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ASUS ROG Maximus IX Apex (Intel Z270) Motherboard Review

By Steven Bassiri from Feb 20, 2017 @ 8:10 CST
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: ASUS

Here are key points about the ASUS Fatal1ty Maximus IX Apex.


What's Hot


Overclocker's Dream: The Maximus IX Apex is loaded with novel and unique overclocking features. It is not only loaded with extreme overclocking features, but it also gets a good serving of overclocking features enthusiasts might use as well. You can disable all PCI-E slots and DIMMs, you can literally pause your system or have it re-try your settings, and the motherboard will even detect if there is condensation in the RAM, PCI-E, or CPU area.


While those are some of the most exciting extreme overclocking features, the motherboard also offers specific water cooling tachometer inputs, water temperature inputs, two extra external temperature sensor inputs, the has multiple above ambient overclocking profiles to help you hit 5GHz.



Modder's Dream: Overclocking features aside, I was really shocked to find so many features modders will like. The unique X-Shape of the PCB and the bolted down jet-wing styled heat sinks offer a look unlike any other motherboard on the market. Add to that the two RGB LED headers, the RGB LED undercarriage glow feature, and the light up customizable nameplates, and you have a very customizable motherboard. Many modders also use custom water cooling loops, and the motherboard is setup to support 36W pumps, and it has both tachometer and water temperature monitoring inputs.


Extreme Fan: Ten, yes ten fan headers reside on the Maximus IX Apex. You have seven headers that are your typical flexible headers that you control in the UEFI, and those headers are meant for enthusiast users who will sit down and tune the fan curve. However, extreme overclockers just want fans to remove the LN2 vapors, and for that, they want the fans to run full-speed. ASUS made sure to add in three full-speed only headers, one for the CPU pot, and another for the memory pot, and then a final one for the GPU pots.


DIMM.2: DIMM.2 is a novel way to ensure that your M.2 modules stay cool and out of the way. I am not sure if the feature was designed to only be for M.2 cooling, or if it was another way to increase the uniqueness of the Apex, but it is cool. Why not cool down both your M.2 drives with the same RAM fan that cools your DDR4-4266MHz memory?


Low on Switching: Every time you add an integrated circuit to the motherboard, you also add traces and electrical noise. The Maximus IX Apex does not rely on much switching to move around PCH bandwidth, it's almost non-existent, and that is a good thing to keep noise levels down.


What's Not


Specific Use Product: The Apex has only four SATA6Gb/s ports, only two memory DIMMs, and it has very basic audio for a motherboard that costs almost $300. It is designed to reside on a test bench, in an overclocked machine, a beautifully modded rig, or as a display piece. If you are planning to use it in any other way, I would look at some other motherboards.



Final Thoughts




When I first saw at the Apex in person at CES, I thought it was just for extreme overclocking, but when I got it in my hands, and into my test bench, I saw it was about much more. Sure, it is an extreme overclocking motherboard, but it is also built as an enthusiast overclocking product, and a modders dream product.


It is the most novel motherboard I have seen in a while, and not only in looks. It is pretty much ASUS's B2-Spirit (or perhaps Xian H-20 if you prefer). With so much speculation surrounding its features, the bar was set high, and ASUS delivered.


The Apex isn't a cheap product, and it doesn't deliver in its price range when it comes to SATA storage, audio, or memory expansion, but that's not what this product is trying to do. The Maximus IX Apex is designed to be different and to be a leader at being different. It does enough to satisfy both professional and amateur overclockers, professional modders, and those in the industry who like to frame motherboards on walls (like me).


If you are in the market for this motherboard, then you probably already know it, and that is the beauty of the Maximus IX Apex.

Product Summary Breakdown

TweakTown award
Overall TweakTown Rating95%

The Bottom Line: ASUS' Maximus IX Apex is perhaps the most unique motherboard on the market, and if you are an enthusiast or professional overclocker or modder, then it's perfect for you.

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