After taking a look at a few full-sized Z97 motherboards, we thought it was time to focus on something a little more compact. With this in mind, today we will be putting the new ASUS Maximus VII GENE under the microscope. As you will see, this fun-sized Micro ATX Z97-based model packs an impressive number of features and capabilities into a compact design, and might even make you think twice about the need for a standard ATX motherboard.
As we have come to expect, this new GENE model is a fully featured Micro-ATX motherboard with dual PCI-E x16 expansion slots for full 2-way CrossFire and 2-way SLI support in x8/x8 configuration. Despite an obvious shortage of PCB space, ASUS have upheld this model's RoG gaming roots by including an upright PCB module that houses the new SupremeFX Impact II sub-system. This audio module houses a Realtek ALC1150 8-channel HD audio CODEC protected by an EMI cover, ENLA audio capacitors, and PCB-level analog and digital signal separation. It should be every bit as competitive as the SupremeFX 2014 audio found on the larger motherboards, and it supports the same Sonic SenseAmp, Sonic Studio, Sonic SoundStage, and Sonic Rader II features.
This model also comes with an 8-phase CPU power design with NexFET Power Block MOSFET, 60A Ferrite Chokes, and 10K Black Metallic Capacitors. Basically, the same high-end components that you see on all RoG models. It features similar connectivity features as well, with an M.2 slot, an impressive eight SATA 6Gb/s ports, four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 headers, and one gigabit LAN port powered by an Intel I218-V NIC. Video output is limited to a sole HDMI port, since the rear I/O panel has to make room for the usual plethora of aforementioned ports as well as the RoG-specific Clear CMOS button and ROG Connect On/ Off switch.
Overclockers and those who run their system on an open test bench definitely won’t be disappointed with this model, it features a Q-Code debug LED display, LN2 Mode jumper (helps remedy cold-boot bug during post at sub-zero temperatures), power-on Start button, reset button, MemOk! button (initiates memory compatibility tuning process), thermal probe header, and even a ProbeIt area with an assortment of voltage read points. This last feature is surprising since the GENE is actually the only model in the entire Republic of Gamers lineup to have them. Overall, you don’t have to give up anything by choosing a small form factor motherboard. This latest GENE model is absolutely packed with features, many of which we haven’t even mentioned yet, so keep on reading.