With the intro of Z87 we knew it would not be long until we started seeing the ROG boards rolling out and first up we have the Maximus VI Extreme which is the top of the line when it comes to ASUS innovation. Now let’s see exactly what it has to offer.
Introduction – ASUS Maximus VI Extreme
ASUS always has new innovations and toys with their ROG model boards and the Z87 model is no different. The first board we got to take a look at is of course the top-of-the-line Maximus VI Extreme. The Extreme model in the ROG Series is always the one with all of the bells and whistles and usually has a huge amount of special overclocking features for those looking for some sub zero fun. Even though all of the LN2 benchmarking trickery is integrated plenty of extreme users employ the Extreme model boards for there 24/7 rigs as the ability to handle the extreme benchmarking world is an obvious sign that it can take much more abuse than a high end gaming rig should ever see which means less worry of failure from these users who love to have the best of the best. The ROG brand has continued down this path of innovation, and what is really cool about a company like ASUS is that many of the innovations that make these boards amazing and cutting edge also trickles down to the more mainstream boards to make them even more solid.
The Maximus VI Extreme comes to market with a street price of $399.99 directly from Newegg at the time of writing. This price may seem steep to some, but keep in mind what the board is built for. Once you consider the extreme engineering and high-performance audience this is targeted to, the price is less of an issue to get a board specially designed with the intention of breaking records integrated into the board level designs.
Extreme Engine DIGI+ III
ASUS has been known for some time for their DIGI+ solutions and on the ROG boards they now have the Extreme Engine DIGI+ III designs.
The Extreme engine DIGI+ III design is a direct implementation of the DIGI+ designs designed for optimum performance and efficiency to meet both the extreme gamers needs along with the extreme benchmarkers needs as well. If you have ever heard the term wretched excess, the extreme engine DIGI+ III fits that description quite nicely. We all know that going excessive is not a bad thing but you must keep your goal in perspective, and ASUS did exactly that by building a super robust VRM, but also ensuring the DIGI+ controller was capable of handling the extreme load of benchmarking while also meeting the needs of 24/7 use. This includes such features as demand based switching which throttles the VRM components so that load is shifted back and forth between VRM components so that no single component is in a constant loading state which will allow for much cooler and efficient operation. Also, if the system jumps up to a fully loaded situation the controller can instantly transition to a high power state which kicks on all of the VRM components and ensures your system has the power it needs on tap. This kind of implementation also means that even under significant overclocks you can keep power saving features of the DIGI+ setup active and it will still throttle as seen necessary to keep power on tap but also allow power savings and efficiency in low load conditions. A note to this is that if pushing for extreme clocks the DIGI+ can be set for higher or extreme modes which will keep the VRM at a constant on state and full power will be delivered at all times which is necessary for those running in such scenarios such as LN2 benchmarking.
One important note for the Extreme Engine DIGI+ III design is the components. Here we will look at specific components and what makes them special.
Special attention has been paid to the capacitor choice as they are very highly spec’d units. A standard capacitor is rated to handle operating temps of 105C at up to 2000hr, but the special black metallic Nichicon GT series caps are rated for up to 5x this time at up to 10,000 hours at the same 105C operating temperatures. This is a huge advantage as it allows for a much higher threshold for long term usage along with the durability to handle the severe beating many users will dish out during overclocking expeditions.
Also worth noting is the fact that the Nichicon GT caps are rated for a wider thermal threshold which means that the operating temps it can handle is much better and it is even better at the extreme cold temperatures some extreme enthusiasts subject these boards to.
The Chokes are also worth checking out as they are specially selected “Blackwing” units which have a very unique look with a fin design running vertically on the outer shell of the choke allowing for even better thermal capabilities. Also the gold coating allows for minimal power loss and maximum power delivery.
mPCI-E Combo Card (WiFi AC/BT 4.0 mPCI-E card included)
ASUS included a Mini PCI-E and mSATA card with the previous gen Maximus V offerings. However, this time round, they found a way to improve this not only visually but also functionally.
First off, notice the mPCIe/mSATA combo card has a metallic shield which adds to the visual appeal and well, just makes it look awesome. Then add to this that they removed the WiFi N card and replaced it with a 802.11 AC card to better match the enhanced capabilities of their recently released AC spec network hardware which means huge increases in possible throughput and you can see things are turning very interesting.
