Motherboards

ROG MAXIMUS XI Extreme

Perfection has a cost!

Key Features

  • Price: 599.99 USD
  • E-ATX Form Factor
  • Intel Z390 chipset
  • LGA 1151 CPU socket
  • Compatible with 8th and 9th Gen. Intel CPUs
  • 4 x 16GB 4,400 MHz DDR4, maximum 64GB
  • 3 x PCI-E 3.0 x16, 1 x PCI-E 3.0 X1
  • Back IO :Cear CMOS, bios FLASHBACK, 4 x USB 3.1 2nd gen. Type-A+ Type C, 6 x USB 3.1 (1st Gen), 1 x 5 Gigabit Aquantia LAN + 1 GB LAN Ethernet, S1220 Realtek 7.1 channels audio, Dual Band 802.11 AC WIFI, 5.0 Bluetooth
  • 2 x M.2 SSD (Optane ready) + 2 DIMM.2 M.2 SSD, 6 x SATA 3
  • 3 x CrossFire support, 2 x SLI support
  • 10 CPU dedicated phases
  • Premium Chocks, and OFSETs
  • Large thermo-padded back PCB
  • Advanced Custom Water cooling features
  • Live-Dash screen
  • Great Heatsinks
  • 4 M.2 SSD thermo-paded  heat-shield
  • DIMM.2 plate with thermo-padded heat-shield
  • Aquantia 5GB LAN
  • Integrated IO shields
  • Multiple troubleshooting features
  • Big START/ RESET soldered buttons
  • Looks great
  • Robust design
  • The price, 600 USD minimum
  • Features  are a bit crammed
ROG Maximus XI Extreme What's in the box_White
ROG Maximus XI Extreme What’s in the box
  • Q connector
  • 4 SATA cables
  • 3 thermistor cables
  • Dual band antenna
  • DIMM.2 plat with thermo-padded heat-shield
  • RGB extension cable
  • Fan Extension card
  • Addressable RGB extension cable
  • M.2 SSD screws and screw raisers
  • 2 way SLI Bridge
  • ROG metal Sticker
  • ROG Cup coaster
  • MSI Coupon code
  • Driver USB stick
  • Manual
  • Cable Labels
  • Stickers

The ROG MAXIMUS XI EXTREME

First and foremost, it is an E-ATX motherboard. Therefor,  buy your computer chassis accordingly.

ROG MAXIMUS XI Extreme E-ATX
ROG MAXIMUS XI Extreme E-ATX

The Z390 chipset

The big difference in this new series is, of course, the chipset: The Z390.

What you need to know here is that the Z390 is in all and for all identical to its predecessor, the Z370. The only noticeable differences are the addition of 2 features (marked in red below) :

Intel Z370 versus Z390

Intel Chipset Z390 Z370
Overclocking Support Yes Yes
On-CPU PCI Express* 3.0 Configurations 1X16 or 2X8 or 1×8+2X4 1×16 or 2×8 or 1×8+2×4
Independent Display Ports / Pipes Support 3/3 3/3
Memory Channels / DIMMs per Channel 2/2 2/2
Processor Overclocking Yes Yes
Integrated Intel Wireless-AC Support (CNVi) Yes No
Intel Optane Memory Support Yes Yes
Maximum High Speed I/O Lanes 30? 30
Maximum USB 3.1 Ports: Gen 2 / Gen 1 6 / 10 0 / 10
Maximum SATA 6Gb/s Ports 6 6
Maximum PCI Express* 3.0 lanes 24 (v3.0) 24 (v3.0)
Intel Rapid Storage Technology Yes Yes
Maximum Intel RST for PCIe Storage Ports (x2 M.2 or x4 M.2) 3 3
Intel RST PCIe RAID 0, 1, 5 Yes Yes
Intel RST SATA RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 Yes Yes
Intel RST for CPU-attached Intel PCIe Storage Yes Yes

Other than that, they are the very same chipset, which is a good thing since both the Z370 and Z390 can support the same processors:

  • 8th Generation Intel Processors (Coffee Lake)
  • 9th Generation Intel Processors (Coffee Lake refresh)


Socket

ROG MAXIMUS XI Extreme LGA
ROG MAXIMUS XI Extreme LGA

Luckily for all of us, this board still uses the highly compatible 1151 LGA CPU socket. Therefore, if you have installed any Intel CPU in the past decade, you should feel right at home.

