Asus Maximus V Gene (Z77) Motherboard Ivy Bridge Review

/ 9 years ago

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Following on from my review on the Maximus V Gene under Sandy Bridge, I did miss out a couple of important features that are well worth noting. To save amending the previous review lets add them in here for all to see.

USB BIOS Flashback

Over time, the ability to update the system BIOS has become more and more easy from updating withing the operation system, to now more commonly within the BIOS itself via a USB flash drive. But when there are problems that arise that stop access to the BIOS being possible, typically its has been a cold end to the user. This is where Asus new Flashback technology comes into play. There are now only three pieces of hardware required to update the BIOS. A PSU, flash drive with the new BIOS image and the motherboard. That is it – no RAM, CPU or any other hardware is required!

Updating is as simple as plugging the flash drive into the white BIOS Flashback / ROG connect USB port, and holding the ROG connect button beside it for three seconds to initialise the process. Whilst the update is in progress, the ROG LED will flash and when it has finished, the LED goes out. Its as simple as that and easy enough that any novice user can do it.


USB 3.0 boost does exactly as it says on the tin, its a new feature that works on compatible boards and controllers, to bring read performance a lot closer to internal speeds experienced by the end user. This feature also works under both Sandy Bridge as well as Ivy Bridge, so is a feature that everyone can utilise.

Working from within the Asus Ai Suite II software package, the USB Boost utility has two operating modes to choose from. The first is Turbo mode which works with all USB devices that understand the SCSI command, which is is ideal for the vast majority of users. Whilst it doesn’t necessarily boost the performance of the attached drive when transferring multiple files at the same time, there is a noticeable performance gain seen with USB 3.0 read speeds. This is achieved via the implementation of Asus’ Optimised BOT (Bulk-Only Transfer) Protocol, which adopts a streaming architecture, saving the round time between command phases for transferring data.

The second operation mode for USB 3.0 boost is UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol). This option unlike Turbo mode, only works with devices that are UASP enabled. Essentially it gives the user the same full advantage that can be had with Turbo mode, but the performance experienced with a UASP enabled device will be slightly greater giving the user a faster transfer experience.

With a device plugged in, the USB Boost application will automatically check to see if the attached storage device is UASP enabled or not and will give the user the appropriate option to select to boost the devices performance, whether it be under Turbo mode, or the full advantage of UASP.

Network iControl

This new feature to ROG boards works in coalition with Intel network controllers to give the end user more control and flexibility over what programs can access the network along with how much bandwidth they can utilise at any given time and time scales for which these rules apply. For example Network iControl can be set to minimise bandwidth allocation to a file sharing program during the day, but during the night, the same program will automatically have the freedom to maximise its throughput.  This principle works with all programs that access the network interface and doesn’t require any special features in the individual applications.

Fan Xpert 2

Fan control is a major aspect of a systems cooling potential and there are a number of methods that the end user and implement to keep cooling at its optimum whilst trying to keep system acoustics as low as possible. The problem with most of these are that they are not optimised for any particular setup, in other words, how you configure the cooling for one rig will be different to another. So what if there was a way for the system to do this all by itself? With Asus’ Fan Xpert 2, this is now possible. Run from within the operating system, the software individually controls each fan on a personalised profile based on its location within the system and how it alters the system operation temperature during calibration.

Once each fan in turn has been detected and identified, Fan Xpert will collaborate the characteristics of each fan together into a single system wide profile. If you decide however that an individual fan requires a greater airflow that what has been automatically set from within the software, or you wish to setup your own profiling in its entirety, then the Smart Mode allows you full control of how the fan will operate at any temperature and time.

If this is all a bit too much for you however, Asus have three preset generic operating mode namely Silent, Standard and Turbo that you can switch to at any time should you wish to, although the Fan Auto Tuning is so easy to do,  virtually anybody will be able to use it.

DIGI+ Power Control

Digital power in its own right is not something thats new to us from Asus, but with the release of the Z77 based ROG boards, we see a whole new digital power management engine being implemented onto the boards to give the exact precise power control that the user expects and to also give a more stable and reliable system under extreme conditions.

The Extreme Engine DIGI+ II with its 12 phase digital CPU power control now covers the CPU Vcore across 8 phases and also 4 phases on Vaux for the iGPU controller. In addition to this we also see for the first time digital power control on the Vdimm with 2 phases now given to provide even more stability and overclocking potential.

Within the BIOS, a new set of built-in power profiles make the management of the DIGI+ Power Design more accessible for all users regardless of whether the end user wishes for a better overclock or a system with a more economic footprint. The new power control additionally cuts all power to the iGPU when the boards integrated graphics are not in use to save power and to lower the temperature delta for the best performance possible.

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