On the mSATA side of things the slot has been replaced with a NGFF (Next Generation Form Factor) slot which is a M.2 socket as you can see from the illustration above which is the best fit for upcoming super high speed mSATA SSD storage devices.
4 Way SLI Support
The Maximus VI Extreme comes with four dual slot spaced PCI-E slots which run through the PLX bridge chip to allow for full PCI-E 3.0 to four cards at x8 bandwidth. ASUS ensures the best possible performance for up to two GPU’s by having the top slot consistently fed directly from the CPU PCIe lanes and the black middle slot being fed by the CPU as well in a dual card arrangement. However when fitting more cards then only the top slot has native PCIe configuration while the other three red slots will be run through the PLX multiplexer to best give the proper needed available bandwidth.
We wish ASUS could find a way so that 3 Way SLI or Crossfire could be run in the first (red), third (black) and fifth (red) slots so that the top two cards would have triple slot spacing which would allow for better GPU airflow and would make for an awesome setup. However we do understand how the slots are configured electrically and why the black slot must be switched off when above 2 discrete cards installed.
Here you can see the slot arrangement where dual GPUs can be fed directly from the CPU PCIe lanes and the lane arrangement and bus width depending upon slot population.
The ROG OC PANEL is the next new thing as we saw the OCKey introduced on the Rampage IV Extreme then on the Maximus V Extreme, now you see the next step in the evolution of ultimate overclocking peripherals.
As you can see the OC PANEL resembles a standard stand up K Type thermometer which is very familiar to enthusiasts overclockers. however this device does much more than just read thermals, as it connects directly to a special header on all ROG based boards for Z87 to allow full monitoring and hardware level control of the board to allow no overhead overclocking from the remote device.
One thing worth noting is that the remote fan and overclocking controls work with just the internal header connection, but if you want to get the advanced functionality of the extra overclocking devices such as GPU hotwire and all of the feature built under the cover than you are advised to connect a SATA power connector for the extended functionality which we will look at below.
The Subzero Sense feature is another that we have seen previously on the Rampage IV Extreme and is based solely on the needs of an extreme benchmarking enthusiast. The Subzero Sense feature is a collection of 2 K type probe connections on a block found on the side of the OC PANEL. These are used to keep track of the pot or LN2 container temperature to ensure your running within desired temps to avoid cold bugs or issues. Normally, when running LN2 or any other kind of sub ambient cooling you would need a external thermometer of good quality to ensure you get very accurate subzero temperature readings. With the Subzero Sense feature you now have 2 ports to which you can install K probe connections to monitor 2 different devices temperatures which means you dont need to spend the cash for those expensive thermometers.
Testing of the subzero sense connection found it to be within a single degree of a expensive Fluke K type thermometer at -170C which means that controlling loaded temps during a benchmark run can be done efficiently and without the extra expense.
The VGA Hotwire feature is a unique one as it allows for hardware level voltage modifications to your graphics cards. Previously in order to have hardware level control over your GPU voltage it would require specific trimmers of the correct resistance or something over then soldering it to correct points on the card so that you could fool the VRM of the card into giving it more voltage as needed for extreme overclocks. Well ASUS knows what its users need so they went ahead and integrated pin headers on the OC PANEL so that the wires can be soldered onto the card then plugged directly into the OC PANEL for hardware level voltage modification and monitoring without fumbling with external trimming devices.
One thing worth noting is that the small lower cover needs to be opened and removed from the OC PANEL in order to expose the multiple extreme overclocking tools and connections hidden below. We will look more at this in the overview images of the OC PANEL device directly.
Slow Mode and Pause Switches
These switches allow for quick interaction to slow down CPU speed to avoid crashing along with pause switches to be able to pause system mid benchmark should any sort of situation come into play such as the need to bring temps up to avoid bugging or anything. These two switches can make huge differences to the performance under extreme benchmark scenarios especially when otherwise you could run into a cold bug which will end your benchmark run and ultimately be very maddening.
4 Extra PWM Fan headers
Below the cover you will find four extra PWM fan headers that can be used to help blow away condensation or keep airflow over your rig during bench sessions since most areas on the board will be covered or not very accessible in those scenarios.
after looking at all of the components available under the small cover theer are many main features built into the OC PANEL which I believe will be more commonly used. As you may have noticed the booard comes bundled with a 5.25″ adapter that allows easy mounting of the OC PANEL where only the small face is visible and this allows access to the power button, CPU fan speed control button, mode switch and CPU level up switch all designed to offer hardware level control at your fingertips without the need to escape to the BIOS.
