Welcome to Ivy Bridge overclocker’s paradise.
ASUS have done a great job populating the extended ATX sized motherboard measuring 12-inch by 10.7-inches. From the outset you’ll notice large heatsinks, four prominent PCIe slots and a host of other connectors throughout the red and black Maximus V Extreme.
Starting from the CPU area, we’ll see two massive heatsinks, connected via a decently sized heatpipe, coated with ceramic on the irregular surface. The 8+4 phase design provides ample power to the CPU and integrated GPU. Not only does the Extreme Engine Digi+ II allow for easy overclocking by making it easy to change voltage settings, but the 10K rated black metallic capacitors are also rated to have a high range of temperature endurance, from -70°C to 125°C.
On the right of the CPU area are the 4x DIMM slots that can support up to 32GB DDR3-2800 MHz (O/C). While manual overclocking and voltage support can be easily achieved, the BIOS also supports XMP profiles v1.3 as well.
To the further right we’ll see the Start and Reset buttons, in addition to the Debug LED. Then there’s the PCIe switches which allow you to completely disable any PCIe slot without the need to remove the card itself. Next to the switches you’ll notice the VGA Hotwire headers which basically allow you to connect wires directly to your ASUS graphics card for easy overvoltage, resulting in further overclocking.
Moving below we come to the 8x SATA ports, two of which are SATA II (black headers) while six are SATA III (red headers). At the end of this cluster you’ll see the Subzero Sense port. By using the K-type Thermocouple cables (common cables sold separately) you can accurately measure the temperature of your LN2 cooled CPU directly. These temperature readings can be read in the BIOS, TurboV Evo software as well as through the OC KEY.
Coming down is the heatsink for the Z77 chipset, next to which are the 5x PCIe 3.0 x16 slots. Of these the first and the second slots run at native x16 and x8/x8 lanes respectively. In case of a 3-way and 4-way setup the lanes are distributed into x8/x16/x8 and x8/x16/x8/x8 respectively.
Last but not least is the rear I/O panel which hosts 4x USB 3.0 ports, 4x USB 2.0 (including the white one used for ROG Connect), a Gigabit LAN port, a DisplayPort as well as an HDMI port. Then there’s Optical Out and a 7.1-channel audio port powered by a Realtek ALC898 chip. To the left of the USB 2.0 ports you’ll also see the Clear CMOS button as well as the ROG Connect button underneath it. After that is the mPCIe port where you can plug in the supplied WiFi + BT card, above which is the Thunderbolt port.