ASUS ROG Z390 Maximus XI Extreme Review
Published: 19th October 2018 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
If one thing is becoming clear through our initial Z390 testing today it's that the Intel team have managed to produce both an 8 core CPU and a new chipset which work spectacularly well regardless of the motherboard into which you place them. You couldn't get two more different motherboards than the Strix ITX and Maximus XI Extreme in purpose, yet both bang out huge numbers whether you're running at stock or fancy a bit of overclocking. You know, in case eight cores at nearly 5 GHz isn't enough performance for you.
One area where the Z390 Maximus XI Extreme hasn't changed from the earlier versions is the massive selection of accessories included in the new all-black packaging. We might not be convinced the black box is the best choice, but the huge collection of extras - fan extension card and cables, aerials, M.2 screws, SATA cables in both regular and braided types, RGB and addressable header extenders, the ROG DIMM.2 heatsink, hard SLI bridge, stickers and badges - certainly leaves you with nothing further to purchase if you want to make the most of the Maximus XI. Additionally the Extreme has a full collection of ROG exclusive features. There is the AURA lighting which has been glowing beautifully at the top of every page of this review. Elsewhere we find updated versions of the RAMCache, Gamefirst, Sonic Studio and Sonic Radar that have refined already successful features. The Sonic Radar is particularly good in enabling those with partial or total loss hearing to frag with all the accuracy of those of us who are blessed with good hearing. Lastly ability to keep the motherboard up-to-date and recover from overly enthusiastic overclocks has rarely been easier thanks to the BIOS flashback, CPU parameter recall and MemOK! technologies. Anyone who has just tipped over the edge of stability trying to squeeze those last few megahertz out knows how frustrating it can be to have to start again from scratch, but that's no longer a problem as you can revert to last good settings easily.
Speaking of overclocking it's worth taking a moment to appreciate the excellence of the ASUS AI Suite overclocking system. The impatient can get a decent approximation of their maximum overclock in moments, whilst those of you with a little more time to dedicate to letting the AI do its thing will end up with an overclock that isn't far behind at all that which you could obtain with a manual setup. Naturally the Maximus XI Extreme lives up to the ROG expectations by having all the best components from CAPs to MOSFETs to let you push it very hard indeed, and those of you with sub-zero aspirations will appreciate the clear CPU socket that makes utilising extreme cooling a doddle, whilst also finding the board equipped with plentiful monitoring points to ensure you don't damage your hardware in the pursuit of world records. Finally the amount of high bandwidth connectivity options is unrivalled, from multiple M.2 connectors to plentiful USB ports and the all-important umpteen fan and pump headers, the Maximus XI Extreme ticks every box.
With fantastic looks, a massive feature set, and great tools to maximise performance whether you're running bone stock or a seriously extreme overclock, the ASUS ROG Z390 Maximus XI Extreme is the perfect choice for those who demand an uncompromised foundation upon which to build their dream system and it wins our OC3D Enthusiast Award.