ASUS Maximus III Extreme 1156 Motherboard
Published: 19th February 2010 | Source: ASUS | Price: around £250 |
Naturally the BIOS is where a motherboard can really shine or really fail. Ideally a BIOS should be very tweakable for those who know what they want the Right to Read Delay should be, but also be easy for the average user to overclock either by obviously identifiable settings or pre-installed overclock profiles. If the complex BIOS' of the early DFI or Foxconnn motherboards are at one end of the scale, then for an overclocking-based motherboard the ASUS Maximus III Extreme is certainly up the other end, albeit not quite the simplest.
As most BIOS looks the same, seen on AMI BIOS you've seen them all, we'll concentrate on the important parts of the ROG Maximus III Extreme.
Firstly the auto-overclock features, known on this board as CPU and Memory Level Up. You'll recall from earlier I showed you the CPU Crazy part of the motherboard. This has an LED that displays which of the three settings you're currently using. As you can see, our BIOS is so fresh that all three are called crazy. Also, even more pertinent when you reach the overclocking page, the highest automatic overclock is 3.52GHz. Not exactly enough to warrant the crazy moniker either.
The Memory is much simpler with a selection of settings you're far more likely to use. Want to keep your CPU at stock but your blazing RAM at full-speed? Sorted.
The AI overclock tuner determines which figure the BIOS will give priority to when trying to apply your settings. As you can see it can be fully manual, automatic, use the XMP profiles or give weight to either the CPU or Memory Level Up Settings.
Should you wish to manually configure your overclock then there is a handy screen containing all the relevant information about your current chip and clocks.
Moving further down the manual overclock screen we reach the voltage section, and all of them are neatly kept right next to each other. If you're the uncertain type these are also colour coded with blue for standard, yellow for "Whoa there" and red for "I hope you've got lots of spare cash".
If you find a setting that works there are 8 possible profiles you can store for easy retrieval. Also you'll note that profiles can be loaded and saved externally here. I'm sure in due course once the board hits the market many people will release their profile and enable everyone to enjoy a stable overclock with none of the faffing about that usually accompanies such things.
Finally the GO Button we mentioned earlier. All the main BIOS tools are available, naturally, under the Tools menu. You can adjust the profiles, backup and flash your BIOS or, most importantly, assign a file to the GO button. The Maximus III Extreme BIOS even helpfully lists the settings that would be applied.
As you can see, a plethora of unique options along with the ones we're all used to. Easy to navigate, clear, and with helpful notes both in the manual and in the BIOS. A triumph.