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ASUS Maximus IV Extreme (Intel P67) Motherboard Review

The Z68 might've replaced the P67 chipset, but with loads on the market and more options than Z68 at the moment, we look at the Maximum IV Extreme from ASUS today.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Mon, Jun 13 2011 12:05 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Package


Introduction

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While a lot of the recent motherboard news has come from the Intel Z68 chipset and the new AMD 990FX one, the original Sandy Bridge P67 chipset from Intel is still very dominant on the market.

If you have a look at Newegg, you'll find around 50 P67 based motherboard for sale while the Z68 sits around the 20 mark. A lot of the P67 boards are also in stock; they're not simply just listed. For that reason the P67 chipset is still an important one for companies as they continue to move stock.

For a lot of people as well, Intel Smart Response Technology and onboard video isn't something they need or want. Instead, they'd rather stick with the P67 platform which has so many options when it comes to boards.

While the new ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z has been announced and is on the ASUS website, it's still not yet available. Priced at $364.99 US, the P67 Maximus IV Extreme is an attractive option for users who demand some serious performance.

Today we take the Maximus IV Extreme for a spin to see just exactly how this P67 based board goes compared to some of the Z68 boards we've looked at. It may use the "older" P67 chipset, but ASUS always bring some serious performance to the table when it comes to the ROG line. The question is, if you're after a performance board for your 1155 socket CPU, should the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme be one you're looking at?

Well, we're going to find out. First, though, we'll look at the package of the board, then we'll take a closer look at the board itself before getting into the BIOS to see what's on offer there. Once that's done, we'll start to fiddle around in the BIOS, talk about the overclocking potential of the board and then we'll get into the really fun stuff and see what kind of performance the board is able to offer.


The Package

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Being a ROG board, it's no surprise that the package had a wealth of information. We've got information on the front and back and more when you open the front of the box up which also gives us a great look at the board itself.

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Moving inside the box, we've got same paperwork, driver CD, ROG sticker and some labels that you can use on your HDDs.

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Diving deeper into the box, we've got a lot of cables here. We've got eight SATA cables; four are SATA II and four are SATA III, and we've got our normal I/O shield along with some CrossFire / SLI cables including a 3-Way SLI connector. Also included is our ROG connect cable, three temperature sensors, two Probelt voltage measuring cables and an ASUS Q-Connector kit.

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Finally, we've got a two port USB 2.0 header along with a little Bluetooth module. This plugs into the motherboard around the I/O area and if you want to use it, you can, otherwise you can just leave it in the package.

The Motherboard




Looking at the board, there's that very typical ROG design that we're used to seeing from ASUS. We've got a black and red design and if you're a fan of the colors, you'll find this is a great looking board. On the board itself, there's a lot going on, so let's move in a little closer and see exactly what's on offer from the Maximus IV Extreme.

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Being a performance motherboard, it comes as no surprise that the Maximus IV Extreme opts for a lot of PCI-E x16 slots with a total of four being seen. Alongside them we've got a PCI-E 1x and at the bottom a x4 one. Just above the first slot we've got a Molex connector if you're opting for a multi VGA setup and just above that we have a USB 3.0 header which you can see is red.

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The setup on the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme is a little funny, though, when it comes to the VGA setup. Because the board uses the NF 200 chipset, you're able to get two slots running at x16 (PCIE_X16_2 and PCIE-X16_4) which is the second and third slot. If you're opting for a dual GPU setup, though, ASUS recommend you use PCIE_X16/8_1 and PCIE_X8_3 which will mean both cards will run at x8. ASUS feel that x8 / x8 via the Intel chip is a better option than x16 / x16 via the NF200 due to it creating another communication point. This is something we'll have to indeed look at a little later.

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Moving away from the PCI-E slots and getting into the bottom of the board, we can see another Molex connector on the far left. This will help give some more power to the board if you're opting for a multi VGA setup. Next to that we've got a bunch of headers including; front panel audio, system fans and four USB 2.0 headers. Next to those headers we've got our front panel header and a little switch which gives us the ability to switch between the two BIOS'. Each BIOS has an LED that corresponds to it and as you click the button, the LED will switch showing which BIOS is active.

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Turning the corner, you can see we've got eight SATA headers. We've got four gray which are SATA II and run off the P67 chipset and four red which are SATA III. The two red that are closest to the grey run off the P67 chip and should be your first option, while the other two run off the Marvell 9182 controller. I would've liked to have seen ASUS use maybe a different color for the Marvel instead of being the same red as the Intel based ones, but it's not the end of the world. You'll just want to make sure you're using the Intel controlled SATA III ports ideally.

