ASUS Maximus II Gene Motherboard
There are three rows od components alongside the top side of the socket itself, one row made up of six solid-state capacitors, another consisting of 8 chokes and a final row of MOSFETs that are cooled by a small black aluminum heatsink. This heatsink, in turn, tranfers heat away via a single heat pipe to a passive cooler placed over the Northbridge, with the ROG logo neatly built-in. The Southbridge is also covered by a small passive heatsink as well.
4 DIMMS are supported, up to a maximum of 16GB of DDR2 memory ranging from as high a memory clock of 1300 MHz to as low as 667 MHz. Placed in the nearby corner is the CMOS battery, mounted vertically to save space. Directly adjacent to the battery is the 24-pin power connector, while the 8-pin ATX connector is tucked up away between the socket area and the backplane. 2 PCI-E X16 slots provide the graphics card support - one card at a full 16 lanes while installing two requires them to share the bandwidth, leaving 8 lanes for each Radeon if installed and used in Cross Fire mode. There are also single slots left for PCI-E X1 and PCI v2.2 based expansion cards, if needed.
The Southbridge is Intel's ICH10R, which is capable of controlling up to six SATA II devices as well as supporting RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 setups. These SATA ports are all colored blue, and are mounted at a 90-degree angle from the board to not only facilitate connecting the SATA cables to each device, but to prevent said cables with interfering with the installation of longer PCI-Express graphics cards. An additional chip, JMICRON's 363 controller, provides some additional drive options by adding in support for up to 2 more PATA devices as well as another internal SATA 3.0GB/s connection and external SATA port. Audio is provided by the Supreme FX X-Fi daughter card, marrying an 8-channel Hi-Def Audio CODEC with Creative's EAX Advanced 4.0, X-Fi, CMSS-DD, X-Fi Crystalizer and Creative's Alchemy technologies. It's not a true X-Fi component, as the architecture is decidedly not Creative's, but the combined support of Creative's software with the HD Audio gives you many more options that basic integrated audio.
Overclocking is anything but a secondary thought based on the way ASUS designed the Maximus II Gene. 8-phase CPU power, 2-phase DRAM and 2-phase NorthBridge power provide the necessary foundation for stable current flow through the board, while BIOS settings such as CPU Level Up and COP Ex are reminders that ASUS build in some easy-to-use tweaking options into the Maximus II Gene. Other user-friendly options on the board include Power and Reset buttons, MemOK, and Voltminder LEDs placed throughout the board, warning you if voltages are set too high. Finally, wrapping things up, the Back Panel I/O ports include 1 PS/2 port, 1 eSATA port, a RJ-45 LAN port, 6 USB 2.0 ports, 1 IEEE-1394a port, and the CLR CMOS switch.
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