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ASUS ROG Maximus X Apex (Intel Z370) Motherboard Review

By: Steven Bassiri | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: 1 week, 1 day ago
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: ASUS

Packaging and Overview

 

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The box for the Maximus X Apex has the same ROG style design as other recent X299, X370, and even X399 ROG motherboards. It's a nice design, and the motherboard is extremely well protected.

 

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The accessory package includes four SATA6Gb/s cables, IO shield, VRM fan mount, DIMM.2 card, DIMM.2 card mount. SLI HB bridge, nameplate customization kit, Q-connector, ROG case badge, ROG coaster, RGB extension cable, M.2 screws, ROG stickers, manual, driver DVD.

 

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The Maximus X Apex has a hefty ten fan headers. The three circled in dark blue are full speed headers rated for 1A, meaning they are not controllable and run 100% at all times. The seven headers circled in red and light blue are hybrid DC/PWM mode headers, all of them offer up to 1A of power except the header circled in light blue that offers up to 3A. The CPU and CPU_OPT header share control, and an AIO Pump header runs at full speed by default. There are two external temperature sensor inputs circled in green; the sensors are not included.

 

You can use multiple temperature sources as a reference for fan curves, and control is offered through the UEFI or ASUS's Windows application. There are custom watercooling headers circled in yellow I will cover a bit later. The back of the motherboard is pretty bare of components, except for drivers for the VRM. The back of the PCB has a bunch of silkscreen indicators, presumably to make it easier to insulate different areas of the motherboard.

 

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The rear IO panel features separate PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports, Clear CMOS button, BIOS Flashback button, HDMI, DisplayPort, six USB 3.0 ports, 5G LAN, 1G LAN, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, and 7.1 channel gold plated audio output with S/PDIF out.

 

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The PCI-E layout is fairly simple. The first, second, and third X16 slots are reinforced in three-axis with metal brackets, and they share x16 PCI-E 3.0 from the CPU. They can operate as x16/x0/x0, x8/x0/x8, or x8/x4/x4. The last x16 slot is routed to the PCH and is always at x4 PCI-E 3.0. The motherboard supports 4-way CrossFireX and up to 2-way SLI.

 

The two x1 PCI-E 3.0 slots are routed to the CPU. The motherboard does support two x4 PCI-E 3.0/SATA based M.2 slots, and they are located on a DIMM.2 card. We get four SATA6Gb/s ports, one USB 3.0 internal header, and one MOLEX power port for extra PCI-E power.

 

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Overclocking is what this motherboard does best, and it's loaded with features to help extreme and novice overclockers take down records. You get the standard power and reset buttons, but right below them is a retry button in white and a safe boot button in red. Sometimes, re-applying the settings works, and that's what the retry button is for. The safe boot button is to enter the UEFI with bootable settings without wiping out your settings. We also get voltage read points, and right above them is an LN2 mode jumper, and right above that are PCI-E x16 slot disable switches.

 

We also find three switches; the topmost is for slow mode (instant x8 on the CPU), Pause switch (literally pauses the system in place), and an RSVD switch that helps with cold boot bugs. While we still see boot LEDs, we also get the condensation detection LEDs right below the POST code display. The motherboard has two RGB LED headers in this area as well.

 

There are two physical BIOS ROMs on the motherboard, and the BIOS switch button allows you to switch between them. Jumpers are located above the external temperature sensor headers that control lighting on the motherboard. The motherboard is also equipped with a water flow sensor header, as well as in and out water temperature headers.

 

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The motherboard has two 8-pin CPU power connectors, which is kind of overkill. The motherboard has three USB 2.0 headers, one of which is part of the ROG extension header. A MemOK! button is located to the left of TPM header.

 

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The motherboard has two RGB LED headers at the bottom of the motherboard, bringing the total number of RGB LED headers to four. The socket of the motherboard has a tiny hole in it so you can sneak a thermal probe in there for liquid nitrogen overclocking. There are also multiple condensation sensors on the back of the PCB that are designed to detect condensation.

 

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The VRM heat sink is split into two pieces. One heat sink cools the VRM while the other cools the 5G NIC. The reason for two is so you can still cool the 5G NIC during LN2 overclocking without having to give up VRM area insulation. All heat sinks are screwed into the motherboard with nuts and bolts, except the 5G heat sink.

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