Although the motherboard is one of the most important components in any self-build system with regards to features, it’s one of the least important in terms of performance. Sure, you need to guarantee that you have the right ports and sockets, that you have enough PCI Express slots of the correct type and if it can support higher speeds of RAM too that’s always a bonus, but spending your money on a better CPU or GPU will usually net a better result.
Asus’ new Republic of Gamers (ROG) Maximums VIII Extreme Flagship is not aimed at those people. It’s not aimed at anyone who can’t pay for the absolute premium when it comes to their PCs, either. It’s aimed at those that want the best of the best and are willing to pay for it — in this case, a cool $500.
If you find yourself in that camp or just like drooling about high-end PC components, what do you get for that sort of price tag? For starters, it’s an E-ATX board, so this is a big piece of kit. That’s to help pack in the huge heatsinks that adorn this board, keeping the chipset and the digital power delivery system as cool as possible. This should extend the life of the components, as well as make overclocking more stable.
It also has four DIMM slots for DDR4 memory up to 3,866MHz, and as you might expect, features an LGA 1151 socket supporting all of the new Skylake based CPUs. There are four PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, which can run in a x16/x8/x8/x4 set up if required, and a pair of PCIExpress 3.0 x1 slots. There is also an on board SupremeFX 7.1 audio chipset for advanced sound quality.
Interior ports include eight SATA III connectors, as well as a pair of SATA express ports, a single M.2. connector and an NVMe port, as well. Out the back, there’s a single legacy PS/2 combo port, HDMI and DisplayPort outs, as well as S/PDIF and (five channel) analog audio and a gigabit Ethernet connector. There’s four USB 3.0 ports, four USB 3.1 ports (including a single type-C) and six USB 2.0 ports, which should be enough for anyone.
For system tweakers – because who else is buying this thing – there’s also switches on the back for clearing the CMOS and flashing the BIOS back to its default settings should you happen to brick the system.
The Asus ROG Maximums VIII Extreme Z170 motherboard is available from a number of retailers, now priced at just shy of $500. It even comes with its own “overclocking companion” front panel with handy information and a fan controller.