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Asus ROG Maximus V Extreme (Z77) Subzero Review

Today we take the Maximus V Extreme for a spin on our LN2 test bench. Never before have we seen a motherboard so packed with innovative overclocking features and support. This board not only packs the latest technologies from the ROG OC team, but it also incorporates many of the latest platform technologies such as Thunderbolt. Follow us as we venture into the realm of extreme Ivy Bridge overclocking with the Maximus V Extreme. 


There has never been so much emphasis on overclocking features across all brands and price categories as there is with the Z77 motherboards. It might be because of the extreme overclocking potential of the 3570K and 3770K or it might be because more and more vendors are expanding the practice of bringing in overclockers as hires in R&D and marketing, but one thing is for sure; the amount of new extreme overclocking features is at an all-time high. One thing about ASUS however is that they are the only company to have their own extreme overclocking and enthusiast design and test team, which makes the possibility of the implementation of such features like subzero sense and OC key possible.

ROG might stand for Republic of Gamers, however each ROG board has a plethora of useful and unique overclocking features which will make you blush. The Maximus V Extreme is the epitome of this revolution of built-in overclocking features, and we will take a look at all of them today and give you our take from our experience with them using liquid nitrogen, also known as LN2. 

The Z77 PCH and PCI-E lane games:

The Z77 'Patsberg' PCH provides users with four USB 3.0 ports as well as two SATA 6G ports. It also supplies the motherboard with eight PCI-E 2.0 lanes which can be used for everything from Thunderbolt to NICs and extra SATA or USB. The one downfall here is that common Thunderbolt controllers use a lot of resources, that includes four PCI-E lanes, and in this case just like in others, the PCH is the device to provide those lanes. That leaves ODMs with only half the original PCI-E lanes, which will limit the total amount of USB 3.0 and SATA 6G as well as extra PCI-E slots that use the PCH. To counter this problem many vendors have implemented PCI-E expansion chips like the PEX8605, PEX8606, or PEX8608 which is used on the Maximus V Extreme. These chips provide more output ports than input ports, and they consolidate bandwidth like a switch so that more devices can be connected to fewer PCI-E lanes. The Z77 PCH also provides digital video output lanes, which also have to be partially harnessed for Thunderbolt. 

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