After almost a decade of total market dominance, Intel has spent the past few years on the defensive. AMD's Ryzen processors continue to show improvement year over year, with the most recent Ryzen 5000 series taking the crown of best gaming processor: Intel's last bastion of superiority.
Now, with a booming hardware market, Intel is preparing to make up some of that lost ground with the new 11th Gen Intel Core Processors. Intel is claiming these new 11th Gen CPUs offer double-digit IPC improvements despite remaining on a 14 nm process. The top-end 8-core Intel Core i9-11900K may not be able to compete against its Ryzen 9 5900X AMD rival in heavily multi-threaded scenarios, but the higher clock speeds and alleged IPC improvements could be enough to take back the gaming crown. Along with the new CPUs, there is a new chipset to match, the Intel Z590. Last year's Z490 chipset motherboards are also compatible with the new 11th Gen Intel Core Processors, but Z590 introduces some key advantages.
First, Z590 offers native PCIe 4.0 support from the CPU, which means the PCIe and M.2 slots powered off the CPU will offer PCIe 4.0 connectivity when an 11th Gen CPU is installed. The PCIe and M.2 slots controlled by the Z590 chipset are still PCI 3.0. While many high-end Z490 motherboards advertised this capability, it was not a standard feature for the platform. In addition to PCIe 4.0 support, Z590 offers USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 from the chipset. The USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 standard offers speeds of up to 20 Gb/s. Finally, Z590 boasts native support for 3200 MHz DDR4 memory. With these upgrades, Intel's Z series platform has feature parity with AMD's B550. On paper, Intel is catching up to AMD, but only testing will tell if these new Z590 motherboards are up to the challenge.
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 Extreme Glacial, Apex, Formula, and Extreme. Intel's Z590 chipset is no exception. The ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial is the pinnacle of the Maximus line, featuring the absolute latest and best technology ASUS has to offer.
The ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial features an extreme VRM solution with no less than 20 top of the line power stages from Texas Instruments, each rated for 100 A. On top of that, there is a massive full-coverage monoblock to keep not only the CPU and VRM cool, but also the chipset.
Dual BIOS and BIOS flashback have also been included, as well as ASUS's excellent BIOS designed to provide an optimal, stress-free overclocking experience. The ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial also offers great connectivity with not only WiFi 6 and 2.5 Gb/s Ethernet, but also 10 Gb/s Ethernet, Thunderbolt 4, and five M.2 slots. All of this performance is bundled into a beautiful silver and mirror-polished package with excellent RGB options and even an OLED screen.
Let's take a closer look at what the best of the Maximus line has to offer!
The front of the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial box features a black background with subtle, printed patterns. "ASUS ROG MAXIMUS XIII Extreme Glacial 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.
The accessories are nothing less than excessive. On top of the standard inclusions, there are thermistor cables, RGB extension cables, and an anti-sag graphics card holder.
The included ROG fan controller adds six more fan headers as well as six more RGB headers.
ASUS has included six fittings from EK designed for 14 mm hard tubing.
The star of the show is the massive polished monoblock, along with all the mounting hardware
The full list of accessories includes:
1-to-3 ARGB splitter cable
2x 1-to-4 fan splitter cable
RGB extension cable
3x ROG weave SATA 6G cables
3-in-1 Thermistor cables pack
ROG fan controller
Fan EXT PWR cable
ARGB input cable
USB input cable
ROG fan controller 3M mounting tape
Fan controller manual
ROG DIMM.2 with heatsink
M.2 pad for ROG DIMM.2
2x M.2 screw package for ROG DIMM.2
3x Screw package for monoblock
Thermal pad for monoblock
Fittings for monoblock
ASUS Wi-Fi moving antennas
M.2 rubber package(s)
M.2 SSD screw package(s)
ROG CLAVIS DAC
ROG key chain
ROG logo plate stickers
ROG thank you card
ROG graphics card holder
USB drive with utilities and drivers
The ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial uses a premium silver and mirror-polished design that will be an excellent fit with many high-end water cooling builds.
There are three M.2 slots on the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial, all featuring full-coverage, double-sided heatsinks.
Note that the M.2_3 slot will only function with an installed 11th Gen CPU.
In addition to the onboard slots, there is also the dimm.2 expansion card which provides two more M.2 slots
The ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial offers two PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots, both steel-reinforced, as well as one PCI Express 3.0 x1 slot. The board has a total of six SATA 6 Gb/s ports on the side, angled 90 degrees from the board.
The ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial has a great I/O offering that includes an optical S/PDIF Out port, Wi-Fi 6E, Dual LAN, and a pair of Type-C Thunderbolt 4 ports.
2x Thunderbolt™ 4 USB Type-C® port(s)
8x USB 3.2 Gen 2 port(s) (8 x Type-A)
ASUS Wi-Fi Module
Marvell® AQtion AQC113CS 10Gb Ethernet
Intel® I225-V 2.5Gb Ethernet
5x LED-illuminated audio jacks
Optical S/PDIF Out port
BIOS FlashBack™ button
Clear CMOS button
Networking on the ASUS ROG Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial is handled by an Intel® I225-V 2.5 Gb/s controller, as well as a Marvel 10 Gb/s controller. For wireless connectivity, there is an AX210 Wi-Fi 6E module.