The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z and Gene-Z Intel Z68 Motherboards

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Layout

ASUS is know for their high quality computer components. Whether you are talking about graphics cards like the all new uber ASUS ROG Mars II 3GB card or the ASUS GTX 560 DirectCU II TOP card, which is much more main stream. Either way you get a quality product! Same goes for the motherboards from ASUS, you get quality with all of them. What differentiates the ASUS motherboards is features, and of course price. If you want the top of the line motherboards from ASUS though, you look for the Republic of Gamers tag on the product. The Republic of Gamers branded ASUS products are the top tier products from an already top tier company. Today we are fortunate enough to have two motherboards from the Republic of Gamers motherboard product array!

The first of today's pair of motherboards is the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z. The Maximus IV Gene-Z is a micro-ATX motherboard based on the Intel Z68 chipset. Although the Maximus IV Gene-Z is a micro-ATX it sure looks like it is going to pack a mean punch! With a pair of PCIe X16 slots it will support two GPU's in either NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossFireX technology. The ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z also features Lucid Virtu switchable graphic technology.

The second board we have is the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z. Once again this is an Intel Z68 motherboard that features the latest technologies. Much like the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z, the Maximus IV Extreme-Z supports both multi-GPU technologies, SLI and CrossFireX. Though the Maximus IV Extreme-Z does it on a larger scale. The Maximus IV Extreme-Z features four PCIe X16 slots and will support Tri-SLI and Quad CrossfireX.

Being that the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z and the Maximus IV Gene-Z are based on the Intel Z68 chipset both boards feature many of the same technologies. Technologies such as Intel's Smart Response technology and Lucid Virtu are two of the main features that came along with the new Intel Z68 chipset, and both are available on our boards today. One of the issues I have come across on a couple of Intel Z68 motherboards was the lack of onboard video. Without the onboard video we didn't have access to Intel's technologies such as Intel Quick Sync technology. When we look at the specifications below, you may notice that the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z does not have onboard video. That didn't stop ASUS from enabling it on the Extreme-Z, which gives the Extreme-Z access to all of the great Intel Video technologies.

The technology behind both boards in nearly identical. Power delivery is handled with an 8 Phase system for the CPU and 4 phases for the iGPU. On the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z the memory power is delivered through a 3 phase system, the Maximus IV Gene-Z uses a 2 phase design for the memory power. Both of our motherboards today use a digital VRM design, ASUS refers to this technology as Extreme Engine Digi+. It produces the "ultimate performance" according to ASUS. The Extreme Engine Digi+ technology helps to expidite heat dissipation and achieve better electric conduction. This is great news for overclockers because you may be able to push your second gen Intel Core processor just a little further than previously possible.

We all know that the system specifications are by far the most exciting part of the article. Below we have the specifications for both or our boards today and we can see what is the same between them and what areas vary. As you go through the list, much of the technology is the same. Though there are a few significant differences, which we will touch on below the list. So take a look, and meet me below.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus IV Extreme-Z and Maximus IV Gene-Z Specifications

   ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z
 ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z
CPU Intel Socket 1155 for 2nd Generation Core i7/Core i5/Core i3 Processors Supports Intel 32 nm CPU Supports Intel urbo Boost Technology 2.0
Chipset Intel Z68
Memory 4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 2200(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1600/1333 Hz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
 Graphics N/A
Integrated Graphics Processor VGA output support :
HDMI port
- Supports HDMI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
Multi-GPU Support Supports NVIDIA 3-Way SLI Technology
Supports AMD CrossFireX Technology
Supports LucidLogix Virtu Technology
Expansion Slots 4 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8 or x8, x16, x16)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4
1 x PCIe 2.0 x1
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4
Storage Intel Z68 chipset :
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red
4 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s),
gray Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Support Intel Smart Response Technology on 2nd generation Intel Core processor family

Marvell PCIe 9182 controller :
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red

