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  • ASUS ROG Maximus XI Apex Motherboard Review
  • ASUS ROG Maximus XI Apex Motherboard Review



    Over the past year I have reviewed quite a few really great Z390 motherboards from the Aorus Z390 Waterforce Xtreme to the EVGA Z390 Dark and MSI MEG Z290 ACE.  All of these boards were designed with Extreme Overclocking in mind and all except one responded well to casual overclocking and basic system tuning. 

    In this review we’ll be looking at one of the Apex predators when it comes to overclocking who is docile out of the box and can unleash the fury when it is time to shine.  The ASUS Republic of Gamers Maximus XI APEX is the latest version of APEX motherboards designed to be the top of the line when it comes to performance potential.  The motherboard comes with the features we have come to expect including Aura RGB Lighting, large VRM heatsinks and great sound.  However, it is missing many of the “retail” features that you might find on more mainstream ROG motherboards like the Formula and Extreme.  These other boards are still  feature packed but with tweaks designed for special retail builds where looks and cooling options might be more important.

    Of course saying that is a "hard line" differentiator is far from the truth given that ROG products share features, capabilities and overclocking options across the product line.  They just tend to cost more.

    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 as I had mentioned before.

    Let’s check out the list


    Build in Intel 9th / 8th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron Processors
    Supports Intel 14 nm CPU
    Supports Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
    * Refer to www.asus.com for CPU support list
    Build in Intel Z390
    Socket 1151 for 9th / 8th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron processors
    2 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 4800(O.C.)/4700(O.C)/4600(O.C)/4500(O.C)/4400(O.C)/4266(O.C.)/4133(O.C.)/4000(O.C.)/3866(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/3466(O.C.)/3400(O.C.)/3333(O.C.)/3300(O.C.)/3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2933(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666/2133 MHz Memory *
    Dual Channel Memory Architecture
    Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
    * Double Capcity DRAM support depends on the DRAM models
    Multi-GPU Support
    Supports NVIDIA 2-Way SLI Technology
    Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX Technology
    Expansion Slots
    Socket 1151 for 9th / 8th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron processors
    2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (Single at x16, dual at x8/x8)
    1 x PCIe 3.0 x16
    Intel Z390 Chipset 1 x PCIe 3.0 x1
    Intel Z390 Chipset : 1 x ROG DIMM.2 Module support(PCH_DIMM.2), with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA & PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
    1 x ROG DIMM.2 Module support(PCH_DIMM.2), with M key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (PCIE 3.0 x 4 mode)
    6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)
    Support Raid 0, 1, 5
    Intel Optane Memory Ready
    Intel I219V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s)
    Wireless Data Network
    Intel Wireless-AC 9560
    Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
    Supports channel bandwidth: HT20/HT40/HT80/HT160. Up to 1.73Gbps transfer speed
    Bluetooth 5.0
    ROG SupremeFX 7.1-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
    - Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
    - High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input
    - Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback
    Audio Feature :
    - SupremeFX Shielding Technology
    - Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
    Premium Japan-made audio capacitors provides warm, natural, and immersive sound with exceptional clarity and fidelity
    USB Ports
    Intel Z390 Chipset : 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector port(s)
    Intel Z390 Chipset : 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 port(s) (4 at back panel, , Type-A + USB Type-CTM)
    Intel Z390 Chipset : 10 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s) (6 at back panel, blue)
    Intel Z390 Chipset : 4 x USB 2.0 port(s)
    Back I/O Ports
    1 x PS/2 keyboard (purple)
    1 x PS/2 mouse (green)
    1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
    3 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (red)
    1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 (black)Type-C,
    6 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 (blue)
    1 x Optical S/PDIF out
    1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
    1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
    1 x ASUS Wi-Fi GO! module (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth v5.0
    5 x Gold-plated audio jacks
    Internal I/O Ports
    1 x Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
    1 x ReTry jumper
    1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
    2 x 8-pin EATX 12V Power connectors
    1 x 4-pin EZ_PLUG Power connector(s)
    1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
    1 x MemOK! II switch(es)
    1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
    1 x Node Connector(s)
    1 x LN2 Mode jumper(s)
    1 x Safe Boot button
    1 x ReTry button
    1 x System panel connector
    1 x High AMP Fan Header
    1 x W_Pump+ Header
    1 x AIO PUMP Header
    1 x W_IN header
    1 x W_OUT header
    1 x W_FLOW header
    1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 front panel connector
    1 x DIMM.2 Slot supports 2 M.2 drives (2242-22110)
    3 x 4-pin Full Speed Fan connectors
    3 x onboard LED ON/OFF jumper(s)
    2 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 port(s)
    2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 2.0 port(s)
    1 x Start button
    1 x Q-Code
    1 x RGB Header
    1 x Supporting DVD
    1 x ROG addressable LED strip (30cm)
    1 x SLI HB BRIDGE(2-WAY-M)
    1 x ROG big sticker
    1 x Q-Connector
    2 x M.2 screw kit (short screw and mount)
    1 x Wi-Fi Antenna(s)
    1 x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)
    User manual
    1 x ROG coaster(s)
    1 x Customizable Name Plate Accessory Pack
    1 x ROG Thank you card
    1 x ROG DIMM.2 with heatsink
    1 x M.2 Pad for ROG DIMM.2
    2 x 128 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI3.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 3.0, ACPI 6.0, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 3, CrashFree BIOS 3, F11 EZ Tuning Wizard, F6 Qfan Control, F3 My Favorites, Last Modified log, F12 PrintScreen, F3 Shortcut functions and ASUS DRAM SPD (Serial Presence Detect) memory information.
    WfM2.0, DMI3.0, WOL by PME, PXE
    Operating System
    Windows 10 64-bit
    Form Factor
    ATX Form Factor
    12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 24.4 cm x 24.4 cm )

