A great, compact board for gaming enthusiasts who want to push their systems to the extreme
LGA1150, MicroATX, Intel Z87 chipset, supports: Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 (Haswell)
The Maximus VI Gene is the latest version of the Republic of Gamers-branded Micro ATX motherboard. It uses Intel’s Z87 chipset, and is therefore compatible with Intel’s 4th-generation Core processors, making it ideal if you want to create a gaming oriented Haswell PC.
It may be a Micro ATX board, but the Maximus VI Gene packs in a lot of high-end features and manages to do so without cluttering expansion slots and component slots. It retains the Red and black colour scheme of previous Republic of Gamers (RoG) motherboards, giving it some charisma. There are also many red LEDs dotted about the board which nicely illuminate its surroundings with a red glow.
As it’s a board for gamers, the Maximus VI Gene has two PCI-Express x16 expansion slots that support quad-GPU CrossFire and SLI setups. However, both slots run at x8 when both are occupied. The only other expansion slot is a PCI Express x1 slot, but this will be obscured if you install a dual-slot graphics card in the second PCI-Express x16 slot. There are also four memory slots, so you can you install up to 32GBs of RAM.
Conveniently, the Maximus VI Gene comes with a little adaptor called the mPCIe Combo II that lets you easily install mini PCI Express 2.0 cars and a very small form-factor m.2 SSD in your system. You could for instance, install a Wi-Fi module. The adaptor simply needs to be slotted into its connector on the motherboard’s backplane.
The board makes full use of the Z87 chipset and provides six SATA3 ports and a further two SATA3 ports are provided by an ASMedia controller. Not only does this mean that there’s plenty of ports for all your drives, it also means that all connected drives will be allowed to run at their full potential.
It also has a generous complement of USB3 ports on its backplane, with six in total. There are also four USB2 ports, so you’ll have no trouble connecting your peripherals. Other connection ports on the backplane include six analogue audio ports, an optical S/PDIF digital audio output and a Gigabit Ethernet port.
There are also two buttons on the backplane. One is a clear CMOS button and the other is a RoG Connect button, which can be used in conjunction with a USB flash drive to update the system’s BIOS without entering Windows or the existing BIOS.
We tested the board with an Intel Core i5-4670K and 4GB of RAM running at 1,600MHz. At the Core i5-4670K’s stock clock speed, the system achieved an overall score of 112 in our multimedia benchmark tests. This is one point slower than the score produced by the Asus Z87-Pro (see Reviews, Shopper 307), but the difference is so small it’s negligible.
We then increased the processor’s clock speed to 4.2GHz and re-ran the benchmarks. This time, the system produced an overall score of 125. Again, this is one point less than the score produced by the Z87-Pro, but the Maximus VI Gene’s score is what we expect to see.
The best performance was achieved when we overclocked the processor to 4.5GHz, with the system producing an overall score of 130. The Asus Z87-Pro produced an overall score of 129 with a 4.4GHz, so 130 is again pretty much what we’d expect to see.
As you’d expect from an enthusiast board, the Maximus VI Gene’s UEFI BIOS provides much scope for overclocking. There are way too many options to discuss here, but powerusers will love the old-skool look and feel of the BIOS and the convenient ability to use the mouse when necessary. The background is, of course, coloured red to match RoG’s brand colour.
The Maximus VI Gene also comes bundled with a number of extras, such as a RoG-branded version of CPU-Z, which is an essential utility for checking the operating frequency of your processor and memory, and Sonic Radar, which is a utility that lets you know the direction of fire in FPS games. As for Sonic Radar’s effectiveness, we don’t know, as we sadly didn’t get to use it.
The Maximus VI Gene is ideal if you want to create a Haswell-based gaming PC thanks to its dual PCI-E x16 slots, overclocking and test features such as the large Start button and the DirectKey that boots you straight into the BIOS. If you’re not too fussed about the form-factor then you could always go for the £150 Asus Z87-Pro ATX motherboard instead. It’s an excellent board that has more expansion slots and However, it seems mad to give up all the RoG extras for the sake of £10 if you won’t make use of the extra expansion slots and Wi-Fi adaptor. If you’re a gamer with a Haswell processor and £160 burning a hole in your pocket, you should check out the Asus Maximus VI Gene.
|Processor support||Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 (Haswell)|
|Processor external bus||100MHz|
|Chipset north bridge||Intel Z87|
|Chipset south bridge||Intel Z87|
|Passively-cooled north bridge||yes|
|Supported memory type||DDR3|
|Maximum memory speed||PC3-24000|
|Power connectors||1x 24-pin ATX, 1x 8-pin ATX|
|PCI-E x16 slots||2|
|Dual graphics architecture||SLI, CrossFireX|
|PCI-E x4 slots||1|
|PCI-E x1 slots||0|
|Serial ATA ports||0|
|RAID chipset (max disks)||Intel Z87 (RAID 0, 1, 5, 10)|
|Wired network ports||1x 10/100/1000|
|USB2 ports / headers||10/3|
|Firewire ports / headers||0/0|
|Other ports||HDMI, optical S/PDIF output|
|Cables included||6x SATA|
|Software included||RoG CPU-Z, Kaspersky Antivirus|
Setup and Overclocking
|CPU clock max adjustment||300MHz|