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ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-Z (Intel Z68) Motherboard Review

By: Shawn Baker | Socket LGA 1155 in Motherboards | Posted: Aug 9, 2011 5:28 am
TweakTown Rating: 94%Manufacturer: ASUS

The Motherboard


Looking at the board, you don't have any real surprises as the Maximus IV Extreme-Z looks like the non Z version and other ROG boards with the black and red color scheme. We also get a good idea of the layout that's going on, but let's move in a little closer to see just exactly what we're dealing with here.




Looking at the PCI-E side of things, you can see we've got a single PCIe x1, single PCIe x4 and four PCIe x16 slots. While the board carries with it the NF200 chip, when running two cards in CrossFire / SLI, those cards will run at x8 / x8. ASUS says this is because x8 / x8 is faster due to the lack of latency which exists when you start to go through the NF200 chip. For more information on this, I highly recommend you look at our own testing which yielded some interesting results.




Outside of two cards, if you move to a three card configuration the setup is x8 / x16 / x16 and this is when we see the NF200 capabilities come into play. Normally a three card setup with a NF200 chip would run at x8 / x8 / x16, so the decision behind what ASUS has done seems to be extremely smart.


Also worth mentioning around here is above the top slot we've got a Molex connector which ASUS recommend you use if you're going for a three card setup. Just above that we also have a little red header which is a USB 3.0 header.




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.




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 Z68 chipset and four red which are SATA III. The two red that are closest to the grey run off the Z68 chip and should be your first option, while the other two run off the Marvell 9182 controller. Like the Maximus IV Extreme, 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.

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