While the Signature Series will be ASUS' bread and butter in the new Z170 motherboard market, it's the Republic of Gamers boards that get us excited. ASUS has announced their Intel Skylake based RoG boards, and we are liking what we're seeing.
Three boards have been announced in this new line-up: the Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene. They are all based on the Intel Z170 Express chipset, but each has their own flavour. The Maximus VIII Hero and Maximus VIII Ranger are full ATX boards, with the latter being slightly less feature rich then the former (and it's very slight). The Maximus VIII Gene is the Micro-ATX offering, for all of us who want to make a more portable system. Sadly no Mini-ITX board has been announced, but I'm sure one will be coming.
All three of these boards of course will feature the same engineering and attention to detail that is found in the ASUS RoG line. This includes some incredibly powerful overclocking tools, in the form of ASUS 5-Way Optimization. This software tool, combined with the layout of the motherboards themselves, allow you to make direct and immediate adjustments to the performance of your system. This includes the possibility of driving your DDR4 RAM to speeds over DDR4-3733MHz with all memory slots occupied.
The three boards will also include a number of top-end tech onboard, including SupremeFX 2015 and Sonic Studio II audio chipsets, and the latest Intel Gigabit Ethernet (i-219V) controller with LANGuard and GameFirst technology.
The new Z170 based Republic of Gamers motherboards are available now from ASUS authorized resellers. There's a wealth of information to be found about these new RoG boards in the press release below.
[hide-this-part morelink="Full Press Release"]
ASUS Republic of Gamers Announces Maximus VIII Z170 Series
Eighth-generation Hero, Ranger, and Gene motherboards deliver unrivaled performance for enthusiasts and gamers
Fremont, California (5th August, 2015) - ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced the Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene: three new gaming motherboards based on the latest Intel® Z170 Express chipset and engineered with a plethora of exclusive ROG technologies to deliver the unrivalled performance of Intel’s 6th-generation Core™ processors and DDR4 memory.
The new ROG motherboards provide the best gaming audio, gaming networking, and auto-overclocking performance, among other class-leading features. With refined design choices and premium components for maximum durability and stability, the Maximus VIII motherboards represent the perfection of function and form for gaming and enthusiasts alike.
ASUS 5-Way Optimization offers class-leading Auto-Tuning performance
Tuning a new system for the best overall performance can be a daunting task for newcomers to PC DIY. To make the process easier, most motherboards offer basic overclocking profiles that apply predetermined values. However, the overclocking ability of the platform can vary widely, so there is a downside to using preset overclocking profiles—the parameters applied may not make the best use of the chosen CPU, cooling, or memory modules.
With these caveats in mind, ASUS engineers developed an easy-to-use software utility named 5-Way Optimization to dynamically tune overall system performance for the end user. This exclusive technology utilizes dedicated onboard hardware, software, and firmware to automatically tune the system, providing the best CPU performance, energy savings, stable digital power, and optimized fan speeds. The beauty of this approach is that the applied settings are tailored for the individual system, not some generic selection used by the competition, thus providing immediate performance gains without user frustration or stability worries.
See the benefits and features of 5-Way Optimization in action here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLkzMamoRbA
Maximize overclocking potential with ROG engineering expertise
Motherboard trace layout plays a pivotal part in system stability and is the foundation for overclocking. The new ROG gaming motherboards feature the latest iteration of ASUS T-Topology, enabling users to overclock DDR4 memory to new heights: over DDR4-3733MHz* is possible with all memory slots populated. Featuring a custom trace layout for reduced crosstalk and coupling noise, ASUS T-Topology ensures time-aligned signal transfer for improved memory stability and compatibility at all operating frequencies.
The benefits of this design are already making an impact in the industry. Leading enthusiast memory suppliers are sending their highest-performing quad-DIMM memory kits to select media partners and recommending the use of ASUS motherboards for reviews. This endorsement confirms that ASUS motherboards are ready for overclocking now–not in a few months, after numerous copy-cat EFI updates or board redesigns.
For overclocking enthusiasts, the Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene utilize Pro Clock technology, a dedicated base-clock (BCLK) generator designed for 6th-generation Intel Core™ processors that allows overclocked base-clock frequencies of 400MHz and beyond2. This custom solution works in tandem with ASUS ROG’s TurboV Processing Unit (TPU) to enhance voltage and base-clock overclocking control. Boot times at high BCLK frequencies are reduced, jitter is lowered, and stability is increased under heavy overclocking, providing an exciting new way to boost performance to extreme heights.
Best gaming audio: SupremeFX 2015 and Sonic Studio II
All Maximus VIII motherboards feature enhanced audio capabilities. ROG engineers have reinvented integrated gaming audio with the best inputs and outputs, a special shielded design, and a collection of carefully selected, professional-grade audio components that includes an ESS ES9023P digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with Hyperstream™ technology, an ultra-low-jitter clock, Nichicon® capacitors, a 2VRMS headphone amp, and a Sonic SenseAmp that automatically detects and optimizes any headset (32-600ohms) for sublime sound quality.
SupremeFX 2015 features intuitive Sonic Studio II software to apply different audio effects, plus Perfect Voice noise-cancellation technology for both incoming and outgoing communications to give team conversations complete clarity. Sonic Studio II also incorporates Casting Enhancer to improve both streaming and recording audio quality, reducing noise artifacts and stabilizing voice volume. And it enhances and boosts in-game sounds to deliver an audio experience you can feel.
