ASUS Maximus XII Extreme (Intel Z490) Motherboard Review (Page 2)

| Jun 9, 2020 at 1:06 am CDT
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: ASUSModel: ROG MAXIMUS XII EXTREME

Motherboard Features and Marketing

Here we give space to the motherboard manufacturer to talk about their marketing points, and we assess them and provide our point of view on the claims.

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ASUS employs several features on the extreme such as the high-end VRM, which we mentioned along with the full front cover of the board, which works double duty as a heat sink as well. The inclusion of a DIMM.2 means the Extreme can support up to four M.2 drives.

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Next up is the gaming and connectivity. Gaming features such as SupremeFX audio are great, but as most all of the top-end boards are now using the same ALC1220 codec, the ancillary component choices matter more than ever. ASUS does a good job here of employing a stout solution. The Armor is the front covering of the board, which doubles as a supplemental heat sink. Also, there is the OLED, but this time bigger than the Maximus XI Extreme.

The connectivity, as you can see, is stuffed with everything from USB 3.2 2x2, to triple USB 3.2 Gen 2, and six USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports. The Dual LAN is 2.5Gb and 10Gb, so Networking ios at the top of its game and matches any top-end contender in the space. The Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 is also top of the game, so no matter your connection preference, you should not be left wanting in the throughput department.

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Here ASUS shows a visual representation of two phases, both with a doubler and employed in a teamed solution. ASUS claims that the teamed solution will help with a better transient response while also balancing the thermal of the VRM well. I will say that with sixteen 90A power stages, I don't see how the VRM would have any heating worries even when heavily overclocked.

Next, ASUS covers the select or choice components they use for the VRM, including the Infineon power stages. The Extreme also sports dual EPS connectors, which are metal shielded. The chokes are alloy units rated at 45A, while the output bulk capacitance is barrel-style solid-polymer type Japanese units rated at 10,000 hours.

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ASUS has several levels of cooling for the Maximus XII Extreme. The top plate, as I mentioned previously, is mostly metal and works as a heat sink for both the VRM and the M.2 devices. The VRM heat sink, while being part of the IO cover, also has a top portion which cools the top VRM row and is connected to the larger side heat sink via heat pipe. Like we saw on the Aorus Xtreme, the Maximus Extreme has a high conductivity thermal pad in place for the VRM heat sink, although they did not list specifics on its W/mK rating like GIGABYTE disclosed.

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ASUS has a plethora of fan headers on the board, both top, and bottom. The board has Fourteen headers in total. Two above the CPU RH side of the socket, which are CPU and CPU_OPT. There is a grouping of four at the top right, which is designated for Radiator support but can be set up as needed via software or UEFI. Two chassis fan headers are at the top left and the mid-board right. The bottom has a grouping of four more radiator fan headers and two water pump+ headers to round out the offering.

ASUS also includes the Fan Expansion Card II, which is an SSD mounting capable PCB that offers up to six more fan headers along with three additional RGB headers, along with three other thermal probe headers. It communicates with the motherboard via the integrated NODE connection header, which is proprietary to ASUS.

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ASUS prides itself on a lot of the features they add, including the following, which is a dedicated IC that polls the voltage data from better read points. The differential sensing IC is a major plus, in my opinion, based on the fact that it will provide more accurate data to software monitoring applications, which can help with fine-tuning without nearly as much work with a DMM. I always try to discuss in the OC section set vs. actual voltage, and that is where you may see the disparity of what is reported in software such as AIDA64 or HWWMonitor.

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The connectivity we already addressed, but since ASUS touts it on their marketing page, we will discuss it here briefly. The network connectivity is stuffed with wireless being Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201, while the wired network starts at 2.5Gb with an Intel chipset or the standard 10Gb port powered by Aquantia.

ASUS has USB 3.2 2x2, which is a substantial advantage as the other board at this price point, the Aorus Xtreme did not, and therefore the Maximus Extreme, we have to judge accordingly. This inclusion, along with the dual Thunderbolt 3 ports on the included card, means that the Extreme has every form of connectivity offered available, and the Thunderbolt does not need to be added if you do not have devices that support it.

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ASUS employs up to four M.2 slots, with two being under the board covering/cooling. There is also a DIMM.2 adjacent to the memory slots, which supports up to two M.2 PCIe SSDs. The two slots onboard support PCIe, and M.2_1 supports SATA as well. The two DIMM.2 slots are direct CPU lanes and must be enabled in the UEFI, while the onboard M.2 slots run through the PCH/DMI.

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Lastly, we will cover two of the aesthetic features of the Maximus XII Extreme. First up is RGB, which the board has two ARGB headers and two standard 12V RGB headers. The ASUS Aura software seems to have gone by the wayside in favor of users employing the armoury crate software to control the board features and driver installation.

Another exciting feature is the mid-board Livedash OLED display. This Livedash display can be used to display animated or custom logos along with important system information such as thermal or voltages. We made a small video covering the function of the Livedash OLED you can see below.

Last updated: Jun 11, 2020 at 04:13 pm CDT

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Shannon started his PC journey around the age of six in 1989. Now till present day, he has established himself in the overclocking world, spending many years pushing the limits of hardware on LN2. Shannon has worked with design and R&D on various components, including PC systems and chassis, to optimize the layout and performance for enthusiasts.

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