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Maximus IV Extreme-Z Unboxing

V2-V3
Level 8
The Next Revolution in Performance


The Maximus IV Extreme-Z is the ASUS flagship Sandy Bridge motherboard. With its deep ROG bloodline ASUS engineers have designed an extremely desirable motherboard for Gamers, Overclockers and enthusiasts alike. On the outside the Maximus IV Extreme-Z appears very similar to its non "Z" edition brother the Maximus IV Extreme. Sharing an nForce 200 SLI chip, the Maximus Extreme and Z support NVIDIA 4-Way SLI & ATI CrossFireX. Both motherboards have four SATA 3Gbp/s and 6Gbp/s ports and an impressive two internal and eight rear USB 3.0 ports. How ever, on the inside we see something much more beautiful and well refined about the Maximus IV Extreme-z. The release of Intel's new Z68 chipset delivered new features such as Intel Rapid Storage Technology allowing high performance Solid State Drives to be seamlessly integrated with traditional high capacity hard disk drives. Lucid Virtu combines the overclocking success of the P67 chipset with the Integrated graphics processor functionality of H67 enabling users to leverage the power of Intel's graphics processor for Quick Sync Video support. Asus has taken the popular Maximus IV Extreme and given it an enthusiasts makeover by taking full advantage of the new Intel Z68 chipset features.


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ASUS always impresses me with the retail packaging of its motherboards and the Maximus IV Extreme-Z is no different. The retail packaging follows suit with previous boards in its ROG red color scheme and bold shimmering title.

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When we turn the box over we can see Asus has provided the user with a brief overview of the boards features. Flip open the front of the box and we find an informative section with more detail of the ROG Overclocking aspects



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After working out way around the box we arrive to find the holly grail of motherboards perched beautifully behind a window taunting us to let it out!


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Located inside the box is a neatly packaged accessories kit.

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The accessories kit supplied by Asus includes many useful items. starting on the upper left Included in the kit are both an ATi Crossfire Cable for connecting two ATI AMD graphics card to act as one for more performance, as well as an NVIDIA SLI Cable for connecting two NVIDIA graphics cards for increased performance. Below the supplied graphics card cables is a package of Probe it cables used on the motherboard as optional plugin voltage read points for voltmeters. As we move farther down we see the I/O plate or shield for securing and grounding of the motherboard rear ports to the computer case. At the bottom of the left we see the ASUS provided driver support DVD and case badge sticker. The support DVD includes 3D Mark Vantage Advanced, Kaspersky Anti Virus, ROG CPU-Z, as well as the required hardware drivers and software for overclocking and tweaking your system. The interesting explosion at the top of the picture is a ROG sticker presumable to be installed on your computer case. In the middle of the image is the ROG exclusive feature guide where ROG Connect, RC Bluetooth, ROG IDirect are described in detail. just below the ROG guide we see the included SATA Drive labels for labeling your SSD, Optical and Hard Drives. The three wires upper right are used as optional temperature probes to be connected to the motherboard to monitor desired thermal zones and can be viewed by the BIOS. Last but no least is the Motherboard user guide, inside you will find answers to your questions about the motherboard layout, features and options.

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Pictured are the remaining accessories included with the Maximus IV Extreme-z motherboard. The white USB to USB cable is used for the ASUS ROG CONNECT feature for remote BIOS Overclocking, monitoring and flashing. Below the ROG Connect cable is a package of ASUS quick connect adapters for the motherboards front panel header. The Quick Connect adapters are a favorite of mine as the simplify and save time on the assembly of a computer system, simply plug your HDD LED, Power LED, PC Speaker, Power Button and Reset Button into the Quick Connect and effortlessly connect it to your motherboard! Both USB and Front Panel Quick connects are included. The top right of the next column is an NVIDIA 3-Way SLi bridge for connecting three graphics cards together for maximum video performance. at the bottom we find not just one or two SATA cabled but 8 cables, the four black and white SATA cables are equipped with locking clips to prevent unwanted loosening of cables. To the right of the SATA cables we see a dual USB 2.0 port I/O expander to be installed for additional USB ports. The upper right contains the prized jewel of the accessories kit, the ROG Bluetooth module. The Bluetooth module is used by mobile devices such as an iPhone or Droid phone and allows for remote wireless overclocking and the ability to turn the PC on, off and clear the BIOS.

