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.