ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Extreme - First Look
ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Extreme - First Look
Published: 8th October 2015 | Source: ASUS Republic of Gamers | Price: not got a scooby yet :/ |
ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Extreme - First Look
Some motherboards are just made to be the best of the best, offering the newest and fastest technologies long before they become mainstream, these motherboards also feature the most advanced BIOS' and overengineered power delivery systems that can be fitted to them offering a world class overclocking experience and the ability to use features which won't be seen by mainstream PC builders for some time.
The ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus Extreme line of motherboards has many examples of these kinds of motherboard, a collection of engineering masterpieces on both the software and the hardware sides delivering some of the best overclocking performance generation after generation.
The Maximus VIII Extreme is ASUS' flagship motherboard for Intel's Skylake CPUs, offering several unique features for the platform like having a U.2 port on the motherboard to use with Ultra fast NVMe based storage to being able to create an Intel RAID Volume more easily within the ASUS BIOS with ASUS's EZ Wizard.
Looking at the motherboard itself we can see that this motherboard has the same visual theme as the rest of the Maximus VIII series, toning down the traditional red and black ROG them significantly to give this motherboard a much more stealthy look.
This motherboard has a very large and beefy collection of heatsinks and power circuity, which is much higher than what we have seen on the lower end Maximus VIII Ranger or Hero. This motherboard is designed for high end overclocking, which is a segment of the market which demands the best of the best when it comes to power delivery, so expect to get the best out of your CPU on this motherboard, though remember that the Silicon lottery still applies.
ASUS has been shouting at us for some time telling us that this motherboard has the best power delivery system that they have ever delivered on a motherboard, which is an impressive feat for ASUS considering it's lineage. ASUS have made this motherboard with the best components available, from Microfine Alloy Chokes, OptiMOS MOSFETs and 10K Black Metallic Capacitors, so you can be sure that this board will deliver the cleanest power and will withstand the test of time.
This motherboard contains all the features that it's lover end counterparts had, from USB 3.1 and NVMe Storage support all the way to the RGB illuminated RGB logo on the Chipset heatsink.
We can see on the chipset heatsink that the RGB logo is much larger than on ASUS's other motherboards, so your custom illumination will be much more noticeable when viewed through your case window.
One great accessory that ASUS have provided with this motherboard is their fan extension card, which is a product that is typically an optional add-on. This board can be mounted inside your PC and will allow you to power and control 4 additional PWM fans through your motherboard. This can be used to either make your PC tidier by replacing 4 fan connections to your motherboard with a single cable or be used to add and control a additional 4 fan if you have already used this motherboard collection for PWM fan connections.
When it comes to storage options this motherboard has you covered for both today's and tomorrow's storage requirements, offering a large number of SATA, SATA- Express, and even M.2 and U.2 storage options.
This motherboard is the first on the market that offers a U.2 connector on the motherboard, allowing users to connect ultra fast 2.5" form factor NVMe storage without using an M.2 or PCI-e to U.2 adapter.
Moving to the rear IO of this motherboard we can see that this board has plenty of options, offering 3 USB 3.1 type-A ports and 1x USB 3.1 type-C connections, WiFi ports, Intel Gigabit LAN, 6x USB 3.0 ports and all of the audio connections that you would typically find on a high end motherboard.
Supreme FX 2015 Audio
This year ASUS has been working hard to deliver a greater on-board audio experience than they have ever before, featuring cutting edge isolation technologies to prevent electromagnetic interference and adding several new components in order to deliver a premium audio experience.
ASUS has added premium ENichicon audio capacitors, ESS Premier Stereo DAC ES9023, Dedicated clock, RC4580 2Vrms Driver, Impedance Sense IC, and De-pop Relay , to provide precision-engineered audio that is designed to deliver an experience which is on par with dedicated soundcards, and that is only the changes on the hardware side.
This Generation of ROG Maximus motherboards features new and improved ROG audio technologies such as brand Sonic Studio II audio tuning suite. With SmartEQ for enhancing the details of the music while casting or streaming, Perfect Voice to reduce noise artifacts and stabilize overall voice volume and Sonic SenseAmp, which detects headphone impedance and automatically adjusts the built-in amp all are designed to deliver the best audio experience ever placed inside a ROG motherboard.
Water Cooling Pump Header
One feature which is all new to this generation of ASUS motherboards is it's dedicated water cooling Pump header, which can function like a normal fan header or be used as a dedicated pump header for your water cooled PC.
Right now this function is exclusive to ASUS, allowing you to more directly control your pump with 4-pin PWM adjustment and dedicated water cooling options in the BIOS.
ASUS ROG Fan Stickers
One novel addition to ASUS' ROG motherboards is a nice set of ROG fan stickers, which can be used with your fan of choice to cover up an unwanted logo or the rather ugly stickers at the rear of most fans. This addition may be seen as entirely unnecessary by many of you but it is nonetheless seen by us as a very welcome addition, especially if you are looking to sneak a little more red and black into your build.
ROG RAMDisk and RAMCache
On the Software side ASUS has been working hard to allow their users to make the most out of their system, now offering their users free software so that users can use their own RAM Disk or RAM Cache solution, both of which will allow users to dramatically speed up their storage.
With RAMCache users will be able to dramatically speed up their existing storage solutions by allocating a cache of RAM to your Slower drives, this will allow frequently used files to be placed in the much faster RAM Cache which will allow these files to be processed much faster. RAMCache is very simple to use, requiring the user to simply decide how much RAM to Allocate to he cache, with everything else running in the backround.
RAMDisk will allow the user to allocate RAM as it's own storage device, which allows all files inside it to be read exceptionally quickly, speeding up loading times dramatically. All files inside the disk will be moved to specific locations on your hard drive, so that it can be quicly loaded onto your RAMDisk after your system boots.
One new addition to the 2015 version of ASUS' RAMDisk software is its Dynamic Memory Allocation, which allows unused memory in the RAMDisk to be dynamically released back in the system for use for traditional RAM tasks.
Lighting Control is ASUS' new LED control tool which allows the user to change specific motherboard LEDs to your favorite colour without hassle.
On the control side, Lighting Control includes four built-in lighting effects, Static / Pulsating / Strobing / Rainbow and two special effects that change with music or with CPU Temperature. To select your colour Lighting Control also equipped with a circular rainbow palette, shown below, with brightness control on the right side of the UI for user to do the adjustment based on modding needs.
There is also a white to black filter which can change the LED from a white colour or decreasing in brightness until the LED is turned off.
If you demand the best of the best when ti comes to overclocking and features, or simply just prefer the finer things in life you need not look further than the ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus VIII Extreme as it is hands down the most well equipped board that we have seen on Intel's Z170 platform to date.
From power deliver to even storage capability ASUS has worked exceptionally hard to deliver us with both software and hardware that is world class when it comes to overclocking, sound quality and even storage capability.
We know that this motherboard will come with a rather hefty price premium, as this delivers much more than ASUS' existing Z170 Deluxe, which currently costs £220, so we expect a price which is north of £250, though right now we do not have confirmation on pricing.
If you are looking for the best the ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Extreme look like it will be very tough to beat, you will have to wait and see exactly how this motherboard performs when we put it through our testing over the coming weeks.