The Maximus range from ASUS has been around for a long while. Indeed the Maximus II came with Socket 775. It says a lot about the relative speed with which Intel have gone from the 870 to the 3770K that we've swiftly arrived at the Maximus V. Today we're taking a look at two variants of the Maximus V, and we'll begin with the full-fat, all singing and dancing monster that is the ASUS Z77 Maximus V Extreme.
Whereas the Rampage IV Extreme was a cut above the Maximus IV when it came to features, there is no such divide any more. The Maximus V Extreme is stuffed with so many cutting edge technologies and all the latest bells and whistles, that if you've even a passing desire to futureproof yourself as much as is realistic, then we think you're covered.
There is a lot to get through, so let's dispense with the preamble and get straight down to business.
The first thing that will catch your eye is the inclusion of the Intel Thunderbolt architecture. This has twice the speed of USB 3.0, full duplex, and thanks to some fiendishly clever work from the boffins in the Intel labs, you can daisy chain your devices without losing any bandwidth. Being so new we haven't yet got anything to test it with, but if the market takes it up with the same hunger that USB was adopted, then you're looking at the future.
PCI Express lanes are handled with a combination of the native Z77 chipset, and a PLX chip which helps provide plenty of lanes to keep your GPUs running hard. Beyond that it's everything you'd expect from a Flagship ASUS motherboard. Loads of tweaking capabilities, support for LN2 cooling, all of the Republic of Gamers goodies and bagfulls of connectivity options.
|CPU||Intel® Socket 1155 for 3rd/2nd Generation Core™ i7/Core™ i5/Core™ i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors |
Supports Intel® 22 nm CPU
Supports Intel® 32 nm CPU
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
|Memory||4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2600(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2200(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/2000(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory|
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
|Thunderbolt||VGA output support|
Data transfer rate up to 10 Gbps
Daisy-chain up to 6 Thunderbolt devices
|Graphic||Integrated Graphics Processor |
Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DisplayPort/Thunderbolt ports
- Supports HDMI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz
- Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
- Supports Thunderbolt with max. resolution 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
Supports Intel® HD Graphics, InTru™ 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider™
|Multi-GPU Support||Supports NVIDIA® 4-Way SLI™ Technology |
Supports AMD CrossFireX™ Technology
Supports LucidLogix® Virtu™ MVP Technology *1
|Expansion Slots||5 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8 or x8/x16/x8 or x8/x16/x8/x8) *2|
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4
1 x mini-PCIe 2.0 x1 *3
|Storage||Intel® Z77 chipset : *4|
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red
3 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s), black
1 x mini-SATA 3Gb/s port(s) , black
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology, Intel® Rapid Start Technology, Intel® Smart Connect Technology *5
ASMedia® PCIe SATA controller : *6
4 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red
|LAN||Intel®, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)|
|Wireless Data Network||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n|
Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz
|Audio||Realtek® ALC898 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC |
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
Audio Feature :
- Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection
- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
- Optical S/PDIF in port(s) at back panel
|USB Ports||Intel® Z77 chipset : |
4 x USB 3.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)
Intel® Z77 chipset :
8 x USB 2.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, black+white, 4 at mid-board)
ASMedia® USB 3.0 controller :
4 x USB 3.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)
|Overclocking Features||mPCIe Combo™ (mPCIe/mSATA combo card)|
ROG OC Key
- OSD TweakIt
- OSD Monitor
ROG Connect :
- RC Diagram
- RC Remote
- RC Poster
- GPU TweakIt
Extreme Engine Digi+ II :
- 8 -phase CPU power design + 4 -phase iGPU power design
- 2 -phase Memory power design
ROG Extreme OC kit :
- Subzero Sense
- VGA Hotwire
- Slow Mode
- LN2 Mode
- PCIe x16 Lane Switch
- EZ Plug
UEFI BIOS features :
- ROG BIOS Print
- GPU.DIMM Post
USB BIOS Flashback
Overclocking Protection :
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
|Special Features||ASUS TurboV EVO :|
ASUS EPU :
ASUS Wi-Fi GO!