    ROG Exclusive Features

    • Condensation detection
    • Clear CMOS button
    • ROG CPU-Z
    • ROG CloneDrive
    • Slow Mode
    • Overwolf
    • ReTry Button
    • Safe Boot Button
    • Start Button
    • Reset Button
    • LN2 Mode
    • Extreme Engine Digi+ :
      - IR3555 PoweIRstage
      - MicroFine Alloy Chokes
      - 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
    • Mem TweakIt
    • Double Power :
      - Dual 8 -pin CPU
    • ProbeIt
    • UEFI BIOS features :
      - O.C. Profile
      - GPU.DIMM Post
      - Tweakers' Paradise
      - ROG SSD Secure Erase
      - Graphic Card Information Preview
    • Extreme Tweaker
    • ROG Patented Pre-mounted I/O Shield
    • ROG Exclusive Software
      - RAMCache III

    Special Features
    ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 3 - SMART DIGI+ Power Control :
    - 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ VRM, Fan Expert 4, and Turbo App
    AI Overclocking
    Fan Xpert4
    ASUS 5X Protection III :
    - ASUS SafeSlot Core: Fortified PCIe Slot prevents damage
    - ASUS LANGuard: Protects against LAN surges, lightning strikes and static-electricity discharges!
    - ASUS Overvoltage Protection: World-class circuit-protecting power design
    SafeDIMM slot
    AURA :
    - Aura Lighting Control
    - Aura RGB Strip Headers
    - Aura Lighting Effects Synchronization with compatible ASUS ROG devices
    - Aura Addressable Strip Header(s)
    ASUS Exclusive Features :
    - USB BIOS Flashback
    - MemOK! II
    - AI Suite 3
    - Anti-Surge
    - ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
    - ASUS NODE : hardware control interface
    - BIOS Flashback Button
    - Clear CMOS Button
    ASUS Q-Design :
    - ASUS Q-Code
    - ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED, HDD LED)
    - ASUS Q-Slot
    - ASUS Q-Connector
    Gaming Aesthetics :
    - AURA-RGB Lighting
    DIY Friendly Design
    - Procool
    - SafeSlot
    - Digi+ VRM
    - DRAM Overcurrent Protection
    - Highly Durable components
    - ESD Guards
    MemOK! II
    Armoury Crate