ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme Review
There is an old adage when it comes to getting maximum value from something, "you get what you pay for". With all three of the flagship models we've reviewed today you're certainly paying a lot for what you are getting, but you're getting so very much that it ends up being expensive, but not over-priced.
We know we cannot be the only people who have purchased all the parts necessary to build the best system we can within our budget and compromised on certain aspects. Given how little a motherboard makes a difference unless you plan on overclocking heavily or have a full set of items to connect it is tempting to go for a more middling PCB and live with the consequences. Then six months down the line you realise you've run out of USB headers and can't squeeze any more performance out of your system. It's only then that you wish you'd spent that bit extra on an all-singing, all-dancing motherboard.
Which brings us neatly to the Maximus XII Extreme. It's certainly a flagship motherboard in price terms, but even a cursory glance at the specification tables or supplied accessories show that you definitely do get a more premium experience if you're willing to flash the cash. Although any Intel motherboard and CPU combination is an evolution of what has come before, this was still our first time playing with the 10th Generation CPU and Z490 pairing, yet the ASUS gave us very little problem once we'd obtained a more up-to-date BIOS. We could go into the headaches that come from testing something with a pre-release BIOS, but that's not something you'll have to tolerate by the time you read this. Maybe Tom will cover it in his video. Suffice to say that ASUS quickly resolved any issues we had and then the Maximus XII Extreme absolutely flew. Overclocking was a breeze with a 5.4 GHz clock speed on all ten cores of our Core i9-10900K making us regret our life choices. Spectacular levels of performance.
Naturally performance isn't the only consideration, and connectivity options on the Maximus XII Extreme are almost overwhelming. There are more fan headers than all but the most demanding user who owns a push-pull water-cooling setup could hope to utilise, and USB connectivity for the plethora of peripherals that make up most of our lives, particularly if you ever stream anything and want a Streamdeck, mic and Webcam combination. Those of you with large media collections will appreciate the M.2 and SATA ports too, even if the latest Intel Z490 chipset, baffingly, doesn't include PCI Express 4.0.
The Republic of Gamers range from ASUS has a long and storied history, and the Maximus XII Extreme is a deserving addition to this famous range. It's definitely at a premium price point, but so are all the flagship Z490s. With a combination of massive connectivity, cooling and performance, the Maximus XII Extreme is a great choice for those of you seeking to maximise your 10th Gen Intel CPU.