ASUS has really jumped in deep with this one as some time ago i can remember talking to the ASUS Rep about RAMDisk performance and possibilities for Motherboard manufacturers to bundle it. Well now is that time, and ASUS of course is one of the teams leading the charge. Many may quickly note that in many cases especially previously RAMDisk was simply not feasible due to the low density and high cost to get a decent amount of usable Ram. Recently higher density kits have become much more affordable meaning that now even 32GB 4 DIMM kits are reasonable accessible by common users which means since most systems rarely use over 6-8GB max means you can have a quite sizable RAMDisk ready for super high speed operation for some transfer intensive tasks.
When Creating a RAMDisk there are many things to consider such as possible size limitations, and what data will you keep there? Well a RAMDisk is a huge measure faster than an SSD up to 10X faster in some cases and with RAM it is designed to constantly write and copy data so saving files that are constantly performing write operations can reduce wear on your SSD as well. With this in mind it is smart to look into which cache files are constantly writing, and find a way to migrate those to the RAMDisk. These will not only operate faster but if they are constantly being updated and written to it can save a ton of writes on your SSD. This is of huge importance for SSD longevity, as there are a limited number of write cycles on a SSD, and eliminating unnecessary write operations can actually have a very good result for the durability of your SSD.
The ROG RAMDisk software is designed with a easy to use UI and as you can see there is no size limitation so you can make a RAMDisk as big as your free memory that is available. This is also awesome as DIMMs continue to increase density the size of RAMDisk can grow as well.
Another cool feature has to do with creating junctions because while loading a whole game on RAMDisk may seem like a good idea it is often unnecessary, so instead let the software create junctions or redirects to the RAMDisk for specific large files or IO heavy files such as maps or large texture files which would normally slow down loads or texture refreshes by having it sitting in the ram.
There are some things you need to know which is that when a system is powered off the Ram is flushed so as the software may hold critical data for you it will need to dump an image of the RAMDisk on to your drive so that next time you start up it can load that image into the RAMDisk and get you back to where you left off. This is not a huge issue but with larger RAMDisk volumes this can add a delay to startup and shutdown operations as time is needed to dump the RAMDisk onto the physical disk during shutdown, or to pull it back on to memory during startup. Expect slightly longer bootup times to perform these duties. All in all that is a marginal expense with the performance improvement you can see from this implementation.
SSD Secure Erase
ASUS has performed a lot of testing when it comes to a high performance machine. One thing that has been noticed is that as SSDs have matured we have seen that over time performance will degrade and drives basically fill up some and rewrite data and basically just start to get junked up and performance starts to fall off. Well the solution has been found to perform a secure erase which writes zeros to the whole disk creating an entirely new fresh disk data area. This is a great solution but the problem is that many users do not know how to burn the Linux live CD or even more how to navigate the many options to perform the secure erase. ASUS once again offers a unique solution via a integrated UEFI software to secure erase an SSD to restore it to like new performance.
Here you can see the standard falloff of performance simulated on the chart and how the secure erase places it in a like new state. with that considered we know it is a necessary task for optimal performance but with the ROG solution its as simple as going into the BIOS with no extra tools required or software to buy. You get this free with your purchase of the ASUS ROG board.
USB BIOS Flashback
ASUS offers the BIOS Flashback utility which is actually a multi-facet tool and has many capabilities which some may not be aware of. we have had many times where a motherboard did not support a CPU and a frantic search for a supported CPU just to flash the BIOS (ex. Gulftown CPU support on X58). ASUS has eliminated the worry of these kinds of issues by allowing the BIOS flashback procedure which does not require a CPU or memory to flash the BIOS. All that is needed in order to flash the BIOS is to have the desired firmware ROM file on a USB thumb drive and insert that into the ROG connect USB port.
Depressing the ROG Connect button for 5 seconds will start a flashing LED which indicates the firmware is being updated and once the update is complete the flashing will stop. It really is that easy and ensures no matter the condition the firmware can be flashed even if the newest CPU is not supported without the previously mentioned hunt for a compatible CPU.
This may seem like an odd feature but many may buy the newest and greatest CPU on the market while the board could have been shipped with the older firmware which in most cases would leave the user stuck without an option. We have found this useful quite a few times when after running a LN2 cooled system in unstable conditions, a BIOS had corrupted. With the BIOS flashback it was remedied as quickly as we could copy the ROM file from our laptop to the flash drive and get it flashing.
