From the top the board appears to be rather complete. Nothing immediately stands out as being incorrectly placed. Actually, it is quite the opposite with unique features sticking out like the PCIe layout and the hefty PWM built around the socket.
Focusing on the socket reveals an 8+3 phase PWM with Asus’ signature Fujitsu FPCAP.
The DIMM slots get a similar PWM treatment with a 3 phase PWM feeding the slots. Hiding below the 24 pin power connector are the 4 status LEDs indicating the POST process. There are also a set of 5 multi-meter probe points providing easy access to system voltages such as the CPU core and IMC.
The bottom half of the board easily defines “serious business”. You can barely catch a glimpse of the NF200 hiding above the top PCIe slot underneath the ROG heatsink.
Like all current SATA6 implementations, Asus opted for a Marvell SATA 6Gbps controller to provide the two red SATA6 ports with the P55 PCH providing the 6 grey SATA 3Gbps connectors and another SATA 3Gbps connector provided by a Marvell controller that also supplies the eSATA port. Sitting below the PCH heatsink are two socketed BIOS chips with the red button in the corner switching the active BIOS chip.
The PCIe slots are arranged to provide enough properly arranged slots to run 4-way CrossFire with double-width cards. This means running 4 HD5870s would be a possibility, or any other double-width CrossFire card for that matter. The board also supports 3-way SLI with PhysX. Tucked up near the 1st PCIe slot is a molex connector to provide additional PCIe power for multi-GPU configurations. There is another connector tucked away at the edge of the board near the Power and Reset buttons. These buttons aren’t in ideal locations but with ROG Connect this isn’t a huge issue.
The Maximus III Extreme has 8 USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire 800 port, two USB 3.0 ports, a PS/2 keyboard port, 6 audio jacks, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a jack for a Bluetooth module. Something worth pointing out is the ROG Connect port which is the USB 2.0 port next to the audio jacks. When the link button is pressed the port is used by ROG Connect to sync up the board to another computer. We’ll cover ROG Connect later but suffice to say it is awesome.
Here you can see how the Bluetooth module connects and the NEC USB 3.0 chip that provides the two USB 3.0 ports.