[ad#review977-top]Now that the i7 has been around for about six months, and the fact that it has been very successful, both in function and sales, I assumed that we had pretty much seen the end of new upper-end LGA 775 products, at least from the major manufacturers. Sure, I expected some lower-end stuff to surface, mainly to deplete warehouse stock of obsolete components, but nothing special, nothing to really take notice of.
Micro ATX, or mATX form factor, really has been something that hasn’t appealed to me in the past for a lot of reasons. Mainly, my rigs stay overclocked 24/7, so I tend to prefer larger cases for heat dissipation and to accommodate large air coolers. I don’t do LAN parties but once a year or less, so portability isn’t a huge concern. Also, being a hardware reviewer, I like a lot of room “under the hood” because it makes building and replacing parts so much more convenient. I guess another reason is that I spend a lot of time making fun of the small form factor computers where I work.when someone has a computer problem I love being able to tell them to “Get a real computer!”
I currently have four rigs at my workstation, two full towers, an extended mid tower, and a normal mid tower. They take a tremendous amount of space and drive my wife crazy. My C2D/DDR3 test rig probably won’t be used anymore and I’ve been trying to decide what to do with it. It is in a full tower. I built a full-time rig for digital recording last year, but ended up removing the recording sound card and giving it to one of the kids, and I have been considering using the test rig for that purpose. Having a really portable rig for digital recording would be nice, but high performance is more of a concern than rig size, and I would prefer an upper-end motherboard without onboard graphics. There aren’t a lot of upper-end mATX motherboards out there, so enthusiasts desiring a full-featured mATX motherboard have generally been out of luck.until now.
To satisfy the desire for enthusiast/gamer mATX motherboards, Asus has created a new series of boards, the ROG Gene series. These mATX form factor motherboards sport the features of Asus’ high-end ROG motherboards. The first of these to be seen was the Rampage II Gene, an mATX i7/X58 board. Our friends at Asus have now released an mATX Socket 775 ROG Gene motherboard, the Maximus II Gene. It looks to be the answer to what I’m looking for, an upper-end mATX board with Intel P45 chipset. Designed with the enthusiast/gamer in mind, it should be the platform for an awesome LAN party rig, which definitely fits my high-performance/high-portability desire. Will the Maximus II Gene do the job? Read on to see!
The Maximus II Gene comes in a square box that has little info other than the name, the ROG logo, and the Asus logo. Specs are found on the rear of the box. A few features are found under the front flap, but nothing very descriptive.
Open the box and the motherboard is found on top, with the bundle below.