Intel Z77 Express Chipset
Intel launched their latest desktop platform in the first half of April 2012, just a little while ago, beginning with board products. The Intel Z77 Express platform is an incremental upgrade from previous platforms, adding additional features and providing a wider level of functionality, while adding full support for the 3rd Generation Core i5/i7 family of CPUs, commonly called Ivy Bridge in enthusiast circles.
The Ivy Bridge CPUs are made using a new 28nm process technology that lowers power consumption as well as offering a bit more performance-per-clock than previous Intel 2nd Generation Core i5/i7 products. Also changed is the onboard GPU that's part of the Ivy Bridge silicon, which now takes up more of that slice of silicon that sits under the integrated heatspreader.
The integrated PCIe bus on the CPU is also upgraded, and can be split differently than with Sandy Bridge CPUs, with Ivy Bridge natively supporting three devices over a single bus with with 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity, compared to the two devices and PCIe 2.0 link that is found inside SandyBridge products. Taking advantage of that added PCIe functionality requires a motherboard design change from previous Sandybridge-supporting motherboards, yet backwards and forwards component compatibility for both SandyBridge and IvyBridge platform products including CPUs and chipsets is possible with updated firmware for older SKT 1155 board products. Using a new IvyBridge CPU with an older P67 Express or Z68 Express motherboard may limit PCIe functionality, and naturally, with SandyBridge only supporting two devices, the tertiary slot provided on some Z77 Express boards will not work on some products when a SandyBridge CPU is installed.
Like any other ASUS ROG product, the Maximus V Gene is a mini-powerhouse, packed full of features that should appeal both to gamers, and to extreme clockers. It's not only ready to clock your CPUs to the Max, but also the memory as well, whether you are aiming to break world frequency records, or just to get the best framerates you can. No concessions have been made with the ASUS Maximus V Gene, and since its larger brethern, the full-size Z77 Express ASUS Maximus products, have yet to make it to market, you can be sure that it's tuned to the Maximus possible, too.