If extreme is your thing then the ASUS Maximus V Extreme is all made for you. Honestly, and as weird as it might sound, I'd even have a hard time recommending the board towards the mainstream crowd as the features actually seem to be catered the most towards enthusiast users and pro-overclockers. Which is a small niche market.
Obviously the Extreme is impressive, very impressive? But if you are on liquid cooling or heatpipe cooling, the results will be 99% similar towards the Maximus V Gene and Formula really.
The featureset is really impressive, you name it, it's on there. Combined with the OC Key and that new dual-band mini PCI Express 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi/Bluetooth 4.0 card (this is the SKU we reviewed today) there is very little to be left in terms of wishes. Intersting is ThunderBolt, unfortunately for the PC, there are barely implementations for it that make good use for it.
Being an ROG motherboard the overall baseline performance trumps pretty much any Z77 boards we tested as ASUS (and we explained this before already) applies a little trick with the ROG motherboard, slightly higher turbo values locked in at 3900 MHz whereas Intel reference specified boards clock lower overall. This is the reason why ROG boards are a little faster overall.
The motherboard definitely lures me in with its five PCI Express x16 slots (two of which are full x16 PCIe Gen 3.0 and SLI/CrossFire compliant and otherwise you can have four x8 links). On the storage side of things you'll receive many SATA 3Gbps SATA 6Gbps ports provided by Intels Z77 chipset, seconded by an Asmedia controller. Have a good look at our performance results, SATA3 SSD wise, the Intel SATA3 ports offer the best performance.
When we look at overclocking and tweaking, well this motherboard is a title holder bound to break records. If you go for a manual tweak you may go as complex as you desire, that's what ROG motherboards are about. However 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.
It is important to understand that Ivy bridge processors like the Core i7 3770K run hotter when overclocked opposed to Sandy Bridge once you pass 1.4 Volts on the CPU, reaching 4.6~4.8 GHz is fairly easy to accomplish with the motherboard at 1.30~1.35V though. Go higher and you'll notice that proper liquid cooling definitely is the way to follow.
As you have been able to see, in this review we used G.Skill's new Trident X 2666 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 of 2666 MHz. Ridiculous fast. Combined with the CPU overclock towards 4800 MHz we had built a very impressive performing PC within less than a minute.
Currently the price point of the ASUS Maximus V Extreme is not listed just yet, we expect it to be set in a steep 350 EUR range. For that amount of money you'll receive a very extraordinary motherboard with great looks, a wide variety in terms of connectivity, design and features. Out of all the Z77 motherboards we have had in our hands the ROG GENE, FORMULA and this EXTREME where was the easiest to overclock with. Fiddle around with the multiplier and voltages alone is enough to reach 4800 MHz on heatpipe based cooling.
In the BIOS we selected gamers OC mode, activated the memory XMP profile and set the turbo to a multiplier of 48... that's all that was needed to achieve the tweak as you have been able to witness today.
The Maximus V Extreme will be a little difficult to position as it is pushed so extremely far into the pro-overclockers range with the OC Key, LN2 functions and Subzero Sense connector.
Then ASUS implemented VGA hotwire, with the VGA Hotwire feature, plug the two-wire cable onboard and solder two wires on the VGA's voltage regulator and accurately adjust the voltage. That line alone literally will scare away the regular end-users as that is touching something nobody wants to touch. It's an option though and will only be used by pro overclockers.
The Maximus V Extreme is what it is, Extreme... ASUS could not have picked a better word for its SKU name. With all the features mentioned combined with the new hip gadgets and wireless connectivity, mSATA, ROG Connect that exquisite UEFI BIOS with extended tweaking options and CPU level up features... well it's nearly a little too much -- but so is it's pricing.
Truth be told, we don't just adore the The Maximus V Extreme, we love it. That said, it's not for everybody. This motherboard serves a very specific type of end users. If you are intrigued by it, then that's description applies directly to you. Highly recommended and we'll grant it our most hard to get best hardware award.
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