The Motherboard Continued




As we start to head north on the board, there's a lot going on up in the corner with of course our most common two features present; the main ATX power connector and our four DDR3 RAM slots supporting up to 2200MHz DDR via OC and 32GB of memory. Other features around here that are fairly easy to spot and understand would be the power and reset button and our LED debug meter in the corner.

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Along with those features, we've got a bunch more ROG specific ones. To the right we have a switch that turns on "LN2 Mode"; something the majority of the public will find themselves ignoring. This just helps battle cold bug issues, something that won't be seen on standard air or water cooling setups.

Next to the power and reset button we have some more toggle switches which allow you to enable and disable the PCI-E x16 slots. What this does is allow you to find the faulty card without having to remove cards and swap them about. Below these switches we have our Probelt voltage points which allow you to measure the exact voltage of a number of important points via a volt meter and the included Probelt cables. The other main standout here is the GO_BUTTON which is used to enable MemOK! Or load your preset GO_Button BIOS profile.

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Turning the corner, we can see our main 8-Pin CPU power connector next to a fan header along with our CPU socket and the very mean looking cooling solution that ASUS have got going on. Below the CPU socket you can see a power cable running out of the heatsink. There isn't a fan here; that cable is instead used to light up the ROG logo that you can see.

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Finally, we finish up with the I/O side of things. We've got a combo PS/2 port, 8x USB 3.0 controlled via the NEC USB 3.0 controller, 1x USB 2.0 ROG Connect port, two eSATA controlled via the JMicron 362 controller, optical and 8-Channel Audio connectivity via the Realtek ALC880 codec along with an ROG Connect and Clear CMOS switch.

BIOS




The ROG BIOS has an absolute bucket load of options when it comes to getting down and dirty with the board. Of course, it also uses the popular UEFI interface that we're seeing not only on all ASUS boards these days, but most other boards as well.

Looking at the BIOS, you've got the ability to do an easy overclock via CPU Level Up which will push your 2600k to 4.2GHz or 4.6GHz, otherwise you've got the option to really mess around manually with everything to try and achieve the strongest overclock possible.

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As you move throughout the BIOS there's nothing too out of the ordinary that really stands out apart from the massive list of changes you can make. EZ Mode is still present, but when going into the BIOS the Maximus IV Extreme does default to the Advanced Mode.

The Maximus IV Extreme BIOS can be quite daunting to some people, but you've got options to overclock other ways if you're not confortable editing the BIOS.

Test System Setup and Overclocking


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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

When it comes to the testbed and the boards we'll be comparing the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme against, there's no real surprises. Because of that, we'll get straight into the overclocking side of things to see what we could achieve on this high end P67 motherboard from ASUS.

Like the P8Z68-V Pro we looked at, you've got the ability to do some auto overclocking. That can be done via the BIOS which we showed you on the last page, or you can use the AI Suite software in Windows which is an attractive option for people who don't want to venture into the BIOS.

Ignoring the "Fast" option and going for the "Extreme" one, we managed to get our CPU to a very respectable 4,857MHz via a 46x Multiplier and 105.6 BCLK. This is identical to what we achieved on the P8Z68-V Pro which doesn't come as too much of a surprise since we're dealing with the same CPU.

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Above you can see both our CPU-Z validation and the pop up screen that shows once you're back in Windows and everything has been completed.

Auto overclocking is a great option for people who don't want to venture into the BIOS, but if you're happy to do so and really want to gain the maximum possible overclock, it's indeed the best option.

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After some tinkering, we ended up at 5409MHz via a 53x Multiplier and 102 BCLK. This is our strongest overclock to date on our 2600k and should yield us some great performance.

Something worth noting is that when it comes to doing this overclock, don't forget about adjusting the BCLK along with the multiplier. 5.4GHz wasn't possible at 54 x 100, but was at 53 x 102; so once you find your maximum stable multiplier, make sure you head back in to the BIOS to find out what you can do with the BCLK. That's of course if you want to achieve the maximum possible overclock. Others may find themselves more than happy with changing the multiplier to just 48x or 50x for a 4.8GHz or 5GHz clock.

If you want to have some fun in 3DMark or other benchmarking programs, you'll indeed want to tinker a bit more.

Let's get started!

