The Board - Layout
The ASUS Maximus V Gene features a mostly-black color scheme, with a bit of red thrown in here and there, most of which will be covered by added GPUs and memory. Due to all the included features, the surface of both the front and the rear is pretty busy, but everything is carefully arranged to maximize compatibility for aftermarket cooling as much as is possible with an mATX product. The PCB itself is finished with in glossy black, not the easiest thing to take pictures of.
The matte black heatsinks on the left and above the socket, covering the board's CPU power delivery are pretty beefy, more than what is needed almost, while just below the socket is a couple of other power delivery phases with capacitors right next to the bottom of the retention mechanism. The back of the socket has a bunch of MOSFETs around the socket as well, and although there does seem to be enough room for aftermarket backplates, you do need to make sure that you are not going to short out a few little round solder pads that are quite close to the mounting hole near the bottom of the VRM.
The Maximus V Gene has just three expansion slots, two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots in red, and one black PCIe 2.0 x4 slot at the bottom. The top red slot is an electrical x16 slot, but will pass half of that link to the bottom red slot when both red slots are populated, making for a dual PCIe 3.0 x8/x8 electrical link directly to the CPU. There are four DIMM slots on the ASUS Maximus V Gene, each supporting modules up to 8 GB each in density, for a total support of 32 GB. ASUS lists support for up to 2666 MHz DIMMs too, although I've seen the ASUS Maximus V Gene board with much higher speeds in the hands of extreme clockers.
The Maximus V Gene's bottom edge is actually pretty sparse when it comes to pin headers, although there is a lot of other stuff there as well. The left side is just audio connectors, and a couple of buttons as well as a Thunderbolt header, and the right side has a couple of USB 2.0 headers, a fan header, and the front panel block, useful if you decide to use a case. There are a total of five fan headers on the ASUS Maximus V Gene, each of which is 4-pin PWM-based, with quite a bit of controls available for each in the BIOS.
The rear I/O plate starts off with just a couple of buttons, one for CMOS Clear, and the other for the ROG Connect and the USB BIOS Flashback features, combined with that white USB port at the bottom of the USB 2.0 tower. There are four blue USB 3.0 ports, a single red eSATA port, and one LAN connector, with digital audio, HDMI, and DisplayPort all tucked together in the middle. There's also an analogue audio tower with 6 ports for 7.1 Audio support. There are six internal SATA connectors, with a rather weird arrangement. The bottom red ports are SATA 6 Gb/s, driven by an ASMedia controller, while the other red ports are SATA 6 Gb/s, driven by the Intel Z77 Express PCH. The black ports are also driven by the Intel PCH controller, but are SATA 3 Gb/s, making this board have backwards ports compared to other products.
The PCH cooler is matte black just like the VRM cooler, and features a ROG-themed vanity plate, with just a slash of red below the ASUS logo. Below that is the Intel Z77 Express PCH, shown in the second image above, a pretty small chip itself that does manage to put out a fair bit of heat, too.