Fan Xpert 2
ASUS has always had Fan Xpert technology as part of its AI Suite utility chest but its always been used for manual adjustments and profiling of the system fans.
The Fan Xpert 2 now comes with a automatic profiling system which we will attempt to demonstrate in the following steps. One thing to note on this is that ASUS Fan Xpert 2 supports full fan control via both 4 pin and 3 pin fan headers even though most ASUS boards now carry all 4 Pin headers.
Notice that the new AI Suite software has a much cleaner and I guess I could say complete feel to it as it feels alot more finished, even though the previous software felt fine I must say that after using this one it makes the old one just look I guess old. I like this direction but it does take a bit of getting used to as the interface has changed and so has the menu to get to some of the features.
Overview of the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme
The packaging is very much like other ROG products we have so many times before and always gets the job done. The bright red packaging jumps out at you. We hope ASUS does more ROG Black Edition models as they flat out look awesome.
Now back to the Maximus, you can see it gives a sneak peek of the OC Panel mounted in the 5.25″ converter bay. Otherwise like most other ROG boards we have seen to date it is fairly clean and to the point.
Flipping open the front panel provides you a plastic window to see the full board along with bundled OC Panel, on the flip out doors backside you can see a few heavily detailed specs such as OC Panel features. It also touches on some of the Extreme Engine Digi+ III component details and also the WiFi AC mini PCIe combo card just to cover a few of the key details.
The rear is about what we have come to expect with full spec including support and port listings to let you know down to the finite detail what you are getting with this board.
Click Image For a Larger One
- ROG OC Panel Device
- ROG OC Panel Cable
- SATA Cables
- ROG Connect Cable
- mSATA/mPCI-E Combo card (w/pre-installed WiFi AC/BT4.0 Card)
- WiFi/BT 4.0 Antennae
- Qconnect front panel connectors
- IO Shield
- SLI Ribbon Cable
- 3 Way SLI Bridge
- 4 Way SLI Bridge
- ProveIT Leads
- ROG Magnet
- Cable labeling Stickers
- Installation disc
- Owners Manual
The accessories are plentiful and it has everything you would need to set this board up and even some extra such as the ROG magnet just for a stylish addition that can be placed in different areas unlike a sticker which is normally a single time use.
- mSATA/mPCI-E Card female pin port
- Clear CMOS Button
- ROG Connect Button
- 2x USB 2.0 Ports
- Intel Gigabit (10/100/1000) LAN Port
- 6x USB 3.0 ports (4x Asmedia, 2x Intel Z87)
- Optical S/PDIF Port
- HDMI Connector
- Displayport Connector
- PS2 Combo KB/Mouse port
- 8 channel Realtek ALC 1150 powered audio connections
As you can see here there is an enormous array of available connectivity. A PS2 port for those who use that for benching purposes, ROG Connect and of Course the mPCIe/mSATA card all add to making a board that is built to be frozen on a test bench but can also be domesticated into any extreme high end gaming rig.
ASUS has completely redesigned the AISuite Software with the AISuite III software. A completely new user interface is now available and with that comes a much smoother function.
Overall the AISuite III software has been completely reworked for a cleaner looking interface. As you can see there is alot more information available in each section as the upper screen gives you the controls of the section you are in and the bottom area can be tabbed through and has a load of different monitoring areas to cycle through and help you see exactly how your board is behaving in real time. Also this is a significant change so it may take you a few minutes to figure out where everything is at but in the end it is quite easy once you get the hang of it as the system has changed from a selector bar or taskbar driven software to a larger screen driven software.
ROG Connect is found just like we have seen on so many boards and it is a very nice option if you have a laptop or another system close by to control your system as it allows real time hardware monitoring and control over your system at a hardware level which means that almost no system overhead is seen.
One really cool part is that you can also monitor system load so that if you are running a longer bench and you notice the system no longer shows load you can get a quick hint that something is amiss before it becomes a bigger issue or possibly freezes the system over.
The ROG Connect function also allows GPU tweaking which can allow for voltage and clock adjustments even during bench runs which can help alot by dropping clocks during a especially stressful part of the run.
Also power/reset is included in the controls so that you can even power the system on without having to use the board in case it is covered by insulation or something from a subzero run you do not need to worry as you can control virtually every aspect of the system from the remote computer.
Mem TweakIt is a great program for extreme overclockers or tweakers as it allows real time adjustment and tweaking of the memory for the system which can make the difference between a high point run and a world record run.
