11 Mar, 2015   Rakesh Sharma    Reviews . Asus Maximus VII Gene Review

Today we are going to review one of the latest Z97 mATX form factor motherboards – the ASUS Maximus VII Gene. ASUS latest Z97 Gaming Overclocking motherboard Maximus VII Gene is for enthusiasts and gamers who are looking for a fully featured Micro-ATX motherboard with dual PCI-E x16 expansion slots for full 2-way CrossFire and 2-way SLI support in x8/x8 configuration along with new features, like support for M.2 based SSDs, Intel™ Ethernet , LANGuard , GameFirst III, SupremeFX Impact II audio, Sonic Radar II and other gaming-centric features.
And for Overclockers who run their system on an open test bench, ASUS Maximus VII Gene won’t be disappointing them, it features power-on Start button, reset button, MemOk button, a Q-Code debug LED display, LN2 Mode jumper, thermal probe header, and even voltage read points cool.
However, one key feature I liked most in Maximus VII Gene board is KeyBot. Allowing you to assign macros to function keys on a standard USB keyboard and as well as you can turn ordinary keys into media controls, shortcuts and more. This feature is made possible by adding a custom chip on to the motherboard great.
Now let’s see what more this Intel Z97 chipset based board have for us.

Specifications

Features

Intel® Ethernet - More throughput, less CPU usage and great gaming experiences!
Maximus VII Gene features the very latest Intel® Ethernet for faster, smoother gaming — always. Intel's LAN has the serious double advantage of reducing CPU overhead and offering exceptionally high TCP and UDP throughput. This significantly reduces the processor's workload, so there's more power for your game and your gameplay!

LANGuard – RJ45 Reinvented! Pumped-up throughput. Best surge protection.
ROG has reinvented the LAN port. Advanced signal-coupling technology and premium surface-mounted capacitors improve throughput, while surge-protected and electrostatically-guarded components (ESD Guards) protect your motherboard from lightning strikes and static electricity!

GameFirst III - Network-optimization software for no-delay gameplay!
Exclusive GameFirst III has been upgraded with even more gamer-helping features and an interface that's even more intuitive! GameFirst III helps you to assign top priority to game packets and allocate more bandwidth to the game, ensuring the best online gaming experience.

Choose from a preset mode to suit what you're doing – Optimization, Game, Media Streaming or File Sharing. You can manage bandwidth down to the level of individual applications, with five priority levels (highest, higher, normal, lower, lowest) and even the ability to block specific traffic. GameFirst III even has a built-in Network Monitor tool, so you can supervise your network traffic and test your connection speed to check that you're getting the bandwidth you pay for!

SupremeFX Impact II - Blade of sound adds striking audio
ROG knows the importance of flawless audio – pristine effects and full-range soundtracks make the game. This devotion to the best audio is applied to all our Maximus VII boards, including micro ATX (mATX) models. SupremeFX Impact II is our dedicated audio hardware for mATX Cutting-edge isolation technologies minimize electromagnetic interference (EMI) and exceptionally premium components deliver best-in-class audio. The original SupremeFX Impact II was acclaimed by both our customers and the media SupremeFX Impact II employee even finer components and superbly clever software innovations for gaming and multimedia experiences beyond compare!

Sonic Studio - Brilliant one-click virtual sound!
Sonic Studio is a brand-new audio-tuning suite that provides an aural treat. Use the one-click Virtual Surround function to 7.1 channels, even through a stereo (2.0-channel) headset. It offers five more superb audio controls, including Reverb, Bass Boost, Equalizer, Voice Clarity and Smart EQ — ensuring that everything you hear sounds just amazing!

Sonic Radar II - Scan and detect to dominate!
Designed for first-person shooters (FPS), Sonic Radar II displays a stealthy overlay that shows what opponents and teammates are up to. See the precise direction and origin of in-game sounds such as gunshots, footsteps and call-outs, and practice your enemy-pinpointing skills — and exclusive Audio Enhancement further improves in-game sound for superb hearing awareness. The all-new Sonic Radar II includes a redesigned control panel with customizable game list!

