What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

ASUS Maximus VIII Gene Motherboard Review

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
It seems like these days motherboard vendors have overly complicated lineups which cater to every conceivable niche or combination of features. For buyers, navigating these confusing waters can be frustrating but of anyone that wants to buy into a more compact form factor, things get a lot easier. While the mATX segment has been expanding as of late, there isn’t a massive amount of competition and the offerings typically fall into one of two categories: higher boards that offer a broad range of gamer / overclocker-centric features and more affordable options that offer value above all else. ASUS new Maximus VIII Gene falls into the former segment.

ASUS has been on a roll lately with their Z170 motherboard series but we have mainly been focused on their ATX offerings. Indeed, while the Z170-A and Maximus VIII Hero are both awesome boards in their own respect, they aren’t particularly unique. Meanwhile, the Gene series caters to that rather large portion of PC gaming enthusiasts who want performance and portability go walk hand in hand. ATX systems are simply too large to be comfortably carry from LAN party to LAN party, while ITX based systems lack advanced features like SLI and CrossFire.

The Maximus VIII Gene’s mATX seems to be tailor made to satisfy LAN-goers’ every need and should even be considered for those who want an insanely powerful rig but don’t have the space for an ATX system’s footprint. Its middle of the road approach between ATX and ITX means that fewer compromises have to be made as there is a lot more room on the board for designers to work with. For example, instead of having to place advanced PWM components on a daughter card like certain SFF boards the Maximus VIII Gene makes use of a power-delivery subsystem that is every bit as good - and arguably better than some - ATX motherboards.

Another key factor here is the board’s size allows for the inclusion of two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots alongside a tertiary PCIe 3.0 x4 slot for adding wireless cards, soundcards and even Intel 750 NVMe SSDs. Due to the expansive feature set though (more on this later) the need for this extra slot has been whittled down to basically wireless Ethernet controller daughter. There’s also an integrated sound subsystem which is also every bit as good as what’s found on most ATX motherboards and includes features like a NEC de-pop switch, onboard amps and high performance Japanese caps. Despite its size, this motherboard seems to have it all.

On the software side of the equation ASUS pulled out all the stops and bestowed upon their new Maximus VIII Gene a BIOS with very similar to what’s found on other Republic of Gamer motherboards we have used in the recent past. Add in the award winning AI SUITE III and on paper there is a lot to like about this 'small' motherboard.

On paper, the only things that are really noticeable by their absence are the extra PCIe x1 and x16 slots normally found on larger boards, but that is about it. Even the Gene’s storage abilities are sure to satisfy as it has six 6Gb/s SATA ports, two SATA Express ports, and even a x4 M.2 slot which is compatible with U.2 adapters such as ASUS' HyperKit. Mix in USB 3.1 Type A and Type C ports, and it becomes apparent that the Maximus VIII Gene really has been designed to satisfy a wide swath of the buying public. So much so that even with a price of $230, it may just find traction outside its intended niche as it actually costs less than a Maximus VIII Hero.


 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Packaging and Accessories

Packaging and Accessories



While smaller than most, the packaging for the Maximus VIII Gene is the typical ROG red with a simple cover. There's also plenty of information on here for folks buying it at a brick and mortar retailer.


Also like other RoG's the top flap opens up to reveal even more details on the board's features - which are legion.



Inside, the Gene has a smaller black box that includes a clear cover containing the motherboard and beneath the board the accessories sit in a divided black cardboard compartment.



As this is a Republic of Gamers motherboard the list of included accessories is rather long. In grand total buyers can expect to get a user manual, driver and software DVD, rear I/O shield, four SATA 6Gb/s cables, 2-way SLI bridge connector, two Q-Connectors, and cable sticker labels. Sadly there is no Wireless Ethernet controller module included and anyone interested in this feature will either have to purchase a PCIe or USB device separately, or step up to a more expensive ASUS motherboard.



On the positive side ASUS also include their CPU Installation Tool. This tool has been designed to help novice enthusiasts properly install their new Skylake processor. It was first seen with the ASUS TUF X99 Sabertooth, and while this CPU Installation Tool is slightly different than the one that accompanies the TUF X99, the underlying idea is the same: give users more area to grip so that bent pins are less likely to occur. It tool consists of a hard plastic gasket that you orientate and place around the socket 1151 CPU before installing said CPU into the Z170 Gene.



