Asus Maximus V Gene review
LGA1155, MicroATX, Intel Z77 chipset, supports: 2nd/3rd Generation Intel Core i3/i5/i7
Although it's compact, the Asus Maximus V Gene microATX motherboard is packed with features, including an on-board LCD display for POST error codes, which is a welcome alternative to the traditional beep codes. It also has power and reset buttons on the board itself.
These aren't of great use if you just want to build a PC, close its case and never look at it again, but they're a boon to overclockers. On the back panel, there are also buttons to clear the CMOS and enable the ROG Connect USB overclocking control function, which allows you to connect a second PC to give you real time access to the PC's overclock settings.
There are two PCI-E x16 slots and one PCI-E x4 slot. Thanks to some clever design, none of the slots are blocked if you install a graphics card with a great big cooler on it. The motherboard supports SLI or CrossFireX dual graphics, but both slots will run at x8 if you populate the second one.
Four memory slots support DDR3 RAM at speeds of up to 2800MHz, with room for up to 32GB of RAM, which should be plenty in any system. There are four SATA3 ports alongside two SATA2 ports. There's also an eSATA port at the back of the board and a combined mSATA connector, which can be used to install an SSD for caching to improve boot times.
The rear of the motherboard also houses four USB ports, one of which can be configured to act as an ROG Connect remote overclocking interface, and four USB3 ports. There are DisplayPort and HDMI outputs for your processor’s on-chip graphics, and both 7.1 analogue and 5.1 optical S/PDIF audio outputs. The motherboard’s audio processor is a standard Realtek ALC892, but the Maximus comes with a SupremeFX III licence for Creative’s Sound Blaster X-Fi MB2 drivers, which provide environmental audio for games and a handful of THX TruStudio effects. It’s still no substitute for a dedicated sound card.
The UEFI interface is one of the best around, with clearly marked functions and a clean, simple interface. If you’d rather not spend ages manually tweaking settings, there’s an automatic overclock option. This took our processor up to 4.8GHz, but we had to add a hefty third-party cooler to keep the CPU cool enough. Once we did, it produced an overall score of 128 in our benchmark tests.
Even without overclocking, we got an overall score of 105, setting the Maximus apart from its competitors. In terms of price, features and quality, this motherboard is excellent and wins a Best Buy award.