ASUS ROG Maximus IX Apex Motherboard Review
It doesn't feel that long ago that the ROG range - Maximus and Rampage - consisted of two motherboards. You had the Extreme if you were a little daring, or well off, or just wanted the best, and the Formula for everyone who wanted a ROG motherboard but couldn't quite stretch to the price of the Extreme.
Lately ASUS have been expanding their range, particularly with the Maximus, into all sorts of motherboard types for all sorts of budgets. We've already looked at so many - Hero, Code, Formula with the Extreme to come - that we felt there isn't a sector of the marketplace that ASUS haven't already got well covered, so the appearance of the Apex in the office was met with a bit of a shrug. After all, what else can they trim/add that wouldn't end up with a microscopically different version of something we've already covered in great detail?
Fortunately for both our sanity and your reading pleasure the Apex is a distinctly different beast to the other Maximus IX motherboards in their range. Instead of trying to find a small price gap in the market to slot it into ASUS have gone down the route of stripping it back to concentrate on high performance.
The Apex is therefore motherboard equivalent to a track day Porsche 911 GT3 RS, Ariel Atom or BAC Mono, its about absolute performance and damn the other considerations. Naturally this is very much a niche product that wont be for everyone, but with eight world records already under its belt we all should sit up and take notice.
The majority of the Apex specifications are similar to the other Z270 models in the ROG range, largely because the latest Intel chipset has so much built into it. However, when you see that there are only two DIMM slots, tons of monitoring points and boasting all of ASUS ROG recovery buttons, whether from LN2, cold boot, BIOS return or MemOK, it's clear that the Apex is heavily tailored to the extreme overclockers.
The trick bit of specialness that is unique to the Apex is the DIMM.2. A DIMM sized mounting plate that supports two M.2 drives, allowing you to utilise the RAM cooling to keep the M.2 drives cool and thus operating at their peak performance.