ASUS Maximus III Gene LGA 1156 Micro ATX Motherboard Review
Features, Layout, Included Extras
Intel® P55 Chipset
The Intel® P55 Express Chipset is the latest one-chipset design to support the latest 1156 socket Intel® Lynnfield processors. Intel P55 provides improved performance by utilizing serial point-to-point links, allowing increased bandwidth and stability.
Double Speed; Double Bandwidth
This motherboard supports the latest PCIe 2.0 devices for double speed and bandwidth which enhances system performance.
SLI or CrossFireX? Fret no longer because with the ROG Maximus III Formula, you´ll be able to run both multi-GPU setups. The board features SLI/CrossFireX on Demand technology, supporting SLI or CrossFireX configuration. Whichever path you take, you can be assured of jaw-dropping graphics at a level previously unseen.
Dual-Channel, DDR3 2133(O.C.) MHz Support
The motherboard supports DDR3 memory that features data transfer rates of 2133(O.C.)/2000(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066 MHz to meet the higher bandwidth requirements of the latest operation system, 3D graphics, multimedia, and Internet applications. The dual-channel DDR3 architecture double the bandwidth of your system memory to boost system performance.
Monitor the status of your desktop PC and tweak its parameters in real-time via a notebook—just like a race car engineer—with ROG Connect. ROG Connect links your main system to a notebook through a USB cable, allowing you to view real-time POST code and hardware status readouts on your notebook, as well as make on-the-fly parameter adjustments at a purely hardware level.
Why risk crippling your system with poorly tuned memory? Now, with ROG´s exclusive MemPerfect optimizing your memory performance is a simple matter of selecting the frequency you desire, and letting MemPerfect do the rest! MemPerfect quickly checks your memory settings for errors and automatically fixes them—ensuring system stability and maximum efficiency.
Intelligent multiple control at hand
The iROG is a special IC which enables several ROG highlighted functions that gives users full disposal of the motherboard at any stage! This design allows advanced user control and management to be processed purely at a hardware level. iROG greatly increases fun during overclocking for PC enthusiasts and it offers system maintenance and management with more control and efficiency.
Memory compatibility is among the top concerns when it comes to computer upgrades. Worry no more, MemOK! is the fastest memory booting solution today. This remarkable memory rescue tool requires nothing but a push of a button to patch memory issues and get your system up and running in no time. The technology is able to determine failsafe settings that can dramatically improve system booting success.
ProbeIt takes the guesswork out of locating the motherboard´s measurement points, identifying them clearly in the form of 5 sets of detection points so you´ll know exactly where to get quick yet accurate readings using a multi-tester.
The COP EX allows overclockers to increase chipset voltages without the worries of overheating. It can also be used to monitor and save an overheating CPU. The COP EX allows more freedom and less constraint for maximum performance achievement.
- the speed you need to pwn
Low Internet latency allows you to frag more, and get fragged less. That´s why ROG has introduced GameFirst, a feature that manages the flow of traffic according to your needs so that you can still listen to online music, download and upload files, and engage in Internet chats without sacrificing the low ping times you need to pwn your opponents.
CPU Level Up - a simple click for instant upgrade
Ever wish that you could have a more expansive CPU? Upgrade your CPU at no additional cost with ROG´s CPU Level Up! Simply pick the processor you wanted to OC to, and the motherboard will do the rest!
See the new CPU speed and enjoy that performance instantly. Overclocking is never as easy as this.
Extreme Tweaker - one stop performance tuning shop
Extreme Tweaker is the one stop shop to fine-tune your system to optimal performance. No matter if you´re looking for frequency adjustment, over-voltage options, or memory timing settings, they´re all here!
Friendly reminder on Voltage Settings
In the pursuit of extreme performance, overvoltage adjustment is critical but risky. Acting as the "red zone" of a tachometer, the Voltiminder LED displays the voltage status for CPU, PCH, and Memory in a intuitive color-coded fashion. The voltiminder LED allows quick voltage monitoring for overclockers.
Maintaining ample voltage support for the CPU is critical during overclocking. The Loadline Calibration ensures stable and optimal CPU voltage under heavy loading. It helps overclockers enjoy the motherboard´s ultimate OC capabilities and benchmark scores.
ASUS EPU-6 Engine
The new ASUS EPU - the world´s first power saving engine, has been upgraded to a new 6 engine version, which provides total system power savings by detecting current PC loadings and intelligently moderating power in real-time. With auto phase switching for components (which includes the CPU, VGA card, memory, chipset, hard drives and CPU cooler/system fans), the EPU automatically provides the most appropriate power usage via intelligent acceleration and overclocking - helping save power and money.
SupremeFX X-Fi buit-in
SupremeFX X-Fi delivers an excellent high definition audio experience to the gamers of ROG. The SupremeFX X-Fi features unique audio innovations for gamers to spot enemies in 3D environment during game play. SupremeFX X-Fi combines the technological quality design of SupremeFX and sound effect technology from Creative Labs to offer games exceptional game sound with absolute quality.
