Inside the retail box we find the board itself, user manual, Q-connectors, ROG Connect cable, driver / software disc, ROG feature guide, Zip ties, rear I/O shield, USB 2.0 expansion bracket, ProbeIt cable set, RC Bluetooth card, 3-way SLI bridge, regular SLI bridge, CrossFire cable, thermal sensor cable pack, four SAA 6Gb/sec cables and four SATA 3Gb/sec cables. Included on the software disc is a 1-year copy of Kapersky Anti-Virus and 3DMark Vantage software. This is certainly one of the more complete bundles we have seen in recent memory.
Much like the Sabertooth segment boards, the Maximus IV Extreme deviates from the standard ASUS blue and black aesthetics. The red and black theme is certainly more aggressive and if the board looks wider than the standard ATX form factor to you, you're absolutely right. ASUS has utilized the Extended ATX form factor which results in an additional 2.5cm of front-to-back real estate. It doesn't sound like much but it's certainly needed given the sheer amount of features that ASUS has packed with the Extreme.
Starting our tour at the top of the board, we find a large three-piece layered passive heatsink that is secured to the PCB using solid screws rather than flimsy plastic push-pins. The heatsinks are used to cool the MOSFETs and nForce 200 MCP that ASUS added to allow for Nvidia SLI. ASUS is using their Extreme Engine Digi+ 8-phase power system that utilizes alloy chokes and FET+ MOSFETs. ASUS has included an LED-lit Republic of Gamers logo over the nForce 200 MCP chip that emits a red glow.
Power system aside, we find an 8-pin CPU power header and three 4-pin fan headers across the top of the board in addition to a 2-digit debug LED. The four memory slots support up to 32GB of RAM (2200 MHz) in dual channel configuration with XMP support. To the right of the memory slots we find a LN2 switch, PCIe X16 lane switches, start button, reset button, voltage checkpoints and the ASUS GO button. When the LN2 mode is activated, the board is optimized to remedy the cold-boot bug during POST at an extremely low temperature and help the system boot successfully. The PCIe X16 lane switches allow you to easily enable or disable the corresponding PCIe slots which could be useful in troubleshooting a faulty GPU in a multi-card configuration. The GO button can be used to enable MemOK! or to load a preset overclocking profile when in the operating system.
We find two additional 4-pin fan headers near the 24-pin ATX power connector. On the opposite side of the board near the rear I/O ports is a 4-pin Molex connector, USB 3.0 internal header, thermal sensor cable connectors, another 4-pin fan header, RC Bluetooth connector and a Clear CMOS button. The Molex connector is one of two found on the board that is used to supply additional power when running multiple video cards.
More just ahead.