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Enough about the retail box, its accessories and their uses! Here is what you have been waiting for, the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-z motherboard. Immediately I noticed the long standing of the ROG red and black color scheme, from the sleek black PCB to the sexy red PCI express connectors and buttons. At the center of the motherboard is an appropriately placed ROG logo illuminated by a beautiful red LED.

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Turn the motherboard over and we find the silver LGA 1155 CPU socket back plate for the sturdy mounting of a CPU cooler. Above and to the left of the LGA back plate are two black rectangular support brackets designed to ensure proper contact of the CPU Voltage regulators and their respective coolers on the front of the board. Directly below the CPU back plate is the motherboard serial number, you may want to take note of serial number during installation as it may be difficult to access in a fully assembled system. On a side note this motherboard has much shorter solder points at the back of the board when compared to older generations, I find this comforting as it helps eliminate deadly accidental short circuits.

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The I/O panel of the Maximus IV Extreme-z is very impressive and feature rich. The motherboard boosts an unprecedented 8 USB 3.0 ports seen colored in blue. Equally impressive is the use of two Intel Gigabit Network interface cards for maximum networking capacity. Located on the far right is the on board 7.1 surround sound audio. The upper left includes a rather out dated PS2 port but very useful for Overclockers and trouble shooting as it provides reliable keyboard and mouse connectivity in even the worst of conditions. To the right is the ROG BIOS reset button to be used when overclocking instability prevents the motherboard from passing the Power On Self Test at boot. Next on the right is an Optical audio output jack for crystal clear digital sound. The two red ports are for External SATA capable optical and hard drives. Near the middle of the I/O plane is the ROG connect USB port and on off switch, the ROG connect port is used in remote overclocking from an external device as well as the ability to update the BIOS even when the motherboard will not pass POST.

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11 REPLIES 11

V2-V3
Level 8
Maximus IV Extreme-Z Unboxing

The Next Revolution in Performance Continued...

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The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme-z incorporates an impressive 4 PCI express lanes the first two are connected via the Intel sandy bridge CPU's internal PCI express lanes with a maximum of 16x bandwith for a single Graphics card in lane one or two. For two graphics cards with lanes one and two occupied the maximum bandwidth is 8x per graphics card. when lanes one two and four are occupied by NVIDIA graphics cards the on board NVIDIA NF200 chip is activated and allows use of 3-Way SLi and full 16x bandwidth per card.

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Asus has taken it one step further with the Maximus IV Extreme-z cooling solution, the heatsink is remarkable blend of performance and aesthetics. The use of a uni-heatpipe and layered sweeping fins provides excellent cooling for the Voltage regulators and NF200 SLi chip even under extreme overclocking conditions.

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The Overclocking area of the motherboard has many features some of them we have seen before like the handy Start and reset buttons. Other features found include the Probe it connectors for measuring direct voltage of the DRAM, VCC SA I/O, NF200, PCH PLL, PCH, IGPU, CPU PLL, and CPU voltage via a multimeter. The smaller red "GO" button below the Probe it connectors allows the user to boot with a predefigned "GO" BIOS profile at the push of a button. For extreme users the LN2 mode switch allows the CPU to be operated at below freezing temperatures for use with Phase change, Dry Ice, Liquid Nitrogen, and those who live in Antarctica. The four PCIe On/Off switches are used to disable PCI express lanes when troubleshooting a problem with multiple graphics cards or to disable unused slots.
Located on the upper right is the Debug LCD, the LCD is very useful for viewing POST codes when the system is failing to boot and helping to diagnose the issue.

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The Above picture shows us the eight internal SATA ports, the four grey ports are 3Gb/s, the remaining four red sata ports are full 6Gb/s bandwidth. These Ports allow for Intels new SSD Cache technology enabling a user to combine the massive storage capacity of a mechanical hard disk drive with the high performance low latency Solid State Drive. SSD Cache works by intelligently storing frequently used data on the SSD for ready access while using the traditional hard disk drive to store the less used majority of data. Performance is far greater than a single hard disk drive but less than that of a single SSD.