Turbo VCore is a super lite program made for quick and easy board tuning within the OS. We have seen many companies starting to realize that their included software is a bit too much or a bit too heavy for users who need a super light easy to load program that also loads quickly as being on the ragged edge overclocking you cannot wait for a huge program to load just to make a quick change.
The Turbo VCore program is just this and it fits the bill nicely as it loads very fast and load or overhead on the system is very small which is exactly what you need when running in such extreme conditions.
The BIOS of the ASUS Z87′s still carries the same fluidity that the Z77 and Z68′s carried as ASUS has done very well on the overall UEFU/I code which means the only think they have really needed to add was updates based on features or tuning of the board. Well all of that aside ASUS did add some very interesting features which we think will help some users especially those who like to tweak their boards and try to squeeze a bit more performance from them. The ability to take notes within the BIOS is very cool although I am old school and always keep pen and paper near by, we guess you could call this a “Green” alternative as you take notes on adjustments, although I would still keep a paper backup of any notes or at least a screenshot (F12) of the notes before flashing the BIOS as a bios update that goes deep enough could clear those notes and they would be gone forever.
Another neat feature would be the Last modified section which basically just logs any changes you made in the BIOS so that if you run into an issue you can go back and look at what your changes were all dated and with a timestamp so that you can revert changes and test again without starting over. This is a interesting feature and I am not saying everyone will use it but well for the target audience of this board (Extreme enthusiasts and overclockers) we think it could ultimately be very useful.
Another cool addition is the my favorites page which allows you to earmark certain settings within the bios to be placed on this page where you can go to and have access to your most commonly used settings without having to go through all of the other settings as there are quite a lot on this board.
The memory presets has grown even further on the Maximus VI Extreme as you saw previously in my Maximus V Series reviews the presets are amazing and give a really nice starting point depending on the IC’s/Sticks you are using. Knowing that Haswell IMC’s are strong and memory overclocking is crazy these could really see some usage on extreme benchmarking runs for those users who do not know exactly what there sticks can do and want a nice starting point to tweak from. Once again as this is the extreme board designed with overclocking in mind figure most of these features while useful to some non extreme users are tailored toward that market.
Testing & Methodology
We’ve expanded our testing suite considerably since the X79 chipset release, and will continue to use the same methods for most of the motherboards and CPU’s we test. In the interests of thoroughness and accurate results, we run each test at least three times, and some tests more than that. We average the total of all the tests from each benchmark then report the average here.
The OS we use is Windows 7 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.
Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear pre-fetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.
One thing to note is that we are revamping our testing method in order to better represent motherboard performance and offering to you guys the consumer. Also we want to make it an easier read for you without miles of endless charts. Please feel free to provide feedback on what you think as many benchmarks will be shuffled or removed completely.
|Case||Thermaltake Level 10 GT|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-4770K|
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus VI Extreme|
|Ram||Gskill TridentX 2666MHz|
|CPU Cooler||Swiftech H20-220 Edge|
|Hard Drive||Western DIGItal Velociraptor 300GB|
|SSD||Intel 510 series SATA III 120GB|
|GPU||ASUS GTX680 Top|
|PSU||Thermaltake Toughpower XT 1275W Platinum|
|Mouse||Tt eSPORTS Black gaming mouse|
|Keyboard||Tt eSPORTS Meka G1 mechanical gaming keyboard|
We will use the following applications to test the performance of the Motherboard
|SuperPi Mod 1.5|
|SiSoft Sandra 2013|
|Unigine Heaven 4.0|
|Batman Arkham City|
|Sniper Elite V2|
The Z87 Platform is a totally different animal in terms of overclocking here. The Haswell Processor (4770K in this case) can run very hot when clocking which means you gotta have some good cooling if your pushing the limits. Luckily for us, we have access to everything up to LN2 to test with but in reality as most users reading this will never venture that far past liquid cooling we try to keep it rather pedestrian in comparison with a custom 240mm radiator liquid cooling setup. It has worked very well with SB, SB-E, IVB and so on, but we must say Haswell definitely put it to the test.
Raising the multiplier is your quickest way to overclock the CPU which with some small voltage tweaks we were able to get to my testing speed of 4.6GHz and with not a huge amount of voltage but it should be noted that even at 4.6 which we consider to be a modestly high overclock for 24/7 usage it definitely runs much hotter than Ivy Bridge (3770K) and mind you that is to no fault of the board but more so to the design of the CPU itself in which you get the extra thermal dump.