JMicron JMB362 controller :
2 x eSATA 3Gb/s port(s), red
Intel Z68 chipset :
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red
4 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s),
gray Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Support Intel Smart Response Technology on 2nd generation Intel Core processor family
JMicron JMB362 controller :
2 x eSATA 3Gb/s port(s), red
LAN Intel, 2 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s) Intel, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller
Bluetooth Bluetooth V2.1+EDR
RC Bluetooth On/Off Switch
Audio Realtek ALC 889 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
Audio Feature :
- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
SupremeFX X-Fi 2 built-in 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
Audio Feature :
- X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity
- EAX Advanced HD 5.0
- THX TruStudio PRO
- Creative ALchemy
- Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection
 - Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
USB Ports NEC USB 3.0 controller :
8 x USB 3.0 port(s) (6 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)
NEC USB 3.0 controller :
2 x USB 3.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue)
Intel Z68 chipset : 9 x USB 2.0 port(s) (1 at back panel, black, 8 at mid-board)
ASMedia USB 3.0 controller :
4 x USB 3.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)
Intel Z68 chipset :
12 x USB 2.0 port(s) (8 at back panel, black, 4 at mid-board)
Overclocking Features ROG Connect
RC Bluetooth :
- RC TweakIt
ROG iDirect
Extreme Engine Digi+ :
- 8 -phase CPU power design + 4 -phase iGPU power design
- 3 -phase Memory power design
- ML Caps on CPU respectively
Mem TweakIt
ROG Extreme OC kit :
- LN2 Mode
- PCIe x16 Lane Switch
- Debug LED
- Q Reset
ProbeIt
UEFI BIOS features : - ROG BIOS Print
- GPU.DIMM Post
- CPU Socket Monitor
iROG
Extreme Tweaker
Loadline Calibration
BIOS Flashback
USB BIOS Flashback
Overclocking Protection :
- COP EX (Component Overheat Protection - EX)
- Voltiminder LED
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
ROG Connect
Extreme Engine Digi+ :
- 8 -phase CPU power design + 4 -phase iGPU power design
- 2 -phase Memory power design
Mem TweakIt
ROG Extreme OC kit :
- Debug LED
ProbeIt
UEFI BIOS features :
- ROG BIOS Print
- GPU.DIMM Post
GameFirst
iROG
Extreme Tweaker
Loadline Calibration
Overclocking Protection :
- COP EX (Component Overheat Protection - EX)
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Special Features ASUS TurboV EVO :
- CPU Level Up
ASUS Exclusive Features :
- MemOK!
- Onboard Button : Power/Reset/Clr CMOS (at back IO)
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :
- ASUS Q-Fan Plus
- ASUS Fan Xpert
- ASUS Q-Fan
ASUS EZ DIY :
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
- ASUS MyLogo 2
ASUS Q-Design :
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-DIMM
- ASUS Q-Connector
ASUS TurboV EVO :
- CPU Level Up
ASUS Exclusive Features :
- MemOK!
- Onboard Button : Power/Reset/Clr CMOS (at back IO)
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :
- ASUS Fan Xpert
ASUS EZ DIY :
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
- ASUS MyLogo 2
ASUS Q-Design :
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-DIMM
- ASUS Q-Connector
Back I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
2 x eSATA 3Gb/s
2 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
8 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0 (white port can be switched to ROG Connect)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
6 x Audio jack(s)
1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
1 x ROG Connect On/ Off switch(es)
1 x RC Bluetooth switch(es)
1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
1 x HDMI
2 x eSATA 3Gb/s
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
2 x USB 3.0
8 x USB 2.0 (white port can be switched to ROG Connect)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
6 x Audio jack(s)
1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
Internal I/O Ports 1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)
4 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 8 USB 2.0 port(s)
4 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
4 x SATA 3Gb/s connector(s)
1 x CPU Fan connector(s)
3 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
1 x Power Fan connector(s)
3 x Optional Fan connector(s)
1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s)
8 x ProbeIt Measurement Points
3 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x RC Bluetooth header(s)
1 x LN2 Mode header(s)
1 x Q Reset switch(es)
2 x EZ Plug connector(s) (4-pin Molex power connector)
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x LN2 Mode switch(es)
1 x Go Button(s)
1 x BIOS Switch button(s)
1 x ROG light connector(s)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
2 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
4 x SATA 3Gb/s connector(s)
2 x CPU Fan connector(s)
3 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s)
6 x ProbeIt Measurement Points
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x ROG Connect switch(es)
1 x Go Button(s)
1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)
Accessories User's manual
ROG Exclusive Feature Guide
I/O Shield
2 x SATA 3Gb/s cable(s)
2 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x 3-Way SLI bridge(s)
1 x SLI bridge(s)
1 x CrossFire cable(s)
1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
1 x 2-port USB 2.0 module(s)
1 x ROG Connect cable(s)
1 x ProbeIt cable set(s)
1 x Thermal sensor cable pack(s)
1 x Cable ties pack(s)
1 x ROG theme label(s)
1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s)
1 x RC Bluetooth card(s)
User's manual
I/O Shield
2 x SATA 3Gb/s cable(s)
1 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x SLI bridge(s) 1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
1 x ROG Connect cable(s)
1 x Cable ties pack(s)
1 x ROG theme label(s)
1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s)
BIOS 64Mb Flash ROM, EFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI2.0a, Multi-Language BIOS
Support Disc Support DVD:
- Drivers and applications
- ASUS AI Suite II
- ROG CPU-Z
- 3DMark Vantage
- ROG Mem TweakIt Utility
- Kaspersky Anti-Virus 1-year license
- ASUS AI Charger
Form Factor Extended ATX Form Factor 12 inch x 10.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 26.9 cm ) uATX Form Factor 9.6 inch x 9.6 inch ( 24.4 cm x 24.4 cm )