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Positioned on the left bottom of the motherboard is a 4 pin molex power connector used to supply additional 12 volt power to the PCI express lanes for maximum graphics stability and performance. Just to the right is the AAFP "Advanced Audio Front Panel" connector for the Microphone and Headphone ports located on the front of most computer cases. Slightly above the AAFP is the S/PDIF "Sony Philips Digital Interface" Most commonly used to connect older generation graphics cards for DVI to HDMI audio support. The next two 4 pin connectors along the bottom of the board are used for 4 pin PWM and 3 pin non PWM fans. There are four USB internal headers these 4 headers enable support for an additional 8 USB 2.0 ports on the front and rear of the chassis. The two identical 8 pin chips at the base of the board are the #1 and #2 BIOS, in the event of BIOS corruption or a failed BIOS flashing attempt, functionality can easily be restored. The red BIOS switch button in the lower right corner can be used to switch to the secondary backup BIOS. I find the dual BIOS feature very useful when overclocking or testing a BIOS update. Next to the BIOS Switch is the Front Panel header for connecting the lights and buttons from the front of the case to the motherboard. Here is where you will find the Front Panel Quick Connector handy.


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With the Cooling assembly removed we can clearly see the 8 phase Power for the CPU. Processor Power design consists of Japaneses Solid capacitors, R68 Chokes that act as electronic filters, Drivers and Digital VRM's "Voltage Regulator Module". Above the LGA 1155 CPU Socket is an additional 4 power phases for the iGPU "Intel integrated GPU"

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Below the PCI express slots is the open die "flip chip" NVIDIA NF200 chip for 3-Way SLi support and full bi-16x graphics bandwidth. the other flip chip exposed by removing the heatsink is the Intel south bridge. The south bridge consists of the Z86 Chipset with SATA 6Gp/s SSD Caching technology also known as "Rapid Storage Technology 10", newly integrated Gigabit Ethernet controller, Internal audio codec for HDMI and DP audio. The Z68 chipset allows for the use of the Intel internal HD graphics found in sandybridge CPU's alongside the use of discrete add in graphics by vendors such as AMD and NVIDIA.

In conclusion the Maximus IV Extreme-z has won my stamp of approval and is a suitable upgrade for any gamer, enthusiast, or overclocker.

ASUS MAXIMUS IV EXTREME-Z RESOURCES
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

MAXIMUS IV EXTREME-Z : UNBOXING
MAXIMUS IV EXTREME-Z : SYSTEM BUILDING
MAXIMUS IV EXTREME-Z : OVERCLOCKING
MAXIMUS IV EXTREME-Z : EXTREME OVERCLOKING
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kaboom
Level 8
Really good unboxing. I like!

Retired
Not applicable
Nice unboxing! I like the wiki links

Brian@ASUS wrote:
Nice unboxing! I like the wiki links


yes very nice unboxing, I really like my Extreme Z

MarkedOne wrote:
yes very nice unboxing, I really like my Extreme Z


Thank you!

Retired
Not applicable
yep... thats what mine looked like too. cept I left my chipset covers alone. 😛

SlyOne
Level 7
Just placed an order fo the board to come his week. Your thread was good to see wha I will get.
Thanks

does it support PCI Express 3.0 ?
New ROG PC built Nov 2011:
Asus Maximus IV Extreme-Z
Intel Core I5-2500K
(2) EVGA GTX 580 Superclocked in SLI
Corsair 600T
Corsair H100 Liquid CPU Cooling
Corsair AX1200 PSU
Corsair Force 3 128GB SSD for boot drive
8GB Red Corsair Vengeance @ 1600 Mhz 9-9-9-24
1.5 TB Western Digital Caviar Black
Asus 12x Blu-Ray Writer


Built my first PC at age 12, Pentium III @ 450 Mhz.

pci express 3.0 and Ivy bridge compatible?
New ROG PC built Nov 2011:
Asus Maximus IV Extreme-Z
Intel Core I5-2500K
(2) EVGA GTX 580 Superclocked in SLI
Corsair 600T
Corsair H100 Liquid CPU Cooling
Corsair AX1200 PSU
Corsair Force 3 128GB SSD for boot drive
8GB Red Corsair Vengeance @ 1600 Mhz 9-9-9-24
1.5 TB Western Digital Caviar Black
Asus 12x Blu-Ray Writer


Built my first PC at age 12, Pentium III @ 450 Mhz.