfireX, the 4x red PCI-E slots can work in x8/x16/x8/x8. Should your insane setup needs more power from PCI-E, Asus installed a 6-pin EZ Plug connector for additional energy. For maximum PCI-E bandwidth, Asus uses a PLX PEX8747 controller with 48 lanes.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme bottom-half

Bottom border contains the Fast Boot switch, DirectKey button, TB Header, ROG Extensions, USB headers and BIOS switch button.

The chipset is cooled by a big black passive heatsink.

The storage is covered by 10 SATA3 connectors, 6 of them provided by the Intel Z87 chipset, with support for RAID 0,1,5,10, and the other 4 coming from the attached ASMedia ASM1061 controller.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme SATA

I'd like the ASMedia ports to be in a different color than Intel's, but Asus choses all ports in red.

For external connections, Maximus VI Extreme benefits from 6x USB 3.0 ports, 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x Gigabit LAN, 1x HDMI, 1x DisplayPort, 1x combo PS/2 port, 1x optical SPDIF out, and 6 jacks for audio.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme interfaces

Alongside the connectors, there are 2 buttons: 1 for BIOS reset and 1 for ROG activation. For ROG connectivity, the first USB 2.0 port is designated.

The back of the board is clean, only the CPU backplate being present there.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme back

The bundle is generous, Asus including a lot of accessories.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme accessories

The image shows the Asus 2T2R dual-band Wi-Fi antenna that can be used to expand the connectivity capabilities.

Beside the new chipset and its characteristics, Asus has implemented some own features for the ROG fans. Dual Intelligent Processors 4 is the way to better performance, digital power control, improved cooling and efficiency.

Asus optimization scenarios

The most important gadget is the new OC Panel that replaces the OC Key from previous generation ROG boards.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme OC Panel

It will connect to the motherboard through a provided cable and offers the possibility to control and monitor all the important parameters of the board. It's very easy to change the CPU BLK, multiplier and voltage, or fans rpms, overclocking options, and to monitor the temperature and voltages, on its 2.6" display.

OC Panel can sit on the desk (Extreme Mode) or can be installed inside the chassis with the provided cage (Normal Mode). When installed inside the case we have access only to the buttons around its display.

The Extreme Mode means we can take off the cover and access other ROG / overclocking options.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme OC Panel open 

 

BIOS

The ROG BIOS is a perfect addition to the motherboards in the series, as it offers the settings necessary to squeeze the s*** out of this products. The BIOS starts in the EZ Mode, and we can switch to advanced mode by pressing F7.

Of course, the important and most attractive menu is Extreme Tweaker, where all the options for overclocking and performance rest.

mt_gallery

For some reason the BIOS wouldn't save screenshots on a NTFS formatted USB flash. On FAT32 it works fine.

 

Overclocking

Leaving the voltage to default value, I saw the CPU increasing its frequency up to 4700MHz (multiplier to 47) using 1.27V. Only after I set the multiplier to 48, the voltage was 1.376V. That's an interesting behavior of the VR. On Z87 Expert, the voltage raises to 1.376V when the multiplier was 45. Well, that's why ROG boards have their price.

Let's see how Maximus is doing with the 1.35V fix voltage. I set everything on auto regarding LoadLine Calibration to see the behavior of the motherboard. The voltage reached 1.456V meaning Asus has a very good VR controller. The temperature crossed 100C, but I want to see the highest stable frequency.

The overclocking became unstable after 4800MHz which is very good considering the settings.

 

Test setup

 

Model

CPU

Intel Core i7-4770K

Intel Core i7-3770K

Cooler

EKWB Supreme HF

Motherboard

Asus Maximus VI Extreme

Asus Z87 Expert

Intel DZ87KPL

Biostar Z77X Hi-Fi for Ivy Bridge

RAM

16GB G.SKill Ares DDR3-1600

Storage

Kingston SSDNow V+ 120GB

Graphics

Intel HD 4600

Monitor

Dell U2412M

PSU

Antec HCP-1200

OS

Windows 8 Pro x64

 

Methodology

Using different benchmark software I have tested most of the motherboard's capabilities and its performance. The results are divided by categories, so they can be easier read.

Because of the heat generated by the CPU, I've decided to fill in a methodology to test the differences in overclocking between motherboards. I have set the CPU voltage to 1.35V and the LLC to auto or the highest value (whichever works better), so my liquid cooling could keep the CPU under 100C per core. Then the CPU is overclocked until becomes unstable. This way we will see the voltage regulator performance on each board from the highest frequency the CPU can get to.

 

Performance

PCMark 7

Asus Maximus VI Extreme PCMark 7

 

PCMark 8

Asus Maximus VI Extreme PCMark 8

 

Passmark Performance Test

Asus Maximus VI Extreme Passmark

 

AIDA64

Asus Maximus VI Extreme AIDA64 CPU

 

For stock configurations, the memory worked at 1600MHz. For overclocking situations the frequency was 2133MHz. Any other value will be specified if necessary.

 

Asus Maximus VI Extreme AIDA64 memory

 

HyperPI

Asus Maximus VI Extreme HyperPI

 

Cinebench

Asus Maximus VI Extreme Cinebench

 

3DMark

Asus Maximus VI Extreme 3DMark

 

Batman: Arkham City

Asus Maximus VI Extreme Batman

 

Tomb Raider

Asus Maximus VI Extreme Tomb Raider

 

Temperature

Temperature of the chipset is controlled by a passive radiator and it varies between 35 and 38 degrees C. On the other hand, the VR influences the CPU's heat and that is revealed in the following chart.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme Temperature

Stock frequencies keep the CPU under 66C, but in overclocking the temperature increases up to 115C, being almost impossible to be controlled by common cooling solutions. Although, this is a CPU issue, not the board's.

 

Power consumption

This is an important matter when we talk about hours of gaming or overclocking, making the counter spin like a whirligig. Well, if you have the money to buy a top configuration that contains Maximus VI Extreme, it means that you are not worried about the energy bill.

Asus Maximus VI Extreme Power

The maximum power used by the system is 285.6W. This is pretty nice considering this is a top configuration. Of course, the consumption will be much higher when a dedicated gaming graphics card is present. But that's another matter having no relevance in this article.

 

Value

ROG was never synonym to cheap so a certain value is expected. Maximus VI Extreme can be bought for $399 (£170.97 / €378.43) on Amazon, having a decent price for all the features and mostly for the performance it offers.

 

Conclusion

Maximus VI Extreme is the extreme of all Asus motherboards, being capable of running any configuration you'd like in any possible conditions. From power saving to extreme overclocking, from office work to extreme gaming, this Maximus can sustain them all without sweat.

Being a ROG motherboard, we will benefit from all new innovative technologies that Asus integrated. Beside the excellent VRM and cooling capabilities, the most interesting gadget is the OC Panel, from which we can lively control the board like from the BIOS.

In the end, all you need is money, as the desire is there for sure.

 

Pro

Cons

 

- friendly BIOS UI

- best performance

- best overclocking

- excellent power consumption

- accessories

- OC Panel

- good value for performance

 

 

-

 

Evaluation

Aspect & Build

9.5

9.23

Performance

9.5

BIOS

9.5

Overclocking

9.5

Features & Technologies

9.5

Power consumption

8.8

Accessories

9.5

Value

8.5

 

Awards

best-performance-9.5 best-overclocking-9.5 editors-choice

 


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