One of the first differences between our pair of ROG motherboards is the lack of onboard video on the Extreme-Z, we touched on that above so we wont dwell on it here. Beyond that is the total number of expansion slots. The Extreme-Z has four PCIe X16 slots, 1 PCIe X4 and 1 PCIe X1, the Gene-Z features 2 PCIe X16 and 1 PCIe X4. This difference is easily understandable simply due to the different form factors used, extended ATX and micro-ATX. The Extreme-Z features a pair of Intel Gigabit LAN controllers while the Gene-Z features a single. Another of the differences has to do with the audio codecs used by each board. The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z uses a Realtek ALC889 8-channel High Definition codec while the Maximus IV Gene-Z uses a SupremeFX X-Fi 2 audio codec.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboard Retail Packaging


ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Retail Packaging

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z comes in a bright red packaging that is both eye-catching and very clean looking. There is no marketing text on the front of the packaging, only a few emblems of the technologies on the Maximus IV Extreme-Z motherboard.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The front of the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z opens up to reveal the motherboard through a window.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Retail Packaging

Once the front has been opened up you can find some of the marketing text as well as the bundled software that accompanies the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z which includes 3DMark Vantage, and Kaspersky Anti-Virus.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The back of the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z motherboard packaging is limited to the key specifications, and a couple of features such as ROG connect and the 10 USB3.0 ports on the board.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Retail Packaging

Once you remove the outer shell of the packaging you are presented with two more boxes, one contains the Maximus IV Extreme-Z motherboard, one is the bundle that accompanies the board.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Retail Packaging

The box that includes the bundle is divided into four sections to keep the bundle packaged neatly within the box. The included bundle has everything you'll need to set up the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z;User's manual, ROG Exclusive Feature Guide, I/O Shield, 2 x SATA 3Gb/s cable, 2 x SATA 6Gb/s cable, 1 x 3-Way SLI bridge(s), 1 x SLI bridge, 1 x CrossFire cable, 1 x Q-connector (2 in 1), 1 x 2-port USB 2.0 module, 1 x ROG Connect cable, 1 x ProbeIt cable set, 1 x Thermal sensor cable pack, 1 x Cable ties pack, 1 x ROG theme label, 1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label, 1 x RC Bluetooth card.

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Retail Packaging

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Retail Packaging

Much like the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z, the Maximus IV Gene-Z features the same red packaging and limited marketing on the front.

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Retail Packaging

Opening up the front of the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z we can find the missing marketing text as well as the list of bundled software. The software that comes along with the Gene-Z motherboard includes; Daemon Tools Pro Standard, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, and CPUz with the ASUS ROG Skin.

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Retail Packaging

The flap of the front cover goes into detail about some of the features such as the Lucid Virtu Technology, SupremeFX X-Fi 2 onboard audio Codec, and The ROG GameFirst technology.

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Retail Packaging

Once again we can find the specifications of the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z on the back of the retail packaging.

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Retail Packaging

Once we finally get to open up the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z we can take a look at the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z.

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Retail Packaging

The bundle that accompanies the Maximus IV Gene-Z doesn't get it's own little box this time, instead it is separated into two compartments beneath the box containing the motherboard. The bundle that comes with the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z isn't quite as comprehensive, though it does include everything you will need, User's manual, I/O Shield, 2 x SATA 3Gb/s cable, 1 x SATA 6Gb/s cable, 1 x SLI bridge, 1 x Q-connector (2 in 1), 1 x ROG Connect cable, 1 x Cable ties pack, 1 x ROG theme label, and 1 x 12 in ROG Cable Label.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboard Layouts

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Layout

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Layout

The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z is tricked out in a red and black theme. It will look great in most of the windowed cases out there today. For me looks always take a back seat to performance, being a Republic of Gamers board from ASUS, you know it will have plenty of performance!

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Layout

Taking a look at the corner of the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z there is no shortage of features here! The DIMM slots will support up to 32GB of DDR3 memory at 2200MHz (O.C.) in a dual channel architecture. Since the Maximus IV Extreme-Z is an Intel Z68 chipset motherboard it will support the Intel Extreme Memory Profiles (XMP). In front of the DIMM slots there are a number of features that make the Maximus IV Extreme-Z motherboard "Extreme". On the very corner of the Extreme-Z motherboard is the Debug LED. The first of the five switches on the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z is the LN2 Mode switch. The LN2 Mode switch optimizes the Extreme-Z motherboard to remedy the cold-boot bug during the system post during Extreme cooling circumstances. Moving past the LN2 Mode switch, we have 9 voltage check points. These points include; DRAM, VCC SA/IO, NF200, PCH PLL, PCH, IGPU, CPU PLL, CPU, and a grounding point. We also have three buttons in this vicinity, Start, Reset, and the Go button. The final four switches just above the voltage check points are for the PCIe X16 expansion slots. Here you can disable the ones that you aren't going to be using.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Layout

