Although the Core i7 and X58 combo is a proven performance leader, there are still plenty of Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad CPUs out there in the wild. The Core 2 is still a very capable processor with many models costing less than half the price the cheapest Core i7 processor, the Core i7 920. Thus, systems based around the P45 chipset are still a viable option for getting good, if not great, performance at a vastly more affordable price.
Up until now, when users thought of a micro-ATX board, they typically expect find a slimmed down version of a full sized product, minus some of the bells and whistles and perhaps sacrificing some of the enthusiast-friendly features of their larger brethren. Recognizing a need for high performance, yet smaller form-factor motherboard, ASUS stepped in with two offerings: the Rampage II Gene for Core i7/DDR3 owners, and the Maximus II Gene we are reviewing today, with support for Core 2 Duo/Quad processors and DDR2 memory. Both of these boards fly under the 'Republic of Gamers' flag, and we intend on seeing if the Maximus II Gene can live up to its namesake...