ASUS Maximus VIII Gene Motherboard Review
It seems like these days motherboard vendors have overly complicated lineups which cater to every conceivable niche or combination of features. For buyers, navigating these confusing waters can be frustrating but of anyone that wants to buy into a more compact form factor, things get a lot easier. While the mATX segment has been expanding as of late, there isnít a massive amount of competition and the offerings typically fall into one of two categories: higher boards that offer a broad range of gamer / overclocker-centric features and more affordable options that offer value above all else. ASUS new Maximus VIII Gene falls into the former segment.
ASUS has been on a roll lately with their Z170 motherboard series but we have mainly been focused on their ATX offerings. Indeed, while the Z170-A and Maximus VIII Hero are both awesome boards in their own respect, they arenít particularly unique. Meanwhile, the Gene series caters to that rather large portion of PC gaming enthusiasts who want performance and portability go walk hand in hand. ATX systems are simply too large to be comfortably carry from LAN party to LAN party, while ITX based systems lack advanced features like SLI and CrossFire.
The Maximus VIII Geneís mATX seems to be tailor made to satisfy LAN-goersí every need and should even be considered for those who want an insanely powerful rig but donít have the space for an ATX systemís footprint. Its middle of the road approach between ATX and ITX means that fewer compromises have to be made as there is a lot more room on the board for designers to work with. For example, instead of having to place advanced PWM components on a daughter card like certain SFF boards the Maximus VIII Gene makes use of a power-delivery subsystem that is every bit as good - and arguably better than some - ATX motherboards.
Another key factor here is the boardís size allows for the inclusion of two PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots alongside a tertiary PCIe 3.0 x4 slot for adding wireless cards, soundcards and even Intel 750 NVMe SSDs. Due to the expansive feature set though (more on this later) the need for this extra slot has been whittled down to basically wireless Ethernet controller daughter. Thereís also an integrated sound subsystem which is also every bit as good as whatís found on most ATX motherboards and includes features like a NEC de-pop switch, onboard amps and high performance Japanese caps. Despite its size, this motherboard seems to have it all.
On the software side of the equation ASUS pulled out all the stops and bestowed upon their new Maximus VIII Gene a BIOS with very similar to whatís found on other Republic of Gamer motherboards we have used in the recent past. Add in the award winning AI SUITE III and on paper there is a lot to like about this 'small' motherboard.
On paper, the only things that are really noticeable by their absence are the extra PCIe x1 and x16 slots normally found on larger boards, but that is about it. Even the Geneís storage abilities are sure to satisfy as it has six 6Gb/s SATA ports, two SATA Express ports, and even a x4 M.2 slot which is compatible with U.2 adapters such as ASUS' HyperKit. Mix in USB 3.1 Type A and Type C ports, and it becomes apparent that the Maximus VIII Gene really has been designed to satisfy a wide swath of the buying public. So much so that even with a price of $230, it may just find traction outside its intended niche as it actually costs less than a Maximus VIII Hero.
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