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Asus ROG Maximus III Gene Micro-ATX Motherboard review

Ardjuna Seghers

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Summary

Our Score:

8

We gamers are a demanding lot, and many hardware manufacturers have acknowledged this by creating product-lines that cater for our high-end tastes. Of course in some (thankfully relatively rare) cases this means just slapping a 'for gamers' label on an inferior piece of hardware, but one area where this is most definitely not true is with Asus' well-established Republic of Gamers (ROG) motherboards. Today we're looking at the Asus ROG Maximus III Gene, though perhaps it should have been called the Minimus as we're dealing with a micro ATX (uATX) board here.

Above and beyond your average mATX board, the Maximus III Gene offers such highlights as CrossFire and SLI support (albeit at 8x/8x), built-in Creative SupremeFX X-Fi sound, onboard power and reset buttons plus a rear-IO clear-CMOS switch, and a whole slew of overclocking features. The standout feature, though, is ROG Connect, which lets you extensively overclock your board using a laptop (or a second PC). Those are some pretty impressive extras!

First impressions continue to be positive, and everything from the box to the bundle feels premium. Aside from the usual manual, IO backplate, and driver plus utilities CD, you get a selection of coloured label stickers for all your data cables (so you can tell which connector on the motherboard leads to which drive), a large ROG sticker seemingly designed to be stuck on the corner of your case, six black SATA cables (three with straight and three with L-shaped connectors), a white ROG Connect USB cable and an SLI bridge.

The board itself is very attractive, with a distinctive black, red, white and gunmetal-grey colour scheme that's the perfect match for ATI's latest DirectX11 Radeon cards. The MSI P55-GD65 just about tops this as the best-looking motherboard we've come across, but Asus definitely comes a close second here. Its black heatsinks are very low-profile which both helps aesthetics and gives optimum CPU cooler flexibility. The southbridge cooler sports a unique red-backlit overlay with the ROG logo and some cool break lines.

WyWyWyWy

May 6, 2010, 1:46 pm

"you don't get either SATA 6Gb/s or, more significantly, USB 3.0, and it's worth keeping in mind that you can get overclocking-friendly Micro-ATX Intel boards with these features for around £110"





Which would that be?

Chris

May 6, 2010, 3:33 pm

"... it was no problem getting our Core i7 870 CPU to run at 4.3MHz"





I imagine it wouldn't be a problem, what with my 25 year old 8086 running faster than that :)

Ed

May 6, 2010, 3:53 pm

Doh! Cheers, fixed.

TechVegan

May 6, 2010, 4:59 pm

@WyWyWyWy:


For example, mATX H55M USB 3.0 entries from both AsRock and Gigabyte - not to mention Asus' own H55 efforts like the Asus P7H55D-M EVO.

Denis iii

May 6, 2010, 10:50 pm

what crossfire config would max out the PCIE x8 bandwidth? Would 2x Ati 5870's be fine?





shame about no SATA 6gbps or USB...wish they did this board in an AMD 890GX/X version.

TechVegan

May 10, 2010, 2:27 pm

@Denis_iii:


You'll still see a significant benefit from even the most high-end CrossFire setup, it's just that you won't get the FULL benefit. Two 5870's should work at close enough to their max potential to make it worth it, though we haven't run any such tests on this generation of video cards so it's worth double-checking.

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