Unfortunately, our experiments with ROG Connect didn’t go quite so smoothly. After installing the ROG Connect software on the laptop or second PC you want to use as your ‘controller’, it’s simply a matter of hooking up the cable and switching the seventh USB port on the motherboard into ROG-mode. The software takes care of any further details, and booting up the attractive RC TweakIt utility gives you sliders to play around with almost any setting to your heart’s content – or at least that’s the theory.
In reality, minor overclocks worked most of the time, but anything approaching a decent boost resulted in the Maximus III Gene system freezing and failure to boot into Windows after a reset. Naturally this might have been due to some element in our particular setup, and it’s worth keeping in mind that at worst this is a cool extra: it doesn’t change the fact that this board is an overclocker’s dream.
When it comes to value for money, the Maximus III Gene doesn’t carry as much of a premium as one might expect, since it’s available for around £150. This compares quite well to other high-end P55 boards available at the moment, especially considering premium extras like the SLI and overclocking capabilities, GameFirst software (which optimizes your network’s packet priority and traffic to give you maximum ping rates) and integrated X-Fi sound chip.
Unfortunately, as already mentioned, 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. However, whether these will match the incredible potential of Asus’ small ROG board is another matter.
An overclocking champion (despite ROG Connect’s failure to impress) Asus’ ROG Maximus III Gene is attractive, well laid out and packed with genuinely useful features – in fact it’s only really let down by its lack of USB 3.0. If this isn’t important to you it’s definitely worth its £150 asking price, but otherwise you might be better off waiting or looking elsewhere.