|by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig | March 3, 2010|
Maximus III Extreme Overview
Maximus III Extreme Overview
In this section we will be giving you a quick overview of the Maximus III Extreme in order to show you some of its unique features.
Unlike some other boards in the ASUS Republic of Gamers series, the Maximus III Extreme doesnít exceed the size for the standard ATX form factor so you wonít have to worry about having to buy an EATX case to install it into. Overall, the layout is exactly what we would expect from a high-end $300 motherboard with large heatsink assemblies and a bevy of PCI-E slots.
The area bordering the CPU socket is perfectly clear of any obstructions which should make cooler installation or insulating for more extreme types of cooling relatively easy. The heatsinks in this area arenít particularly large due to the inherent efficiency of using a partially digital PWM design but there is an interesting addition: a Fujitsu ML capacitor. This is supposed to offer ultra low ESR and ripple current which can help to lengthen the life of certain components.
ASUS has also gone for a somewhat unique power management system which they call Extreme Engine Digi+. Basically, this combines the best features from digital VRM and analog designs and combines them by using multi-phase MOSFETs in parallel design to offer a wide range of switching frequencies. With Digi+ ASUS is able to offer selectable frequencies ranging from a mere 250Hz all the way up to 1Mhz within the BIOS.
The board also features MOSFETs which are encased in an epoxy moulding compound for improved heat transfer and high-end chokes. Combined, all of these features give the Maximus III Extreme the ability to push up to 40A of current to the CPU which is more than any LGA1156 processor could possibly need.
The upper right-hand side of the board features the ProbeIT and Go Button features (we will go into the functions of these in a later section) as well as the ATX connector and memory slots. A bit further down are the SATA connectors of which all except one are placed at right angles to the PCB for easy access. The single SATA connector which isnít at a right angle is supposed to be used for eSATA devices. For those of you wondering, the Maximus III Extreme DOES support SATA 6Gb/s (through the red SATA ports) and USB 3.0.
The bottom section of this high-end ASUS product hold the usual Power and Reset buttons for those of you who donít want to install it into an enclosure as well as one of two additional Molex power connectors. These additional Molex connectors are basically used to ensure enough power gets to lower-end graphics cards which usually donít have a PCI-E connector on them. If you install three or more of these cards, it is very likely that without the additional connectors on the board itself the GPUs wouldnít get enough juice.
The back of the board shows us an extremely complicated backplate layout which includes the audio and I/O connectors along with some custom buttons. These buttons give you access to CMOS reset and a BIOS update feature we will look at a bit later.
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