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Asus Maximus Extreme Intel X38 Express Motherboard Review

Asus Maximus Extreme Intel X38 Express Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The Asus Maximus Extreme motherboard PCSTATS is testing today is based around Intel's X38 Express and ICH9R chipsets. It comes absolutely loaded with features, almost too much in fact.
 90% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Asus Feb 05 2008   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Asus Maximus Extreme

Impressive Asus Accessory Kit

Considering the Asus Maximus Extreme is a $350 motherboard, you'd expect Asus to include a few things with the board and you won't be disappointed. As indicated earlier, Asus includes quite a large software bundle with the motherboard. On the driver DVD disc, you get a full copy of FutureMark's 3DMark06. That may not sound like much but for overclockers, it's a very important tool.

Even better is the inclusion of the first person shooter game, STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl. The game is one of the prettiest DirectX 9 titles to come out, and it was well received by the sites online and gamers around the world.

If you play video games, STALKER will certainly keep you busy for a good few weeks! Videocards (Asus has been bundling some pretty good games with its videocards lately) rarely come with video games of this caliber which makes it even more surprising to see Asus bundle a game with a motherboard!

For the hardware enthusiast, Asus bundles three thermistors with the motherboard so you can keep the temperatures of various devices in your computer in check. To make things easy, the I/O shield lights up which makes connecting things easy in the dark. Asus also clearly labels the various ports so you should have no problems connecting things together even in the dark.

Asus has been bundling small LCD displays with its high end motherboards for some time now. The display shows the status of several user customizable data, anything from initializing the processor to USB ports, detecting hard drives and if there are problems, the LCD display will tell you. It's basically a Port 80 display on a small external LCD. Instead of displaying the Port 80 code, it uses words. The "LCD poster" that comes with the Maximus Extreme has a ~100cm long cable that allows it to be put at the front, or on top of the case.


Asus LCD Poster. A display for Port 80 codes in plain english. The Maximus Extreme also ships with three thermistors which can be configured anywhere in the system.

AMD Crossfire PCI Express Lanes re-mixed with CrossLink

A few of you may have noticed the large blue CrossLink heatsink on the Asus Maximus Extreme motherboard. According to Asus, the Maximus Extreme is able to handle AMD CrossFire technology better than regular Intel X38 Express motherboards. On the average X38 Express motherboard with two physical PCI Express x16 slots, one videocard is devoted 16 PCI Express lanes while the second gets 4. That can cause a bottleneck issue as the second videocard cannot get data to and from the computer as quickly as the first.

Asus does things a bit differently. With the special "CrossLink" feature, Asus splits the first 16 PCI Express lanes devoted to the first slot into two equal PCI Express x8 lanes. This allows both videocards to work together at the same speed, and according to Asus, provides better framerates and 3D performance than Intel's traditional method.

At the moment it doesn't make a huge difference as current technology does not require that much bandwidth, but things may change in the future when more powerful videocards are released.

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Contents of Article: Asus Maximus Extreme
 Pg 1.  Asus Maximus Extreme Intel X38 Express Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — Impressive Asus Accessory Kit
 Pg 3.  Chipset Cooling Solutions
 Pg 4.  Maximus Extreme Highlights Gallery
 Pg 5.  Looking Further at the Intel X38 Express
 Pg 6.  Overclocking the Maximus Extreme
 Pg 7.  Overclocker Friendly Asus BIOS & System Specs
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SYSmark 2007 Preview
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 10.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PCMark Vantage
 Pg 11.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark06, Quake 4, FEAR
 Pg 12.  PCSTATS Maximum Motherboard Overclocking Chart & Conclusions

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