Simply install it over the CPU, then place the CPU into the socket as it if this was a typical install, and then close the lid. The Gadget increases the surface contact area between the lid and the CPU and this in turn reduces the chances of pins being bent while lowering the two lever arms.

In testing it did indeed work as advertised, however it does make getting the CPU into the socket slightly harder since it tends to block your vision during those critical seconds between laying the CPU in the socket and letting the CPU go. On the positive side it does make uninstalling the CPU much easier as it gives consumers a lot more area to grip and lift.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
A Closer Look at the Maximus VIII Gene

A Closer Look at the Maximus VIII Gene





Even though this motherboard uses the smaller 9.6 inch by 9.6 inch 'mATX' form-factor ASUS has done a fantastic job with its layout and design. No matter where you look, and no matter how persnickety a consumer you are, it will be impossible not to be impressed with the clean and well thought out layout. Obviously ASUS spent a lot of time working on this design and it pays off in spades. Put simply the Gene is just as easy to work with as its larger sibling, the Maximus VIII Hero, and everything is nicely spaced out so as to not impact on other areas.


ASUS has been able to create a truly user-friendly mATX motherboard and do without sacrificing crucial features. About the only thing that is missing from this board when compared to larger RoG Z170s is the plastic I/O fascia that simply adds a cleaner look.

This missing fascia may reduce the overall clean looks that higher end ASUS boards have become known for, but this is still a very aesthetically pleasing motherboard, albeit one that looks more like a hybrid of previous generations and the new Z170 series.


In either case there is no arguing that this board is packed with features. Features that even the slightly more expensive Maximus VIII Hero dooen’t come with. Before we get to details here we have to start with the CPU socket area.

The LGA1151 socket is the star of this new generation and we were extremely impressed to see that even though this board is smaller than a Maximus VIII Hero, or any other Z170 board we have looked at, the socket area is fairly free of obstructions and any components encroaching on the socket mounting area do respect Intel's z-height restrictions. However, just outside the area designated by Intel for the CPU socket cooler are two rather tall black caps. These caps don’t respect the aforementioned height restrictions and may cause installation issues with overly large or poorly designed CPU cooling solutions. Considering how much less room ASUS had to work with this is certainly isn’t something to pick on and points to ASUS not cutting corners during the design stage.



Unlike smaller ITX-based products, this motherboard boasts four DDR4 RAM slots, just like ATX motherboards. This is important as it allows consumers to use less expensive lower capacity sticks to reach their desired memory capacity. We should also mention ASUS has the Gene rated for DDR4-3600+ speeds.

That quartet of memory slots also use ASUS' handy Q-DIMM memory slots (a clip on one side and a recessed lock on the other), which prevents any clearance issues that can arise between conventional memory clips and the back of a nearby expansion card. Obviously ASUS did not cut any corners here either.


As we have said in the past, Republic of Gamer motherboards are known for their robust power delivery subsystem and their impressive overclocking potential. In this regard ASUS went all out as the Maximus VIII Gene boasts an all-digital 'Extreme Engine DIGI+' ten-phase power design. As with all the other ASUS Z170's this design actually uses an 8+2 layout where two of the phases are dedicated to the iGPU.

Considering some users of this motherboard may actually use the 6700K's integrated GPU, and may in fact want to overclock it to boost performance, this is more than acceptable. More to the point this is a true 8-phase design and not 4 phase with another 4 virtual phases tacked on to pad the specifications.


As for the components that make up the PWM area, ASUS went with top-shelf items. In fact this board has the best selection of parts we have seen on a Z170 to date. This is because the Maximus VIII Gene basically uses the same quality parts as the ASUS TUF Sabertooth MK.2. That means 10K Ti-Caps, TUF Alloy Chokes & MOSFETs - all of which are extremely robust and downright overkill for this board.

Unfortunately, unlike the Maximus VIII Hero, the Maximus VIII Gene makes use of only one DIGI+ controller instead of two. For most users this difference will be minor and even the most expensive boards like the X99 TUF Sabertooth 'only' used one of these for the power delivery subsystem.


