Performance Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: Although we have been more focused on newer platforms as of late, there is still some life left in the Core 2 platform and P45 chipset. The value proposition is quite favorable for those who don't quite need the bleeding-edge hardware that's out there. For the most part, the Maximus II Gene held its own when compared to a couple full-sized P45s we had in the labs, as well as a G45 Bonetrail board from Intel. While the Maximus II Gene did tend to fall on the lower end of the performance spectrum, the ease of the overclocking process and features of the board more than make up for it. Tools like CPU Level Up and TweakIt making overclocking a possibility to even the most novice user.
Typically many users expect micro-ATX boards to perform on a level somewhat below, highly-tuned, full-sized enthusiast class motherboards, as the focus of many micro-ATX boards is on form factor and not necessarily optimal performance. ASUS has totally blown away these notions with their new Gene line of boards. Utilizing the P45 chipset and supplemented by a highly tunable BIOS, the only real difference between the Maximus II Gene and the other ATX Republic of Gamers boards that precede it appears to be the form factor. Stylish design, support for high-end CPUs, RAM, and multi-GPU configurations are the hallmarks of a powerful PC, and this board can handle it all.
Ultimately, we realize that the Maximus II Gene, as well as the other P45-based motherboards used in this review, are geared towards the mainstream. If pure power is your thing, then going with a Core i5 or i7 may be in your best interest. In fact, ASUS even has you covered there with their Rampage II Gene motherboard - another micro-ATX board that flies under the Republic of Gamers flag. But for those who still need or want to keep their Core 2 or other socket 775 processor and DDR2 RAM, and can't afford the full upgrade price of newer platforms, the Maximus II Gene is a perfect way to get good performance in a small form factor without much sacrifice.
|• Well thought-out layout
• Fully featured micro-ATX board
• Overclocks well
• Onboard Hi-Def audio with X-Fi support
|• Passive coolers get somewhat hot|
• Not "true" X-Fi audio