Onboard and Included Features
The I/O panel is rather self explanatory with just the right amount of connections. Staring at the left you will find a CMOS reset button sitting atop of a CMOS Flashback that allows you to flash the BIOS without actually entering the BIOS menu. Next to that you’ll find two PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse. These are good for 2D benchmarking since USB controllers take CPU cycles to operate.
A single HDMI and Display Port connection provide onboard video and you will find a total of eight USB connections. Six are Intel spec at 3.0 (in Blue) while the Type-C and Type A in red are USB 3.1. A single Gigabit Ethernet provides network access.
The onboard audio solution found on the Apex is an ROG SupremeFX controller supporting up to 8 channels with a digital connection over optical. Like most of the high-end motherboards you’ll find some specialized audio capacitors near the controller.
This might have been a thing for awhile now but I'm actually impressed that they are using their own audio controller on motherboards now instead of slapping something else onboard and calling it good.
It would seem that the whole “separated audio” experience has been played out. I'll be the first to admit that having a gap on the motherboard is kinda pointless but it does help give the marketing folks something to talk about. On the Apex the audio separation is there and runs most of the way up the board which seems to be a timid attempt at keeping up with what others are doing.
We have come to expect more goodies from our high-end motherboards to help justify the additional cost. ASUS includes some really good stuff with their motherboards and with the Apex you'll get just enough to get you up and overclocking like a champ.
In terms of documentation you will get very healthy users guide which will help you locate all of the key components on the motherboard and even help troubleshoot POST codes in the event you have problems booting.
An ROG branded I/O shield is also included along with a single HB SLI bridge for 2-way configurations. As we all know starting with the NVidia Pascal GPU SLI is done over an High Bandwidth SLI bridge that uses both sets of SLI fingers on the video card. Of course you can still do 4-Way Crossfire and will need your own bridges for that.
You will also get a nice sticker sheet with some fancy ROG logos along with a drink or LN2 flask coaster to protect your desk. The final item is a mind baffling CPU installation aid. This little plastic tool helps you align and install your CPU to prevent socket pin damage and further encourage proper CPU installation.
Cool tool? or worthless bit of swag. You decide.