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After spending all this time comparing the Asus Maximus VII Gene and Gigabyte
Z97MX-Gaming 5, it has become clear that the two can't really be fairly compared.
The differences between them are a great illustration of what separates a high-end
motherboard from a budget model. I enjoyed and was comfortable using both, but
they offer a completely different experience tailored for different audiences.
The only recurring theme between the two is high efficiency with respect to
The Maximus VII Gene has some great features including a dedicated sound card,
additional USB 3.0 and SATA controllers, and both M.2 and mini PCI-E slots.
It is not just a collection of connectors though, as it's also blessed with
a versatile fan control system, great cooling, a ton of customization options,
and a highly tweakable BIOS. This is rounded out by conveniences like the onboard
power/reset buttons, BIOS reset/update buttons on the I/O panel, voltage measurement
points, and various touches found inside the BIOS. Priced at US$210,
it offers everything you could possibly want in a motherboard, and more than
you could possibly use, making it a prototypical enthusiast board. It's not
great from a value perspective but there's absolutely nothing to complain about
aside from process of actually installing AI Suite.
The Z97MX-Gaming 5 is the lesser board in just about every area. It has fewer
features, a more limited set of customization options, poorer cooling, very
few extras, and less robust software. That being said, if you're not looking
to do some heavy duty overclocking or don't require a lot of SATA and USB 3.0
ports, it's a far more pragmatic option that fills the needs of most everyday
users. The fan control system is not as flexible, but the mere fact that it
has five independently controllable fan headers is impressive. It also deserves
kudos for a better than average audio setup and the inclusion of a SATA Express
option which may extend the longevity of the board a bit. For US$125,
it's a solid low frills/thrills option for LGA1150.
Our thanks to ASUS and Gigabyte for the Maximus VII Gene and Z97MX-Gaming 5 motherboard samples.
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Asus Maximus VII Gene & Gigabyte Z97MX-Gaming 5 are Recommended by SPCR
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this article in the SPCR forums.
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