The auto overclocking for the ASUS board was very interesting as it had a strict hard set limit of 1.275Vcore to ensure that it would not overwhelm the majority of coolers on the market and we have to respect that as they did the research to find where the tipping point is in terms of high performance cooling and overclocking. When it comes down to it, we know we will give less buffer and therefore maintain much more speed with the same voltage so we pushed it ourselves.
We are very happy with this chip as we have many and this one with the Intel board would hold 4.6GHz through any test 100% stable at 1.22V so we were very happy to see that on the Maximus VI Extreme it was able to maintain the same level of stability at the same clocks with just 1.20V dead on. There is much more in this platform but its gonna take some much better cooling to show how far the chip can really go here.
It is worth noting that with auto settings and just Vcore adjustment would allow a 4.6GHz clock and basically took a whole 30 seconds to get there. We could go through and tweak down much more to save slightly more heat but you get the idea, this board really does make clocking quite easy, and with all the features it should follow suit with previous Maximus boards allowing a better run on extreme benching as well.
Important note: Overclocking can cause component failure. Please exercise caution when attempting any level of overclock on system components.
The temperatures were recorded with RealTemp while running wPrime 1024 right before the end of the 5th run. The results were recorded carefully. After the results were recorded, we waited for 30 minutes before taking Idle temperature measurements. The results were as follows:
|CPU Temperatures||Temperature (Idle/Load)|
|ASUS Maximus VI Extreme OC (4.6GHz)||34C/72C|
|ASUS Maximus VI Extreme||30C/61C|
|Chipset Temperatures||Temperature (Idle/Load)|
|ASUS Maximus VI Extreme OC (4.6GHz)||34C/41C|
|ASUS Maximus VI Extreme||31C/36C|
The reason temps may look a little lower than seen elsewhere online is that We are using a custom liquid cooling loop compliments of Swiftech which helps us reach an area of much higher headroom for overclocking and performance testing.
The power consumption was tested while running Wprime 1024 for a few minutes at stock settings. The results were recorded carefully with a Kill-A-Watt power consumption measuring tool at the wall. After the results were recorded, we waited for yet another few minutes minutes before taking Idle power consumption measurements.
The power consumption is measured without a GPU installed but the iGPU loaded to see what the best representation of peak power consumption you can expect. Do note that this board pulls a bit more than the Intel reference board but then again this board has a whole lot more features and stuff to power so it really makes sense.
Here with PCMark 7 you can see that the Maximus gives us a nice jump over the reference Intel board which doesnt surprise me as most board partners offerings tend to take the reference board and give it a nice kick of efficiency.
Here you can see that overall the Maximus VI Extreme really does a pretty good job not only beating Z77 but beating the Intel reference board as this board is simply setup a bit more for performance rather than the Intel board which is tuned for box stock reliability.
The Maximus board seems to do decently here but is a bit behind the Intel board but once again being the fact that we have been getting BIOS updates regularly all the way up to the launch and then even after a bit we will reserve our opinion on the single threaded performance until I feel that everything including MRC updates are under control. These updates included updated code from Intel so its possible that it could change the state of the game completely in a single update.
WPrime is similar to Superpi, but is multi core aware and you can set the core count. We used 8 cores to take advantage of the 4770K’s HyperThreading ability. Here the Maximus takes charge and really knocks out a good score at default but at overclock sightly leads the Intel board, and we have found that the Intel board has some strange tuning and results in memory and we believe this may be causing the strange results we see.
“CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer’s performance capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON’s award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more. MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based). The resulting values among different operating systems are 100% comparable and therefore very useful with regard to purchasing decision-making. It can also be used as a marketing tool for hardware vendors or simply to compare hardware among colleagues or friends.”
SiSoft Sandra 2013
“SiSoftware Sandra (the System Analyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software. It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what’s really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCI-X, PCIe (PCI Express), database, USB, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc.”
Click Images to Enlarge
Here with Sandra testing, you can see there is some give and take here. One area that surprised us was the AES encyption, which makes an absolutely huge leap going from Z77 to Z87.
