Board Features

Having gone through and generated the following table for the M8E, I find it mildly amusing, especially as I’ve just put a $120 motherboard on the test bed here. By comparison, instead of most of the sections saying none/blank, when dealing with a $500 motherboard everything is filled up. More SATA ports, more features and more room to add things means that a halo motherboard has to be the Rambo of a PC build.

ASUS Maximus VIII Extreme
Warranty Period 3 Years
Product Page Link
Price Amazon US
Size E-ATX
CPU Interface LGA1151
Chipset Intel Z170
Memory Slots (DDR4) Four DDR4
Supporting 64GB
Dual Channel
Up to 3866 MHz
Memory Slots (DDR3L) None
Video Outputs HDMI to 4096x2160 @ 24 Hz
DisplayPort at 4096x2304 @ 60 Hz
Network Connectivity Intel I219-V
3T3R 802.11ac Wi-Fi Go! Module
Onboard Audio Realtek ALC1150 with ESS ES9023P DAC bypass
PCIe Slots for Graphics (from CPU) 3 x PCIe 3.0 (x16, x8/x8, x8/x4/x4)
PCIe Slots for Other (from PCH) 1 x PCIe 3.0 x4
2 x PCIe 3.0 x1
Onboard SATA Six, RAID 0/1/5/10
Two from ASMedia ASM1061
Onboard SATA Express Two, RAID
Onboard M.2 1 x PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA, RAID 0/1, NVMe
Onboard U.2 1 x PCIe 3.0 x4 (switched with M.2)
Thunderbolt TB3 via Type-C
USB 3.1 2 x Type-A from ASMedia ASM1142 Controller
1 x Type-A and 1 x Type-C from Intel Alpine Ridge
USB 3.0 4 x Rear Panel
4 via headers
USB 2.0 6 via headers
Power Connectors 1 x 24-pin ATX
1 x 8-pin CPU
1 x 4-pin CPU
Fan Headers 1 x CPU (4-pin)
1 x CPU_OPT (4-pin)
4 x CHA/SYS (4-pin)
IO Panel 1 x Combination PS/2
4 x USB 3.0
3 x USB 3.1 Type-A
1 x USB 3.1 Type-C
1 x Network RJ-45 (Intel I219-V)
HDMI
DisplayPort
Clear CMOS Button
USB BIOS Flashback Button
3T3R 802.11ac Wi-Fi Go! Module
Audio Jacks
Other Features OC Panel Header
Thunderbolt Header
4-pin EZ-PLUG Header
Front Panel Header
5-pin Fan Extension Header
MemOK! Button
Slow Mode Switch
9 x Voltage measurement points
3 x Thermal Sensor Headers
1 x DRAM Channel Jumper
Power/Reset Buttons
BIOS Switch Button
SLI/CFX Switch
LN2 Mode Jumper
Safe Boot Button
ReTry Button

The big active features for ASUS come in at the 3T3R tri-stream WiFi, an ESS DAC, Thunderbolt 3 support via Intel’s Alpine Ridge controller, a total of four USB 3.1 ports split between the Alpine Ridge and ASMedia’s ASM1142 controller and then the sheer amount of switches and buttons onboard for power users to configure their experience. The OC Panel header for both power users and extreme overclockers comes in handy with the bundled OC Panel.

Using the chipset diagram, it shows a slightly more complex picture. Everything on the left side is what we would expect, including the complex way that x8/x4/x4 is implemented on the PCIe side, although it is worth noting that the HDMI 1.4b port is provided through the Alpine Ridge controller rather than the CPU. I would assume this is actually just a bypass to help with routing though it may suggest that the TB3 controller cannot use HDMI when the DisplayPort functionality is in use. I’ll be synchronizing with ASUS on this.

On the right hand side we see that two of the SATA ports (4/5) share bandwidth with the PCIe x4 slot at the bottom of the board. When SATA devices are connected, the PCIe slot will reduce to x2 bandwidth. Also on the right hand side is an ASM1187 controller, which looks like a 6-port PCIe switch. Taking one PCIe lane in, it gives an output to five ports which include the two ASMedia SATA ports, two of the rear USB 3.0 ports, the Wi-Fi module and the two PCIe x1 slots. However, unless one of the PCIe x1 slots is using full bandwidth, I doubt it is much of an issue, and if anything it would be a latency issue. But it might also explain why we could not get proper USB 3.0 speed results through the ASMedia controller.

