ASUS Z87 ROG Motherboard Roundup: Enter Maximus VI

Article Index

Summary and Conclusion

Performance Summary: ASUS is clearly doing something right. Its Z87 ROG boards generally delivered impressive benchmark scores, they were rock-solid stable, and they proved to have plenty of overclocking headroom--and that’s before an enterprising tinkerer spends hours or days tweaking all of the copious settings, voltages, speeds, etc. that ASUS has available in each board's respective BIOS.

Although ASUS has a wide range of Z87-based motherboards, the company chose to feature its ROG line here, and it’s easy to see why. First, there are multiple form factors available, so users can have more freedom to build exactly the type of system they crave, while still being able to leverage the same platform and (most of) the same features as the highest-end offerings in the lineup. More importantly, the ROG boards offer great performance and features overall.

The little Maximus VI Impact was particularly impressive, like many mini-ITX mainboards, and ASUS gets a tip o’ the hat for using a discrete sound card to include the same quality of audio components as the larger boards in the series. In fact, ASUS’ biggest achievement with this line may be the consistent feature set and software applications of all the boards, regardless of form factor.

Of course, not every board is exactly the same. For example, the Formula boasts the thermal armor, and although we’re not completely convinced that it has much of an impact on anything other than keeping dust at bay and adding a level of physical protection to underlying components, it’s additional features like that, that entice buyers.

Speaking of additional features, ASUS’ RAMDisk and MemTweakIt are useful tools that gamers are likely to use, while perhaps less potent but no less enjoyable offerings such as Sonic Radar, ROG Connect, ROG CPU-Z, and Game First II are icing on the cake. And of course, the many, many ways in which you can tweak the system with obsession-level minutiae will appeal to overclockers and gamers alike.

For our money, though, we were most impressed with the physical quality of these motherboards. We experienced essentially zero instability, cooling was commendable, and every tiny component felt solid and well-built.

You’ll pay handsomely--but not too handsomely--for the privilege of owning one of these motherboards. The Formula costs roughly $329.99, the Gene is in the $209.99 range, and the Impact is about $229.99, although you can find slightly lower prices if you poke around. With the Impact it seems you’re paying for the extra engineering, and there’s not a demonstrative difference between the Formula and the Gene other than some expandability options (and that thermal armor), so unless you specifically want to build a SFF PC or roll with more than two graphics cards, the Gene presents a relatively good value.

But with any of the three boards, you’ll be getting a solid gamer with attractive options and excellent build quality.

 ASUS Maximus VI Gene  ASUS Maximus VI Impact
ASUS Maximus VI Formula

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