ASUS Maximus V Extreme Review
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.