Review | ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme

Being over the top is something the ASUS ROG line-up has done and done for more than a decade. Certainly, these products command a premium but people buy them anyway due to a number of reasons only the rich and enthusiast understands.

Now what we have here is the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme – and as the name suggest, it really is that extreme. This board is bat-sh*t heavy on features – literally speaking it is too. At $849 USD, we’ll check out if this is the ultimate Z490 motherboard ASUS has to offer.

Technical Specifications

Processor
CPU 10th Gen Intel Core, Pentium Gold and Celeron
Chipset Intel Z490
Memory
SDRAM DDR4 (Non-ECC)
Slot 4x LO-DIMM
Channel Dual Channel
Frequency 2933MHz (4800MHz OC)
Capacity 128GB
Graphics
GPU Integrated
Display Output 1x HDMI, 2x DisplayPort, 2x USB Type-C
Multi-GPU 3-Way AMD CrossFire, 2-Way Nvidia SLI
Expansion
PCI Express 1x PCIe 3.0 x16, 1x PCIe 3.0 x8, 1x PCIe 3.0 x4
Storage
SATA 8x SATA
M.2 3x PCIe 3.0 x4, 1x SATA/PCIe 3.0 x4
RAID RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10
Network
Wired Intel I225-V 2.5Gbps, Marvell AQtion AQC107 10Gbps
Wireless Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201, Bluetooth 5.1
Audio
Codec Realtek ALC S1220A + ESS ES9023P DAC
Channel 7.1-Channel
USB
USB 2.0 2x External, 4x Internal
USB 3.0 6x External, 4x Internal
USB 3.2 4x External (1x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2), 2x Internal
Dimensions
Length 305mm
Width 277mm
Height 45mm
Weight N/A

Packaging and Accessories

Like the proverbial beast it is, the packaging of the Maximus XII Extreme is huge and heavy AF. It comes with the following accessories and documentations inside:

  • User manual
  • 1x ROG logo plate sticker
  • 3x M.2 Screw Package
  • 1x MOS Cooling kit (fan bracket and 40mm x 40mm fan)
  • 1x Fan Extension Card II (6 x 4-pin Chassis Fan connectors, 3 x RGB headers, 3 x 2-pin Thermal sensor header)
  • 1x Fan Extension Card II power cable
  • 1x Fan Extension Card II NODE connector cable
  • 1x Fan Extension Card II screw package
  • 2x mini DisplayPort Cable
  • 1x ROG big sticker
  • 1x Q-Connector
  • 1x Wi-Fi Antenna(s)
  • 1x Extension Cable for RGB strips (80 cm)
  • 1x Extension cable for Addressable LED
  • 3x Thermistor cable(s)
  • 1x USB drive with utilities and drivers
  • 8x ROG weave SATA 6G cable
  • 1x ROG DIMM.2 with heatsink
  • 2x M.2 Pad for ROG DIMM.2
  • 1x 2-in-1 Rubber pad
  • 1x ROG Multi-Bit screwdriver
  • 1x THUNDERBOLT EX 3-TR Card
  • 1x ASUS TB header cable
  • 1x USB2.0 Cable
  • ROG key chain

If you’re looking for a reason why the box is so huge, then this is it – in combination with the board’s size and weight. I wager these stuff are worth more than $200 USD on their own.

Design, Layout and Build Quality

There’s a lot to take in once you set your eyes onto the Maximus XII Extreme: Its looks, its weight, build quality and finish to name a few. This is a $849 USD eATX motherboard after all and it should, at the very least, look and feel like one. If you also like tempered glass, metal and silicon combined, then this is the board to meet those desires.

With its extended size, the Maximus XII Extreme’s layout is definitely not in any way restricted. Under those massive blocks of glass and aluminum lies the dual M.2 slots and the chipset. You only got three PCIe slots though which is something unusual with eATX form factors. Speaking, the board also got a ROG DIMM.2 slot for that extra M.2 storage. It supports up to 22110 form factor drives so you’ve got a lot of options here.

Since the board is already heavy, ASUS even made it heavier with a thick steel back-plate. Jokes aside, the back-plate helps to keep the motherboard from collapsing on its own weight. As for the PCIe slots, we have a PCIe 3.0 x4, 3.0 x16 and a 3.0 x8 slot. Not much but not a total letdown.