Sliding down the edge of the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z we can see that the board is equipped with eight SATA ports. The four grey SATA ports are SATA II, while the four red SATA ports are SATA III 6Gbps. The pair of SATA III 6Gbps ports on the right are controlled by the Marvell controller, while the inner two SATA III 6Gbps ports are native to the Intel Z68 chipset. On the corner of the board is the BIOS switch, with the front panel pin out just above it. Moving further up the edge is the pair of BIOS chips, followed by four sets of USB 2.0 headers. We can also see the VPU, and three chips labeled with the iROG logo.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Layout

Following the four USB 2.0 headers is a pair of 4pin fan headers, front panel audio, SPDIF out, and a four pin molex power adapter. The four pin molex power will supply more juice to the PCIe X16 slots for those time when you just need more power. Working our way across the edge of the Maximus IV Extreme-Z we have the Realtek ALC889 Audio Codec, JMicron JMB362 PCI Express to x2 SATA II Host Controller, Intel WG82583V Gigabit Ethernet Controller, Intel 82579V Gigabit Ethernet controller, as well as the NEC D720200AF1 USB 3.0 controller. When it comes to expansion slots the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z has no shortage. It comes equipped with four PCIe X16 slots, one PCIe x1 slot, and one PCIe X4 slot. I mentioned the four pin molex power on the edge of the board, though if you look to the left of the first PCIe X16 slot there is a second four pin molex! Continuing to the left of the second four pin molex we can find the internal SuperSpeed USB 3.0 header. Personally I'm not wild about the location of the internal USB 3.0 header. In order to take advantage of it you will need to run a cable across the motherboard to plug in. I would have like to seen it closer to one of the edges of the board to make cable management easier.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Layout

The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z has a total of eight SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports on the I/O panel. We also have a pair of eSATA 3Gb/s ports, optical SPDIF, two Intel Gigabit LAN ports, six audio jacks, a single USB 2.0 port which can be switch to ROG Connect, clear CMOS button, ROG Connect switch, and a removable Bluetooth adapter (not pictured).

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Layout

The area surrounding the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z LGA1155 CPU socket is rather crowded. During our testing and setup we didn't run into any clearance issues with the Corsair A70 CPU cooler. Though it's something worth keeping in mind when building a system based on the Maximus IV Extreme-Z. On the left heatsink assembly is a Republic of Gamers emblem that Glows red and adds to the overall look of the board. If it doesn't suit the look you are going for it is simple enough to unplug from the PCB.

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Layout

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Layout

The ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z features the same red and black color scheme of the Maximus IV Extreme-Z, though in a much smaller package. The Maximus IV Gene-Z is a micro-ATX motherboard which measures only 9.6"x9.6". The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z on the other hand is an extended-ATX form factor and measures an impressive 12"x10.6"

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Layout

The ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z features the same memory support as the Extreme-Z. Four DIMMS, up to 32GB DDR3 2200 (OC) in dual channel architecture. Along the edge of the board we have eight voltage check points: 2 ground, DRAM, CPU SA/IO, PCH, IGPU CPU PLL, and CPU. Moving past the 24 pin motherboard power is the internal SuperSpeed USB 3.0 header. This is a much better placement for it than we saw on the Maximus IV Extreme-Z.

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Layout

Sliding down the edge of the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z we have the six native SATA ports, the four grey are SATA II 3Gbps while the pair of red are SATA III 6Gbps. Starting the trip up the left edge of the board we have the front panel pin out, 4pin fan header, and two internal USB 2.0 headers. Just behind the SATA III 6Gbps ports we can see the BIOS chip and the ASUS Republic of Gamers heatsink that keeps the chipset nice and cool.

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Layout

Spinning the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z around we can see the Debug LED, onboard power and reset buttons, front panel audio header, and the SPDIF out. The ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z has a pair of PCIe X16 slots and a single PCIe X4 slot. Along the corner of the board we can find the Realtek ALC889 Audio Codec as well as the Intel Gigabit LAN.

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Layout

The I/O panel of the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z has everything you would expect to find on today's motherboards. Stacked with 10 USB ports, eight USB 2.0 and two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA ports, a single PS/2 port for either a keyboard or mouse, HDMI, optical SPDIF, Intel Gigabit LAN, six audio jacks, and a clear CMOS button there is no shortage of connections here.

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Layout

The area surrounding the Intel LGA1155 socket had plenty of room for our Corsair A70 CPU cooler with a single fan, we weren't able to add the second fan. Though that is due to the Corsair Vengeance memory kit with tall heat spreaders interfering. We had no clearance issues with our CPU cooler of choice and the heatsink assemblies.