This intuitive audio-tuning suite includes a one-click virtual-surround function that emulates 7.1 channels through even stereo (2.0-channel) headsets. It offers five audio controls—Reverb, Bass Boost, Equalizer, Voice Clarity, and Smart EQ—ensuring that everything emitted by the Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, Maximus VIII Gene, and future Maximus VIII boards sounds amazing.
Best fan controls available—period!
For the ultimate in cooling and quiet operation, the Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene all feature advanced fan controls coupled to onboard thermal sensors and hardware-level 4-pin/3-pin PWM/DC modes for every header. Each chassis fan header can be assigned to react to different temperature diodes for optimal cooling. A dedicated water pump header is also onboard; it’s set to run at full speed by default to prevent spin-up issues. The water pump header is fully controllable, supporting both PWM and DC pumps. Every onboard header can be controlled easily via Fan Xpert 3 software or via the intuitive interface of the ASUS UEFI.
If that’s not enough, an onboard header is compatible with the ASUS Fan Extension card** (sold separately), which lets users plug in and control three additional system fans in PWM or DC mode. This card has headers for additional temperature probes, too. Simply put, the cooling controls on ASUS ROG’s Z170 motherboards put competing motherboards and dedicated fan controllers to shame!
See Fan Xpert 3 in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt-rh-WCxlc
Best gaming networking: Lag-banishing Intel Gigabit Ethernet, LANGuard, and GameFirst
The Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene combine superior hardware and software technologies to deliver a knock-out blow to lag and enable smooth, stutter-free online gaming.
The latest Intel Gigabit Ethernet (i-219V) controller reduces CPU overhead and offers exceptional TCP and UDP throughput, freeing up more computing power for gaming with ultra-stable drivers. The new gaming boards also have electrostatically guarded and surge-protected components (ESD Guards) to better tolerate static electricity and protect against surges (up to 15KV).
For users who multi-task with their systems, GameFirst technology can be used to prioritize game-related packets or allocate bandwidth to specific applications to eliminate lag, streaming stutters, and file-sharing slowdowns—ensuring a perfect experience. Users need only choose the Optimization, Game, Media Streaming, or File Sharing preset to prioritize a given aspect of network performance.
Best protection: Smart DIY designs and premium components for maximum durability
The Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene deliver the stability and durability that gamers demand, with premium components and exclusive smart DIY designs for the best building and gaming experience.
Smart DIY features include the CPU Installation Tool to help prevent socket-pin damage, the one-piece Q-connector for front-panel wiring, TrueVolt USB for rock-steady 5V power supply to USB ports, and Q-DIMM memory slots with single-sided clips for simple insertion and removal of memory modules.
ROG’s latest gaming motherboards also have built-in DRAM Over-current Protection with an additional resettable fuse to protect DRAM against over-current damage, dual backplates to provide reinforcement, and a black nickel-coated Q-Shield for protection from nicks and cuts while building your ultimate gaming machine.
Best gaming extras: Lighting controls, RAMCache, KeyBot II, and Overwolf
For lighting fans, the Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene feature customizable RGB LED controls to cast a stunning multi-color glow, change shades to reflect the CPU temperature, or pulsate in time to the beat of your favorite tunes.
To boost storage performance, RAMCache technology effectively caches your favorite games and apps launch so they launch at breakneck speeds. RAMCache turns milliseconds into microseconds to boost game-load times, and it minimizes the risk of data loss compared to traditional RAM drives.
ROG’s much-loved free keyboard upgrade has also been upgraded to KeyBot II, an exclusive microprocessor controlled by a simple user interface that lets gamers record macros directly from the keyboard, switch profiles in seconds, enable special functions with hotkeys from F1-F10, and start and even boost the PC from shutdown (S5 mode). The brand-new Directional Exchange feature allows fighting-game fans to switch directions at the touch of a button.
The Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene are also able to stay in the game with free access to Overwolf, a clever, unobtrusive overlay that enables browsing, emailing, instant messaging, streaming, or recording without interrupting gameplay. This brilliant helper is all dressed up in color-matched ROG skins to illustrate membership of an elite pack—soon to be available from Overwolf’s app store.
AVAILABILITY & PRICING
ASUS ROG’s Maximus VIII Hero, Maximus VIII Ranger, and Maximus VIII Gene are available now at ASUS authorized resellers and distributors. Other Maximus VIII models will arrive soon.
* 3466MHz for Maximus VIII Ranger
** Base-clock overclocking range varies according to CPU capabilities, cooling, motherboard support and tuning options.
1 Specifications, content and product availability are all subject to change without notice and may differ from country to country. Actual performance may vary depending on applications, usage, environment and other factors.
ASUS is a worldwide top-three consumer notebook vendor and maker of the world’s best-selling, most award-winning motherboards. A leading enterprise in the new digital era, ASUS designs and manufactures products that perfectly meet the needs of today’s digital home and office, with a broad portfolio that includes motherboards, graphics cards, optical drives, displays, desktop and all-in-one PCs, notebooks, netbooks, servers, multimedia devices, wireless solutions, networking devices, tablets and smartphones. Driven by innovation and committed to quality, ASUS won 4,326 awards in 2014 and is widely credited with revolutionizing the PC industry with its Eee PC™. ASUS has more than 13,600 employees around the globe with a world-class R&D team of 4,500 engineers. Company revenue for 2014 was approximately US$14.5 billion.