Power solution is courtesy of a teamed 16 phase power design. Delivery starts at the reinforced dual 8-pin EPS. Then the PWM controller, the 16x Infineon TDA21490 power stages, 45A chokes and the 10K Japanese capacitors do their work. Also located on this area are the PWM fan headers, RGB lighting headers and the water block sensor.

Right side of the board is purely business. We have tons of storage options here with dual USB 3.0 and USB 3.2 headers on top of the 8x SATA ports. The Maximus XII Extreme also carries the Apex’s DIP switches, buttons and voltage readout points.

Headers are a plenty with this board – especially if we’re talking about the row of PWM fan headers. If those are not enough, the bi-directional ASUS Node header is also located here, allowing you to connect the Fan Extension Card II for another 6x fan headers. That’s a total of 20 fan headers, holy. As for the audio, we’ll talk about that stuff later on this review.

Back panel options are oh so good. We have the boot to BIOS and Clear CMOS button here, together with an abundant assortment of USB 2.0, 3.0 and 3.2 ports. There are also dual LAN ports here, the Wi-Fi antenna ports and the gold plated – yet also LED enabled audio ports.

If these are not enough, the included Thunderbolt 3 capable expansion card will get you up to speed with 40Gbps of throughput via its dual Thunderbolt and Type-C ports.

Firmware Interface

The ROG Maximus XII Extreme comes equipped with a tried and tested UEFI design from ASUS that is snappy and easy to navigate. It is still locked at a 4:3 aspect ratio though which is something I’d like manufacturers to address since UEFI has been around for ages.

There are still 8 main menus on the UEFI to choose from if you’re browsing from the Advanced mode. Seasoned overclockers and more advanced users will feel at home with the Extreme Tweaker since it is a straight forward option with tons of settings for your CPU and memory overclocking requirements.

For instance, the Extreme Tweaker allows you to set an offset for the CPU frequency whenever the board detects an AVX Instruction load. What you’d like to see here are CPU Core Ratio, Core Voltage, Cache/Ring Ratio and Cache/Ring Voltage. Advanced on the other hand is where you could adjust the chipset’s settings.

Now it is noteworthy to add that the ASUS Armoury Crate could pester you on Windows 10 everytime you start-up your system if you haven’t downloaded the app yet. You may disable such at the Tool menu.

Test Setup and Methodology

System performance is evaluated by industry standard benchmark tools and applications. The system is tested with the following software configurations:

  • Windows Power Plan: Balanced
  • UEFI configuration: Default
  • Windows Game Mode: Disabled
  • Windows Game Bar: Disabled
  • Windows Security: Disabled

Outlined below are the test system specifications as well as the software and or applications used for the review:

Test System Specifications
CPU Intel Core i7-10700K (ES)
Motherboard ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme
Cooler Noctua NH-L12
Memory ADATA Premier 2666MHz 16GB
GPU ASUS ROG Strix RX 570 4GB
Storage Crucial BX200 480GB
Case Thermaltake Core P3
PSU CORSAIR RM850X
Display DELL U2715H
OS Microsoft Windows 10 Pro

Synthetic Performance:

  • Super PI – 32M Calculation
  • wPrime – 1024M Calculation
  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition – Memory Benchmark

Productivity Performance:

  • GIMP – Image Processing
  • HandBrake – Video Encoding
  • WinRAR – Compression Speed

Gaming Performance:

  • CS:GO – Maximum Settings, V-SYNC off, Motion Blur off
  • DOTA 2 – Maximum Settings, V-SYNC off
  • Assetto Corsa – Maximum Settings, V-SYNC off

Miscellaneous:

  • AS SSD – Storage Performance
  • RightMark Audio Analyzer – Audio Performance
  • NetIO-GUI – Network Performance

Power Consumption:

  • AIDA64 – Stability Test

Synthetic Performance

Super PI is a single-threaded program that calculates pi to a specified number of digits after the decimal point. It is a widely used benchmark to check a single-core arithmetic performance of any system. Lower calculation time is better.

WPrime is a multi-threaded program that calculates a set number of square roots. A good application to check the multi-core arithmetic performance of any system. Lower calculation time is better.

