Asus Maximus IV Extreme RoG review

Is this the best Sandy Bridge motherboard?

Asus Maximus IV Extreme RoG
The Asus Maximus IV Extreme RoG aims to be ultimate Sandy Bridge motherboard

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In performance terms, it's hard to be absolutely categorical about the Asus Maximus IV Extreme RoG. It's the quickest Sandy Bridge board we've tested, but then we haven't seen many yet. Still, it's worth noting that we achieved our highest air-cooled overclock of Sandy Bridge, an impressive 4.6GHz, with this board. However, for all the talk of quick-booting EFI firmwares, it doesn't half take a long time to wake up and smell the coffee.

If that's a function of the snazzy graphical EFI menu, we'd prefer a return to plain old text.

Moreover, there are several unresolved issues that prevent us from giving this board the full thumbs up. We're not convinced the NF200 chip's triple-card SLI capability is quite what it seems.

Another doubt involves the Quick Sync Video transcode core that appears in all Sandy Bridge processors. According to our Intel engineering contact, it should be possible to access the transcoder when using discrete graphics.

However, the Maximus does not provide an option to enable the integrated graphics core in parallel with a discrete card and thus it doesn't appear in device manager. We'd certainly be loathe to pass up on Quick Sync Video. Early tests suggest it's much faster than conventional CPU software encoding.

We liked

If you can afford it, we've little doubt the Asus Maximus IV Extreme RoG represents your best chance of maximising the CPU performance of Intel's new Sandy Bridge processors. It's also packed with seriously desirable features such as wireless overclocking and comprehensive USB 3.0 connectivity.

We disliked

We're still getting to know Intel's new Sandy Bridge processor architecture, so it's not quite clear whether Asus is responsible for Maximus's niggles, including question marks over SLI and the Quick Sync Video transcode engine. But all the same, they could do with sorting.

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