Last year, AMD released the Ryzen 3000 series desktop processors in one of the most monumental hardware launches of the modern era. This final step completed the Red brand's ascent back into the forefront of the desktop processor market that began with the launch of the first generation of Ryzen CPUs. Now, Intel is finally firing back with the launch of the 10th Gen Intel Core processors, along with a new motherboard standard to drive them.
As should be no surprise, the focus will remain on the new motherboards. While the 10th Gen Intel Core processors will not support PCIe 4.0 connectivity due to signal integrity issues, many of the Z490 motherboards are designed to support the PCIe 4.0 specification. This is accomplished by adding clock generators to help clean up the signal. Generally speaking, when it comes to long-term platform support, AMD has been the trendsetter. Has AMD's long support of the AM4 socket on its newer-generation processors inspired Intel to take similar steps?
So what is Z490 offering right now? For starters, there has been a large focus on VRM and VRM cooling design. With the top-level Intel Core i9-10900K featuring 10 cores along with HyperThreading, the ability to deliver clean, continuous power is going to be one of the primary factors that separates a good Z490 board from the competition. With the introduction of HyperThreading on Intel's mid-range line up, power delivery is going to be vital in all segments.
The Maximus family serves as ASUS's flagship line for Intel motherboards, with premium looks, premium features, blazing performance, and broad overclocking support. The Maximus lineup typically comprises four models: the Hero, Apex, Formula, and Extreme. Intel's Z490 chipset is no exception. The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme serves as the capstone entry for the Maximus family, providing every bell and whistle available.
The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme features a robust VRM cooling solution complete with an optional active cooling fan, all paired with no less than sixteen 90 A power stages from Infineon. Dual BIOS with BIOS flashback has also been included, as well as ASUS's excellent BIOS designed to provide an optimal, stress-free overclocking experience. The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme also offers great connectivity with not only WiFi 6 and 2.5 Gb/s LAN, but also 10 Gb/s Ethernet using an Aquantia controller. All of this performance is bundled into a sleek, modern package with excellent RGB options and a host of accessories.
Let's take a closer look at what the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme has to offer.
|CPU Support:||Intel 10th Gen or later processors|
|Power Design:|| CPU Power: 16-phase* |
Memory Power: 2-phase
|Integrated Graphics:||Dependent on installed CPU|
|Memory:||4x DIMM, supports dual-channel DDR4-4800 (OC) MHz|
|BIOS:||Dual AMI UEFI BIOS|
|Expansion Slots:|| 2x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots (x16/x0 or x8/x8) |
1x PCIe 3.0 x1 slots
|Storage:|| 8x SATA 6 Gb/s ports |
2x M.2 ports (DIMM.2) (PCIe 3.0 x4)
2x M.2 ports (SATA3/PCIe 3.0 x4)
|Networking:||1x Intel I225V 2.5 Gb/s LAN|
1x Marvell® AQtion AQC107 10Gb Ethernet
1x Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
|Rear Ports:||2x Antenna ports|
1x Bios Flashback button
1x Clear CMOS button
1x Optical SPDIF out port
2x LAN (RJ45) port
1x USB 3.2 (Gen2x2) Type-C port
1x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-C port
6x USB 3.2 (Gen1) ports
2x USB 3.2 (Gen2) Type-A ports
2x USB 2.0 ports
5x 3.5 mm audio jacks
|Audio:||1x Realtek ALC1220 Codec|
|Fan Headers:||14x 4-pin|
|Form Factor:||Extended ATX Form Factor: 12.0 x 10.9 in. / 30.5 x 27.7 cm|
Packaging and Contents
The front of the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XII Extreme box features a black background with subtle, printed patterns. In the top-right corner is a brushed metal background, while the rest of the box has a line pattern. "ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XI Extreme Gaming Motherboard" is in the center left, with the Republic of Gamers logo in the top right. "ASUS" is in the bottom left, and the brand badging is in the bottom right.
The back of the box has all the highlights: a top-down shot of the board, several panels detailing prominent features, a shot of the rear I/O, and the specifications list. The box design is well executed and matches the board perfectly.
For accessories, the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XII Extreme has it all. On top of the standard inclusions are thermistor cables, RGB extension cables, and an additional 40 mm VRM cooling fan. Additionally, there is a THUNDERBOLTEX 3-TR card adding Thunderbolt connectivity to the already robust storage options, a DIMM.2 card which adds two more M.2 slots, and the Fan Extension Card II which adds extra fan, RGB, and thermistor headers.
The full list of accessories includes:
- Users manual
- ROG logo plate sticker
- 3 x M.2 screw package
- MOS cooling kit (fan bracket and 40 x 40 mm fan)
- Fan Extension Card II
- Fan Extension Card II power cable
- Fan Extension Card II NODE connector cable
- Fan Extension Card II screw package
- 2 x mini DisplayPort cable
- ROG big sticker
- Wi-Fi antenna(s)
- Extension cable for RGB strips (80 cm)
- Extension cable for addressable LED
- 3 x Thermistor cable(s)
- USB drive with utilities and drivers
- 8 x ROG weave SATA 6G cable
- ROG DIMM.2 with heatsink
- ROG multi-bit screwdriver
- THUNDERBOLTEX 3-TR card
- ASUS TB header cable
- USB2.0 cable
- ROG key chain
- 2 x M.2 pad for ROG DIMM.2
- 2-in-1 rubber pad
The ROG Maximus XII Extreme uses a classic ASUS design, a black PCB matched with black heat sinks and dark, polished accents over the chipset and the rear I/O cover.
The CPU socket is open enough for most air coolers. The VRM features a large heatsink, along with a second heatsink that covers both the VCCSA power section and the chipset.
There are two M.2 slots on the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme, both nested together between the PCI3 x16 slots. A large heatsink covers both slots.
In addition to the built-in M.2 slots, the DIMM.2 expansion card includes two more M.2 slots, as well as thermistor headers for each.
The ASUS Z490 PG ROG Maximus XII Extreme offers two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, both steel-reinforced, as well as one PCI Express 3.0 x1 slot. The unusual PCIe layout is designed to accommodate two three-slot GPUs without blocking the PCI Express 3.0 x1 slot. The board has a total of eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports on the side, angled 90 degrees from the board.
The ASUS Z490 PG ROG Maximus XII Extreme has a great I/O offering that includes an optical S/PDIF out port, Wi-Fi 6, dual LAN, and lots of USB connectivity.
- 2x Antenna ports
- Clear CMOS button
- 6x USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports
- 2x USB 2.0 ports
- 2x USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-A port
- USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C port
- USB 3.2 Gen2x2 Type-C port
- 2x RJ-45 LAN port
- Optical SPDIF out port
- 5x 3.5 mm audio jacks
Networking on the ASUS Z490 PG ROG Maximus XII Extreme is handled by Intel's I225V controller, as well as a Marvell® AQtion AQC107C for 10 Gb/s LAN. For wireless connectivity, there is an AX201 Wi-Fi 6 module.
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