The AIDA64 Extreme Memory Benchmark measures the data transfer bandwidth and latency of the system memory. The latency is measured for this benchmark. Lower latency is better.

Right off the bat, the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme showed an amazing single-threaded arithmetic performance – about 10 seconds lower than the previous Z490 model we’ve tested. WPrime and AIDA64 also saw improvements but not that much.

Productivity Performance

GIMP is a free and open-source image editing tool. 7MB worth of images are processed and converted for the benchmark. Lower image processing time is better.

HandBrake is a free video encoding tool that supports a wide variety of media codecs. 150MB worth of MP4 video is converted using the H.264 codec for the benchmark. Lower encoding time is better.

WinRAR is a file archive utility that creates, view and unpack numerous archive file formats. The built in benchmark tool is utilized to for the benchmark. Higher resulting throughput is better.

Good real world performance results we got here from the Maximus XII Extreme. Not a surprising set of results though, since the gain we got from the single-threaded performance doesn’t even appear to take form here. Take this as a grain of salt, the single threaded performance we got is most likely a performance bias within the default settings.

Gaming Performance

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or CS:GO is a multiplayer first-person shooter developed by Valve. Settings are set to their maximum with V-Sync and motion blur disabled.

DOTA 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena game developed and published by Valve. Settings are set to their maximum with V-Sync disabled.

Assetto Corsa is a simulation racing game developed by the Italian video game developer Kunos Simulazioni. Settings are set to their maximum with V-Sync disabled.

Gaming performance is pretty good. Nothing exceptional here still. Similar to the last Z490 review, the Core i7 is still less stable (1% percentile) than the AMD setup we got except for DOTA 2.

Storage Performance

AS SSD is a storage benchmark widely used in the industry. The total score is taken to evaluate the storage performance. Higher score is better.

Very good SATA performance we got here – however, AMD’s chipsets still takes the cake as far as this interface is concerned.

Audio Performance

RMAA is a tool designed to test the quality of audio devices. A loop-back is configured with a sampling rate of 24-bit at 48000Hz for the test. Our setup essentially tests the quality of the line-in and line-out of the audio solution. Lower noise level is better.

With a separated PCB and excellent components, the Maximus XII Extreme’s audio solution is no slouch. By far one of the best motherboards we’ve tested when it comes to sheer sonic performance. Your Hi-Fi setup will definitely appreciate this motherboard.

Network Performance

NetIO-GUI is an application used to test the performance of a network. The LAN round trip time is our concern here, checking out latency anomalies if there are any. The client and server are connected on the home network via Cat 5e cables. Lower round trip time is better.

The motherboard has a wired network latency at less than 1ms on any packet sizes tested.

Power Consumption

AIDA64 Extreme System Stability Test features 64-bit multi-threaded stress testing module to drive the system to its limits. Power readings are recorded with a watt-meter.

The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme features a 78.8W idle and 301.8W of sustained load power consumption. That’s about 15.7-22.6W higher than the ASUS ProArt Z490-Creator 10G.

Overclocking and Underclocking

There are ways to overclock and underclock any compatible unlocked Intel Core series processors with the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme. One way is to do it within the UEFI and the other is via the ASUS AI Dual Intelligent Processor 5.

The ASUS AI Overclocking feature is one method you could use to overclock your system via both options. It basically works in three simple steps:

  1. Load, Save and Reboot – Load the UEFI defaults, then press F10 to save and reboot. Boot into operating system.
  2. Run a stress test – A stress test assesses system performance in order to estimate system potential as well as voltage needs for overclocking.
  3. Apply AI Overclocking – Return to BIOS and navigate to the Extreme Tweaker section and set CPU Core Ratio to AI Optimized.

You may also do it manually once the AI Overclocking already got an approximate of the system’s capabilities. You may check this out via the Prediction panel at the lower right of the Ai Tweaker’s menu.

First step worked for us, but we still insisted going manual cuz that’s how we do things. We still took the prediction into account, managing to get our CPU clocked at 5.0GHz with a 1.27v vCore. VDrop is about 0.011v even with LLC at level 4.