And, as previously stated, the CPU socket will support both the 8th and 9th generation of Intel’s Core CPUs.

VRM

The ROG MAXIMUS XI EXTREME comes with 12 phases, 10 of which are dedicated to your CPU!

Obviously, this means a superior overclocking experience with ANY supported CPU. Yes! Including the massive i9-9900K!

After running different CPU stress on the 9th Generation of Intel Core processors, I could not detect serious overheating or thermo-throttling.

Heat sinks are particularly big and and tall. They do a splendid job at keeping our VRMs cool even under prolonged duress.

They are tall and heavy. In fact, I am not sure I have ever seen such tall heat-sinks!

We do have a mono-block connector right under our main top heat-sink, so i you are a die-hard enthusiast, you can always remove all of the heat-sinks and install a water cooled mono-block.

Note on Overcloking:

That’s where the ROG MAXIMUS XI EXTREME shines.

The 10 CPU dedicated VRM can dispense up to an over-killed 600 amps (60 amps per phase). But even-though this many time what any Core CPUs can use, more phases mean less heat concentration, and a better temperature management.

No thermo-throttling and of a stone-stable voltage in the most extreme overclocking setups!

And yes indeed, this is one of the few board which can truly managed an i9-9900k at 5.1 Ghz on a long term basis.

RAM

RAM wise, nothing surprising. We have the usual dual channel configuration which can support (for now) up to 64gb of DDR4 RAM, overclock-able up to 4,400 GHz.

Keep in mind that Asus just released a BIOS update for its ROG MAXIMUS XI Hero motherboard, allowing it to support up to 128 GB of RAM in 32 GB x 4 configuration.

I would not be surprised if the Extreme would follow suite in the near future.

M.2 SSD

Storage wise, we have a FOUR M.2 SSD configuration. Two placed under the chipset heat-shield, and tow on a DIMM.2 plate.  Of course, the Z390 chipset is Optane ready. This will allow our M.2 SSD sticks to swap data up to 32 Gbps.

With this kind of theoretical transfers, do not be surprised to see your M.2 SSDs sticks overheating, and thermo-throttling.

And that is whhy all of our 4 M.2 SSDs have been equipped with thermo-pads! Great move coming from Asus on this one.

Let’s not that the DIMM.2 plate comes with its own imposing and rather good looking thermo-padded heat-shield.

SATA 3.0

ROG MAXIMUS XI EXTREME SATA connectors

For more classical storage solutions, we have our usual SATA 3.0 plugs. 6 in total, with a transfer rate of 6 Gbps each. They can be configured to run into a 0,1,5 or 10 RAID configuration.

PCIe Lanes

The ROG MAXIMUS XI Extreme has four 3rd Generation PCI expresses.:

  • 3 16 lanes with different BUS speeds
  • 1 single lanes , single speeds

Only the closest 16 lanes PCIe slot can operate up to 16 full BUS speed. Therefore, your unique video card should be here for optimal performances.

In a 2 way GPU configuration, we have a descent 8 by 8 BUS speed, which is plenty to a run a well-performing SLI or CrossFire dual GOU configuration.

But evidently, the Z390/Core combination does not provide enough PCIe lanes to say the same about a 3 way GPU configuration, which will only provide 4 BUS speed in 2nd and 3rd position.

BACK IO

First, let me note that we have an integrated I/O shield. Which is ALWAYS a good start.

Starting from the left, we have :

  • Clear CMOS / BIOS Flash Back button
  • x6 USB 3.1 1st Gen. RX/TX 5 Gbps
  • x1 HDMI 1.4B video  output
  • x4 USB 3.1 2nd Gen. ( 1 type A + 1 type C) RX/TX 10 Gbps
  • X1 5Gigabit AQUANTIA LAN
  • x1 Gigabit LAN
  • Dual Band WiFi 802.11 AC, 2×2 MU-MIMO, 1.73 Gbps, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Realtek S1220A, 7.1 channels

Note that the audio in and outputs have been fited with colored LEDs, reflecting the color code audio plugs usually feature.

Front Panel connectors

We have one USB 3.1 2nd gen type C front panel connector as well as two USB 3.1 1st gen type A (classical) front panel connector.

In addition, we have 2 USB 2.0 front panel connectors. Worth noting, these are not only relevant for data transfer, but they are also very useful for All-In-One water pumps energy supply and PWM abilities, or for Intelligent PSUs for in and out wattage readout / monitoring.