In The Box

We get the following:

User Manual
Driver DVD
Rear IO Shield
OC Panel plus 5.25-inch Bay
Fan Extension Board
Wi-Fi Antenna
Thermal Probes
CPU Installation tool
Eight SATA Cables
Q-Connectors
ASUS ROG Stickers
ASUS ROG Door Handle Sign
Flexi-CrossFire Connector
Flexi-SLI Connector

At $500 and being part of the ROG brand it means the in-box goodies should be plentiful. The star of the pack is the OC Panel, used by extreme overclockers to make adjustments on the fly or system builders to monitor fan speeds/temperatures with one-button overclocks.

We’ve discussed the OC Panel at length before, and this is the third generation with the same model, featuring more fan headers, VGA Hotplug and extra switches for system control.

Also in the box are a set of thermal probes to use on the extra thermal probe headers on the motherboard, giving the ASUS software extra read points for temperature if the user wants to monitor specific zones in their build. The CPU installation tool is there to help new build users put the processor in the motherboard, although I didn’t find much use for it (I’ve never dropped a CPU in a socket yet…). It is interesting to see so many SATA cables in the box though, however these are mostly likely bought in bulk and minimal cost to a board like this.

ASUS also sells the Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly, which comes with a custom audio output dock as well as a Tahuti Networks based 10 gigabit Ethernet card using RJ-45.

Overview and Feature Comparison Visual Inspection and Test Setup
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  • willis936 - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    Well if you dump a grand on an extreme processor and not half a grand on a board you could get 8 cores that OC up to the same as the K series parts. Double the threaded performance but same single threaded performance. Reply
  • bill.rookard - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    I would have to agree, unless you are a hardcore overclocker. For those interested in hugely powerful graphics setups, this doesn't really cut it (dual GPU SLI only). For those who want huge storage arrays, this doesn't cut it either (half dozen SATA ports). Those interested in liquid nitrogen overclocks and need those last few mhz would find a use for it though... Reply
  • Chaitanya - Friday, April 8, 2016 - link

    Normally I would have agreed, spending more than 250$ on Z/P series chipsets is useless and its better to go to X platform. But in this case there seems to be a good value in terms of bundle. That 10G Nic is worth the extra. There are no X99 boards below $500 mark that come with 10G nics. Reply
  • romrunning - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    "The cost of an i7-6700K plus a $500 motherboard comes in at $750 MSRP, "

    These prices seem really off. As of today, Amazon has the list price of the i7-6700k as $419.99. Simple math gets you to $919.99 with a $500 mobo, not $750.
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    Box price for 6700K is $350 (we've been covering the ups and downs of the price of the Skylake parts, see the link on the first page, where from time to time it is hitting MSRP), making it more $850, so I'm $100 out :) Updated. It's sill a big jump between the two, for sure. Reply
  • romrunning - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    So now I had to check Intel's "Recommended Customer Price" for the i7-5820k. Intel's site says box price is $396. So that + a $250 m/b would make the combo around $650, not $550. That would lower the different to more around $200. Still not insignificant, as that is the price of a decent m/b, but less than the previous cited difference. Reply
  • romrunning - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    Also, thanks for adding in the pricing info. It helps to give a measure of worth to the end-user to know the premium they are paying & what essentially you are buying over a more standard board. Reply
  • ImSpartacus - Friday, April 8, 2016 - link

    I think he meant a 6600K. Reply
  • BrokenCrayons - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    Yes, $500 isn't exactly a princely sum, but I don't see value in spending that much on a single component of a computer. That's a week's play money for outings, shopping, and casual dining. Using it instead to buy a motherboard of all things only demonstrates to others in your social circles that you don't quite have your priorities sorted out. So thanks for the effort ASUS, but no thanks. Reply
  • Questor - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    Yes, blowing that much money on frivolous casual dining, outings and shopping is obviously a demonstration of financial brilliance! Priorities are as different among people as personal beliefs or political views. I won't pay the premium for this motherboard either, especially without dual M.2 slots to RAID NVMe SSDs. The OC Panel is unwanted bling to me as well, but I can see other people finding the M8E to be their "thing." Reply

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