Software, Lighting and Special Features

Like many ASUS motherboards, the ROG Maximus XII Extreme comes bundled with a number of applications that should help you optimize your system’s performance. That should include the following software and or applications:

  • Mem Tweakit
  • RAMCache III
  • ROG CPU-Z
  • GameFirst VI
  • Sonic Studio III + Sonic Studio Virtual Mixer
  • Sonic Radar III
  • DTS Sound Unbound
  • Overwolf
  • BullGuard Internet Security (1-year full version)
  • Armoury Crate
  • Aura Creator
  • Aura Sync
  • OLED Display
  • AI Suite 3

Now lighting effects are superb with this motherboard. Nothing comes close really, as far as our previously tested motherboards for 2020 are concerned.

Other features includes the Fan Extension Card II, which adds six PWM headers controllable via FanXpert 4. The card also features three temperature sensor headers to complement the one available onboard, and also comes with three thermistors that can be affixed to different components. In addition to supplying extra headers for cooling, it also provides three RGB headers to provide illuminated effects for your RGB fan.

Now the ROG DIMM.2 module is an expansion card that allows two M.2 drives to be connected via a DDR4 interface. It comes with metal heatsinks, helping to control thermals for maximum performance while elevating the aesthetics. This module also allowed the board to support M.2 devices with a 22110 form factor.

We also got a Thunderbolt 3 expansion card with 40Gbps transfer rate. That’s four times the data speeds of any other cable and twice the video bandwidth. As if the onboard and back panel IO are not enough.

Final Thoughts

The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme is perhaps the epitome of PC hardware FLEX. This is one, if not, the most expensive Intel Z490 based motherboard to date (46,000 PHP local) and there’s no denying the fact that it comes with proper components and performance to match that price point.

Performance wise, the Maximus XII Extreme performed well on our benchmarks with exceptional single-threaded performance at our arithmetic test. The audio solution is also worth a mention here, featuring a -98.4 dBA Noise Level with a matching dynamic range at 98.2 dBA. Roll-off at higher frequency ranges is also non-existent as opposed to other onboard solutions.

Now as for connectivity, this board got them all. No need to stress about that one in details. A glance at its pretty facade is enough to know it is the real deal.

Bundle, features, performance, scalability, the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme just keeps on giving. If you’re looking for the best of the best the Z490 has to offer with zero budget constraints, then this is the board for you.

TechPorn Awards 2018 (1) TechPorn Awards 2018 (4)

ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme

  • Performance - 9.5/10

    9.5/10

  • Build Quality - 9.5/10

    9.5/10

  • Features - 9.5/10

    9.5/10

  • Design - 9.5/10

    9.5/10

  • Value - 8/10

    8/10

9.2/10

Summary

Bundle, features, performance, scalability, the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme just keeps on giving. If you’re looking for the best of the best the Z490 has to offer with zero budget constraints, then this is the board for you.

Pros

  • Excellent overall performance
  • Top-notch build qiality
  • If looks could kill
  • Tons of connectivity options
  • Brimming with bundled accessories
  • Excellent audio performance
  • Single-threaded performance
  • Tons of value added features

Cons

  • It is always the price
  • PCIe slots limited to three

Recent Articles

7 Ways Your ERP Software Can Improve Your Small Business’s Resilience

“Resilience” is now becoming somewhat of a buzzword in the wake of the economic downturn of the 2020s. But it’s clear that old ways...

Amazing Tips to Secure Mobile Devices and Data of Clients

We live in a world where it is almost impossible to stay away from our mobile and laptop screens. We carry out with most...

TerraMaster Launches NAS Duple Backup Application

TerraMaster, a professional brand that specializes in providing innovative storage products, including network attached storage (NAS) and direct attached storage (DAS), announces the availability...

Tips to Create a Secure Environment for Playing Online Games

Gaming is not only profitable for the gaming companies but the cybercriminals as well. The world of online gaming has witnessed a paradigm shift...

GIGABYTE Launches G34WQC Ultrawide Gaming Monitor

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, is excited to announce the first ultra-wide gaming monitor, G34WQC. The GIGABYTE...

Leave A Reply

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Leo Bien Durana is the Owner and Chief Editor of TechPorn. A competitive PC gamer with a robust technical background. He usually breaks a lot of stuff though.
MSI Z490