CPU Benchmarks


AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com
Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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At stock you can see performance between the ASUS Z68 board and our P67 ROG one is almost identical with very little difference being seen. You can see that overclocked, though, performance is very strong and stronger than our other boards here because of the overclocked speed we managed to achieve.

CPU Benchmarks Continued


HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99
Developer Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br
Product Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br
Download It Here

HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

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We again see at stock there's little difference between the setups; it's a little faster, but nothing major. When we crank up our clock speed, though, we can see that we gain a lot more speed and the Maximus IV Extreme offers us the highest performance.


AutoGK

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.55
Developer Homepage: http://www.autogk.me.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.autogk.me.uk/
Download It Here

AutoGK stands for Auto Gordian Knot; it is a suite of transcoding tools that are compiled into an easy to install and use utility. It allows you to transcode non-protected DVDs and other media to Xvid or Divx format. For our testing purposes we use a non-DRM restricted movie that is roughly 2 hours in length. This is transcoded to a single Xvid AVI at 100% quality.

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At stock our ASUS Maximus IV Extreme is a little faster which is nice. When overclocked we can see the big improvement that is offered and we really manage to shave a big chunk of time when it comes to our encoding speed.

Storage Benchmarks


AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com
Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Looking at USB 2.0 and SSD performance, there's no real surprises with the performance lining up with most our other motherboards.

Memory Benchmarks


Sisoft Sandra

Version and / or Patch Used: 2011
Developer Homepage: http://www.sisoftware.net
Product Homepage: http://www.sisoftware.net
Buy It Here

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Looking at SiSoft Sandra, we can see that we've got some strong memory performance coming out of the Maximus IV Extreme.


AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA
Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com
Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com
Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Looking at AIDA64, memory performance is strong that of course becomes even stronger when we overclock our CPU which helps offer even more bandwidth even though our actual memory speed changes only a little.

Gaming Benchmarks


3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/
Buy It Here




3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/




Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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Checking out some 3D Benchmarks, we can see performance is quite strong. In the Performance preset, it's actually faster than our Z68 boards when they're at stock. When overclocked we also see a bit of a boost which helps put it ahead of the other boards. Aliens vs. Predator performance lines up pretty much exactly how you would think.

Temperature and Power


Core Temperature

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At stock our CPU temperature lines up with our other boards with not much separating them. Overclocked, we see the heat level of course go up due to the extra voltage, but it does run a little cooler at load which is pretty good considering it's at the highest clock speed.


Power Draw Tests

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Power draw doesn't hold any real surprises at either stock or overclocked. If you're buying a board like this you'll no doubt have a good quality power supply to go with it, so I can't see these numbers being an issue.

Final Thoughts




The Maximus IV Extreme can be a little bit of a scary board with all these switches, huge BIOS options and words like LN2 being thrown around. The Maximus IV Extreme is a really powerful board that if you're going to do extreme overclocking it's a fantastic choice but it's so important to know that if you're just going to use air cooling or even water cooling it's a great board. You can see with our Corsair H70 we managed to achieve our strongest overclock to date with our 2600k.

The Maximus IV Extreme also enjoys the benefits of the AI Suite software which means that overclocking via Auto Tuning can be done which is extremely easy and yields a stronger overclock than any other auto overclocking software we've tested because of the way it slowly bumps up your multiplier and BCLK separately.

At $364.99 US the Maximus IV Extreme isn't cheap; it's actually more expensive than the most expensive Z68 board, albeit only slightly more. It's a better board, though. It's got a strong feature set, great overclocking features and uses the UEFI BIOS which people like. It's also got that "ROG" feel which just makes it feel a bit more special than boards that sit under the normal naming scheme.

If you've got the money, the Maximus IV Extreme is a fantastic option for people who really want to get down and dirty in the BIOS, or simply want to make use of the auto tuning ability. Also supporting the NF200 chip, it's a great option over boards like the P8Z68-V Pro if you're looking for a big VGA setup.

Really, we shouldn't find ourselves surprised with what ASUS has done with this board, and to be honest, we're not really. It's as good as you'd expect it to be and like we just said, if you've got the money to spend, it's a fantastic option. With all boards using the latest B3 revision as well, you don't have to worry about that initial SATA issue that was present on launch P67 boards. You can easily tell if it's the latest revision as the fact it's the "B3" revision is mentioned three times on the front of the box alone.

With the ROG Z68 equivalent not out yet, plenty of stock and just some awesome performance, the P67 based Maximus IV Extreme is a great option.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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