Fan & Pump Connectors

We have an impressive 12 native fan connectors, 4 of which have PWM/DC modes. These last ones cane be used for AIO water coolers.

In addition we have 2 10 watts Water Pump connectors. These are perfect to implement a dual custom water cooling solution.

The board comes with a fan extension card which will add another 4 PWM fans as well as 3 thermal sensors.

That would gives us a maximum of 16 Fans operating on the same board. Indeed, a bit Extreme.

And because this board has been designed to cater to the most extreme custom water cooling builder, we also have 3 thermal sensors connectors (6 in total with the HUB), in and out and water flow sensors.

On-Board Bouttons

Happy to see big (and back-lit) soldered button. Always a good point!

We also have safe_boot, BIOS and retry buttons which give us a direct access to all the different hard boot features the board support.

AURA Sync Effect

Aura Sync effect will sync all of your build RGB components to glow in sync through ASUS native AURA Sync Effect software. And all of the RGB options featured below are AURA compliant.

PCB

As an ROG Extreme edition, Asus had to give it its best shot. The motherboards covered in RGB strips and  connectors.

PCB

One under the IO roof.

PCB

One under the chipset heat-shield.

PCB

And one sandwiched between the PCB and the PCB heat-shield.

But if that is not enough, you can add up to 2 additional RGB strips and 2 Addressable RGB exports.


Troubleshooting

The Q-LED screen is a must on any enthusiast board. The error code will guide you through a more precise troubleshooting of a board failure.

We have a BEAUTIFUL live-dash, with all the CPU related info such as frequency, voltage or temperature.

The EZ debugger is always a welcomed feature. It lets you know where your boot is at in its cycle. Very useful when you are trying quickly understand why your build is not booting.


Conclusion

The ROG MAXIMUS XI Extreme edition will run you 600 bucks before taxes, and that is simply one of , if not the most expensive Z390 motherboard on the market today.

Compared to the previous MAXIMUS IX, it feels a little bit .. blender… but again… that was to be expected. The MAXIMUS IX extreme was a one off crazy motherboard, which still amazes me to this day.

But in our case blender is better. The MAXIMUS XI Extreme, is trying to be more accessible to enthusiast builders out there.

Usually manufacturers try to balance build, features and most importantly, budget…. But not here,… budget consideration took the back seat, and the engineering team was given carte blanche in terms of. Everything.  ….. and that gave us the MAXIMUS XI Extreme:

A calm sense of luxury, a safe robustness to it which, frankly,  does rationalize its expensive pricing.

And most crucially, this is a performant power-house! Which leaves nothing to the competition.

We have ALL of the required features to go after the most enthusiastic build out there.

But I m sure you got it by now, this board is not for every one … far from it.

If you are a first timer builder, this is not for you.. go for a Prime Z390-A or a Strix.

This motherboard is meant to be used with the more expensive processors out there, such as an i7 or ideally and i9. Anything less, and you would be wasting your money.

The ROG MAXIMUS XI Extreme is meant to be seen in an expensive, enthusiastically driven, crazy build, and if this the build you have in mind. Then this is where your money wants and needs to be !

That is precisely why, the ROG MAXIMUS XI EXTREME is probably the best Z390 motherboard out there today!

QUICK OVERVIEW

CPU & northbridge support

Supported Processor
8th & 9th Gen. Intel Core Processors
Chipset
Z390
CPU socket
LGA1151

 

Memory

Slots
4 (dual channel)
Max System Memory (Gigabytes)
64
Memory Technology
DDR4
Maximum Clock (MgHz)
4,400

Connectors

USB 2.0
2 on-board
USB 3.1 (1st Gen)
6 on back IO + 2 on-board
USB 3.1 (2nd Gen)
4 Type A/C on back IO + 1 Type C on board.
LAN
Aquantia 5Gb/s + 1 Gb/s
WiFi
802.11AC + 2×2 MU MIMO + Bluetooth 5.0

 

 

 

Perfection has a cost!

PERFORMANCES
OVERCLOCKING
DESIGN
DURABILITY
PRICE
ACCESSORIES
LOOKS
CUSTOM WATER COOLING
TROUBLESHOOTING
CONNECTIVITY

Laurent's Choice AWARD

A calm sense of luxury, a safe robustness to it which, frankly,  does rationalize its expensive pricing.

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Laurent

The never aging alpha geek is still here! Don't you dare question me!

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