The Republic Of Gamers series gets a Z68 based microATX board with the Maximus IV GeneZ. Following the tradition of its forebears, Maximus signifies the best of the Intel lineups from ASUS and the Gene moniker tells us it is in microATX format. The Z indicates this is a Z68 based chipset and not a P67 like the Maximus IV Extreme. Very simple if familiar with their products.
(Note: this is not the GeneZ gen 3, which is looking forward to Ivy Bridge with full PCIE 3.0 compatibility, but will require a PCI-E gen 3 CPU, which will be Ivy Bridge).
Z68 is the latest of cougar point based socket 1155 chipsets that combines most of the features of the preceding chipsets while adding some new ones. It has the Integrated Video capability of H67, the overclocking capability of P67, and workstation Virtual IO capabilities (Vt-d) like the Q67/C200 series products.
Adding on to that, the Z68 brings Lucid Virtu graphics to the table and Intel’s (RST) SSD caching capabilities to give your system more features and performance without breaking the bank.
Lucid Virtu enables a combination of the integrated graphics core present in all Core I 2nd generation chips with a discrete video card for when gaming power is needed. There are two methods, combined and discrete. The first allows the user to use the integrated controller until 3D graphics mode is needed, then the discrete power kicks in. Discrete mode uses the added in video card (and monitor is connected to that card. This allows the PC to use discrete cards 24/7 but still have access to AVX encoding features of the CPU.
In the last Z68 review this was not a good trade off unless you routinely encode 1080P video into ipod format. For transcoding (one codec to another), or 1080P to 720P the difference was minimal. So the 2-10% performance detriment across the board was not worth it to save 100% of the time in ipod conversion and no time to slower conversion in high def transcoding.
SSD caching uses up to a 64GB SSD in combination with a regular HDD, giving you the low latency and performance of an SSD with the previously low cost and large capacity of a mechanical drive. It sounds incredible a way to purchase cheap SSDs and get high performance benefit. This gets tested in this review.
ASUS comes from the last four letters of the word “Pegasus.” A mythical winged horse, it has been chosen for the company’s name because it represents Strength, Creative Spirit, and Purity. Winged (or even terrestrial) equine science is not something you will find in abundance here at TechREACTION, but rigorous testing and evaluation of manufacturers’ PC-related products is. Strength is definitely an attribute ASUS brings to the table, being the largest motherboard manufacturer in the world. Creative Spirit is epitomized both by being early to market with new technologies as well as the aesthetics they put into their product designs. Purity is exemplified by the total package experience. Products that go above and beyond what one expects, and a knowledgeable staff to help get you working or playing beyond your expectations.
For years since its establishment, ASUS aimed to put an ever-greater emphasis on PC gaming. This process resulted in the 2006 founding of the Republic of Gamers brand (ROG), formed for the sole purpose of delivering the most innovative hardcore hardware for truly dedicated gamers.
Since then, the efforts of the ROG team have led to a constant flow of PC gaming technology that has become legendary among enthusiasts for its performance. ROG is more than just hardware, though – we take an active part in the global gaming community, helping develop the industry by sponsoring events such as QuakeCon, BlizzCon and Dreamhack. Worldwide media have recognized ROG as a leader in PC gaming, with many of our products winning awards and gaining very positive feedback from hardware pros.
With this great response from gamers and the industry, ROG has all the resources it needs to keep working on enabling even better experiences – technology never sleeps, nor should the action!