You know I like the small hardware that is just as powerful as the really good stuff. It's for exactly that reason that the GENE series from ASUS always appeals to me in some way or form.
Today's product review is not different, ASUS took the Z68 chipset and plastered it into a cute tiny motherboard. Then the ROG team did their magic on it and badabing-badaboom... the Maximus IV Gene-Z we test today was born.
Small does not mean less powerful, any lady will tell you that along the lines of size does not matter. Today we test the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z, a smaller motherboard (mATX) yet a product that just oozes with dandy features and overclock potential. Get this -- we took a Core i7 2600K processor towards 4.9 GHz and on any other motherboard we have tested, we've never passed 4.8 GHz.
That alone is testimony of what the cute and tiny Maximus IV Gene-Z motherboard is capable of. In this review of course an in-depth look on the product, yet we also offer you an overview of the Z68 chipset and the Hybrid SSD caching feature.
So initially Intel for the consumer market allowed two primary chipsets in the mainstream and performance segment, H67 and P67. H67 is directed at mainstream, does not allow any overclocking yet comes with monitor output support like HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort. P67 on the other end is performance and enthusiast tweaking oriented, in combo with a K series processor like the Core i7 2600K we'll be using today you can do some seriously crazy stuff, like overclocking on air close to 5 GHz. But here you do not get the option for monitor outputs.
So something was clearly missing, and today Intel is going to close that gap with the Z68 chipset. A chipset that has the full feature set of BOTH the H67 and P67 chipsets and then it also has a little surprise in store.
With the Z68 Intel also introduces Intel Smart Response Technology, which allows you to use a SSD to cache a large volume HDD, it's a bit of a hybrid mode, a symbiosis of the two to gain on static storage performance. Next to that most Z68 motherboards will get the ability to switch in-between the processor IGP and a dedicated graphics card. That means you could use the Sandy Bridge IGP for seriously fast transcoding, yet once you want to play a game your dedicated graphics card, that 3D accelerated solution will kick in. Pretty cool stuff, in theory.
So today a closer look at the technology and of course we'll review the ASUS Maximus IV Gene-Z. Armed with the latest gadgets, some ROG lovin' and that Z68 chipset will most definitely surprise you. Have a peek at the mATX (24x24cm) sized motherboard first.
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