Another interesting area we have seen has to do with the memory bandwidth. On the Intel board, a dual channel bandwidth can go into the 32GB/s range, whereas the competition is around 26-28GB/s. While this may not seem like much, that really is a very huge pipeline for data. Testing another Z87 model from two different manufacturers now reveals that the Intel board is the only one capable of pulling such a feat, which means they definitely have some special tweaks going on making for some very impressive memory capabilities. That being noted I do wonder if such aggressive tuning on Intel’s part will mean possible memory compatibility issues compared to the other board partners who may run slightly less aggressive board level tuning in order to maximize memory compatibility.
Transcoding has become more popular now and the latest Sandy Bridge processor added support for AVX instruction for faster video transcoding. With that you can see that going from Ivy Bridge to Haswell can net you some very good gains, especially a 2FPS gain on 2 Pass. This tells us that overall optimizations to the new platform are present and working very well.
TrueCrypt is a real world application that gives a good indication of the true performance of our latest processor. Here the new Core i7 4770K puts some definite room between itself and the outgoing 3770K with over a 22% performance increase, which means in the same time you can get a lot more work done.
Unigine Heaven 4.0
Unigine Heaven is a benchmark program based on Unigine Corp’s latest engine, Unigine. The engine features DirectX 11, Hardware tessellation, DirectCompute, and Shader Model 5.0. All of these new technologies combined with the ability to run each card through the same exact test means this benchmark should be in our arsenal for a long time.
The iGPU is not ideal for a 3D-heavy load like the Heaven benchmark. Nonetheless, to see a three FPS gain is quite huge for an integrated unit and tells us that with the right settings, the HD4600 could easily be used for gaming. This definitely lives up to what Intel is trying to accomplish, which is to make a solution that literally covers all of the bases in one shot.
Unigine Heaven on a discrete GTX 680 gains about a single FPS, probably just due to the expanded performance with the overclock. For the most part, however, recent platforms are so efficient that there simply is no bottleneck for current gen card models.
Once again, Metro 2033 shows that discrete GPU performance is relatively unaffected, simply due to the fact that there is already so much unused bandwidth available.
Batman Arkham City
Batman Arkham City is a very pretty game with nice visuals and very cool overall effects. With good settings but no AA, we tested it on the iGPUs, and the minimum framerates are much higher. The iGPU also yields an average of over 30FPS which means the game would be rather playable, albeit with some occasional choppiness possible.
Discrete GPU results once again hover without huge movement as the bandwidth is unsaturated for PCIe 3.0.
Sniper Elite V2
Once again the HD4600 impresses with a nice gain, although the detail on Sniper Elite V2 is simply a bit too much for the iGPU to handle at playable framerates.
The overall trend here is the same as for the other discrete GPU results, though the addition of the Maximus board yields a bit higher minimum framerate due to the performance optimizations.
The Maximus VI Extreme is the Flagship Z87 board from ASUS and we can see why, it is simply packed to the gills with features, then just to add more there is the breakout OC Panel which adds even more capability. Whats great about this is that this time around ASUS was able to bring the board to standard ATX form factor to allow better universal fitment among chassis as some of the features were moved to the remote OC Panel.
ASUS has always used the ROG line to introduce some of its newest innovations and to test them on the extreme community as they are most likely to use some of these cutting edge features. Many things from the ROG series trickle down to the more mainstream line of boards as they are perfected on the ROG series, but things such as the ROG OCKey was nice, but converting to something that mimics a K type thermometer but has many more features while supporting two thermal probes is awesome.
4 Way SLI compatibility, ROG RAMDisk, SSD Secure Erase, WifiAC included along with so many other overclocking features this board is just a big can of kick ass waiting to be unleashed.
This does not come without its cons. The price is definitely on the steep side for a mainstream board, and we wish ASUS would offer a lighter version of the Extreme with 4 Way SLI support but no bundled OCPanel for those who want to use this in an extreme gaming system but don’t need the extra included device. We believe that could possible make it a bit more competitive to make the OC Panel an option.
Overall we need to look at this board for what it is, as we know there are many ROG boards here or coming such as the Hero for extreme gamers, Formula for your in between of Extreme and Hero and even the Impact for your extreme ITX offering. All in all the Extreme was always about being the best of the best, regardless of cost. That’s what you get here, although the cost may still be a bit too much for many to swallow as there are other OC related boards that sell for quite a bit less.
|OUR VERDICT: Maximus VI Extreme|
|Summary: The Maximus VI Extreme is a very interesting board with plenty of performance potential just waiting for a good chip and sticks and the right user to push it up and beyond. For that it earns the Bjorn3D Golden Bear Award.|