ASUS Rebublic of Gamers UEFI System BIOS

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The ASUS UEFI BIOS are by far one of the most effective and clean UEFI BIOS that have come across the Legit Reviews test bench so far. When you first boot up either of the ASUS Republic of Gamers motherboards you are presented with the Extreme Tweaker page within the Advanced mode. Here we have, or can jump to all of the pages that we will need for overclocking. The first option on the Extreme Tweaker page is the CPU Level Up. You can set you Intel Core processor to either 4.2GHz or 4.6GHz. Beleow the CPU Level Up feature we can manually set the Bclk, Maximum Turbo ratio, Memory Frequency, as well as the iGPU Max Frequency. This particualar shot is from the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z. If you remember back to the layout page, there is no video out on the Extreme-Z, yet we can still tweak the iGPU!

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

Scrolling down the Extreme Tweaker page we can see the sub-pages for the DRAM Timing, GPU DIMM Post, CPU Performance Settings, as well as the DIGI+ VRM/Power control. Below the selection of sub-pages we begin to see our Voltage Options. The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z and the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z should has enough voltage options for any level of overclocker out there.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

Above we can see the remaining Voltage options on the Extreme Tweaker page.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

Above you can check out the DRAM Timing Control page.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The GPU.DIMM post page shows us the GPU's installed into the system as well as the basic memory information. The Gene-Z

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The CPU Performance Settings page will let you adjust the CPU ratio as well as the power settings of the motherboards.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The second page of the ASUS UEFI BIOS is the "Main" page. Here we can find the information on the BIOS as well as some basic information about the processor and memory.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The advanced page gives us access to several of the sub-pages which include CPU Configuration, System Agent Configuration, PCH Configuration, SATA Configuration, USB, Onboard Devices, APM, iROG, ROG Connect, and LED Control.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

Once again we have another spot that we can tweak the CPU Ratio on the ASUS Maximus IV series motherboards. We can also enable/disable features like the Intel Adaptive Thermal Monitor, and Limit CPUID Maximum.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

If yo are looking for the iGPU BIOS options they can be found on the System Agent Configuration page.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

Here we can set our SATA drives between IDE, AHCI, or RAID modes.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z and the Gene-Z UEFI BIOS have the monitor tab broken down into four additional pages, Voltage, Temperature, Fan Speed Monitor and Fan Speed Control. Above you can see the Temperature page, always a good place to start to make sure nothing is ready to go up in smoke.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The Onboard Devices Configuration Page allows us to enable or disable the onboard device should you choose to run a dedicated piece of hardware instead, or simply have no plans to use the onboard versions.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

Here we have the iROG Configuration page.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

Above we have the ROG Connect page.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The LED Control page lets us disable the various LED's on the ROG motherboards.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z and the Gene-Z UEFI BIOS have the monitor tab broken down into four additional pages, Voltage, Temperature, Fan Speed Monitor and Fan Speed Control.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The Voltage Monitor page combines most of the system voltages into one place that's easy to read.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

Above you can see the Temperature page, always a good place to start to make sure nothing is ready to go up in smoke.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

As you can see above the Fan Speed Monitor displays the fan speeds in the system.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

Above we have the fan speed control page.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The boot page has all the features regarding boot orders, and options.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The Tools page of the UEFI BIOS has the EZ Flash 2 Utility, ASUS SPD Information, OC Profiles, Go Button File, and the BIOS Flashback utility.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The ASUS Speed Information page shows the latencies and timings of the Memory JDEC and XMP settings.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The ASUS UEFI BIOS gives us places to store eight different BIOS profiles.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

The Go Button page allows you to input the settings that you want the Go Button to work from.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

Above you can check out the BIOS Flashback page, here we can switch which BIOS chip we boot from.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

Above we can load the optimized Defaults, Save Changes, Discard Changes, switch to the ASUS EZ Mode, or Launch EFI Shell from a file system device.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards UEFI System BIOS

One little tidbit I noticed about the ROG BIOS (aside from the colors which match the ROG Red and Black) was that the system doesn't default to the EZ Mode. Instead it heads directly into the Extreme Tweak and if you want the EZ Mode you have to switch to it.

The Legit Reviews Test System

All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit with all the latest updates installed. All benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. The Corsair Vengeance memory modules were run in Dual-channel mode at 1600MHz with 9-9-9-24-2t timings. The XFX Radeon HD 6950 graphics cards were run with 11.8 CATALYST suite drivers. The Intel Core i5 2500K processor was running at the default clock of 3.3GHz with turbo enabled. The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z and ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z were running the F3 BIOS.