On the positive side, and like the Maximus VIII Hero, the Gene uses two large pewter gray heatsinks to keep the VRMs cool. While there isn’t any plastic covering them, ASUS still uses a heatpipe to connect one to the other. This is necessary since it enhances cooling capacity on a board that begs to be overclocked. Since they are a passive only design, having them share the heat load will keep your system stable for years and years.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Closer Look at the Maximus VIII Gene (pg.2)

A Closer Look at the Maximus VIII Gene (pg.2)




Interestingly enough, and just like the Maximus VIII Hero, the back of this motherboard uses two very low profile heatsinks to keep the various VRM components located here cool. Even though we would have preferred a clean back devoid of parts this is an adequate compromise as these heatsinks also act as reinforcing backplates for the two large heatsinks on the other side. Basically the two backplate / heatsinks are connected to the top heatsinks via long bolts.

It really does appear as if ASUS transplanted the Maximus VIII Hero's socket and power subsystem area to this motherboard; albeit with a few tweaks to the parts used. Even the PCH Southbridge doesn’t get a backplate, and instead ASUS uses spring mounted screws.


Due to the space limitations imposed by the mATX form-factor, the PCIe layout is not quite as spacious as it is on ATX motherboards. Instead of placing the lone x4 slot in the space nearest the CPU socket, the first x16 slot is located here. This means that the amount of room between video cards and the RAM slots is rather limited, which is especially true of video cards that use a backplate.

The x4 slot sits directly below the secondary x16 slot and it is an 'either/or' situation. Either consumers will want to use SLI video card configurations on the Maximus VIII Gene, or they can use the x4 slot for a wireless Ethernet controller daughter card, a PCI-E based SSD, or any other x1 - x4 card.

The two x16 slots are nicely spaced apart and this board can easily accommodate even the largest 3 slot GPUs. Of course if a triple slot video card is used in the secondary x16 slot it will cover a lot of the bottom row of headers. In either case, as this is a Z170 based system, if you do opt for an SLI or Crossfire configuration both cards will run in 8+8 mode.


Another thing that needs to be mention is if the x4 slot is used in actual x4 configuration (and not x1 as it defaults to) users will lose two of the SATA ports (SATA5 and SATA6) due to shared bandwidth. Either use those two SATA ports and have an x1 PCIE 3.0 slot that just happens to use the x4 form-factor, or use the PCIe x4 slot as a x4 slot. Given the compromises in layout and number of lanes Intel has given the Z170 this is not that big of a deal, but is something that needs to be taken into consideration before purchasing this motherboard.


Even though the Gen can accept three slot video cards we do not recommend it as the bottom row of connectors and switches will be covered. In addition to the usual 4-pin fan header, front panel headers, and USB 2.0 connectors the bottom row is also where you will find nicely sized Power and Reset buttons, as well as two new buttons.

The first of these is the aptly 'Retry Button' which has been color coded white so as to make finding it easier. As the name suggests, if the system hangs and is completely unresponsive simply press this button and the system will instantly do a hard reset and retry the custom settings set in the BIOS. This makes getting a system up and running with a less than stable overclock rather easy, and certainly will be a boon to synthetic benchmark junkies.

The second button is the red Safe Boot button that works similarly to the Retry button but with a very interesting twist. Basically when the system hard locks but before anyone reaches for the Clear CMOS button, hit this instead. Doing so will boot the system using the default BIOS 'safe' settings but without clearing all your custom settings from the BIOS. This means no more starting from square one after a failed overclocking experiment and instead users can tweak one setting, try and see if it fixed the problem, hit the retry button again and keep troubleshooting until the issue is resolved.

These two nifty features don’t come with the Maximus VIII Hero and instead buyers will have to step up another price step to find it. This alone makes justifying the Maximus VIII Gene a lot easier.

Balancing out these two additions is the fact that ASUS has not included their TPU switch. Much like the Maximus VIII Hero if buyers really have their heart set on using this method of overclocking simply press Cntrl + T during POST as it achieves the same thing. Since this is even easier than locating a small switch on the motherboard, the lack of the TPU switch is not overly worrisome.


Located in their usual locations are the MemOK! button and LED debug panel. The MemOK! button initiates a memory compatibility tuning process if there are memory-related issues preventing a system from booting up. The Debug LED on the other hand explains exactly what the system is doing during POST, and if it fails gives a specific two digit code that will give a clue to where to start troubleshooting.

