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)
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
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


View All Comments

  • romrunning - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    Yes - Thunderbolt3 Reply
  • Jon Tseng - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    Do these sort of mobos have particularly high end audio integrated? I could see an argument for paying more if you e.g. replaced a $100+ high end audio card.

    Ditto I guess for the wifi, given a lot of mobos don't seem to have this build in (something I never quite understood why).
  • arayoflight - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    The Z170 deluxe has the same 3x3 MiMo WiFi ac built in and costs much less. I don't think there are 3x3 MiMo cards you can buy. The best I could find was the 2x2 intel one for around 70$.

    Don't know about sound quality, but it should be good.
  • extide - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    You could read the review, but yes, they have pretty good onboard audio. Reply
  • saratoga4 - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    I really wish Anandtech would test the headphone out with maybe 32 ohm headphones rather than just the line out. I'd gladly pay extra for a board with good headphone out, but right now it is almost impossible to know which manufacturers are skimping and which are providing a quality output. Reply
  • DominionSeraph - Friday, April 8, 2016 - link

    You can get an Audigy FX for $28. $25 from AmazonWarehouseDeals. (price goes up and down a tad -- I got mine for $22)
    The ALC898 it uses is no slouch.
  • extide - Friday, April 8, 2016 - link

    That would be a downgrade. Reply
  • jptech7 - Friday, April 8, 2016 - link

    For someone wanting better headphone out performance than a high end motherboard, I would not recommend an Audigy FX. The ALC 898 is a downgrade from either the Sabre in this Asus or the ALC1150 found on most good mobos, and for that price, I doubt its ability to drive high end headphones.

    The included Sabre chip on this Asus board is a quality component, but there are still likely some limitations to integrated audio solutions. For the few people desiring greater performance on their headphone out line, a USB or TOSLINK based dedicated headphone DAC & amp can be had. Decent ones start around $100 and scale up from there.

    I would expect the only reason to buy additional equipment in this case would be if you need to provide greater than 2V RMS that the Sabre line driver can provide which is already quite decent.
  • DominionSeraph - Friday, April 8, 2016 - link

    He didn't say he wanted more than a $500 motherboard, he said he wanted to know the performance. I pointed out that the performance is pretty meaningless since the Audigy FX exists. Why would you spend $500 on a motherboard when you can grab a $120 one and throw a $25 card in there that will not only be an upgrade over the ALC892 (or worse) that it will have, but has a headphone driver as well.
    There will be no discernible difference between an ALC898 and a 1150.
  • Murloc - Thursday, April 7, 2016 - link

    if you care about audio you're exiting it on hdmi anyway, so it'd be a waste of money. Reply

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