- Wi-Fi GO! Function: DLNA Media Hub, Smart Motion Control, Remote Desktop, Remote Keyboard & Mouse, File Transfer, Capture & Send
ASUS Exclusive Features :
- AI Suite II
- Ai Charger+
- USB Charger+
- USB 3.0 Boost
- Disk Unlocker
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :
- ASUS Fan Xpert 2
ASUS EZ DIY :
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
ASUS Q-Design :
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-Code
- 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)|
1 x Thunderbolt port(s)
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
4 x USB 3.0
4 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to ROG Connect)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
1 x Optical S/PDIF in
5 x Audio jack(s)
1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
1 x ROG Connect On/ Off switch(es)
|Internal I/O||2 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 3.0 port(s) |
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
3 x SATA 3Gb/s connector(s)
2 x CPU Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)
3 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)
3 x Optional Fan connector(s) (4 -pin)
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 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x 6-pin EZ_PLUG Power connector(s)
1 x 4-pin EZ_PLUG Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s)
1 x OC Key header(s)
2 x Subzero Sense connector(s)
2 x VGA Hotwire(s)
1 x Slow Mode switch(es)
15 x ProbeIt Measurement Points
7 x ProbeIt cable connector(s)
3 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x ROG Connect switch(es)
1 x LN2 Mode switch(es)
1 x Go Button(s)
1 x BIOS Switch button(s)
1 x mPCIe Combo header(s)
2 x SATA 3Gb/s cable(s)
6 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x 3-Way SLI bridge(s)
1 x 4-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 and eSATA module(s)
1 x ROG Connect cable(s)
1 x ProbeIt cable set(s)
1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s)
1 x mPCIe Combo card(s) with dual band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n module + Bluetooth v4.0/3.0+HS module
1 x 2-in-1 RF Cable(s)
2 x Wi-Fi Ring Moving Antenna(s)
1 x OC Key(s)
1 x OC Key cable(s)
|BIOS||64Mb UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI2.0a Multi-Language BIOS|
|Manageability||WfM2.0, DMI2.0, WOL by PME, PXE|
DAEMON Tools Pro Standard
ASUS AI Suite II
|Form Factor||Extended ATX Form Factor |
12.0 inch x 10.7 inch ( 30.5 cm x 27.2 cm )
|Note||*1: LucidLogix Virtu MVP supports Windows 7 operating systems.|
*2-1: PCIe3.0 speed is supported by Intel® 3rd genernation Core™ Processors.
*2-2: Native x8/x8 mode is available when only PCIE_X16X/X8_1 and PCIE_X8_2B slots are in used.
*3-1: The mini-PCIe slot is on mPCIe Combo™ expansion card.
*3-2: The mini-PCIe slot is pre-installed with an Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module.
*4-1: 1 SATA 3Gb/s port at mid-board is reserved for eSATA.
*4-2: A 2-port USB 2.0 and eSATA module is bundled for 1 x eSATA port at rear.
*4-3: The mini-SATA slot is on mPCIe Combo™ expansion card.
*5: Supports on Intel® Core™ processor family with Windows® 7 operating systems.
*6: These SATA ports are for data drives only.
Brand identity is one of the cornerstones to any business, and it says a lot for how imprinted in our consciousness the ROG branding has become that even a glance at the box and you instantly know who makes it and what it is. We've seen so many come through our offices that we're becoming a little blasé and sometimes wish for a design refresh, but we understand that the big red monolith is hard to ignore.
