ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII EXTREME
While the ASRock Z170 OC Formula was designed with overclocking in mind, the ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Extreme is an all-round premium board that is intended to offer the best performance to both gamers and overclockers. It is also one of two E-ATX boards in this shootout – ASUS apparently needed more space to cram extra goodies on the motherboard.
The board utilizes a 13+2 phase power design that has full control over all elements of power delivery to the CPU, like the Vcore and Vsa voltages. This means smoother and more stable power delivery to the CPU, which should translate into higher and more stable overclocks. An additional 4-pin ATX 12V power connector is also present to deliver more power to the motherboard for extreme overclocks.
One unique feature is the inclusion of a dedicated U.2 port located beside the eight SATA 6Gbps ports, which means there is no need to go through the hassle of getting an M.2 to U.2 adapter if you want to install a 2.5-inch form factor PCIe 3.0 x4 drive.
For additional connectivity, ASUS has added two USB 3.1 ports at the back (1x Type-A, 1x Type-C) connected to the Intel USB 3.1 controller and another two USB 3.1 ports at the back (red, Type-A) controlled by an ASMedia USB 3.1 controller.
A bundled 3x3 Wi-Fi module adds support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, allowing you to take advantage of the latest AC1900-class routers, as well.
The onboard SupremeFX 2015 audio has also been upgraded over last year’s solution. ASUS had added a total of four new discrete components – an onboard digital-toanalog converter, a dedicated clock, a TI RC4580 operational amplifier, and a de-pop relay – to provide better performance for live streaming applications and high-impedance headphones. In sum, this means a cleaner audio signal that is free from jitter and noise from other electrical components in the system, the ability to drive headphones up to 600ohm, and the elimination of loud popping noises when you plug in your audio components.
Rounding out the package is a special area called the OCZone that hosts a selection of buttons, switches, and voltage readout points to make overclocking easier. For instance, the ReTry button addresses the issue of lockups during POST by setting the system to continually attempt to reboot until it succeeds.