Unfortunately ASUS there’s no EZ XMP button here. This is a shame as instead of simply being able to press a button to easily auto-enable a memory kit’s XMP profile people will first have to enter the BIOS and do it manually. Much like the missing TPU switch, this issue isn’t a game stopper as consumers can still enter the BIOS and manually turn the feature on.


One of the more interesting features of ASUS’ previous generation Z97-A the Fan Expert 3's ability to control the speed of both PWM and DC fans. The new Z170 series ups the ante with out-of-box support for water pumps as well. This latest tweak means that ASUS has included a dedicated header to control the speed of fluid movement within water cooling loops.

By default, this header - near the 4-pin fan headers next to the four DIMM slots - is configured to run at full speed to prevent spin-up issues at boot. Of course this header has fully manual control abilities via the BIOS if you want to use it for non-pump duties. This makes the dual 4-pin CPU fan headers more useful than ever before - as now both can be used for AIO fans as well.


What is not so impressive is the location ASUS has decided to place these three 4-pin headers in. Instead of their usual location right next to the DDR4 slots, they are directly behind the topmost heatsink. This placement is a direct carryover from the ASUS VIII Hero series, and one that will make installing CPU fans and water pumps much more difficult.

This location also means that the headers are not as well protected from damage as they are on most boards, though at least on this sample none of them were bent like they were on our Maximus VIII Hero.

On the positive side the 8-pin and 24-pin power connectors are in their usual location and since there is no plastic fascia covering the heatsinks actually accessing the 8-pin power connector is a lot easier than it is on the Maximus VIII Hero.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
A Closer Look at the Maximus VIII Gene (pg.3)

A Closer Look at the Maximus VIII Gene (pg.3)



Next to the 24-pin power connector is the onboard Q-LEDs which will blink if there is a problem with the boot device, CPU, RAM, or VGA components during POST. These LEDS in conjunction with the onboard debug panel certainly will make troubleshooting quick and painless.

Also next to the 24-pin is the lone USB 3.0 front panel header. This is a step-down from the Hero which comes with two USB 3.0 front headers. Obviously ASUS felt that there was not enough room for a second USB 3.0 front panel header, but considering most mATX (and many ATX) cases cannot take advantage of a second USB 3.0 header this is not that large of a sacrifice.


Next to the USB 3.0 front panel header are the six SATA 6Gb/s ports and the two SATA Express ports. All of these storage ports are controller via the Intel Z170 PCH and even though the number of available SATA Express devices can be counted on one hand, we are still impressed to see ASUS include two of these ports as both SE ports support PCIe and SATA based SATA Express devices. As usual, for every Express port used two SATA 6Gb/s ports become unusable.


ASUS also includes an M.2 that port that not only supports drives from 42mm to 110mm in length but is also a four lane capable M.2 port. This means - via the sold separately Asus HyperKit- U.2 NVMe devices (aka SFF-8639) such as Intel's 750 series can be used on the Gene.

At a more practical level, the M.2 port also supports PCIe x2 M.2 SSDs and even older SATA based M.2 drives. Unfortunately if a SATA based M.2 SSDs is used, users will have to forgo the use of two of the SATA ports - SATA1 and SATA 2 (the two ports furthest from the two Express ports). Again, this is par for the course and we doubt many would use M.2 plus a huge array of other drives in RAID. You’ll just need to be a bit selective when planning your storage setup.


Moving on to the audio portion of the board, there’s a lot to be impressed with. The Maximus VIII Gene has a sound solution which very similar to what’s found on the Maximus VIII Hero: a SupremeFX 2015-based design. This design relies upon a top of the line ALC1150 codec (with EMI shield), an ESS Hi-Fi Sabre DAC, a Texas Instrument's RC45801P op-amp for the headphone amp, Nichicon capacitors, and even has an NEC de-pop relay. As an added bonus it comes with a Perfect Voice microphone port too.


As with all Z170 motherboards ASUS was able to include two USB 3.1 ports on the rear IO panel; one USB 3.1 Type-A port and one USB 3.1 Type-C port. Also like all the Z170 motherboards we have reviewed, these two ports are controlled via an ASMedia ASM1142 controller. This is ASMedia's first USB 3.1 controller and is compliant with Intel's eXtensible Hot Controller Interface specification revision 1.1 and connected to the motherboard via two PCIe 2.0 lanes.


