The ROG brand sports the newest features, highest build quality and the best accessory packages in the Asus line up. The new Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly announced this month lives up to the name. This model is the first desktop motherboard to ship with 10 gigabit Ethernet, a high-end feature previously reserved for server- and workstation-class motherboards.
The Asus Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly is the most feature-rich desktop motherboard to date. The board uses Intel's flagship Z170 desktop chipset as the foundation and adds premium features for users looking for a luxury experience. The Assembly version differs from the standard Maximus VIII Extreme in a couple of ways: This version uses a new Plasma Copper color scheme and includes two hardware accessories to round out the package.
The first accessory extends the audio capabilities of the system by including a 5.25-inch (optical bay) headphone amplifier. The same ESS ES9018K2M DAC is on the Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly, just like the base model. The audio resolution is very desirable and extends all the way to 32-bit / 348 kHz, the same resolution you will find in a modern recording studio, with DSD128 (Direct Stream Digital) playback capability. The new headphone amplifier takes the high resolution audio and amplifies it to over 6 Vrms to drive high-end 600 Ohm headphones.
The Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly was unveiled at IFA last September, but the 10G Express add-in-card wasn't part of the initial display. The retail model brings this powerful capability down to home users. Ten gigabit delivers roughly 1000 MB/s of sequential transfer performance to your network. Over the last two years, switches have come down in price to reasonable levels. Netgear offers an 8-port 10GBase-T unmanaged model for less than $800. Thecus, QNAP and other NAS manufacturers now have low-cost models that ship with 10GBase-T installed from the factory for less than $900 to target the other end of the pipe.
"We're excited to work with the industry-leading gaming brand ROG to include our 10G Express expansion card, providing supreme-speed, lag-free online gaming experiences for ROG gamers. ROG is the first gaming brand committed to providing high-performance, low-power and great-value multi-gigabit networking and future-proof standards, expanding the potential and appeal of its elite gaming gear," said Nir Sever, Chief Operating Office, Tehuti Networks.
The technology has come down in price over the last two years, and over the next two years we'll see more adoption. The Asus Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly is just the first desktop to ship with the technology, but we expect to see more motherboards incorporate high-bandwidth network solutions at CES. Asus' 10G Express uses a Tehuti Networks controller, but we haven't isolated the specific model. Unlike many older 10 GbE products that need a lot of power, Tehuti Networks has models that consume less than 4 watts of power.
At this time we don't have an MSRP for the Asus Maximus VIII Extreme Assembly, but the base model without the fancy accessory package already sells for $500. We expect the Assembly model to top that price.
Update, 11/16/15, 8:25am PT: Fixed typo.