Inside we have probably the largest collection of accessories we've ever seen. 8 SATA cables, SLI and Crossfire bridges for everything from two cards to four, ROG Connect, USB 2.0 backplate, E-SATA, ProbeIt, two WiFi antennas, the OC Key and it's connectors as well as the multi-purpose mPCIe card with Bluetooth and WiFi built in. And we haven't even mentioned the excellent documentation or IO shield. Suffice to say there is enough plastic bags in this box to choke a whole flock of geese.
Here is the main event, the Maximus V Extreme in all its glory. Red and black is a combination that will never go out of style. It's just classical, purposeful and, most importantly, screams ROG.
Up Close - Features
The heatsink on the Maximus V Extreme has been redesigned and is now extremely chunky and sturdy. It looks awesome. Pictures really don't do it justice. Despite the size there is still a lot of room to put in your sub-zero cooling pot if that is your desire.
Speaking of sub-zero the top right corner has the usual ASUS ProbeIt monitoring points, as well as a CPU Slow dipswitch for LN2 cooling, and the inventive dipswitch block which allows you to fault-find your quad-GPU setup by turning certain PCI Express lots off without dismantling your setup.
As befits such a premium model the M5E supports Quad-GPU setups. Just to the right of the PCIe x1 slot is the PLX 8086 which helps enable a minimum of 8x even when all the slots are populated.
Storage is supplied by six SATA 6Gbp/s ports, alongside two SATA 3Gbp/s ones. More than enough for almost any realistic setup. Round the back we have the standard set of Z77 outputs, although it's worth noting the left hand side has the Thunderbolt connector, and the CMOS clear/ROG Connect buttons.
BIOS - Main
The main part of the BIOS is similar to any other you'll have come across. Although it's worth noting you can tweak nearly every aspect of the the Maximus V Extreme, and if we showed you them all in screengrabs we'd have a 60 page review.
BIOS - M.I.T
As with all ASUS BIOS' the amount of things to tweak is comprehensive. However, there are so many features available to us with the Maximus V Extreme that the level of adjustments reaches new heights. Thankfully you aren't forced to use any more than the bare minimum to achieve an overclock if you wish, and it even comes with a 4.6GHz profile built in.
If you have certain types of memory then there are some DIMM profiles for you too. It's a user-friendly enthusiast board. We've come a long way from the DFI days.
ASUS Z77 Maximus V Extreme
Intel Core i7-3770K
8GB G.Skill Trident 2400 @ 10-12-12-31
Cougar CM1000 PSU
Corsair F80 SSD
Thermalright Silver Arrow
Windows 7 x64
Getting the Maximus V Extreme to push your CPU beyond its specifications is simplicity itself thanks to a very easy to use BIOS and the high quality of the components.
It didn't take long to get our i7-3770K up to the magical 5GHz barrier, on air remember, and whilst it would run most of our tests it wasn't quite stable enough to complete them all.
A small drop down to 4.9GHz, still the highest stable overclock we've yet achieved, and all of our benchmarks completed, so this will be the speed that we'll use for our overclock tests.
The CPU Benchmarks, despite the extra 100MHz overclock, are not as impressive as we'd have hoped. They're by no means bad, but not significantly better than the rest and, in some cases, not even top of the graph.
The Memory results are more impressive, with the copy speed being a particular highlight.
Things definitely turn in the favour of the Maximus V Extreme in Sandra, thanks to a combination of excellent stock performance, matching the Sniper 3, and our overclock which sneaks ahead of the pack. In both scenarios the M5E is getting the most from our CPU.
PC Mark Vantage
Starting with Vantage we have a good level of stock performance. Cranking things up with our overclock leads to the rather strange scenario in that the Productivity and Gaming tests aren't at the very top of the pile, yet the overall PC Mark score is over a thousand points ahead of the next best.
PC Mark 7
Moving on to PC Mark 7 and the results are very tight across the board. At stock the Maximus is just headed by the Sniper 3, but with our overclock in place it is the first of the Z77s to break through the 6000 point mark. Fine stuff indeed.