Intel Z68 Test Rig

 Processor  Intel Core i5 2500K  Live Pricing
 Motherboard  See Above  
 Memory  8gb Corsair Vengeance CMZ8GX3M2A1600C9  Live Pricing
 Hard Drive  Kingston SSDNow 96GB SSD  Live Pricing
 Video Card  XFX Radeon HD 6950  Live Pricing
 CPU cooler  Corsair A70  Live Pricing
 Chassis  None - Open Bench  
 Power Supply  Corsair TX750   Live Pricing

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Test System and Settings

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Test System and Settings

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Test System and Settings

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Test System and Settings

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Test System and Settings

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Test System and Settings

SiSoftware Sandra 2011 SP4 Memory Bandwidth

SiSoftware Sandra 2011c Memory Bandwidth

A year ago, SiSoftware released Sandra 2010 with full support for Windows 7; in the 18 months since the launch of Windows 7, more than ever before we have seen the line blur between PC and entertainment hubs. Two months ago we released a Blu-Ray benchmark, now we have added a brand-new Media Transcoding benchmark using the new Media Foundation of Windows 7. We have also added yet another benchmark (GPGPU Cryptography) which allows direct comparison of CPU performance (using crypto instruction sets) and GPGPU performance.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards SiSoftware Sandra 2011c Memory Bandwidth Results

Benchmark Results: It's not a real shocker that there is virtually no memory bandwidth performance difference between the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z and the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z. Both of the boards are top tier from ASUS and they held nothing back in the specifications of either board. The Maximus IV Extreme-Z was able to pull out an ever so slight lead, though we are talking about less than .2%.


FutureMark 3DMark 11

3DMark 11 Screenshot

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world’s most popular benchmark for measuring the 3D graphics performance of gaming PCs. 3DMark 11 uses a native DirectX 11 engine designed to make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.

3DMark 11 Settings

Since Futuremark is releasing 3DMark11 today we decided to run the benchmark at both performance and extreme presets to see how our hardware will run.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards 3DMark11 Extreme Preset Benchmark Results

MSI 990FXA-GD80 Motherboard 3DMark 11 Extreme Benchamrk Results

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards 3DMark11 Performance Preset Benchmark Results

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards 3DMark 11 Performance Benchamrk Results

Benchmark results: There is very little difference between the ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 motherboards in Futuremark 3DMark11. The Maximus IV Extreme-Z was able to edge out the Maximus IV Gene-Z by 6 points (.43%) during the Extreme Preset run. The Maximus IV Gene-Z edged out the Maximus IV Extreme-Z by 4 points (.08%) during the 3DMark 11 Performance preset.


S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat

Stalker Call of Pripyat DX11 Performance Benchmark

The events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat unfold shortly after the end of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl following the ending in which Strelok destroys the C-Consciousness. Having discovered the open path to the Zone's center, the government decides to stage a large-scale operation to take control of the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat utilizes the XRAY 1.6 Engine, allowing advanced modern graphical features through the use of DirectX 11 to be fully integrated; one outstanding feature being the inclusion of real-time GPU tessellation. Regions and maps feature photo realistic scenes of the region it is made to represent. There is also extensive support for older versions of DirectX, meaning that Call of Pripyat is also compatible with older DirectX 8, 9, 10 and 10.1 graphics cards.

Stalker Call of Pripyat DX11 Performance Benchmark

The game S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat has no internal benchmarking tools built into the game engine, but they do have a standalone benchmark available that we used for our testing purposes. The screen capture above shows the main window of the benchmark with our settings. Notice we are running Enhanced Full Dynamic Lighting "DX11" as our renderer.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat Benchmark results

Benchmark Results: In S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat we see that there is very little performance difference between the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z and the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z. At 1280x1024 the Maximus IV Extreme-Z averaged 108.6 frames per second while the Maximus IV Gene-Z averaged 107.9 frames per second, that is a difference of only .65%. Once we cranked up the resolution to 1920x1080 the Maximus IV Extreme-Z maintained a lead by only .1 frames per second.

Metro 2033 Performance Benchmark

Metro 2033

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror, and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in the Ukraine. The game is played from the perspective of a character named Artyom. The story takes place in post-apocalyptic Moscow, mostly inside the metro station where the player's character was raised (he was born before the war, in an unharmed city), but occasionally the player has to go above ground on certain missions and scavenge for valuables.

Metro 2033 Benchmark Settings

This is an extremely demanding game; settings were left at High quality, with AA and AF at lowest values - AAA and AF 4x. Advanced DirectX 11 settings were left at default. The recently added independent (requires purchase) benchmark was used and ran three times per card and per resolution. When I first saw the results in the EVGA GeForce GTX 470 Hydro Copper FTW Article, I debated heavily about the results. I discovered that the PhysX configuration of the computer would make a huge difference in the performance. If I were to limit the PhysX to the CPU the performance numbers would be much closer to the performance of the AMD Radeon Cards. Problem was, you aren't going to disable the PhysX for your day to day gaming. I decided to leave it on for the testing as that would be the day to day performance you would see.