The single Ethernet port has also been upgraded over past generations and now uses an Intel i219v NIC. This controller and its associated Ethernet port are fully protected from ESD via LANguard technology that was first seen on ASUS' TUF series.

Unfortunately ASUS has once again forgone the inclusion of any wireless Ethernet capabilities. This is a shame as ASUS has upgraded their wireless module from 2x2 to 3x3 abilities and its inclusion would have gone a long way towards justifying the Gene's asking price.


Rounding out the rear IO features are six USB 3.0 ports (powered via the Z170 PCH), a BIOS Flashback button, a Clear CMOS button, six audio analog ports, a S/PDIF optical out port, a single HDMI port, and one full sized DisplayPort.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
BIOS Rundown

BIOS Rundown



ASUS Z170 series motherboards all come equipped with an outstanding dual interface BIOS and the Maximus VIII Gene is no different. In this case, if someone doesn’t read the name at the screen’s top they would have a pretty tough time deciding whether this BIOS belonged to the Maximus VIII Gene, the Maximus VIII Hero…or any of the other Z170 Republic of Gamers motherboards. That is to say it is extremely competent, and yet also very user-friendly.


Interestingly enough, when first entering the BIOS the EZ-Mode setup is no longer the default, and instead we are taken directly to the Advanced Mode. This is also how the Maximus VIII Hero does things, and we assume this is to help 'differentiate' the standard Z170 motherboards from their RoG counterparts. In either case, most buyers of this board will prefer the Advanced Mode to the EZ-Mode. For novices, all it takes is a single mouse click or keyboard key press to change back. In either case let's start with the EZ Mode and then move on to the more powerful Advanced Mode afterwards.


As the name suggests EZ Mode boasts a simplified layout and features a mouse-friendly GUI that prioritizes ease of use and navigation. It obviously does not have all the functionality of the Advanced Mode, but it is not meant to. It simply is intended to give novice users an easy way to visualize and alter some of the most common settings.

This mode is instantly responsive to your input commands and there is almost no noticeable lag. ASUS does include a few transition delays when switching from one section to another, but this is an intentional design feature that makes the new UEFI more aesthetically pleasing.


More importantly this new and improved EZ Mode allows anyone to quickly handle more complex tasks without having to first navigate to the Advanced Mode. For example the EZ Tuning Wizard is particularly interesting since it brings overclocking to an even simpler level than before.

Basically, the wizard asks how the system is generally used, what kind of CPU cooler is installed, and based on these answers comes up with an appropriate tuning level for your respective system. In practice it did exactly what it promised to do and the fact that it never actually mentions "overclocking" should help alleviate some of the fears less knowledgeable users might associate with the word.


Also noteworthy is the Q-Fan Tuning feature which gives full manual or preset-based control over the systems fans. Thanks to the built-in fan control switch-over, this feature is more important than ever as not everyone will use this for a water pump, and fewer still want their chassis fans running at full speed all the time.


For more advanced consumers who like to get their hands dirty and dig under the hood, the default Advanced Mode is tailor made to meet their needs, wants, and desires. Further underscoring this philosophy is the fact that when first entering the Advanced Mode users will be greeted by the My Favorites tab. Unlike previous generations which came with a blank My Favorites section and expected users to populate it themselves, ASUS has listened to feedback and pre-populated it with some of the more commonly used features. Naturally, features can still be added or removed from this list, but this new model does give folks a head start.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
BIOS Rundown (pg.2)

BIOS Rundown (pg.2)



The next tab in the BIOS is the Main section, which displays the standard storage devices and some basic system information. This System Information section has rudimentary specification info including the BIOS date & version, the type of processor and the amount of memory installed. You can also set the system language, and an administrator and/or individual user password.


Next up is the perennial favorite: the Extreme Tweaker area. If you plan on overclocking your system at all, this section is where the majority of your time will be spent. Once the manual option is selected in the AI Overclocker Tuner this section opens up to reveal all of the essential system clock control options: CPU multiplierwith an all-core and per-core option, BLCK frequency, CPU strap, memory frequency, memory timing options, and all the voltage options.


