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Asus Maximus IX Extreme – with Bitspower monoblock

The Asus ROG Maximus IX Extreme is a fabulous package that is considerably more than a motherboard as it comes complete with a Bitspower monoblock that does a fine job of cooling the VRMs as well as the CPU. The Maximus IX Extreme has a long list of features, a huge selection of ports and connectors for I/O, a comprehensive UEFI and a decent selection of software. That’s right, we even liked the Asus software.

Balanced against that the price is very high, the form factor is clunky E-ATX and you have the obvious problem that Kaby Lake and Z270 are yesterday’s hardware. You might add to that list the fact you are compelled to use a custom loop cooling system, but many people would regard that as a feature, rather than a problem.

Clearly you would only be considering the Maximus IX Extreme if you are planning to stick with your quad core Skylake or Kaby Lake Core i7. That’s not as daft as it sounds when you consider quad core with Hyper Threading and plenty of clock speed delivers epic gaming results as most systems are limited by the GPU, rather than the CPU. Even so, we are sure most people will be eyeing up Z370 and a six-core Coffee Lake Core i7-8700K or thinking about X299 and Skylake-X. There are loads of options in the Intel camp and even more when you start to think about Ryzen 7 and Threadripper, so sticking with yesterday’s technology would be a bold and unusual choice.

The only way we can rationalise it is if you currently have a Kaby Lake CPU and your motherboard has just gone bang. You want a high end Z270 motherboard, you like the look of the Maximus IX Extreme and money is no obstacle. The reason, of course, why you haven’t bought Coffee Lake is that you are waiting for the arrival of the Intel Z390 chipset along with Asus Maximus X or XI Extreme at some point in 2018. Until that time the Asus ROG Maximus IX Extreme is still relevant and has proven to be a fascinating piece of hardware.

Pros:

  • The Bitspower monoblock cools the VRMs as well as the CPU.
  • Massive list of features including heaps of I/O.
  • Excellent UEFI gives you complete control.
  • Asus AI Suite 3 software is very useful.
  • Extensive RGB across the block, I/O and chipset.
  • Illuminated audio panel is both useful and fun.

Cons:

  • Supports Kaby Lake with Z270, so there is no upgrade path.
  • E-ATX form factor restricts your choice of cases.
  • Installation of monoblock requires some patience.
  • EPS and monoblock connections are fiddly.
  • High price.

Buy from Overclockers UK for £529.99 inc vat HERE

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KitGuru says: Asus ROG Maximus IX Extreme is the ultimate Kaby Lake motherboard. A showcase of Asus engineering.

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Rating: 8.0.

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