Metro 2033 Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The ASUS ROG Maximus IV Extreme-Z and the ASUS ROG Maximus IV Gene-Z traded top spots in Metro 2033. At the higher resolution of 1920x1080 the Maximus IV Extreme-Z took the crown with 35.12 frames per second compared to the 34.75 frames per second of the Maximus IV Gene-Z, a difference of 1%. At 1280x1024 the Maximus IV Gene-7 averaged 45.81 frames per second while the Maximus IV Extreme-Z averaged 45.33 frames per second, once again a 1% difference.


Aliens Vs. Predator Benchmark v1.03

Aliens Vs. Predator

Aliens vs Predator is an entirely new title for PC and high-definition consoles from acclaimed British developer Rebellion, the team behind the 1999 original PC gaming classic. Bringing the most intense war between two of science-fiction’s most popular characters FPS fans, AvP delivers three outstanding single player campaigns and provides untold hours of unique 3-way multiplayer gaming. Experience distinctly new and thrilling first person gameplay as you survive, hunt and prey in the deadly jungles and swamps surrounding the damned colony of Freya’s Prospect. Aliens vs Predator D3D11 Benchmark v1.03 is a standalone benchmark test based upon Rebellion's 2010 inter-species shooter Aliens vs. Predator. The test shows xenomorph-tastic scenes using heavy tessellation among other DX11 features. The benchmarks independent GUI was used for testing shown below.

Aliens Vs. Predator Benchmark Settings

We cranked up all the image quality settings in the benchmark to the highest level possible, so we were running 4x AA and 16x AF with SSAO enabled at both 1920x1200 and 1280x1024 on all the video cards.

Aliens Vs. Predator Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Once again we see very little performance difference between the ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus motherboards.

SATA 6Gbps Performance Testing

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

Intel Z68 CrystalDiskMark Benchmark Results

The SATA6 Testing was done using OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SATA6 SSD drive.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards CrystalDiskMark SATA3 Performance Results

Benchmark Results: The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z was slightly faster than the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z in CrystalDiskMark. The Sequential read of the Maximus IV Extreme-Z was an impressive 517.1MB/s while the Maximus IV Gene-Z Sequential read was 495.9MB/s. The Sequential write of the Maximus IV Extreme-Z was slightly behind the Gene-Z with 174.2MB/s compared to 175.8MB/s.

HD Tune Pro 4.01 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z68 HD Tune Benchmark Results

Intel Z68 HD Tune Benchmark Results

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards HD Tune SATA3 Performance Results

Benchmark Results: The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z was once again ahead in the read and fell slightly behind in the average write. The average read of the Extreme-Z was 511.6MB/s while the Gene-Z was 506.4MB/s. The Average write of the Extreme-Z was 448.8MB/s while the Maximus IV Gene-Z was just ahead with an average write of 450.3MB/s on our OCZ Vertex 3 SSD.

Super Speed USB 3.0 Performance Testing

There are a number of different Super Speed USB 3.0 host controllers out there. In order to know which ones perform the best we run a series of tests that will put the controller through the ringer and see how it comes out on the other side. Each of our motherboards uses a different Super Speed USB 3.0 controller and you can find the below.

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

Intel Z68 CrystalDiskMark Benchmark Results

Testing of the USB3 was done using the Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station. The drive used was an OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SSD.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards USB3 CrystalDiskMark Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: The ASUS ROG Maximus IV Gene-Z was able to edge out the Maximus IV Extreme-Z in our SuperSpeed USB 3.0 testing. With a sequential read of 233.5MB/s the Gene-Z was 19MB/s faster than the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z, a difference of 8.9%. Sequential write speed told a similar story, the Maximus IV Gene-Z averaged 173.1MB/s while the Extreme-Z averaged 160.7MB/s which is a difference of 7.7%.

HD Tune Pro 4.01 is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.

Intel Z68 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune Benchmark Results

Intel Z68 SuperSpeed USB 3.0 HD Tune Benchmark Results

 

Testing of the USB3 was done using the Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station. The drive used was an OCZ Vertex 3 120GB SSD.

 

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards USB3 HD Tune Benchmark Results

Benchmark Results: Once again the Maximus IV Gene-Z came out on top. the Average Read of the Gene-Z was 249.0MB/s while the Extreme-Z was 211.9MB/s. Our Average writes were significantly different in HD Tune 4.61. The ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z averaged 227.5MB/s while the Extreme-Z averaged only 127.4MB/s.


Rightmark Audio Analyzer

RightMark Audio Analyzer

The RightMark Audio Analyzer suite is designed for testing quality of analog and digital paths of any audio devices, be it a sound card, an MP3 player, a consumer CD/DVD player or an acoustic set. The results are obtained by playing and recording test signals passed through the tested audio path by means of frequency analysis algorithms. The latest version of RightMark Audio Analyzer can be found here.

RightMark Audio Analyzer Results

Rightmark Audio Analyzer Comparison Chart

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboards Audio Performance

The audio performance numbers according to Rightmark Audio Analyzer show that the two ASUS Republic of Gamers motherboards have very comparable performance. The only area that shows a significant difference is the Dynamic Range. The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z had a dynamic range of 41.8 and a rating of Very Good while the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z had a dynamic range of 85.3 and a rating of Good.


