ASUS ROG Maximus IX Apex Motherboard Review
If you've been keeping up with our Z270 motherboard reviews it would be easy to look at the Maximus IX Apex and believe it to be the same as all the other Maximus IX models. However, looks can be deceiving. Sure it might be superficially the same, but the devil is in the details. The PCB, for example, isn't completely rectangular. Instead there is a fair bit missing from the right hand side, and a small cutout by the SupremeFX audio with its ESS ES9023P DAC. Both of these are designed to really let you make the most of the AURA lighting by allowing it to shine around the Apex as well as just light up the logos.
The second thing you'll spot is that there are only two DIMM slots on the Apex. Where we would normally find four, the two missing ones have been replaced by the Apex unique selling point, the DIMM.2. If you're overclocking like a lunatic you'll understand the importance of cool memory and fast storage speeds, so utilising the airflow over the memory to keep the M.2 drives cool and thus performing at peak efficiency is a smart idea.
The stripped back ideology extends into the storage ports themselves, with Apex having a mere 4 SATA 6 Gb/s ports and only one USB 3.0 header. If you were in any doubt about the heavy bias towards extreme overclockers on the Apex then the included PS/2 ports on the back should clear things up. In extreme overclocking scenarios PS/2 keyboard and mouse are always the way to go, so by keeping the legacy connectors ASUS are making a big statement about their intended audience.