The recently-released ROG Maximus V GENE represents ROG’s move to Intel Z77-based overclocking on mATX, once again proving that compact size doesn’t have to come at the expense of features.
As an ardent fan of mATX boards I was delighted to get a retail box to open up and photograph.
The box shows the familiar ROG red theme with premium materials used for a sturdier packaging that feels and looks great.
The back reveals some of the awesome features that make this a mATX board to reckon with: SupremeFX III onboard audio, overvoltage-friendly Extreme Engine Digi+ II digital voltage regulation (similar to the latest DIGI+ design from mainstream ASUS motherboards), bundled mPCIe combo card (with mPCIe and mSATA ports), and the spacious dual PCI Express 3.0 slots which make 2-way SLI/CrossFireX easy.
Another big highlight is GameFirst II smart network traffic shaping technology, which does more than just put your online games at the top of your priority list. This one actively reduces pings and latency, enhancing multiplayer gaming especially if you find yourself far from the host server. Hardware Intel Ethernet further enhances connectivity with a dedicated controller that relieves the CPU from much of the burden of networking-related processing resulting in smoother, more consistent and generally faster connections.
Under the flap we notice two more features worth talking about – LucidLogix Virtu GPU virtualisation kicks in when needed to optimize and boost graphics card performance, while ROG Connect is still the same trusty ROG-exclusive plug and overclock tool, letting you change system parameters from remote devices such as your notebook.
The new GENE sits under a protective plastic cover for shipping.
Lift that up and you start getting into the accessories. Shown here are the stylish ROG door hanger and the glossy user guide.
Some nice accessories come in the box. Clockwise you get SATA cables, convenient front panel connectors, ROG Connect cable, cable labels, SLI bridge and rear I/O shield.
The bundled mPCIe combo card adds two slots that you may find very useful. mSATA is perfect for SSDs and mPCIe is for added graphics connectivity.
Another look at the mPCIe combo card.
Overall look at the board right out of the box. As you can see it retains the trademark ROG design and colour scheme.
Close look at the SupremFX III audio hardware which generates audio far superior to what you get with other onboard audio designs or the HDMI passthrough via graphics cards.
Intel Ethernet port more optimised for Gigabit performance than standard LAN.
Ah yes, the lovely LGA 1155 socket for all your 22nm 3rd generation Intel Core Ivy Bridge processors. Of course, it’s also compatible with the 32nm second generation processors.
Nice look at the ROG-themed southbridge and the memory slots. And just look at all those beefy capacitors. This mATX gives much bigger mainstream motherboards a marathon for their money.
The rather extensive, but economically-sized, rear I/O.
As usual the clever board layout means you have enough space for dual two-slot graphics cards which is still a feat for many other mATX boards.
Tough-looking black backplate!
If I were to build a new gaming PC, this would be the board I would go with right now. It may be a little pricier than your garden variety mATX board, but it makes those pale in comparison in pretty much every regard. The GENE squad has always been ROG’s crowning achievement as far as I’m concerned, managing to pack tons of performance features onto the more compact form factor. The latest GENE continues this theme and takes it forward so I’d highly recommend it to space-savvy gamers and overclockers.