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ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme (Intel Z170) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Nov 9, 2015 9:10 pm
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: ASUS

Here are key points about the ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme.


What's Hot


Overclocking and Overclocking Features: The Maximus VIII Extreme is loaded with unique overclocking features such as the "Re-Try" button and the "Pause" switch that make overclocking much simpler. The OC Panel II is one of the greatest assets of the motherboard; it's useful for both 24/7 users and extreme overclockers. External overclocking control is becoming more mainstream, and so far no one has designed anything with capabilities close to the OC Panel II.


Overclocking performance is also very strong, and the built-in CPU and memory OC profiles in the UEFI are very useful. ASUS also paid attention to tiny details such as extra support to level out the motherboard when it's placed on a flat surface, and they made holes in the socket so users can insert their thermocouples.



Thunderbolt 3.0 and four USB 3.1 ports: Most boards either have ASMedia or Intel based USB 3.1, but the Maximus VIII Extreme is one of few who has both, and the only one to have both built into the backpanel IO. There are only a couple of motherboards with Intel certified Thunderbolt 3, and this is one of them. ASUS has also made the appropriate hardware decisions in their USB 3.1 implementation so that USB power delivery is supported.


High-Quality Audio: The audio on this motherboard is of a higher caliber than most Z170 motherboards. With a dedicated ESS DAC, audio caps, sense amplifier, and relay to avoid popping it offers superior hardware compared to most Realtek ALC1150 implementations.


Extensive Fan Control: There are seven headers located on the board, but that isn't all you get. There is a fan extension card that adds three more headers, and the OC Panel II also has its own headers. There are also external temperature inputs, and ASUS provides three thermistor sensors in the package. ASUS also provides excellent fan control through the UEFI and Windows so you can make full use of the ports.


3R3T (3x3) 1.3Gbps Wireless AC: The Maximus VIII Extreme comes with a super-fast Broadcom wireless AC/BT 4.0 card. Most Wireless AC cards are 2x2 (866Mbps), and there is a noticeable difference going from a 2x2 to a 3x3 wireless adapter. You just need to make sure your router supports 1.3Gbps wireless AC speeds.


What's Not


High Price: At $500 the Maximus VIII Extreme is the most expensive Z170 motherboard. While there are a few other motherboards at that price range, they offer 3 and 4-way SLI support through a PLX bridge that some people are willing to dish out for. While the Maximus VIII Extreme might look like it has this PLX bridge because of the middle heat sinks and four slots, this isn't the case. Instead, you are paying extra for the OC Panel II and other extras the motherboard offers.



Final Thoughts


I want to take a second and discuss the value of this $500 Z170 motherboard. It's no secret that differentiation is hard to provide and even harder to communicate with the Z170 chipset. Since so many features are provided through the PCH and CPU clocks are roughly the same among boards, many users are just fine with a sub $200 motherboard. The truth is that these higher priced boards might cost a premium, but there are features that add to their cost.


The OC Panel II will probably end up costing more than $100 based upon current pricing of the original OC Panel. The motherboard also comes with a 3R3T Wireless AC card and Thunderbolt 3 which can each cost almost as much as the OC Panel II. The Maximus VIII Extreme also provides many overclocking features in the UEFI and through switches that might not be present in the rest of the ROG lineup.




The Maximus VIII Extreme is truly a unique product, and the only thing it lacks is a PLX bridge for 3 and 4-way SLI. Half of the premium features that boost its price are designed for hardcore overclocking and the other half are featured for hardcore power users. The board has the latest in internal storage, external storage, and networking technology and performs quite well in IO benchmarks. The Editor's Choice Award is a special award set aside for over the top products designed to exceed everything else on the market, and the Maximus VIII Extreme does this in many ways.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Performance (including Overclocking)97%
Quality including Design and Build96%
General Features98%
Bundle and Packaging95%
Value for Money87%
Overall TweakTown Rating95%

The Bottom Line: Overall the ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Extreme is a stunner. It's a motherboard fully capable of extreme overclocking, loaded with bleeding edge consumer technology, all residing on a high quality backbone.

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