Now the time comes when we have a little confession to make - We got rid of all of our S775 testing equipment! Yes, after almost a year of nothing but LGA1366 X58 motherboard reviews on Overclock3D it seemed like there was little point in holding on to our ageing Q6600 processors and other gear, especially when most manufacturers had also seemingly turned a blind eye to our old favourite. So when ASUS sent us the Maximus II Gene our way the first words muttered were something along the lines of "oh nuts"!
However, after a quick trip to eBay and an email to our friends over at Novatech.co.uk
we managed to rustle up an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 "E0" CPU and a Buffalo FireStix DDR2-1066 4GB memory kit. Phew! Here's the full system specs used in today's review:
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 "E0" 3.0GHz
Motherboard: Asus mATX ROG Maximus II Gene P45
Memory: Buffalo Firestix DDR2-1066 4GB
Graphics Card: NVidia GTX260 896MB
Power Supply: Tuniq Ensemble 1200w
CPU Cooling: OCZ Gladiator MAX
Hard Disk: DiamondMax 22 500-GB SATA 3Gb/s
Graphics Drivers: Geforce WHQL 190.38
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate x64 SP2
As you will be able to see, despite the miniature size of the Maximus II GENE there was absolutely no clearance issues with either the CPU cooler, memory modules or graphics card. You could easily install four sticks of memory complete with stupidly large
heatsinks and a high-end CPU cooler and not really have to worry about any potential compatibility issues.
To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities were used:
Synthetic CPU Tests
• Sisoft Sandra 2009
• PassMark CPU test
• SuperPI 1m, 8m, 32m
Synthetic Memory Tests
• Sisoft Sandra 2009
• Everest 5.02
• Cinebench 10
• 3DMark 06
• 3DMark Vantage
• PCMark Vantage
• Far Cry 2
• Call of Duty 4
• RaceDriver GRID
After spending some time getting used to the new components and finding out that the CPU seemed to thrive best on 1.25v Vcore and the Buffalo FireStix DDR2 kit didn't like being overclocked at all, we set about finding the maximum speed and FSB that the Maximus II GENE could achieve.
WOW is not the word when it comes to overclocking on the Maximus II GENE. Not only did it manage to take the E8400 all the way to 4.32GHz on 1.25v Vcore, but it also managed a highly respectable maximum FSB speed of 530MHz. I'm actually quite confident that the FSB could have gone even higher with a better DDR2 kit, but as the lowest memory/CPU divider is 1:1, the DDR2 kit hit its 1066MHz limit at 533FSB and refused to go any further even with relaxed timings.
The process of overclocking was totally effortless with little more than the usual FSB/Voltage/Memory adjustments needing to be made. Even when things got taken a little too far the board recovered without any issues and not once did we need to reach for the CMOS reset switch. All in all, a very pleasent overclocking experience.