Asus Maximus VII Gene vs. Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5

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Asus Maximus VII Gene vs. Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5

January 12, 2014 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Asus Maximus VII Gene
MicroATX Motherboard
Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5
MicroATX Motherboard
Manufacturer
Asus Gigabyte
Street Price
US$210 US$125

A year and a half after its release, Intel's Haswell CPU microarchitecture continues to be incredibly popular among DIYers due to its relatively high performance and low power consumption compared to the competition. The LGA1150 socket is the defacto choice for enthusiasts as the chips run cooler and are easily overclocked via multiplier adjustment on boards using the Z87/Z97 chipsets. That being said, it's not just a platform for sophisticated users to create high-end systems. The variety of LGA1150 processors on the market is vast and covers a wide gamut of price points, including the sub-$100 level. The same applies to the accompanying motherboards.


The Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5 and the Asus Maximus VII Gene boxes.

Today, I'm going to examine a pair of microATX LGA1150 mainboards powered by the flagship Z97 chipset. They share a lot of the same features, but aside from that, they're two very different products. The Asus Maximus VII Gene is a balls-to-the-wall premium model from the Republic of Gamers line which differentiates itself from the rest of Asus' lineup by its Maroon color scheme and features that make life a little easier for enthusiasts. Despite the suffix in the model name, the Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5 is not as ambitious, a more pragmatic option lacking many of the Asus boards' bells and whistles.


Maximus VII Gene box contents.


The SupremeFX Impact II.

Not only does the Maximus VII get its own box inside the package, it even comes with a plastic cover so you can gaze at its glory without pulling it out. Notable accessories include six SATA data cables, an SLI bridge, Q-connectors to more easily wire the front panel and USB header, and the all-important "Do Not Disturb" door hanger. There's also the SupremeFX Impact II, a dedicated sound card that helps limit EMI, something known to affect audio quality.


Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5 package contents.

By comparison, the Z97MX's accoutrement is decidedly lacking. Gigabyte throws in an SLI bridge and four SATA cables, which is pretty much standard for a board of this type in its price range.

Specifications: Asus Maximus VII Gene vs. Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5
(from the respective product web pages located here and here)
  Asus Maximus VII Gene Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5
CPU Intel® Socket 1150 for the 5th/New 4th/4th Generation Core™ i7/Core™ i5/Core™ i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors
Supports Intel® 22 nm CPU
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
Support for Intel® Core™ i7 processors/Intel® Core™ i5 processors/Intel® Core™ i3 processors/Intel® Pentium® processors/Intel® Celeron® processors in the LGA1150 package
L3 cache varies with CPU
Chipset Intel® Z97 Express Chipset Intel® Z97 Express Chipset
Memory 4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB
DDR3 1333-1600 MHz, DDR3 1800-3300(O.C) MHz
Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB
DDR3 1333-1600 MHz, DDR3 1800-3300(O.C) MHz
Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
Graphics 1 x HDMI supporting up to 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
1 x D-Sub supporting up to [email protected]
1 x DVI-D
supporting up to [email protected]
1 x HDMI supporting up to [email protected] or [email protected]
* Support for HDMI 1.4a version.
Support for up to 3 displays at the same time
Multi-GPU Support Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology
Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology
Support for 2-Way AMD CrossFire™ and 2-Way NVIDIA® SLI™ Technology
Expansion Slots 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4 (shares bandwidth with mPCIe 2.0 x1 and M.2 slots; if you install PCIe 2.0 x4 device, the system will automatically detect and disable mPCIe 2.0 x1 and M.2 slot)
1 x mini-PCIe 2.0 x1
1x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot
1 x PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, running at x8
(when PCIEX8 slot is populated, the PCIEX16 slot will operate at up to x8 mode)

1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, running at x4
1 x PCIe 2.0 x1 slot
Storage Intel® Z97 chipset :
1 x M.2 Socket 3, , with M Key, type 2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIe mode)
6 x SATA 6Gb/s ports
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10