The DIGI+ VRM area has a whole slew of advanced power regulation settings for the CPU cores, CPU VTT and VCCSA (system agent/memory controller), and DRAM channels. The Internal CPU Power Management section is where you can enable or disable all the CPU-specific features like SpeedStep and Turbo Mode, as well as setting the Turbo limits. ASUS have really bolstered this section with an overwhelming array of CPU power tuning settings.


Occupying the middle to bottom section of the Extreme Tweaker area is a long list of voltage options. Thanks to the removal of FIVR these voltage options are much more prodigious than anything seen on the LGA 1150 platform.


Also included is the Overclocking Presets section which has a whole host of factory presets this and the DRAM Odd Ratio options will make getting a manual overclock up and running even faster than before.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
BIOS Rundown (pg.3)

BIOS Rundown (pg.3)



In the Advanced tab there are a number of configuration sub screens for CPU, PCH, SATA, System Agent, USB, Onboard Devices, APM and Network Stack. The Advanced tab is also where you can enable/disable or just find all the various settings and options for all the onboard devices like the onboard USB 3.1 controller. Of especial note is this motherboard can now read display S.M.A.R.T information from any connected SMART enabled storage device. This will make troubleshooting much easier.


The Monitor section contains system temperature/power status, and adjustable fan settings. Fan speeds are customizable based on a number of parameters even though there are profiles included in the BIOS. As with the other Z170 boards, all fan headers can make use of the 'DC Mode' option. With this enabled the motherboard allows all fans which are only 3-pin (and thus not PWM capable) to adjust their respective RPM levels.


The Boot tab is essentially where you set storage device priority, select the boot drive, enable/disable the full screen logo, and ton of other boot settings that can help with the installation or troubleshooting of various OS installations.


The Tool section gives you access to numerous built in tools that allow for everything from selecting which BIOS profile to use to flashing your BIOS. Also included is a feature that was first seen on older RoG motherboards: GPU post. GPU post shows which PCIe slots are populated and in what mode they are operating. This will make troubleshooting GPU and RAID card issues much easier.


Also included is a Secure Erase option which allows consumers to securely erase their SSD via the BIOS. This is a very good feature, but also a very dangerous one that needs more security beyond a simple confirmation pop-up as once an SSD is securely erased all data is gone and never be retrievable


As with previous ASUS motherboards, before being allowed to exit the BIOS, there is a handy window that lists the changes you made during this session. It is a well thought out and implemented idea. The new General Help pop-up that can be found in the top-right corner is quite useful for those who can't remember all the new function key tasks.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Included Software (AI Suite III)

Included Software



Regardless of your intended use for this motherboard, the most utilized ASUS program will be AI Suite III. Put simply it is a system management utility and is the hub from which you can monitor system clock speeds, voltages, temperatures, and fan speeds.

Although its basic UI has been established for a while, ASUS regularly adds to, and even modifies, its capabilities depending on the motherboard series. For example this suite's third iteration was launched along with the Z87 motherboards, was refreshed in time for the Z97 series, and is now has been further refined and polished for the Z170 series.


The largest change between the Z97 version and the Z170 version which accompanies the Gene is that ASUS has once again improved its automatic overclocking abilities. These abilities are found under the Dual Intelligent Processors 5 application and its 5-Way Optimization automatic overclocking feature. We will go over what this sub-program can accomplish in the software overclocking section but suffice to say it is rather impressive in what it can achieve even when paired up with this rather inexpensive motherboard.


Such overclocking abilities are the real star of the show but this application is far from just a one trick pony. Here you will also see very simplified information relating to the other five tabs, such as the Energy Processing Unit (EPU) power saving or performance profiles, Fan Xpert 3 fan speed optimization status, DIGI+ VRM optimization, Turbo App functionality, and some display-only information regarding the TurboV Processing Unit (TPU).


The Turbo App is an often overlooked yet useful program as it allows users to set application specific overclocking / audio / LAN profiles. Basically you can fine tune your overclock based on which program you are using. In order to do this the program will monitor your system and once a configured application is loaded in the “foreground” it will instantly apply your custom overclock. Once the program is minimized your system will go back to its default frequent settings.

This is handy if you are running into thermal or voltage limitations, but with this new processor generation neither is as big an issue as it once was. Audio and LAN profiles can also be applied alongside the application as preferred.