The Maximus V Extreme absolutely dominates in the CineBench R11.5 benchmark. Whether at stock or overclocked it's topping the graph throughout. The stock CPU performance is the real highlight.
In our other rendering package, POV-Ray, the results are a tale of two halves. At stock, once again, the M5E is a fair chunk ahead of the rest of the motherboards we've tested, and things are very close when overclocked, although the Maximus isn't topping the charts despite the beefier overclock in place.
There is, as we often have said, no replacement for pure horsepower in wPrime95, and the Maximus V Extreme takes full advantage of it's 4.9GHz CPU to give us the shortest times we've seen from our i7-3770K.
Unigine is used without anti-aliasing to give a greater chance for any tiny improvements to show up, and it certainly does. We're only comparing the top four motherboards in this graph, as we're still waiting for a replacement HD7970, but of the results we've obtained from our Sapphire HD7950, the Maximus V Extreme heads the pack by 2FPS.
3D Mark Vantage
There might only be fractions in it, but the ASUS Maximus V Extreme is consistently ahead of the chasing pack in 3D Mark Vantage. In fact with the overclock in place it's top of the graph, which is mightily impressive. Obviously the Lucid MVP isn't counted.
3D Mark 11
The results are much closer in 3D Mark 11, and the Maximus is right up there with the rest of the peloton, albeit not with the same lead we saw in the Vantage testing.
As with any enthusiast motherboard there are a lot of going points, that have to be tempered with some cautionary notes.
Starting as always with the good points, the most striking thing is how close to the Rampage IV Extreme the Maximus has now become. Instead of being the slightly reduced model, because of the LGA115x socket being Lieutenant to the General that the Rampage is based on, this latest variant in the Maximus range is easily on a par with the Rampage.
So you get more features than you could possibly desire. Loads of USB ports, SATA ports and display output options are just the start of things. The four PCI Express 3.0 slots when combined with the additional PLX chip mean that you can seriously run a quad-GPU setup and expect to annihilate world records, because even with all four sockets populated you're running at a minimum of 8x. Dipswitches on the top right hand corner of the Maximus mean that even if you had four watercooled GPUs, you could fault-find without having to remove one as you can just turn PCI Express slots on and off with the dipswitch.
Around the CPU socket there is loads of room, which highlights the focus upon sub-zero cooling solutions that ASUS have taken with the Maximus V Extreme. Along with the voltage monitoring points, CPU Slow dipswitch and plentiful fan headers this really is aimed squarely at those who will be attempting world record overclocks and scores.
The inclusion of Intel's Thunderbolt technology is one of those things that is good on paper, but until we start seeing more hardware supporting it it's purely a good on paper idea, and we'll have to wait to see if it ends up being HD-DVD or BluRay (or VHS/Betamax for the older readers).
There is, as always, a caveat emptor. This is a £300 motherboard. Whilst we were able to squeeze an extra 100MHz out of our Intel Core i7-3770K the results were roughly on a par with those we've seen from a 4.8GHz overclock on motherboards that cost much less. For the average user most of the features included are just overkill. The OC Key is a nice idea but as pointless as it was when we saw it on the Rampage IV. The sub-zero cooling isn't any use for most people and those who will take advantage of it are the kind of people who'll get the board for free anyway.
So all in all it's the same as any product aimed at the enthusiast market. For 90% of people, especially with the uniformity of all the Z77 motherboards we've seen so far, you can get all the performance for a fraction of the outlay. If you absolutely must have every bell and whistle it's possible to have, if your forum signature wouldn't be complete without a product labelled Extreme, then this is everything you could hope for. For the average user we think the Maximus V Formula would be a far more sensible purchase.
Nonetheless, it's impossible to ignore the volume of features and technologies stuffed in to the ASUS Maximus V Extreme, and for that reason it is awarded our OC3D Performance Award.
Thanks to ASUS for providing the Maximus V Extreme for review. Discuss in the OC3D Forums.