ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Extreme and Extreme Assembly Review
Published: 5th February 2016 | Source: ASUS | Price: £325 & £475 |
Now and again we have a product which ticks every box and hits every sweet spot. The ASUS Z170 Maximus VIII Extreme, and Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly, are once such piece of hardware.
That name carries a lot of weight of expectation with it. You know how good the other models in the Maximus VIII range have been, so for ASUS to release an Extreme model means they're confident it has enough additional features and performance to be worthy of your purchase. We certainly demand any "Extreme" motherboard overclocks at least better or easier than anything else, whilst having more features than anything and better stock performance for those who just want the kudos of owning a 'ROG Extreme' without utilising it fully.
Both these models cover themselves in glory.
Indeed they're similar enough in performance terms that we combined them in our graph, and the majority of their features are matched across the board. Both have more SATA and USB options than you could realistically expect to fill, and the ability to combine a M.2 drive and PCI Express NVMe drive into a RAID whole is a particular highlight. Overclockers aren't left behind either in this quest for ever larger bandwidth. Our Core i7-6700K usually tops out at 4.8GHz before it ceases to be stable enough to run our full suite of tests, yet the Extreme managed to squeeze 4.92GHz from it. If that doesn't whet your appetite then we're not sure what will. Getting that overclock is easy thanks to the excellent BIOS, suite of physically on-board tweaking options and, in the case of the regular Maximus VIII Extreme, the OC Key. No matter what test we threw at them they powered through to find themselves either at the top of our graphs, or bested only by their stablemate Formula. That whopping overclock found the pair at the top of our graph in nearly every single result we have. The benefits of outstanding components wherever you look meaning that the CPU overclock is as great as it can possibly be.
The Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly is probably our favourite of the two. We love the move away from the black and red colour scheme to something more approaching silver and orange. This is the direction ASUS are taking with all their top-end products and it looks glorious here. For gamers and audiophiles the inclusion of the 5.25" dedicated headphone amplifier is a particular delight. The SupremeFX 2015 audio on both Extreme boards is hardly a slouch, but the break-out box that comes supplied with the Assembly takes audio reproduction to new heights of fidelity. Worthy of particular emphasis is the included 10Gb/s networking card. Ten times faster than the regular GigaLANs we're all used to it makes transferring large files across your home network an absolute breeze, assuming you've the hardware at the other end to take full advantage of such wide bandwidth.
The Maximus VIII Extreme and Extreme Assembly might have kept us waiting at the altar a little longer than their brethren but they've come down the aisle looking resplendent. Asus have cleverly kept a Red themed Extreme board for those traditionalists but moved in the Assembly right at the very top, giving it a few more toys in the box that suite those of us without tanks of liquid nitrogen hanging around. The new gunmetal and orange theme is great for those of us that think that red is now a bit passé. If you desire only the very best components and broadest range of connectivity options then they are an excellent choice and both win our OC3D Performance Award. The Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly also receives our OC3D Innovation Award for the mind-blowing speeds available from the included 10G Express card.
Maximus VIII Extreme
Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly