ASUS Maximus IV Extreme Rev. B3
As we’ve seen over the last couple of years, ASUS has been leading the way with innovative features and technologies, nost notably on their Republic of Gamer products. Indeed, the Maximus IV Extreme is proof of that. We’ve also seen the rest of their P67 lineup, with something to suit just about any preference or budget, and we’ve come away impressed each time.
There are a few impressive things in particular worth mentioning in particular. The first is the new Digi+ VRM power design works wonderfully with the fast-changing clocks of the Sandy Bridge processors, as power is available as soon as the load is applied. And the offshoot of this is the EPU feature that is particularly good for those who really need to maximize their power consumption.
Second, the UEFI BIOS is a groundbreaking innovation that has been decades in the making, or at least decades overdue. The graphical interface and nuanced settings can finally match the hardware they seek to harness, and users will find this new BIOS reach a whole new level of ease of use. Of all the manufacturers we’ve seen with a UEFI BIOS, ASUS is the clear leader. The attention to detail and polish that’s evident in their setup is impressive.
The last thing that is perhaps the most impressive feature of all is the Auto Tuning feature. Coupled with a redesigned AI Suite II and TurboV EVO, the simple fact is the auto overclocking ability here is utterly outstanding. The reason why it’s so critical here is because the Sandy Bridge chips have essentially changed the rules in the overclocking game. Sandy Bridge is sort of reminiscent of cruise control on a car. Just set it and forget it. You needn’t worry about speeding up or down, it’s already taken care of for you. And with Intel’s Turbo now far more mature, and working in conjunction with C1E, EIST, and Speedstep, the power is at your fingertips but you don’t even need to touch it. It’s just there.
What this means is that the maximum overclock can be achieved in a matter of minutes, taking out the guesswork of overclocking. Finding the right combination of voltages, settings, and speeds is no longer necessary. Just a couple quick clicks of a mouse and you’ve got the maximum boost your CPU will allow. Couple this with the ROG Connect and Bluetooth interfaces, hardware switches, additional PCI-E lanes, and other enthusiasts bells and whistles, and we’re left thinking that ASUS may have the best P67 board we’ll ever see with the Maximus IV Extreme. It’s got everything and the kitchen sink tossed in here.
Of course, such a bounty of features, quality, and performance doesn’t come cheap. ROG products cater to to the elite, so the price tag sits in the upper echelon of P67 boards. Priced at $365 USD, the M4E is one of the most expensive on the market. So obviously that’s a big detraction here. Further, ASUS has done such a fantastic job with their P67 lineup, they’re a victim of their own success; the reality is you can buy a P8P67 Pro for about $150 less and it’ll have the same auto overclocking features and great performance. Of course, it’s not built to withstand more extreme overclocking, and doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Maximus IV Extreme, but that’s a big price difference for a board that can still harness the power of a Sandy Bridge 2600K for significantly less money.
The reality is the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme is probably the best P67 board out there; it is simply that good. But it carries an extremely hefty price tag as well. And that will probably turn off all but the most demanding users who want the best. If that sounds like you, then the Maximus IV Extreme will not only leave you drooling but considerably lighter in the pocketbook as well.
The Pure Point: With just about feature you can imagine, the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme is an elite motherboard, but it carries a very hefty price tag as well.