Don't let the branding confuse you; with the Maximus III, ASUS serves a plate of awesome on the P55 chipset.
Unfortunately for ASUS and all the other motherboard vendors, GIGABYTE was very aggressive at the release of P55 and subsequently made a big impact. Fortunately though, ASUS has fought back like they always do, culminating in a quality Republic of Gamers offering, the Maximus III Extreme. The Maximus III name might confuse some users, as originally the Maximus was brought out as an X38 board and has since migrated to Intel’s express chipset. Regardless of naming, the Maximus III boasts all the features you would expect from a class-leading P55 board.
Being a P55 board there is support for the i3 and i5 processors and the 800 series i7 processors. Up to 2,200MHz dual channel memory is supported, with 4 slots provided for up to 16GB of memory when using 4GB DIMMs. ASUS has generously included 6 SATA 3GB/s ports and 2 SATA 6GB/s ports, providing ample connections for storage fiends. PCI-Express slots are anything but scarce on the Maximus III: there are 5 full-speed slots, allowing up to four-way graphics configurations. The power delivery on this board is high quality, with 8 phases for CPU, 3 phases for the integrated memory controller and 3 phases for memory. There are more USB ports than most consumers could ever use, with 7 on the I/O panel and another 4 headers on the motherboard itself. The specifications are impressive indeed, but the board still has some work to do to challenge GIGABYTE on the P55 platform.
ASUS has made a point of going above and beyond other brands when it comes to integrated features. Features such as MemOK, the voltminder LEDs and the famous ROG connect technology have given enthusiasts an array of useful tools to help tune and troubleshoot their systems. MemOK provides an interface for troubleshooting memory compatibility issues. If your memory kit won’t boot on, simply press the onboard MemOK button and the board will begin automatic memory tuning to try and resolve any issues.
Similarly the voltminder LEDs show the voltage status of key components on the system, allowing the operator to easily detect possible problems without ever entering the BIOS. Our favourite ASUS technology is ROG connect. Initially this was only available via a USB cable, but now it is also available via Bluetooth. After loading the ROG connect app onto your iPhone, a Bluetooth connection is established, and full control over frequencies, voltages and multipliers is available in the palm of your hand.
So the Maximus III looks amazing, has all the features we expect from a board claiming to be the best P55 board and plenty of innovative tools to boot. So how does it perform? Pretty damn well! We found it performed identically to GIGABYTE’s P55A-UD7 board in synthetic benchmarks and game testing. The Maximus III did slightly fall behind in 2D benchmark testing. We feel this is caused by a slightly lower memory bandwidth than the GIGABYTE board. It also was slightly behind in memory overclocking, consistently 5% behind in our comparative testing.
The price might scare away some potential buyers. For the same price you can purchase the Rampage III Extreme which is based on the X58 chipset and is a significantly higher-performing platform. There is also the GIGABYTE P55A-UD7 which is a mirror image of the Maximus III in performance, but comes in at up to $100 less. Considering all the facts however it is hard to fault the Maximus III Extreme. We can’t help but love this new Republic of
Overclockers board.Available from ASUS, retailing for $450.APC rating: 9/10 (Editor's Choice)