Well, this is it. The last Ivy Bridge motherboard we’ll be reviewing. But what a board it is! The Maximus V Gene is a fellow member of Asus’ ROG (Republic Of Gamers) family, that seeks to provide the absolute best to enthusiasts everywhere. However, the Gene line consists of boards that fit the microATX standard, unlike the other members that go with the larger ATX form factor.
The Maximus V Gene sticks with the red-black colour scheme that is almost ubiquitous of the ROG family, with a neat red light trail right next to the I/O connectors. The little strip actually has a purpose: it sort of “partitions” the board, keeping the SupremeFX III audio solution segregated from the rest of the components, ensuring the best audio possible. If you can manage to source some red-black components and pair them up with the Gene, you will be getting a rather visually pleasing machine.
Asus has managed to cram in a lot of goodies into this small board, so bear with me for a while. First, the usual stuff: the four DIMM slots let you put a maximum of 32GB of DDR3 RAM, of which you can clock to an impressive 2800MHz. As supported by Ivy Bridge, this LGA1155 board has one PCIE x16 3.0 slot, ensuring maximum compatibility with current graphics cards. There is a second PCIE x16 slot, though its a 2.0 one instead, and a PCIE x4 slot. The two full-length x16 slots make the board SLI/CrossFire-capable, so you can slot in a pair of graphics card and have yourself a tiny powerhouse. There are six SATA connectors altogether – a pair of them go at 3Gb/s, and a quartet that do 6Gb/s. Out of the four speedy ones, two belong to the native Z77 chipset, while the other pair belong to ASMedia. Suffice to say, Asus didn’t just slap on a new shade of paint and called it a day.
Looking at the back, the Gene board holds four USB 2.0 ports, with the white one used for ROG Connect, a feature that lets you tweak your computer through another computer. There are also a pair of USB 2.0 headers on the board, making for a total of eight. The Gene also offers four USB 3.0 ports, with a pair from Intel and another from ASMedia. There is also a USB 3.0 header lying about, making for a total of six. To complete the lineup is an ESATA connector for storage expansion, and a HDMI and DisplayPort connector for extra displays.
Asus is also using the same mPCIe/mSATA expansion card on the Gene, letting you install a wireless card and an mSATA drive without occupying any of the normal-sized slots. And with that introduction done, head on to the next page to see how it fares.
[[Benchmarks & Conclusion]]
For this comparison, we’ve taken results from previous benchmarks (it’s been a long while) and updated them with the Gene’s results. Do note that previous benchmarks came from an older setup, so do take them with a grain of salt. However, we did do a retest of Intel’s DZ77GA-70K alongside the Gene, so you can compare those two without said salt-consuming. The setup consists of the following:
- Intel Core i7-3770K
- 16GB Kingston HyperX Beast DDR3, 2400MHz
- 128GB SSD
- No graphics card
Most of the tests were done twice, once with default clocks, and another with slight overclocking. The CPU was clocked to 4.5GHz on the Intel board, and to 4.6GHz on the Maximus V Gene. Tweaks were done via the UEFI (Intel) and AI Boost software (Asus) respectively.
New to the gauntlet is PCMark 8 and it’s Home, Work and Creative scenarios, and here, we see both boards trading blows in Home and Creative, but coming to a standstill in Work.
In PCMark Vantage, both the Intel and Asus boards were almost at equal footing. After overclocking however, the Gene managed to overtake Intel’s offering, with a 6% performance gap between them.
SiSoft Sandra’s Arithmetic benchmark did not reproduce that same gap however, with both board having almost the same scores.
A small performance gap can be seen in the Multi-Media benchmark, though that can possibly be attributed to the slight increase in clock speed the Asus board had (4.6GHz to Intel’s 4.5GHz).
For the Cryptography benchmark, we had to discard previous results, since previous results of Sandra were using SHA256 encryption rather than the SHA2-512 found in this current version. Both boards were roughly equal in SHA2-512, but the Asus board led in AES256. After overclocking, the Asus board seemed to take a slight hit in AES256, but improving in SHA2-512, catching up to the Intel board.
With all that’s said and done, I can only conclude with this: if you’re looking for the best Z77 has to offer, but would like something in a smaller package, then the Maximus V Gene is right up your alley.