KeyBot - Your keyboard, instantly upgraded!
Fancy a free keyboard upgrade? That's what KeyBot gives you — instantly. Just plug your existing keyboard into the dedicated USB socket to activate the exclusive KeyBot microprocessor on the Maximus VII Gene. Use the easy-to-use utility to assign macros to function keys F1-F10, launch any application with a single press or control multimedia playback.

TRUEVOLT USB - Stable supply of 5V front and back!

Forget the USB power drop-outs!
ROG's TrueVolt USB design delivers a rock-steady 5V supply to both the front and back USB sockets – no drop-outs!
Two 5V isolated linear power supply for all USB ports

  • Low noise, low loss.
  • Stable 5V* supply to provide clean 5V USB power to minimize potential fluctuations
  • All connected equipment (e.g. USB DAC or thumb drivers) benefits from the clean, stable 5V supply at the same time.
*5V output varies from PSUs to PSUs

Gamer’s Guradian - All-round protection provides the best quality, reliability and durability

Compatible with OC Panel & Front Base

Package

Board comes in a nice red cardboard box with model number, image of the board and details about supporting technology and features.

Inside the box

Bundled accessories are a user manual, installation guide, driver and software DVD, Republics of Gamers sticker, black nickel plated rear I/O shield, 2-way SLI bridge connector, six SATA 6Gb/s cables, Q-Connector front-panel connectorsand SupremeFX Impact II audio module.

Looks

Board features a Black and Red ROG theme with a new stylish heatsink design and the ROG logo on the chipset heatsink is backlit with red LED.

Layout

Detailed layout of board.

1. Intel LGA 1150 socket, supporting current 4th generation and 5th generation CPU.

2. 4 x DIMM slots supporting maximum 32GB of 1600/1333MHz DDR3 or up to 3200(O.C.) DDR3 memory.

3. ATX Power connector (24-pin EATXPWR).

4. ATX CPU Power Connector (8-pin ATX12V).

5. Back I/O Ports - 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s), 1 x HDMI, 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s), 4 x USB 3.0 (blue), 4 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to ROG Connect), 1 x Optical S/PDIF out, 3 x Audio jack(s), 1 x Clear CMOS button(s), 1 x ROG Connect On/ Off switch(es)

6. mPCIe slot.

7. 10. 15. 24.CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin), CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin), 3 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (3 x 4 -pin)

8. LN2 Mode header(s)

9. 10 x ProbeIt Measurement Points

11. USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)

12. 8 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s).

13. Intel Z97 Express Chipset.

14. M.2 Socket 3 for M Key, type 2260/2280 devices

16. Superme FX Impact II interface

17. 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8) , 1 x PCIe 2.0 x4

18. TPM header.

19. Power-on button(s), Reset button(s)

20. KeyBot Button, Sonic SoundStage Button, Thermal sensor connector(s)

21. ASUS Q-Code display, MemOK! button(s)

22. 23. ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header(s) , 2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)

25. Front panel connector(s).

Removing Heat-sinks

Heatsinks are made up of dense aluminum with thermal pad installed, giving great passive cooling to VRM MOSFETs and Z97 chipset.

Component Layout

Let’s now see what all components ASUS have planned for this board.

1. Digital 8-phase CPU Power VRM Section with Texas instruments CSD87350Q5D Synchronous Buck NexFET™ Power Block MOSFET Pair with up to 40A current handling each, 60A Ferrite Chokes, and 10K Black Metallic Capacitors.

2. Asus DIGI+ VRM Asp 1257 voltage controller chip.

3. 4. International Rectifier IR3535 MOSFET driver chips on the back of the board and three Anpec APM2054ND MOSFETs used as switching regulators for other components.

5. RAM PWM controller is DIGI + VRM ASP1103 chip

6. 11. Passive components for power managements for other chips on the board.

7. Asmedia ASM 1442K chip managing output display ports.

8. Intel i218v one Gigabit Ethernet controller chip with Asus LAN Guard technology providing advanced signal-coupling with premium surface-mounted capacitors improve throughput, while surge-protected and electrostatically-guarded components (ESD Guards) protect your motherboard from lightning strikes and static electricity.

