Ah yes, gorgeous. The DIMM slots aren’t quite the same shade of red as the PCIe slots but this slight imperfection just makes those PCIe slots look all the more appealing. The PCIe layout is nearly perfect in my eyes; the socket is busy but rightly so, the SATA ports are positioned nicely, there are no ancient IDE/FDD connectors, and the heatsinks are functional with a bit of style. I’m pretty certain if Asus had included anything else into the Maximus III Extreme it would have spilled over in awesome.
It would be premature to pass final judgment on the board’s performance given how the BIOS we used was still technically a beta release. That being said, performance was right in line with the other boards that I have reviewed. Overclocking performance with the Core i7 860 was a breeze, any settings that wouldn’t POST would cause the board to reboot with safe settings. The Core i5 670 was a bit different with certain QPI/DRAM combinations failing to POST but I think it might be the CPU causing these issues as it has had a hard life. Just like the Rampage III Extreme, ROG Connect and RC TweakIt work flawlessly, greatly increase the usability of the board and in general make it more fun to work with. Compared to paying out of pocket for the EVGA EVBot, ROG Connect and RC TweakIt are hands down superior. Sure, it requires a secondary computer, but in my case I always have a second PC when overclocking to record data and download drivers and software.
Like all Asus boards the Maximus III Extreme features their 3 year warranty with plenty of global contact points for RMA and support. I asked ASUS for pricing information for the Maximus III Extreme and was told that it looks like it will be $359, but that could change before it is launched. I expected the Maximus III Extreme to sit somewhere between $300 and $350, tending closer to $350. Just a quick search of Newegg yields only 3 likely candidates for competition: the MSI P55 Big Bang series and the EVGA P55 Classified 200. In a feature shoot-out the Maximus III Extreme has them beat with USB 3.0, SATA 6 Gbps, 4-way CrossFire PCIe slots, and ROG Connect right out of the box. In the land of overbuilt LGA1156 boards it would appear the Maximus III Extreme will reign supreme.
Legit Bottom Line: Great performance, looks, and charm: what more could you ask for? Asus comes out swinging with their overbuilt Maximus III Extreme.