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Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme and Extreme Glacial Motherboard Review

To water cool, or not to water cool, that is the question.

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme and Extreme Glacial
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Asus)

Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Extreme Firmware

Asus’ ROG Z690 Extreme BIOS  should be familiar to those who have used any ROG-based boards in the recent past, with a familiar black-and-red theme. The BIOS is loaded with options and menus, though the most frequently accessed items are easily accessible and not buried several layers down. There’s also an easy mode that’s more of a dashboard with limited functionality. We’re a fan of the Asus BIOS and its logical layout. It has everything you need, and then some, to tweak your motherboard and component settings. And if you want to know how to access your BIOS (from any system), we can help!


Asus has applications designed for various functions, ranging from RGB lighting control, audio, system monitoring, overclocking and more. Instead of plodding through each application as if it changes for each review, we’ll capture several screenshots of a few major utilities. In this case, here’s a look at Ai Suite 3, Armoury Crate, Sonic Studio and the Realtek Audio application.

Test System / Comparison Products

Our current test system uses 64-bit Windows 11, with all updates applied as of October 2021. We kept the same (opens in new tab)Asus TUF RTX 3070 (opens in new tab) video card from our previous testing platforms but updated the driver to version 496.13. Additionally, our game selection was updated, as noted in the table below. We use the latest non-beta motherboard BIOS available to the public unless otherwise noted. The hardware we used is as follows:

Test System Components

CPUIntel Core i9-12900K
MemoryKingston Fury DDR5 5200 CL40 (9KF552C40BBK2-32)
GSkill Trident Z DDR5 5600 CL36 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK)
GPUAsus TUF RTX 3070
CoolingMSI MEG Coreliquid S360
PSUEVGA Supernova 850W P6
SoftwareWindows 11 64-bit (21H2, Build 22000.282)
Graphics DriverNVIDIA Driver 496.13
SoundIntegrated HD audio
NetworkIntegrated Networking (GbE or 2.5 GbE)

EVGA supplied our Supernova 850W P6 power supply (appropriately sized and more efficient than the outgoing 1.2KW monster we used) for our test systems, and G.Skill sent us a DDR5-5600 (F5-5600U3636C16GX2-TZ5RK) memory kit for launch day testing.

Benchmark Settings

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
ProcyonVersion 2.0.249 64
Office Suite, Video Editing (Premiere Pro), Photo Editing (Photoshop, Lightroom Classic)
3DMarkVersion 2.20.7290 64
Firestrike Extreme and Time Spy Default Presets
Cinebench R23Version RBBENCHMARK330542
Open GL Benchmark - Single and Multi-threaded
BlenderVersion 3.0.1
Full benchmark (three sub-tests)
Application Tests and Settings
LAME MP3Version SSE2_2019
Mixed 271MB WAV to mp3: Command: -b 160 --nores (160Kb/s)
HandBrake CLIVersion: 1.2.2
Sintel Open Movie Project: 4.19GB 4K mkv to x264 (light AVX) and x265 (heavy AVX)
Corona 1.4Version 1.4
Custom benchmark
7-ZipVersion 21.03-beta
Integrated benchmark (Command Line)
Game Tests and Settings
Far Cry 6Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, HD Textures ON
F1 2021Ultra Preset - 1920 x 1080, HBAO+, RT Med, TAA + 16xAF, Bahrain, FPS Counter ON

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Joe Shields
Joe Shields

Joe Shields is a Freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He reviews motherboards.

  • Friesiansam
    Only one step removed from the ridiculous pricing of high-end hifi.
  • wifiburger
    "Designed to show off the best Asus has to offer" yeah... of course with that crazy price tag on it !

    and at the same time, the entry level z690 are complete joke, audio chipset from 10years ago, no usb-c front panel, no wifi, very little fan headers, anemic rear io panel :ROFLMAO:
  • WilliamRJK
    Crossfire does not need to be mentioned as it works on anything with at least 4 PCIe lanes per slot. A tech writer should know that.
  • Tom Sunday
    Looking at these flagship/halo-class MB’s is like a dream for the man on the street like me. Unreachable! A nice thought too behold while driving my forklift at Walmart on the third-shift. I also wonder how the Z690 Hero MB would compare or make sense at basically half the price. Then again with the next-gen MB’s now being pretty easy to wait for, some savvy or ‘must have’ enthusiasts' will surely be attracted buying one of these once a decent price cut will be proffered sometime later in November. Out with the old and in with the new! Thoughts?
  • Tom Sunday
    Related MB Stuff: I noticed that the Z690 Asus Hero (12th Gen MB) is seemingly in short supply and not even sold on Amazon. Newegg today seems to be the only major supplier? But we all know that 'Gamers Nexus' recently reported that Newegg found itself embroiled in a broad RMA controversy, which could make you think twice before sending money to the company. Asus meanwhile started a major ‘Hero’ recall due to a production error involving a reversed memory capacitor. But with the Asus Hero recall having started around December of last year, I have not heard on any progress or updated commentaries on the matter. Not even from Asus directly! Are many defective Hero’s are still languishing on the shelves and the fixed or revised Hero’s are simply not available in quantities? Or is Asus downplaying the Z690 Hero in view of the fact that the new 13th generation MB's are soon to arrive in the fall? WTF?
  • ocer9999
    Still preefer the Asrock Z690 Aqua series, if you are on watercooling you most likely be going to overclock and there's no better motherboard than that atm for this intel generation.