ASUS Maximus 4 Extreme Review
So if the results of the LGA1155 CPU tests have got you dribbling, should you be splurging your cash on the Red and Black?
Obviously at this early stage of the game it's a tough call as we haven't got a lot to compare against. So far we've only tested the standard Intel board and this ASUS. It's definitely not a sample size big enough to give a comprehensive definitive answer about.
Certainly all the parts are there. It comes with all the ROG goodness we'd expect to find such as the LN2 and ProbeIt features for those extreme overclockers. We have the Go button and BIOS recovery options that help all of us to reach the potential of our system as quickly as possible without too many headaches.
Any flaws in what we have to play with are more about the P67 chipset than ASUS themselves. We'd prefer to see full USB3.0 usage and SATA 6Gbp/s but those are out of ASUS hands to a large extent.
The EFI BIOS is particularly great, and teeth gnashingly frustrating, in equal measures.
To use it's a complete joy. We're so used to mouse control these days that it's much more natural to navigate the BIOS with this method than the old keyboard system. On a personal note the ability to grab a screenshot with a button press rather than set up my DSLR is particularly nice.
However this BIOS in particular has seen multiple revisions in the few weeks that I've been testing it and still doesn't get anywhere close to the stability or prowess available on the reference Intel motherboard. It's wonderful to be able to get a single-click overclock of 4.6GHz and we highly recommend that as it takes all the guesswork and tweaking out of overclocking. Alternatively it wont go any further than that and we know already that our chip is good for 5GHz.
Finally there is the pricing. The biggest problem with the P55 boards was that it was designed as a more cost-effective alternative to the X58 boards, but all the early ones were high-end ultra-expensive models. So adoption of the LGA1156 socket was minimal and by the time the boards and CPUs were around that could come in at a sensible price, it was being phased out for this LGA1155 revision. Although nothing is confirmed it looks like this will be around the Rampage III Extreme price-point of a shade under £300. Considering we're using a £250 chip in it too it's certainly not for the bargain hunters and the average overclocking performance make it tough to recommend as the motherboard of choice for those who must be on the cutting edge, or those looking to upgrade from one of current Intel models.
Hopefully a greatly improved BIOS will unleash the full power of the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme, but for now we'd recommend a wait and see approach.