Okay let me just tell it like it is, the Maximus Extreme VI is pure sex for the modern slightly geeky man ;)
This is quality at its best added with features and easy ways to overclock your processor and memory. Still, this ROG piece of hardware remains to be focused mainly at tweakers. I mean I've seen the competition includs more end-users savvy hip features like dedicated audio solutions, KillerNIC and so on. But man, the Maximus Extreme VI is haaaawt! But yes, the ROG Maximus VI Extreme will be a little more difficult to position as it is pushed so extremely far into the pro-overclockers range with the OC Panel and LN2 functions and so on.
Being a ROG motherboard the overall baseline performance trumps pretty much any Z87 boards we have tested as ASUS (and we explained this before already) applies a little trick with the motherboard, slightly higher turbo values locked in at 3900 MHz whereas Intel reference specified boards clock lower overall as well as the mainstream motherboards. This is the reason why ROG boards are a little faster overall. Granted, the Maximus Extreme VI definitely lures me in with its five PCI Express x16 slots PCIe Gen 3.0 and up-to 4-way SLI/CrossFire combo's. On the storage side of things you'll receive many SATA 6Gbps ports provided by Intels Z87 PCH, seconded by Asmedia controllers. Have a good look at our performance results, SATA3 SSD wise, the Intel SATA3 ports offer the best performance.
Okay looks are subjective. Some like skinny, thin some requrie a little booty... but hey taste matters yet differs eh? So this tidbit is personal, the Maximus Extreme VI is an extremely good looking motherboard with a proper layout and stuffed with features. But (and I know some ASUS employees will raise an eye-browse now) I didn't find it as good looking as the Maximus Extreme V was. I coudn't really explain why until I compared photo's and looked at the heatsinks, the Maximus Extreme V had much better looking coolers, but again that's opinion, and thus subjective. But let me show you what I mean dawg:
Maximus Extreme VI, below the older Z77 based Maximus Extreme V.
So yeah, am I right or wrong in thinking that the V looks better? It's the heatsinks man, I tell ya. Alright enough on that. The layout overall is excellent BTW, there's not a thing on this motherboard that is located at the wrong position.
Overall non-overclocked performance as stated is above the baseline of the reference Z87 motherboards we tested, with an offset here and there of course. If you have two left hands in terms of overclocking in the UEFI bios simply hit CPU level UP mode and the 4770K processor will be tweaked instantly.
Manual tweaking. We got the 4770K processor rocking stable at 4800 MHz with the memory (XMP enabled) at 2400 very easily, and that's pretty much the best results we have had with this kind of coolling (heatpipe Noctua D14 dual-fans). However the CPU temperatures remained really nasty. As stated many times now, Haswell processors run hotter when overclocked opposed to Sandy Bridge, reaching 4600~4900 MHz might be easy to accomplish with the motherboard but you'll find yourself needing juice in the 1.35~1.45 Volts range of the processor and that requires massive cooling.
So tweaking limitations are not based on the motherboard. In fact this motherboard will go as extreme as you need it to, and then it'll help you accomplish that. Really, tweaking with the Maximus VI Extreme is just fantastic. It's just Haswell processor running too darn hot. So be prepared for processor heat, proper liquid cooling definitely deserves a recommendation here alright. If you go for a manual tweak you may go as complex as you desire, that's what ROG motherboards are about. For the not-so-PC-diligent tweakers, you could just enabled one of the several CPU level up modes and let the motherboard overclock itself with a variety of choices. I tell you this though, overclocking itself is easy on this motherboard. As you have been able to see, in this review we used Corsairs new Vengeance Pro 2400 MHz memory as well, and in the BIOS we simply flicked the XMP profile to on and boom, the memory was running at a rather amazing clock frequency. Ridiculous fast. Combined with the CPU overclock towards 4800 MHz we had built a very impressive performing PC within less than a minute and nearly unreal memory bandwidth.
The OC Panel - What a hot little gadget this is. I mean, Batman could take this out of his utility belt! Monitoring your processor, overclocking, VGA hot-wiring it all is possible with the cool panel. If you decide not to use it, simply house it into the PC with the delivered 5.25" tray you can build into your chassis. Personally I adored the OC panel, yet I somehow always revert to BIOS based overclocking, but that's my personal preference I guess. This is more for the pro-overclockers with a bottle of LN2 in one hand and the OC Panel in the other. But cool, He cool.
ASUS has a mighty impressive offering at hand with their Maximus Extreme VI, the thing is so feature rich that we can't even explain everything it has to offer! The 10 SATA ports are very sweet, all SATA 6 Gb/s. You get 7.1 channel HD audio as delivered by the Realtek 1150 codec. The motherboard is multi-GPU up-to 4-way SLI and Crossfire ready. And sure add to that the sporty kit like the WIFI and mSATA module. We just adore the Maximus V Extreme, but also acknowledge that it probably is a dish best served for pro-overclockers solely. The reality is that 99% of you guys that will have a good heat-pipe cooler or All In One Liquid cooling kit, each and everyone of you will reach ~4800 Mhz as maximum and for that you do not need an OC Panel or all the LN2 features this board has to offer. Yes, all these features come at a price of 375 EUR / 399 USD. Still, with the included gear, features and that OC Panel we say that it is a fair price for a superb quality motherboard. This motherboard serves a very specific type of end users alright. If you are intrigued by it, then that description applies directly to you. Highly recommended and we'll grant it our most hard to get best hardware award. Two massive thumbs up for ASUS !
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