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First Looks: ASUS Maximus VI Extreme Motherboard
By Wong Chung Wee - 8 Jul 2013
Launch SRP: S$649

First Looks: ASUS Maximus VI Extreme Motherboard

First Looks: ASUS Maximus VI Extreme Motherboard

The ASUS Maximus VI Extreme is the flagship Intel Z87 ATX motherboard from its Intel 8-series offerings that we've initially witnessed from the company's technical seminar that we attended a couple of months back. It comes packed with features that will make its target audience of overclockers and power users a really happy bunch. The board sports the familiar red-and-black color scheme of the Republic of Gamers (ROG) series. Featuring the Intel Z87 chipset together with its LGA1150 CPU socket, the board supports the new 4th generation of Intel Core i3/i5/i7 processors. Owners of the previous generation 'Ivy Bridge' CPUs need not apply.

The ASUS Maximus VI Extreme is the flagship Intel Z87 motherboard that is targeted at overclockers and power users. Besides having an upgraded 8 + 2 phase power delivery system for the CPU and memory, the board comes bundled with its exclusive OC Panel for real-time overclocking and system monitoring.

One of its defining features is its exclusive bundled OC Panel. It is a highly evolved version of the OC Key that was first unveiled with the ASUS Rampage IV Extreme Intel X79-based motherboard. The OC Key is a piece of equipment that sits in-between your graphics card and display monitor. Using on-screen display (OSD) technology to control and monitor overclocking and basic BIOS matters, the OC Key attaches a transparent, graphical overlay on the original screen output and provides an informative menu to enable OSD TweakIt and OSD Monitor.

The new OC Panel console that is bundled with the board. On the right, we see the console in its Extreme Mode, with its front cover removed, where overclockers can make use of the onboard headers, switches and temperature probes for hardcore system tweaking.

The OC Panel console is connected to the motherboard with custom data cable, while a SATA power connector is used to power up the console. So if the OC Panel isn't mounted in the 5.25-inch drive bay, it would only be useful and accessible if the system was left in the open. Otherwise you would have to open the casing's side panel to hook up the OC Panel before usage.

The new OC Panel is a complete revamp of the former, and packages real-time monitoring and overclocking capabilities into a sleek, transformable console. The OC Panel can be likened to a customized Fluke digital multimeter, except that this is a gear that's made to handle overclocking and monitoring status. It has two modes of operation. In normal mode, the OC Panel can be installed, with an additional bracket attachment, into a spare 5.25-inch drive bay. According to ASUS, it is excellent for normal overclocking to get that additional performance boost during gaming.

The OC Panel console's screen can be tilted such that the entire console can be slotted into a metal bracket. Following which, the bracket can be secured inside a spare 5.25-inch drive bay of a PC chassis. 

On the other hand, while in its Extreme Mode, the same overclocking panel will allow for overclocking with more finesse. Its features include the following:

  • VGA Hotwire
  • Four 4-pin fan headers
  • Slow Mode (more on this below)
  • Pause Switch
  • Multiple Parameter Tuning

According to ASUS, the settings are adjustable in real-time, through the buttons located above the Extreme Mode panel.

 The different extreme overclocking settings can be adjusted in real-time from the control buttons located above.

If you plan to keep the OC Panel handy next to you, you can prop it up in this manner.

Crucial to stable overclocking efforts is the board's power delivery system where the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme board features NexFET MOSFETs, BlackWing chokes, and 10K black metallic capacitors that make up its digital Voltage Regulator Module (VRM). The VRM delivers an 8-phase power supply to the CPU; while the memory modules are fed a 2-phase one.

 The 10K black metallic capacitors are seated in front of the 60A Blackwing chokes, and the NexFET MOSFETs are covered by the massive heatsinks.

In terms of memory support, the board supports up to four DDR3 memory modules that have been rated to operate at the frequency of 2800MHz while the maximum supported installed capacity is 32GB.

The Blackwing chokes and the 10K black metallic capacitors, highlighted by the red frame, form part of the power delivery system for the DIMM slots.

Near the vicinity of the memory DIMM slots, you will find that ASUS has squeezed in a number  onboard features and they consist of the following:-

  • Start and Reset buttons
  • PCIe x16 DIP switch
    This switch allows the user to disable and enable the corresponding PCIe x16 slots.
  • MemOK! button
    This button is useful for overcoming memory module compatibility issues.
  • Slow Mode switch
    This is used when the system is cooled with a liquid nitrogen system. At such low temperatures, the system is switched to slow mode to prevent crashing.
  • ROG ProbeIt
    Like most other recent ROG boards, this board also features a set of detection points that allow for multimeter voltage measurements for various parameters.

The PCB area near the DIMM slots is choke full of onboard features. The ROG ProbeIt voltage detection points are located below the Slow Mode on/off switch. 

  • Performance 8
  • Features 9.5
  • Value 8
The Good
Strong OC and gaming performance
High-end features that are hard to match
The Bad
Very expensive but it has the features to back it up
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