Going back to the main landing page, at the bottom is a static strip that displays information about CPU and DRAM frequency, real-time voltage and temperature measurements, as well as CPU and case fan speeds. You can also set safe thresholds for voltages, temperatures and fan speeds as well as setting alerts to warn you of any serious fluctuations. It is essentially a replacement for the Probe II utility and works very well in this regards.


Along the right side of the AI Suite III utility is an arrow that activates a pop-out menu when clicked. Here you find be features like Ai Charger+ and USB 3.0 / 3.1 Boost.

When enabled, Ai Charger+ allows up to three times faster charging of devices connected to USB ports, while enabling USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Boost implements the UAS Protocol (UASP) USB protocol that greatly enhances speeds while also lowering CPU utilization. The EZ Update tool allows users to update their motherboard's BIOS either directly from the internet or from a downloaded file.

System Information just contains a bunch of basic system information regarding your CPU, motherboard or RAM. You can also find you can find your serial number, BIOS version, etc.


The EPU (Energy Processing Unit) tab contains the board’s power saving options and is where you will be able to fine-tune the various power saving or performance profiles. This is a versatile feature for those who truly care about maximizing energy savings.


The TPU (TurboV Processing Unit) tab is for folks who have a basic knowledge of overclocking but don’t want to enter the BIOS. Here you will find the basic requirements for overclocking and tweaking. This includes adjustable settings for BCLK, CPU ratio, CPU cache ratio, as well as modifiable voltages that impact the CPU. Some of these features can be adjusted on the fly, while others will require a reboot; however the program will tell you when you have to reboot before a new setting can be set.


The DIGI+ Power Control section contains power options for the CPU, System Agent/Memory Controller, and RAM. There are adjustable settings for load-line calibration, current capability, voltage frequency, and phase control. There are different power controls for each memory channel since they are independently powered.


Also included in the new AI Suite III is ASUS's Fan Xpert 3. As you might expect, this is the successor to the wildly popular Fan Xpert 2 application which allows you to fully manage and optimize your CPU and system fans. While there are now a series of four fan presets (Silent/Standard/Turbo/Full Speed), you can also manually adjust the full fan speed curve to your preferences, or simply use the fully automated Fan Tuning feature. It can also adjust the 'pump' 4-pin fan header if you wish to use this header to control a fan instead if a pump.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AkG

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2007
Messages
5,274
Other Software & Utilities

Other Software & Utilities


Even though the AI Suite III is the centerpiece of the ASUS software suite, there are other applications that are arguably just as important and noteworthy for consumers interested in a RoG branded motherboard.

ROG CPU-Z


ROG CPU-Z is a special edition of CPU-Z created to match the aesthetics of ASUS Republics of Gamers motherboards. It is kept as up-to-date as the regular version, and is available at the same place: CPUID.com


ROG GameFirst III

GameFirst is a network traffic shaping program designed to help reduce latency courtesy of cFosSpeed traffic-shaping technology. This utility provides users with a lot of control and monitoring capabilities over every application that is accessing the network. It displays CPU usage, NPU usage, ICMP and UDP average ping, and the network utilization of every system process and program.

This tool also allows you give priority to certain applications, and throttle or block others to free network resources for other applications. It is your one-stop tool for monitoring and controlling all network traffic. In testing it did help somewhat but only if your wired or wireless network is heavily loaded. Otherwise the impact is minimal.


Sonic Radar II


Sonic Radar II is the latest and greatest gaming-centric program from ASUS. As with the first generation version, Sonic Radar II places a small overlay in games and allows for 'seeing' where sounds in the game environment are coming from in relation to your player.

You can also choose what sounds will be visualized so everything footsteps to voices to gunshots can be highlighted with ease. This new version boasts a newly redesigned control panel, a longer -and customizable- game list, and numerous behind the scenes tweaks which turn an interesting idea in a much more useable game 'cheating' tool.


RAMDisk


The RAMDisk utility allows for creating fairly powerful RAM Disks and includes some very advanced features not usually seen in the free versions like automatic backup, restore and update functions.


Boot Setting


ASUS Boot Setting utility allows users to boot directly into the BIOS without having to mash delete on the POST screen. It also includes an advanced section allowing you to customize fastboot settings including what happens after a power outage.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Top