Although the BIOS on the Maximus III Extreme is an American MegaTrends Incorporated (AMI) BIOS, it has been heavily altered to fit into the needs for the Maximus III. For all of our testing we used BIOS revision 0605, which is still only a Beta and not the final release.
Most of us are familiar with the ASUS AI Tweaker section in the BIOS; this has been upgraded to Extreme Tweaker. This section gives you a rather great amount of control over not only your CPU, RAM and voltage, but also over the frequency and voltage range of the Digi + PWM. You can also see in the screen shots below the voltage difference we saw when overclocking.
ASUS has provided a single switch to disable all of the on-board peripherals with the exception of the LAN port. This improves stability by removing many sources of failure from the equation.
You also have options to change the status and operation of both the basic iROG and the iROG connect functions.
Overclocking is what the Maximus III Extreme was built to do. ASUS has dumped a lot of thought into this board in the effort to give you the best possible clocks from whatever CPU you drop into it. Our experience with it was not all pizza and beer, as we mentioned earlier we had a few issues with the voltages not adding up. The two that were the farthest off were the CPU voltage and the IMC, however all of them were off to some extent or the other. The problem was that the differences were not always the same.
For example, in the shot of the BIOS above you can see a CPU voltage difference of 0.055, yet when we pushed the voltage to 1.45 the difference was only 0.018. This meant that there was no way to predict the voltage fluctuation for overclocking. We had a lot of trial and error in getting the board stable. In the end we managed to beat out our best overclock by a handful of MHz. This is not too discouraging as ASUS has informed us that the 0605 BIOS revision we are using is a still in the Beta stages and will change before the Maximus III Extreme hits the market. Our final stable overclock was 201x21 for a CPU-Z speed of 4.233GHz.
You can see the validation here.
At this time, we do feel that we could get much more out of this board, but that our choice of memory could be holding back our BCLK level as the Core i5 750 has very limited memory multipliers. This means that once the memory we use has broken the 1333 plane, we start seeing failures. Unfortunately at BCLK 220 and above the minimum memory multiplier puts us at 1400MHz and this becomes an issue. We are working to get some DDR3 RAM with a little more head room so that we can push the Maximus III Extreme a little farther.
New Tools, Old Tools
Of course, the Maximus III Extreme would not be an ASUS board if it did not have TurboV and CPU Level Up. But these are not the only tools that are available on the ROG Maximus III Extreme. You also have a couple of overclocking methods that utilize remote tools.
One is the ROG connect. This allows you to make direct hardware changes using a USB connected PC. Most commonly this is a laptop or other portable system that will allow you to view not only hardware settings (and adjust them), but also to view post codes to see what could be affecting the stability and performance of your system.
We even used a small netbook with ours and found the ROG connect to be quite an effective tool.
The next method for controlling your Maximus III Extreme is over Bluetooth. Unfortunately as I own an iPhone I was not able to use this at all. As of right now there is no available application to run this over the iPhone. It is only available to Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile.
As all overclocking results are dependent on the hardware you use, your results may vary.
Results of our overclocking tests are included in the performance section with the stock scores.
Important Editor Note: Our maximum overclocking result is the best result we managed in our limited time of testing the motherboard. Due to time constraints we weren't able to tweak the motherboard to the absolute maximum and find the highest possible FSB, as this could take days to find properly. We do however spend at least a few hours overclocking every motherboard to try and find the highest possible overclock in that time frame. You may or may not be able to overclock higher if you spend more time tweaking or as new BIOS updates are released. "Burn-in" time might also come into play if you believe in that.
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