ASUS Maximus II Gene Motherboard


Although the Core i7 and X58 combo is a proven performance leader, there are still plenty of Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad CPUs out there in the wild.  The Core 2 is still a very capable processor with many models costing less than half the price the cheapest Core i7 processor, the Core i7 920.  Thus, systems based around the P45 chipset are still a viable option for getting good, if not great, performance at a vastly more affordable price.

Up until now, when users thought of a micro-ATX board, they typically expect find a slimmed down version of a full sized product, minus some of the bells and whistles and perhaps sacrificing some of the enthusiast-friendly features of their larger brethren.  Recognizing a need for high performance, yet smaller form-factor motherboard, ASUS stepped in with two offerings: the Rampage II Gene for Core i7/DDR3 owners, and the Maximus II Gene we are reviewing today, with support for Core 2 Duo/Quad processors and DDR2 memory.  Both of these boards fly under the 'Republic of Gamers' flag, and we intend on seeing if the Maximus II Gene can live up to its namesake.

Maximus II Gene Board & Package
ASUS Maximus II Gene  

ASUS Maximus II Gene
Specifications & Features

Processor Support 
Intel® Socket 775 CoreTM2 Quad/CoreTM2 Extreme/CoreTM2 Duo/Pentium® dual-core/Celeron® dual-core / Celeron® Processors Support Intel® 45nm Multi-Core CPU

 Intel® P45 /ICH10R 
4 x DIMM, Max. 16 GB, DDR2 1300/1200/1066/800/667 Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture
Expansion Slots 
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (single max @ x16,dual @ x8 speed)
1 x PCIe x1
1 x PCI 2.2
Intel ICH10R controller
6 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports
Intel Matrix Storage Technology Support RAID 0,1,5,10

JMicron® JMB363 PATA and SATA controller
1 xUltraDMA 133/100/66/33 for up to 2 PATA devices
1 xExternal SATA 3.0 Gb/s port (SATA On-the-Go)
1 xSATA 3.0 Gb/s port

Multi-GPU Support
Support ATI CrossFireXTM Technology 
SupremeFX X-Fi built-in
8 - Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- EAX® AdvancedTM HD 4.0
- X-Fi CMSS®-3D
- X-Fi CrystalizerTM
- Creative ALchemy


Gigabit LAN

2 x 1394a ports (1 port at back I/O, 1 port onboard) 
12 USB 2.0 ports (6 ports at back I/O, 6 ports onboard)
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x External SATA
1 x S/PDIF Out (Optical)
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x LAN(RJ45) port
6 x USB 2.0/1.1
8 -Channel Audio I/O
1 x PS/2 Keyboard port(purple)
1 x Clr CMOS switch  
Internal I/O Connectors
3 x USB connectors supports additional 6 USB 2.0 ports
7 x SATA connectors
1 x IDE connector for two devices
5 x Fan connectors: 1 x CPU / 2 x Chassis / 2 x Optional
Front panel audio connector
System Panel connector
2 x thermal sensor connectors
1 x LCD Poster connector
1 x SPDIF_OUT connector
24-pin ATX Power connector
8-pin ATX 12V Power connector
1 x En/Dis-able Clr CMOS header
1 x CD audio in
16 Mb Flash ROM
AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI2.0a Multi-Language BIOS 

Overclocking Features
Power Design
- 8-phase CPU power
- 2-phase DRAM power
- 2-phase NB power
CPU Level Up
Extreme Tweaker
Loadline Calibration
Intelligent overclocking tools:
- TurboV
- O.C Profile
Overclocking Protection:
- COP EX (Component Overheat Protection - EX)
- Voltiminder LED
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall) 

Form Factor
mATX Form Factor
9.6 inch x 9.6 inch ( 24.4 cm x 24.4 cm )

Packaging looks to be in line with all of ASUS' other Republic of Gamers offerings, such as the Rampage II Extreme we previously took a look at.  A splashy maroon box with the board name in stylized block lettering and the updated RoG logo marking this as "gamer-oriented" hardware.  Smaller call-outs for ASUS itself as well as support for Intel P45 chipset and ATI's CrossFireX technology are the only other markings to be seen.

Maximus II Gene - Box Front Maximus II Gene - Box Back
Tech Sheet   Bundle   Media and Decals

The box flap opens up to cover a few of the major selling points of the Maximus II Gene including: MemOK! which helps diagnose memory compatibility issues, CPU Level Up which allows overclocking with the click of a button, and SupremeFX X-Fi Audio.  There's also brief mention of the bundled software consisting of 3DMark06 Advanced and Kaspersky Anti-Virus.  With 3DMark Vantage being available for quite some time it would have been far better to have seen the newer version included as we have seen with other hardware.  The rest of the bundle consists of a decal, 4 SATA cables (two of which have right-angled connectors), and IDE ribbon cable, a handful of cable ties, an ASUS-branded case badge, ASUS' own Q-Connector and LCD Poster, the I/O shield, as well as the User Guide and Driver DVD-ROM. 

Tags:  SFF, Asus, micro-ATX, ROG, maximus, Gene

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