Since intel published the new Z490 chipset, Asus has launched 5 series of their motherboard products. Headed by ROG series – Top-level workmanship, laying-low restrained design language, luxury materials, apex overclocking performance and the extremely-rich interface expansion functions.

Recently, Asus has sent us their new ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme(M12E) motherboard — an E-ATX sized beast. ASUS has emphasised that the power circuit is stable and supreme, the M12E is using an 8-layer printed circuit board, in order to meet the power requirements of the new processor, the input terminal adopts 2 sets of 8-pin EPS 12V sockets, which are designed with the metal-reinforced ProCool II connectors. The core is based on ASUS Digi+ EPU power controller, using a total of 16 top-range Infineon TDA21490 MOSFET to provide enough power for the hi-end CPU, each phase can provide 90A current and total of 1440A because this M12E has completely disabled the integrated graphics card and concentrates in all power supply on the CPU to ensure its strongest overclocking performance. Plus, other bonus top-level materials according to ASUS such as MicroFine Alloy Chokes and solid-polymer capacitors from Nichicon are being used.

ASUS also indicated that the circuit topology structure does not use a phase-doublers, which will effectively reduce the propagation delay. In addition, this power circuit design is utilise teamed power stages to provides higher burst current per phase. This design also request a better thermal performance, the embedded large-diameter C-shaped heat sink extends all the way to the end of the whole chipset, plus a large number of metal covers and 6W/m.K-grade thermal conductive strip are been implemented.

The BIOS also provides more completed fine-tuning options, voltage and other monitoring functions such as the AI ​​concept has also been extended to supply the whole cooling performance, and M12E also integrates up to a dozen of fan ports to assist the heat dissipation.

Package appearance
The whole package design of MAXIMUS XII EXTREME is nearly the same as their previous version
Package Front

Package Back

Package Side

Opening the box

The second layer of accessories

The Manual book and instruction guide package box

The ROG sticker

The WIFI | Bluetooth antenna and the VRM cooling fan kit

The accessories box – including the ROG DIMM M.2 Gen4 kit, ASUS ROG screwdriver with long extension header, a bunch of SATA cable packs, RGB extension cable, fan/RGB expansion I/O cable and 2 x mini DP to DP cable

The function accessories box – including a ROG fan/RGB expansion kit, ROG silver eye sticker, fPanel extension socket, motherboard driver USB, a thunderbolt 3 extension card, few of M.2 screw packs and a new ROG band

The ROG motherboard driver USB

The look of the ROG fan/RGB expansion kit

The ROG DIMM M.2 Gen4 kit

The Thunderbolt 3 extension card
Front and back

The chipset look – it’s the same as the retail version, ASUS Thunderbolt EX 3-TR

Product Analysis
The main body of the HERO WIFI motherboard – The ROG Logo and MAXIMUS XII plate are designed with mirror surfaces and include the AURA SYNC lighting effects. In the middle of the motherboard is a 2″ OLED Live-Dash screen, which displays the debug information or other thermal and voltage status’s

The front and back look

The top I/O includes RGB headers (12v 4pin & 5v 3pin addressable), 2 x 8-pin CPU power socket with ProCool shields and a total of 7 fan headers

The side I/O – In this area of the motherboard, in addition to the 4 OptiMEM III supported DIMM DDR4 memory slots, the ROG’s exclusive DIMM.2 design also vertically expands 2 x M.2 SSDs. Plus, the M12E provides 2 x front USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type E sockets, which is a very luxurious design. In addition, this area also contains the function buttons required for overclocking

The bottom I/O, includes HD audio header, Thunderbolt Header, Big 4D port (For PCIe extra power), RGB headers, Node header, USB 2.0 headers, a total of 7 fan headers (pump header included) and fPanel headers

The rear I/O :
1 x LAN (2.5G) port(s)
1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port(s) (1 x USB Type-C®)
3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2
6 x USB 3.2 Gen 1
2 x USB 2.0
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
1 x USB BIOS FlashBack™ Button(s)
1 x ASUS Wi-Fi Module
5 x LED-illuminated audio jacks
1 x Aquantia AQC-107 10G LAN port

The motherboard is extremely heavy – 2.36KG

This motherboard includes 2 x M.2 SSD slots (M.2_1 supports both SATA & PCIe 3.0 x 4, M,2_2 supports PCIe 3.0 x 4 only)

The M.2 SSD heat sinks and ROG eye logo cover

The ROG eye logo RGB Polycarbonate board

The solid back shield with RGB lighting effects

The CPU VRM and PCH heat sinks

The Live-Dash OLED display board

The sound card SupermeFX cover

The look after we removed all heatsink and covers

In terms of PCIe slots, the 1st and 2nd armour protected slots are PCIe 3.0 x16 (single x16 or dual x8) and they are directly from the CPU. The rest are PCIe 3.0 x4 which are controlled by the chipset

The processor power supply adopts a 16-phase CPU core power supply
These TDA21490 MOSFETs from Infineon has a 90A of its single maximum current and total of 1440A

The Wifi 6 and Bluetooth card – Intel AX201NGW

The northbridge chipset

The ASUS SupremeFX supported sound card is ALC1220 from Realtek with ESS Sabre ES9023P and RC4580 OP AMP, it also uses the famous golden capacitors from Nichicon

The ASUS DIGI+ EPU Chipset – ASP1405I customised from the Infineon IR35201

The VCCSA MOSFET is NCP302045 from ON Semiconductor, single-phase of 45A, a total of 90A

The VCCIO adopts the design of two-phase upper and lower bridges. Both upper and lower bridges use NTMFS4C10B from ON Semiconductor, single-phase of 46A, a total of 92A

The Marvell AQtion AQC107 10Gb LAN Chipset

The BIOS flashback controller chip

The Onboard TPU chip

The ASUS AURA 50QA0 RGB controller chip

The new LGA 1200 slot of Intel’s 10th gen Core desktop processor

The ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme is currently the strongest product in the ASUS Z490 family. All its configurations are quite luxurious, in addition to the power supply enhancements mentioned at the beginning. Unfortunately, the M12E motherboard has completely disabled the integrated display, there is not even a function in the BIOS settings. The advantage is that all the power can fully support the CPU, but this design is not friendly for people who work on video editing, because the Intel’s integrated display can be used to speed up video exporting.

The network configuration of the new M12E is significantly enhanced compared to the previous M11E. The main upgrade is from 5Gb+1Gb LAN + WiFi5 to 10Gb+2.5Gb LAN + WiFi6.

In order to cope with the heat generated by the 10th generation CPU, the M12E added a full-cover metal armour at the front, not only to improve the heat dissipation but also increase the aesthetic and enhance the durability. In terms of RGB lighting effects, the M12E has improved the light brightness, making the motherboard’s lighting more conspicuous and not easily covered by other light-emitting devices. The LiveDash OLED has also been replaced with a larger size and higher precision screen.

After all, the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme has re-defined the limits of Z490, however, the price of AU$1549 is a lot to invest in this chipset. At this time, Gigabyte and MSI are all set to release their flagship Z490 motherboard at this price level, this is not only a challenge for the enthusiastic gamers’ wallet but also released a signal: You must pay top dollar for luxury products in computer components.