IMG 9010 ASUS ROG Maximus IV GENE Z Review

Probably one of the most anticipated ROG boards ever, the ASUS Maximus IV GENE-Z has hit the market right in time to bring users all the benefits the Z68 chipset has to offer, as well as a plethora of overclocking features and connectivity in a micro-ATX form factor.   

Introduction

Today we take a look at one of the best priced Sandy Bridge boards to date, the ASUS ROG Maximus IV Gene-Z, a powerful overclocking board in a tiny package. 

To begin we would like to show you a block diagram provided by Intel, of how the Z68 PCH(platform controller hub) connects to the rest of the system. 

 ASUS ROG Maximus IV GENE Z Review

Compared to the earlier P67, the Z68 chipset adds Intel HD Graphics support, as well as Intel Smart Responce Technology(SSD Caching). Intel probably should have skipped P67 and just come out with the Z68 PCH. We see that ASUS has taken the better route and used the more expensive Intel PHY for LAN connectivity, and avoided the cheaper Realtek chipsets we see on other boards. This motherboard also has Lucid Virtu technology which allows for switchable graphics, but only a HDMI port is used, so maximum resolution will be 1920×1080 for those of you who want to use i-Mode Virtu to save power. 

 

Specifications:

ASUS ROG Maximus IV GENE-Z

CPU Support

Intel® Socket 1155 for 2nd Generation Core™ i7/Core™ i5/Core™ i3 Processors 

Supports Intel® 32 nm CPU

Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 

* The Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 support depends on the CPU types.

Chipset

Intel Z68

Graphics

Integrated Graphics Processor

VGA output support : HDMI port

- Supports HDMI with max. resolution 1920 x 1200 @ 60 Hz

Memory

4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 2200(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1600/1333 Hz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory

Dual Channel Memory Architecture

Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)

* Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs. 

* Refer to www.asus.com or user manual for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).

* Due to CPU behavior, DDR3 2200/2000/1800 MHz memory module will run at DDR3 2133/1866/1600 MHz frequency as default.

Multi-GPU Support

Supports NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology

Supports AMD CrossFireX™ Technology

Supports LucidLogix® Virtu™ Technology

Expansion Slots

2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8) 

1 x PCIe 2.0 x4

Storage

Intel® Z68 chipset : 

2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red

4 x SATA 3Gb/s port(s), gray

Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10

Support Intel® Smart Response Technology on 2nd generation Intel® Core™ processor family

JMicron® JMB362 controller : *1

2 x eSATA 3Gb/s port(s), red

LAN

Intel®, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller

Audio

SupremeFX X-Fi 2 built-in 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC 

- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking

Audio Feature :

- X-Fi® Xtreme Fidelity™ 

- EAX® Advanced™ HD 5.0 

- THX® TruStudio PRO™

- Creative ALchemy 

- Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection 

- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel

USB

ASMedia® USB 3.0 controller : 

4 x USB 3.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)

Intel® Z68 chipset : 

12 x USB 2.0 port(s) (8 at back panel, black, 4 at mid-board)

FireWire

-

ASUS Unique Features

ASUS TurboV EVO :

- CPU Level Up

ASUS Exclusive Features :

- MemOK!

- Onboard Button : Power/Reset/Clr CMOS (at back IO)

ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :

- ASUS Fan Xpert 

ASUS EZ DIY :

- ASUS Q-Shield

- ASUS O.C. Profile

- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3 

- ASUS EZ Flash 2 

- ASUS MyLogo 2 

ASUS Q-Design :

- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)

- ASUS Q-Slot

- ASUS Q-DIMM 

- ASUS Q-Connector)

Overclocking Features

ROG Connect 

Extreme Engine Digi+ :

- 8 -phase CPU power design + 4 -phase iGPU power design

- 2 -phase Memory power design

Mem TweakIt

ROG Extreme OC kit :

- Debug LED

ProbeIt

UEFI BIOS features :

- ROG BIOS Print

- GPU.DIMM Post

GameFirst

iROG

Extreme Tweaker

Loadline Calibration

Overclocking Protection :

- COP EX (Component Overheat Protection – EX)

- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)

Back Panel I/O Ports

1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)

1 x HDMI

2 x eSATA 3Gb/s

1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)

2 x USB 3.0 

8 x USB 2.0 (white port can be switched to ROG Connect)

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

6 x Audio jack(s)

1 x Clear CMOS button(s)

Internal I/O Connectors

1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) 

2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)

2 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)

4 x SATA 3Gb/s connector(s)

2 x CPU Fan connector(s) 

3 x Chassis Fan connector(s) 

1 x S/PDIF out header(s)

1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)

1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)

1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)

1 x System panel(s) 

6 x ProbeIt Measurement Points

1 x Power-on button(s)

1 x Reset button(s)

1 x ROG Connect switch(es)

1 x Go Button(s)

1 x Clear CMOS jumper(s)

Accessories

User's manual

I/O Shield

2 x SATA 3Gb/s cable(s)

1 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)

1 x SLI bridge(s)

1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1) 

1 x ROG Connect cable(s)

1 x Cable ties pack(s)

1 x ROG theme label(s)

1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s)

BIOS

64Mb Flash ROM, EFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI2.0a Multi-Language BIOS

Manageability

WfM2.0, DMI2.0, WOL by PME, WOR by PME, PXE

Support Disc

Support DVD:

- Drivers and applications

* ASUS AI Suite II

* ROG CPU-Z

* ROG GameFirst Utility

* Sound Blaster X-Fi MB2 Utility

* ROG Mem TweakIt Utility

* ASUS AI Charger+

* DAEMON Tools Pro Standard

* Kaspersky® Anti-Virus 1-year license

Form Factor

uATX Form Factor 

9.6 inch x 9.6 inch ( 24.4 cm x 24.4 cm )

 

As you can obviously see the laundry list of features is longer than that of most full sized ATX boards. For a sub $200 motheboard, this has to be one of the most feature packed and value for money product in the market. Of course this only applies if you are on the Intel side of things, as AMD motherboards generally run cheaper.