The ASUS Maximus series of motherboards are at premium end of the range - they are heavily featured and well engineered, making them both highly desired and also out of budget for the many gamers. We managed to get our hands on the ASUS Maximus VI Gene as the centrepiece for our main test bench at the end of last year and thought it appropriate to review ASUS' premium micro-ATX offering.
Personally, I've always liked the look of the Maximus range and the latest Z87 series is no exception. ASUS has provided us with a Maximus VI Gene Micro-ATX board to use with our Intel 1150 socket test bench so we thought we'd kick things off with a review before we started re-baselining our CPU coolers.
The GENE is the ASUS offering for those who want a smaller rig but also want to roll with a Republic of Gamers (ROG) board. They didn't skimp on features when designing the GENE - even providing a few that are at this stage of limited use like the mPCIe Combo II. Next generation technology is great but playing the "waiting game" for a M.2(NFGG) Socket 2 SSD might be a bit much for some people. Thankfully, there is an abundance of current technology on-board and it's all class.
Like many of the gaming boards available today, ASUS has got ticks in the following boxes:
LAN prioritisation with GameFirst II
Upgraded Audio via SupremeFX
BOTH SLI and Crossfire support
Top Shelf Software Utility (there are several included)
Fully featured UEFI
Aesthetically, the board looks 'heavy' and tough. The heat sinks have a black matte finish and the PCIe slots also look bulkier than other boards. There is red LED lighting to highlight the PCB where the sound components live and the inclusion of Start and Reset buttons on the board make it clear that this is aimed at an enthusiast. It just looks both mean and premium.