This feature detects repetitive and stationary noises like computer fans, air conditioners, and other background noises then eliminates it in the incoming audio stream while recording.
No more shorting pins or moving jumpers
With an easy press during overclock, this exclusive onboard switch allows gamer to effortlessly fine-tune the performance without having to short the pins or moving jumpers!
The Q-Connector allows you to connect or disconnect chassis front panel cables in one easy step with one complete module. This unique adapter eliminates the trouble of plugging in one cable at a time, making connection quick and accurate.
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The Maximus III Gene comes packaged in ASUS's standard Republic of Gamers marketing brand, which includes the red graphics and ROG emblem on the front panel of the box. I would have liked a studio photo of the motherboard on the front, but ASUS elected to keep it simple and just include the product name and some badges that represent the different features available with this motherboard.
The back panel includes many of the technical specifications about the motherboard in an easy-to-read table, and also includes three macro photos that showcase the BIOS connect, Go Button, and CPU Level Up features.
One of the unique aspects of this packaging is the large window that you see when you first open the retail box for this motherboard. I prefer this method because most of us PC builders want to see the goods before having to move all the cables, user manuals, and driver CDs out of the way first. In this setup, the accessories are under the board. Can't everyone start doing this?
Our first true look at this board is pretty amazing because ASUS fit so many controllers and other goodies on a tiny micro ATX footprint. The black and red color scheme is fantastic and the ROG logo covering the P55 chipset also adds a nice graphical element to this motherboard. The spacing of all the included components is well organized and I like the placement of the power and reset buttons at the bottom of the motherboard. Another nifty feature is the DIMMs that only have one side that needs to be locked by hand. ASUS did this to make room for longer graphics cards, but I find it refreshing to see something unique in this area of the motherboard.
The back of the PCB includes a small aluminum backplate behind the CPU and the ASUS Stack Cool 2 logo, which means the board transfers heat generated by the critical components to the other side of the specially designed PCB. This feature should help reduce noise from using a fanless cooling design and also increase the longevity of the hardware used with the Maximus III Gene.
The back I/O panel consists of four USB 2.0 headers, one Gigabit LAN jack, one eSATA port, one firewire port, clear CMOS switch, ROG Connect switch, PS/2 keyboard, optical audio out, and 8-channel audio I/O with gold-plated jacks. This is a feature-rich panel that will work with legacy components and some of the newer standards like eSATA.
Another eye-catching feature on the Maximus III Gene are the two PCI-E 2.0 slots that run at x16 speeds and can be used with multi-GPU SLI or CrossfireX graphics cards. This features makes this board a highly flexible solution that a types of gamers can appreciate, especially the ones who need to have the most high-end components in their rigs. There is also one PCI-E x4 slot and one PCI 2.2 x1 slot for legacy add-on cards.
ASUS included a few headers to connect the front panel audio connector and an extra firewire device. They also have one of the old optical drive audio connectors for legacy users.
The bottom of the motherboard includes a red power button and black reset button that light up during operation. There is also a handy four-pin power connector to connect fans directly to the motherboard for power and fan management through the BIOS.
These headers above include an eight-pin OC station connector that can be used to connect ASUS's OC Station, that is an optional accessory for this motherboard. Our readers can also see one of the three USB 2.0 headers on board that can control six USB 2.0 devices.
Here's a quick shot of the other two USB 2.0 headers included on the Maximus III Gene.
The system panel connector includes headers for power and hard drive activity LEDs as well as the front panel power and reset buttons. There's also a couple pins to connect the system speaker if you have one installed. Users can connect directly to these headers or use the provided Q-connectors that are pictured toward the end of this page.
These six SATA 3GB/s ports also support RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 through Intel's Matrix Storage technology.
The Maximus III Gene includes a Go Button that users press to enable the MemOK! onboard program. Users can also press it to quickly load the preset profile in the BIOS for temporary overclocking.
These four DIMMs can handle up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR3 2133 (OC), 2000, 1600, 1333, or 1066MHz memory.
Lastly, the spacing around the CPU socket is free and clear of lofty passive heatsinks and other power components that could be a hinderance to installing different types of CPU cooling solutions.
ASUS didn't skimp on the bundled accessories and programs as they added six SATA 3GB/s cables, black I/O backplate, and a USB cable shown above.
They also added a handy SLI bridge and two Q-connectors for the front panel systems headers and one USB 2.0 header.
At the bottom of the box I noticed this large window sticker with the ROG logo and red and black graphics that would really pop on any user's custom rig. I wish they pimped out the ROG logo more because I think its a bit small in this graphics solution.
ASUS also included a detailed user manual and complete driver disc with additional programs, drivers, and other goodies that makes this bundle quite a bargain in the long run.
These fancy SATA cable stickers are actually very functional and something I haven't seen bundled with any motherboards I ever reviewed. It's good to see ASUS doing small things that just add more validity to their products and show the gamer community that they care and listen to customer feedback for product improvements.