9. ASM1042AE controller adds two USB 3.0 ports to the rear panel

10. Asmedis ASM1480 PCIe bus switch chip, allowing single GFX card to run at x16 and dual cards at x8/x8 PCIe bus.

12. 20.The KeyBot microprocessor in front and a co-processor in back are dedicated towards the new KeyBot feature from ASUS

13. Asmedis ASM1480 PCIe bus switch chip used to switch buses between PCIeX4 and M.2 slot.

14. Intel Z97 Express Chipset.

15. ASMedia ASM1061 PCI-E SATA controller

16. NuvotonNCT6791D Super I/O Chip. The Nuvoton NCT6791D also adds thermal sensor support, made possible by a separately available thermal probe attached to a couple of pins near the Clear_CMOS header.

17. 18. ASUS typically uses Winbond BIOS chips, but this time the chip is marked GD25864BPIG., which is controlled by unknown BIOS brand A1 1314- A2 1345 chip

19. ASUS ROG microprocessor for all ROG features and ROG extension controller.

SupremeFX Impact II audio module

This module houses a Realtek ALC1150 8-channel HD audio CODEC protected by an EMI cover, Premium Japanese-made ELNA® audio capacitors, PCB-level analog and digital signal separation and Sonic SenseAmp, a ROG invention that detects headphone impedance (below 65/65 ~ 150/150 or higher ohms) and adjusts the built-in amp automatically, for pitch-perfect listening right away.

RightMark Audio Analyzer (RMAA) suite is used for testing test ASUS Maximus VII Gene SupremeFX Impact II audio card against Asus Xonar DX Sound card. You can see clearly the difference between Noise level, dynamic rang and Total harmonic distortion percentage produced by SupremeFX Impact II audio card.

RMAA Asus Xonar DX

RMAA SupremeFX

Testing

Test system configuration -

CPUIntel i7-4770K @ 4.6 GHz
BoardAsus Maximus VII Gene
RAM8GB Kingston HyperX Fury 1600Mhz
SSDSamsung 830 SSD 256GB
CoolerCorsair H100i
GFXAsus GeForce GTX 980 Strix OC 4GB
PSUCorsair RM1000
DisplayAcer S220HQL
OSWin 8.1 Pro

BIOS

Asus EZ-Mode, a slick and smooth animated basic system configuration interface to simplify tweaking for less experienced users. First screen showing the motherboard model, CPU installed, CPU frequency, CPU temperature, fan speeds, DRAM installed, DRAM speeds and also options to enable XMP, Intel Raid Storage technology and boot priority from here.

Bundled Softwares

Overclocking

Instead of manually overclocking Intel i7-4770K processor, I decided to let Asus Dual Intelligent Processors 5 take over and automatically overclock 4770k with Corsair H100i cooler.

I was surprised to see that Asus auto-tuning overclocked 4770K up to 4.6GHz stable. And for all enthusiasts, Asus provides tons of tweaking ability with this board to manual overclock your CPU.

Benchmarks

Power Consumption

Wattage reading as per displayed by APC Pro 1000VA (Model no. BR1000G-IN) UPS.

Pros

  • Great performance features
  • Packed with lot of protection features
  • Excellent Onboard audio quality
  • Auto Overclocking for beginners
  • Quality Components

Cons

  • No inclusion of the MPCIE add-on card.

Conclusion

Whether you are a gamer, enthusiast or an overclocker, the Asus Maximus VII Gene is a rock solid and great performing motherboard in m-ATX form factor with superb build quality and also offers great features. Overclocking was very easy using Asus own 5-Way optimization tool which auto-overclocked the CPU up to 4.7GHz and set a nice solid overclock based for Extreme overclocking.

It’s one of the best mATX Z97 motherboards currently available on the market, and it surely deserves the PC TeK REVIEWS CHOICE Award.

Manufacturers Info

Site Link

Thanks.

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