ASUS ROG Maximus V Gene (Z77) Review – Ivy Bridge on Phase Change
ASUS's Republic of Gamers boards are advertised as gaming-oriented boards, yet they also have a deadly alter ego which caters to the extreme overclocking hobbyist (à la Batman-Bruce Wayne). Today we explore the reasons why the sub-US$200 mATX Maximus V GENE (Z77) has a cult following among enthusiasts these days and also put an Ivy Bridge 3770K under SS Phase Change cooling.
First established almost five years ago, Asus's Republic of Gamers team has grown from strength to strength, improving on their offerings generation after generation by recruiting the best engineering talents and support personnel in the industry, to build a premium brand on top of their regular channel products. Billed as an "Micro ATX Z77 gaming board", the Maximus V Gene (M5G) actually has better all-round credentials than most other full-sized motherboards out there.
Bundle wise, the M5G comes with the mandatory manual and driver CD, SATA cables, SLI Bridge, a USB cable for the remote ROG Connect feature and sticky labels for cable management.
The micro ATX M5G is endowed with boyish good looks, with the signature ROG black and red colour theme a standout in most enclosures or open-air test benches.
At the rear I/O panel, we get an abundance of USB ports (including four USB 3.0 and one white designated port for BIOS flashback/ROG Connect), Gigabit Ethernet, eSATA, gold-plated audio jacks for 8-channel audio and HDMI/DisplayPort for onboard Intel HD graphics. There are also pin-outs on the left meant for the mSATA/PCIe combo adapter, flanked by easy access buttons for CMOS Reset and ROG Connect.
For LAN connectivity the M5G relies on an Intel 82579V Gigabit Ethernet PHY, typically found on higher end motherboard offerings.
A pair of PCIe ASMedia controllers (ASM1042 and ASM1442) supplies additional SATA and USB 3.0 (fast charge and UASP too) connectivity on top of those from the Z77 Panther Point PCH.
The SupremeFX III audio solution is actually built on a Realtek codec, with metal EMI shielding, refined audio capacitors and optimized grounding bringing the rated SNR to a decent 110dB. We didn't do any formal testing but it definitely sounded better than most muddy onboard solutions.