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  • ASUS ROG Maximus IX Apex Overclocking Motherboard Review
  • ASUS ROG Maximus IX Apex Overclocking Motherboard Review



    During the CES launch of the Kaby Lake and Z270 Chipset there were a lot of motherboards to be seen.  Most were focused on gaming with gaming LED effects and gaming graphics and gaming heatsinks however there was one motherboard that really caught my attention.  Not because of the fancy heatsinks or stylish IO shield or even RGB LED lighting effects.  No, this motherboard was interesting because it was dedicated to overclocking.   

    We aren’t talking the reddit “is this voltage safe, what kind of cooler should I use” style of overclocking but, real person overclocking with sub ambient cooling solutions, excessive voltage adjustments and world record breaking performance.

    In this review I’ll be looking at the ASUS Maximus IX Apex.  This is a motherboard I saw at CES and which has become a common topic on both the Hardware Asylum Podcast and the post CES chat I did with Techgage.  Simply put this motherboard is marketed as an overclocking monster and so far is has delivered on every one of them.

    Of course the real question is not so much about the overclocking prowess of the Apex but to discover what makes the Apex work and how well it can perform simple things like running a high-end enthusiast PC while still allowing you to experiment with overclocking.  The Apex is also a very unique motherboard both in its dedication to overclocking and in overall design.  You will find that common items have been moved from their traditional location while others have been added like a dedicated fan header for AIO pumps and plenty of hardware switches used for different types of overclocking situations.

    In fact, that is one thing that has always impressed me with ASUS in general.  They tend to go out of their way to pack every motherboard with more features than I care to mention.  I think some of that is just aggressively listing all of specifications, features and every software package to make it look more impressive.  A good majority of those are not specific to a single motherboard either when you consider the ROG software packages while things like “MicroFine Alloy Chokes and 10K Black Metallic Capacitors” might be specific to a certain motherboard and simply come off as high-tech fluff, at least to me.

    Let’s check out the list


    Intel for 7th/6th Generation Core i7/Core i5/Core i3/Pentium/Celeron Processors
    Supports Intel 14 nm CPU
    Intel Z270
    2 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR4 4266(O.C.) / 2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
    HDMI/DisplayPort ports
    Multi-GPU Support
    Supports NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI Technology / Supports NVIDIA 2-Way SLI Technology / Supports AMD 4-Way CrossFireX Technology
    Expansion Slots
    1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 / 1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x8 / 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1 / 2 x PCIe 3.0 x4
    Intel Z270 Chipset: Supports Intel Smart Response Technology, Intel Rapid Start Technology, Intel Smart Connect Technology / Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10 / Intel Optane Memory Ready
    Intel I219V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s) / ASUS LAN Guard
    ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220A
    USB Ports
    Intel Z270 Chipset :
    - 8 x USB 3.0 port(s)
    - 6 x USB 2.0 port(s)
    ASMedia USB 3.1 controller :
    2 x USB 3.1 port(s) (2 at back panel, , Type-A + Type-C)
    Back I/O Ports
    1 x PS/2 keyboard (purple) / 1 x PS/2 mouse (green) / 1 x DisplayPort / 1 x HDMI / 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s) / 2 x USB 3.1 ()Type-A + Type-C / 6 x USB 3.0 / 1 x Optical S/PDIF out / 1 x Clear CMOS button(s) / 1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s) / 5 x Gold-plated audio jacks
    Internal I/O Ports
    1 x AAFP connector / 2 x RGB Header(s) / 1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s) / 3 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 6 USB 2.0 port(s) / 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s) / 1 x CPU Fan connector(s) / 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) / 3 x Chassis Fan connector(s) / 1 x W_PUMP+ connector / 1 x AIO_PUMP connector / 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s) / 2 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s) / 1 x Slow Mode switch(es) / 1 x EZ Plug connector(s) (4-pin Molex power connector) / 1 x Reset button(s) / 1 x LN2 Mode switch(es) / 1 x BIOS Switch button(s) / 1 x Clear CMOS button(s) / 1 x LN2 Mode jumper(s) / 1 x Safe Boot button / 1 x ReTry button / 1 x 14-1 pin TPM connector / 1 x Slow Mode jumper(s) / 1 x W_Pump+ Header / 1 x AIO PUMP Header / 1 x 3D Mount screw port(s) / 1 x W_IN header / 1 x W_OUT header / 1 x W_FLOW header / 2 x Thermal sensor connector / 1 x Start button
    User's manual / I/O Shield / 4 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s) / 1 x M.2 Screw Package / 1 x Supporting DVD / 1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-L) / 1 x Q-Connector / 1 x 10-in-1 ROG cable label / 1 x DIMM.2 extension card with 2 x M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode) / 1 x 3D printing mount package / 1 x ROG coasters
    Operating System
    Windows 10 64-bit / Windows 8.1 64-bit / Windows 7 32-bit / Windows 7 64-bit
    Form Factor
    Extended ATX Form Factor / 12 inch x 10.7 inch ( 30.5 cm x 27.2 cm )

    ROG Exclusive Features
    • ROG RAMCache II
    • ROG CPU-Z
    • ROG CloneDrive
    • MemOK! Button
    • Slow Mode
    • CMOS button
    • Overwolf
    • ReTry Button
    • Safe Boot Button
    • Start Button
    • Reset Button
    • LN2 Mode
    • ROG Aura: Aura Lighting Control / Aura RGB Strip Headers
    • Extreme Engine Digi+: MicroFine Alloy Chokes / NexFET Power Block MOSFET / 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
    • Mem TweakIt
    • UEFI BIOS features: 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
    Special Features

    SafeDIMM slot
    AURA :
    - Aura Lighting Control
    - Aura RGB Strip Headers
    - Aura Lighting Effects Synchronization with compatible ASUS ROG devices
    ASUS Exclusive Features :
    - MemOK!
    - AI Suite 3
    - Anti-Surge
    - ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
    - ASUS EZ Flash 3
    - ASUS USB BIOS Flashback
    ASUS Q-Design :
    - ASUS Q-Shield
    - ASUS Q-Code
    - ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
    - ASUS Q-Slot
    - ASUS Q-Connector
    Gaming Aesthetics :
    - 3D printing friendly
    - AURA-RGB Lighting
    Performance Optimization :
    - Fan Xpert 4 featuring Fan Auto Tuning function and multiple thermistors selection for optimized system cooling control

    See what I mean?  It looks Impressive and is very helpful, just excessive.  Be sure to check out the Asus website for more information that may or may not be covered in this review.