System Power Consumption

CPU Power Consumption

Since power consumption is a big deal these days, we ran some simple power consumption tests on our test beds. The systems ran with identical power supplies, Solid-Sate Drives, Memory kits and motherboards from the same company. To measure idle usage, we ran the system at idle for one hour on the desktop with no screen saver and took the measurement. For load measurements, Prime95's in-place large FFT's were run on all cores to make sure each and every processor was at 100% load for maximum power consumption and heat. Curious about other test scenarios, we decided to 3DMark Vantage the performance preset and took the maximum power consumption during the first GPU test.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Intel Z68 Motherboard System Power Consumption

Benchmark Results: It's not exactly a surprise that the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z drew more power than the Maximus IV Gene-Z. After all the Maximus IV Extreme-Z is an eATX motherboard, while the Maximus IV Gene-Z is a micro-ATX motherboard. At idle the Maximus IV Extreme-Z pulled 100 Watts at the wall, while the Gene-Z pulled only 80 Watts. Loading up the CPU, the Extreme-Z pulled 170 Watts versus the 148 Watts of the Gene-Z. The largest difference between the boards is under 3DMark 11. The Extreme-Z pulled 232 Watts while the Gene-Z pulled 200 Watts.


Overclocking the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z and the Maximus IV Gene-Z

Overclocking greatly varies due to what hardware is being used and who is doing the overclocking. Always remember that no two pieces of hardware will perform the same, so our results will differ from what you might be able to get.

Overclocking with the new Sandy Bridge processors has been simplified, at least in part. Adjustments to the Bclck have been almost done away with and overclocking is almost completely done through increasing the multiplier. When overclocking we used to run out of room on the Bclck or cooling. Now we are going to be limited by the Multi-wall. The Sandy Bridge processor just isn't capable of going any faster; it's all dependent on the piece of silicone that you get when you purchase your processor.

Typically when we look at two motherboards at one time, we will do the overclocking on two separate pages. This time however, our results between the two motherboards were identical. Both the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z and the Asus Maximus IV Gene-Z have the same overclocking options in the BIOS and were able to hit the same overclock with our Intel Core i5 2500K! Each of the CPUz 1.58 screen shots are from the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z, each one is also linked to the screen shots from the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z for your viewing pleasure.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus IV Extreme-Z Overclocking CPUz

The Intel Core i5 2500K utilizes a Bclk of 100MHz, under full load the Intel Core i5 2500K uses a multiplier of x33 to achieve the final clock speed of 3.3GHz. Since we are using a K series processor which has an unlocked multiplier we will be able to increase the default x33 multiplier to achieve our overclock today. We can see in the above CPUz 1.58 screen shot that with the Turbo mode engaged we are cooking along at 3.7GHz.

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus IV Extreme-Z Overclocking CPUz

ASUS has a CPU Level up option on the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z (and the Gene-Z) motherboard. We can select 4.2GHz or 4.6GHz. Of course, we are going to go for broke and try out the 4.6GHz option, low and behold as you can see above it worked flawlessly!

ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus IV Extreme-Z Overclocking CPUz

We were able to manually overclock the ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus IV Extreme-Z far beyond the CPU "level up". We were able to crank the multiplier up to 51 and the Bclk to 100.4MHz, though it's being read in CPUz as 100.5MHz, for a final overclock of 5123MHz! We pushed the Voltage up to 1.535V and changed a few other options in the BIOS as you can see below.

ASUS ROG Maximus IV Extreme-Z UEFI BIOS Overclock Settings

The only settings we have adjusted on the above screen shot of the Maximus IV Extreme-Z BIOS is the Ai Overclock Tuner where we have the memory profile set to X.M.P. profile #1, as well as the Bclk/PCIE frequency being set to 100.4.

ASUS ROG Maximus IV Extreme-Z UEFI BIOS Overclock Settings

The only voltage we had to set on the ASUS ROG Maximus IV Extreme-Z to hit the 5.1GHz overclock was the CPU Voltage, it had to be increased to 1.535V. The DRAM Voltage has also been set to 1.5V to match the specifications of the Corsair Vengeance memory kit being used.

ASUS ROG Maximus IV Extreme-Z UEFI BIOS Overclock Settings

On the DIGI+ VRM page of the Extreme-Z UEFI BIOS we have adjusted the VCore Load-Line Calibration to 100%.

ASUS ROG Maximus IV Extreme-Z UEFI BIOS Overclock Settings

The CPU Performance Settings Page of the UEFI BIOS is where we have adjusted the CPU Ration of the Intel Core i5 2500K processor.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z Intel Z68 Micro ATX Motherboard Layout

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!

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z Intel Z68 Motherboard Layout

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!