ASUS Intel Z68 ROG Maximus IV Motherboard ReviewsWed, Sep 07, 2011 - 12:00 AM
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
Our two ASUS Republic of Gamers products are clearly aimed at different target markets, so it’s not really fair to compare them to each other when we start talking about price to performance ratios. With that being said, let’s start out with the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z. The ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z is a micro-ATX motherboard, and on the front page I stated that it looked like it would pack a mean punch. Well, not to pat myself on the back but I do have to say that I still agree with my original statement.
Both of the boards were evenly matched throughout our gaming and graphics testing. Where we did see some differences was in the performance of the peripherals, such as the SATA III 6Gbps and SuperSpeed USB 3.0 testing. In CrystalDiskMark the GENE-Z did lose a little bit of ground to the Extreme-Z, though we are talking only 4.2% and the Gene-Z was still averaging 495.9MB/s. 495.9MB/s average read is still pretty impressive from our point of view. We also saw a little bit of a drop in the 4K Write speeds, though the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z was only down ~6MB/s. When we fired up HD Tune the margins were even closer. The ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z was able to average 506.4MB/s while the Extreme-Z averaged 511.6MB/s, a difference of only 1%. The ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z was able to edge out the Extreme-Z in the Average Write by 1.5MB/s.
When we switched over to the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 testing, the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z really stepped up the game. In CrystalDiskmark the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z was able to average 233.5MB/s read and 173.1MB/s write, the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z averaged 214.5MB/s read and 160.7MB/s write. That’s a margin of 8.9% for the average read and 7.7% on the average write speeds. We rounded out our SuperSpeed USB3.0 testing with HD Tune, and once again the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z excelled. The average read speed of the Gene-Z was an impressive 249.0MB/s while the Maximus IV Extreme-Z averaged 211.9MB/s. This is a difference of 17.5%, that’s not exactly a small performance margin. The average write speed of the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z in HD Tune was 227.5MB/s while the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z averaged only 127.4MB/s. The Extreme-Z numbers did seem low since they are ~100MB/s lower then the numbers we saw with the Maximus IV Gene-Z, but i did go back and double/triple check them and that performance was repeatable. One of the differences between the two boards is the USB 3.0 controller. The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z uses a NEC controller while the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z uses an ASMedia USB 3.0 controller which explains why we are seeing performance differences.
One area that i was impressed with was the overclocking capabilities of the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z. Typically when using a micro-ATX motherboard you can’t achieve the same processor frequencies that you can on a full ATX motherboard. The ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z did exactly that! We were able to push our Intel Core i5 2500K to a multiplier of x51 and a Bclk of 100.4 for a rock solid overclock. This brought the Intel Core i5 2500K more than 1800 MHz past the stock 3.3GHz. Whether it’s an micro-ATX, ATX, or eATX that is a great overclocking board.
The ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z proved to be a great board. In all honesty, I expected nothing less from an ASUS Republic of Gamers motherboard. If by some random act of God you happen to have an issue with the Maximus IV Gene-Z, ASUS has the Gene-Z backed by a three year warranty. When you couple the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z, performance pouring out of everywhere, and a three year warranty all for the low price of $179.99 you know you have a winner!
Legit Bottom Line: Despite the smaller form factor, the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z packs a mean punch and is definitely a board to be reckoned with!
The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z is the flagship motherboard in the ASUS Republic of Gamers line up. At $349.99 the Maximus IV Extreme-Z is definitely not aimed at those looking for a budget motherboard. If fact, quite the opposite. The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z is designed for those looking for the best of the best. Despite some minor setbacks that are easily off-set by the features of the Maximus IV Extreme-Z.
There were only two areas that were minor disappointments. The first one we had mentioned above, the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 performance. Unfortunately the USB 3.0 performance wasn’t quite up to par with the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z. In all fairness though, the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z isn’t exactly meant for those looking for a traditional office computer where transfer rates are a key selling point. The only other issue we can see with the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z is the placement of the internal USB 3.0 header. ASUS placed it directly behind the I/O panel. This will make it tough to hide the front panel SuperSpeed USB 3.0 cable. Aside from those two minor details, the Maximus IV Extreme-Z is a great Intel Z68 motherboard.
One of the details that I was initially concerned about was the lack of onboard video. This was one of my biggest complaints about the GIGABYTE Z68X-UD7-B3. When we looked at that system board, we had no access to the onboard Intel HD graphics. Without the onboard graphics you are unable to access the features that accompany the Intel HD graphics on the Intel Core Processors, or so we thought. ASUS has managed to enable the onboard video so we can utilize the Lucid Virtu switchable graphics, as well as the Intel features such as Intel Quick Sync with out the use of an actual onboard video out.
The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z is aimed at those looking to squeeze every last Megahertz out of their second generation Intel Core processor. With features like the LN2 switch that will help get past that pesky little cold bug problem, we know this board is meant for the extreme user. When we were performing our overclocking with the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z it was a very smooth process. We were able to increase our multiplier to x51 and our Bclk to 100.4, though it showed up as 100.5 in CPUz. These settings brought us past the 5.1GHz mark and we were there in under an hour.
The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z is by no means a budget board. It is currently retailing for $349.99 with free shipping at Newegg.com. In today’s economy spending that kind of money may put a dent in your wallet. Though if something does happen to go wrong with the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z ASUS has you covered with a three year warranty.
Legit Bottom Line: When you are looking for a top of the line motherboard, and nothing but the best will do. Then the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z may just be the right board for you!