ASMedia® ASM1061 controller :
2 x SATA 6Gb/s ports, red
(ATAPI devices are not supported)
Intel® Z97 chipset :
1 x M.2 PCIe connector
(Socket 3, M key, type 2242/2260/2280 SATA & PCIe SSD support)
1 x SATA Express connector
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
(M.2, SATA Express, and SATA3 4/5 connectors can only be used one at a time. The SATA3 4/5 connectors will become unavailable when an M.2 SSD is installed.)
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
LAN Intel® I218V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s) Qualcomm® Atheros Killer E2201 LAN chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Audio ROG SupremeFX Impact II 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
Audio Feature :
- SupremeFX Shielding™ Technology
- ELNA premium audio capacitors
- Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection
- DTS Connect
- Optical S/PDIF out port at back panel
Realtek® ALC1150 codec
TI Burr Brown® OPA2134 operational amplifier
Support for Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3
High Definition Audio
2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
Support for S/PDIF Out
USB Intel® Z97 chipset :
4 x USB 3.0 ports (2 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)
7 x USB 2.0 ports (4 at back panel, black, 3 at mid-board)
1 x USB2.0 ports at mid-board (USB13) shares with ROG extension (ROG_EXT) port

ASMedia® USB 3.0 controller :
2 x USB 3.0 ports (2 at back panel, blue)
Intel® Z97 Chipset:
6 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 2 ports available through the internal USB header)
8 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 ports on the back panel, 4 ports available through the internal USB headers)
Back I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port
1 x HDMI
4 x USB 3.0 (blue)
4 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to ROG Connect)
1 x LAN (RJ45) port
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
3 x Audio jacks
1 x Clear CMOS button
1 x ROG Connect On/ Off switch
1 x PS/2 keyboard port
1 x PS/2 mouse port

1 x D-Sub port
1 x DVI-D port

1 x HDMI port
4 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 x RJ-45 port
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
5 x Audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out, Rear Speaker Out, Line In, Line Out, Mic In)
Internal I/O Ports 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x M.2 Socket 3 for M Key, type 2260/2280 devices
8 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
1 x CPU fan header
1 x CPU OPT fan header
3 x Chassis Fan connectors
1 x Front panel header
1 x System panel (Q-Connector)
1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
3 x USB 2.0 headers (up to 5 ports)
1 x TPM header
1 x MemOK! button
10 x ProbeIt Measurement Points
1 x Thermal sensor connector
1 x LN2 Mode header
1 x Power-on button
1 x Reset button
1 x ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header
1 x KeyBot Button
1 x Sonic SoundStage Button
1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x M.2 PCIe connector
1 x SATA Express connector
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors

1 x CPU fan header
1 x CPU OPT fan header
3 x System fan headers
1 x Front panel header
1 x Front panel audio header
1 x USB 3.0/2.0 header
2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
1 x S/PDIF Out header
1 x Clear CMOS jumper
1 x Audio gain control switch
Accessories User's manual
Support Disc
I/O Shield
6 x SATA 6Gb/s cables
1 x SLI bridge
1 x Q-connector (2 in 1)
1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label
1 x ROG Door Hanger
User's manual
Quick Install Guide
Support Disc
I/O Shield
4 x SATA 6Gb/s cables
1 x SLI bridge
Differences in bold.

Looking at the specifications breakdown, there are a number of differences between the two as one would expect. As it's unlikely anyone would use the integrated graphics on a US$200+ board, the Maximus VII is outfitted with only a single HDMI port. Both have M.2 slots but the Asus has a mini PCI-E slot as well, though they both share the lanes of the PCI-E x4 slot, while the Z97MX's M.2 option shares bandwidth with a pair of SATA 6 Gbps ports. Oddly, the Gigabyte board sports SATA Express, which is hooked up in the same manner, so only one of these three options can be utilized at once. The Maximus VII has a number of additional features including an extra SATA and USB 3.0 controller, the aforementioned audio card, and a number of enthusiast options physically on the board itself.



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