ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Gene RushKit
ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Gene RushKit
Published: 5th August 2015 | Source: ASUS Republic of Gamers | Price: £169.99 |
ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Gene RushKit
In the wide selection of Republic of Gamers board that are available the Gene range has always held a special place in my heart, offering a wide range of premium features and packing it all into a form factor which is much smaller than than you would typically expect.
The Gene has always been a motherboard which has been shooting above it's weight class, bringing all of the ROG trimmings to the mATX form factor, allowing users to make a nice compact tower while sacrificing nothing in terms of usability.
This day we look at ASUS' newest member of the Maximus Gene family the Maximus VIII Gene, using Intel's newest Z170 chipset for use with Intel's newest Skylake CPUs.
From the outside of the box you could be forgiven for thinking that this board has the same old Republic of Gamers red and Black Style, but you would be wrong. ASUS's new Z170 series of ROG motherboard utilizes a more subtle black and red colour scheme, which makes this board look much more unique.
Today a wide variety of Red and black motherboards are available from almost all manufacturers, so this change goes a long way to differentiate ASUS' latest line of ROG motherboards.
When compared to Intel's Z97 chipset, Z170 gives us some significant storage upgrades by giving us PCI 3.0 express lanes on the chipset for this boards M.2 slot, allowing it to take full advantage of ultra fast NVMe based SSDs like Samsung's SM951.
The rear IO of this motherboard is very impressive for a motherboard which is under £170, offering two USB 3.1 connections (1 USB 3.1 type-A and one Type-C), 6 USB 3.0 ports, a single PS/2 port, an Intel Gigabit LAN port, audio input and output jacks and a single DisplayPort 1.2 and and HDMI 1.4 connection for using your CPU's integrated graphics.
This board comes with 2 SATA Express connections, which also double as 4x SATA 3.0 connections, which gives this motherboard the ability to be connected to 6 SATA 3.0 drives at once (2 dedicated SATA 3.0 connections and 4 from the 2 SATA Express connections). Alongside this motherboards ultra fast M.2 connection this motherboard is able to handle almost any of your storage needs.
Supreme FX 2015 Audio
This year ASUS has been working hard to deliver a greater on-board audio experience than they have ever before, featuring cutting edge isolation technologies to prevent electromagnetic interference and adding several new components in order to deliver a premium audio experience.
ASUS has added premium ENichicon audio capacitors, ESS Premier Stereo DAC ES9023, Dedicated clock, RC4580 2Vrms Driver, Impedance Sense IC, and De-pop Relay , to provide precision-engineered audio that is designed to deliver an experience which is on par with dedicated soundcards, and that is only the changes on the hardware side.
This Generation of ROG Maximus motherboards features new and improved ROG audio technologies such as brand Sonic Studio II audio tuning suite. With SmartEQ for enhancing the details of the music while casting or streaming, Perfect Voice to reduce noise artifacts and stabilize overall voice volume and Sonic SenseAmp, which detects headphone impedance and automatically adjusts the built-in amp all are designed to deliver the best audio experience ever placed inside a ROG motherboard.
Water Cooling Pump Header
One feature which is all new to this generation of ASUS motherboards is it's dedicated water cooling Pump header, which can function like a normal fan header or be used as a dedicated pump header for your water cooled PC.
Right now this function is exclusive to ASUS, allowing you to more directly control your pump with 4-pin PWM adjustment and dedicated water cooling options in the BIOS.
ASUS ROG Fan Stickers
One novel addition to ASUS' ROG motherboards is a nice set of ROG fan stickers, which can be used with your fan of choice to cover up an unwanted logo or the rather ugly stickers at the rear of most fans. This addition may be seen as entirely unnecessary by many of you but it is nonetheless seen by us as a very welcome addition, especially if you are looking to sneak a little more red and black into your build.
ROG RAMDisk and RAMCache
On the Software side ASUS has been working hard to allow their users to make the most out of their system, now offering their users free software so that users can use their own RAM Disk or RAM Cache solution, both of which will allow users to dramatically speed up their storage.
With RAMCache users will be able to dramatically speed up their existing storage solutions by allocating a cache of RAM to your Slower drives, this will allow frequently used files to be placed in the much faster RAM Cache which will allow these files to be processed much faster. RAMCache is very simple to use, requiring the user to simply decide how much RAM to Allocate to he cache, with everything else running in the backround.
RAMDisk will allow the user to allocate RAM as it's own storage device, which allows all files inside it to be read exceptionally quickly, speeding up loading times dramatically. All files inside the disk will be moved to specific locations on your hard drive, so that it can be quicly loaded onto your RAMDisk after your system boots.
One new addition to the 2015 version of ASUS' RAMDisk software is its Dynamic Memory Allocation, which allows unused memory in the RAMDisk to be dynamically released back in the system for use for traditional RAM tasks.
When spending money on a premium product, most people want to be provided with a premium user experience and be delivered a product which is highly durable, simple to use and has measures in place which will protect devices which are used alongside it. This is not too much to ask, right?
ASUS has created this generation of ROG boards to deliver the best user experience yet, with a new Z170 CPU installation tool and their Q-connector and PCI-e Q-slot to allow users to more safely and easily install their CPU, GPU and external IO, provide TureVolt USB and DRAM Overcurrent protection to help prevent any damage being done to your RAM or external devices due to power fluctuations, providing additional backplates and a stainless steel rear IO to provide additional strength and longevity to the motherboard and even thicker Black Nickel plating to the IO in order to prevent scratches or cuts when it is used.
Conclusion and Video
The Republic of Gamers Gene Series of Motherboard has always been at the pinnacle of what can be achieved in the mATX for any given socket, with very few peers. This version is no exception, offering a significant upgrade from it's predecessor the Maximus VII Gene for the Z97 socket.
When compared to it's predecessor the Maximus VIII Gene has made a lot of great improvements, first we have the audio components moved it's own dedicated PCB onto the main PCB itself. This alongside the other changes to ASUS' onboard SupremeFX 2015 audio, this Gene should deliver some of the best onboard audio experiences for a board of this size.
On the rear IO we see that this motherboard has removed all of the USB 2.0 ports on the previous generation Z97 Gene and has used this space to add additional USB 3.0 ports and two USB 3.1 ports. This gives this board a total of 6 USB 3.0 ports and add an additional 2 USB 3.1 ports, one of which are using the new USB Type-C connector.
This generation of ASUS ROG motherboards, especially the Maximus Gene, feel more like a revelation than a re-iteration. With it's new colour scheme, storage options, improved audio and rear IO this motherboard this may be the best Gene series motherboard yet.
If you are looking for a high end mATX Z170 motherboard the ROG Maximus VIII Gene will be difficult to board to beat. At the price of £169.99 the Maximus VIII Gene offers a great value proposition, especially when compared to it's previous generation counterpart.
Over the next week we will be testing a variety of Skylake ready Z170 motherboards, so our full written review of this motherboard is coming.