ASUS ROG Maximus IX Code Z270 Motherboard Review
- ASUS ROG Maximus IX Code Z270 Motherboard Features
- Packaging & Accessories
- First Look
- Test Setup and Overclocking
- Conclusion – TL:DR
ASUS ROG Maximus IX Code Z270 Motherboard Review. We recently tested the ROG STRIX Z270E & Z270F, two models with similar visuals, but differing features sets. Asus have launched a few product on Z270, which are closely matched in appearance but do differ slightly. The prices of each vary, generally with a budget friendly option for each series. The Maximus IX Code and Maximus IX Formula are another two such examples
The Maximus IX Code has a near identical feature set to the Formula, however ASUS have made minor changes and removed the EKWB water block. The savings from doing so are passed onto you. With a price tag in the UK of about 299, (which is about 50 less than the Formula)
we have support for DDR4 up to 4133 MHz, dual M.2 slots with Intel optane support, AURA Sync, The new ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/as, a stacked I/O, thermal armor, LN2,extreme overclocker additions and so much more. As always, it’s backed by an extensive software suite with a mass of useful tools, to further enhance its performance and usability compared to the competition.
ASUS ROG Maximus IX Code Z270 Motherboard Features
For more than a decade, Republic of Gamers has delivered exemplary design and performance to thrill the world’s best players and PC enthusiasts. Our journey is a road without end. Now, it’s time for competitors to be warned and for gamers and enthusiasts to push the limits: The packed and pumped ROG Maximus IX Code motherboard is ready to defeat all challengers.
- LGA1151 socket for 7th/6th Gen Intel® Core™ desktop processors
- ROG Water Cooling Zone: Dominate your cooling system
- Aura Sync RGB LED: Stunning synchronized light shows and an Aura 4-pin RGB-strip header
- SupremeFX: Exclusive new codec plus intuitive Sonic Radar III and Sonic Studio III
- 5-Way Optimisation: One-click system-wide overclocking.
- Gaming networking: Intel Gigabit Ethernet, 2×2 802.11ac MU-MIMO Wi-Fi , LANGuard and GameFirst technologies
- Gaming durability: ROG Armor and premium components
- Gaming connectivity: Front-panel USB 3.1, dual M.2 and both USB 3.1 Type-A and Type-C
|CPU||Intel® Socket 1151 for 6th Generation Core™ i7/Core™ i5/Core™ i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors|
|Memory||4 x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 4133(O.C.)/4000(O.C.)/3866(O.C.)/3733(O.C.)/3600(O.C.)/3466(O.C.)/3400(O.C.)/3333(O.C.)/3300(O.C.)/3200(O.C.)/3000(O.C.)/2800(O.C.)/2666(O.C.)/2400(O.C.)/2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory |
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Intel XMP Support
|Onboard Graphics Outputs||Multi-VGA output support : HDMI/DisplayPort ports |
– Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz
– Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2304 @ 60 Hz
Maximum shared memory of 512 MB
|Multi-GPU Support||Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology |
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
|PCI Slots||2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8, gray) |
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black)
3 x PCIe 2.0 x1 (black)
|Storage||Intel® Z270 chipset : |
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (both SATA & PCIE mode)
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)
6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s)
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology
Intel® Rapid Storage Technology supports
Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
|USB||ASMedia® USB 3.1 controller : |
1 x USB 3.1 front panel connector port(s)
ASMedia® USB 3.1 controller :
2 x USB 3.1 port(s) (2 at back panel, )
Intel® Z270 Chipset :
6 x USB 3.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, , 2 at mid-board)
Intel® Z270 Chipset :
6 x USB 2.0 port(s) (6 at back panel, , Type-A + Type-C, 2 at mid-board)
|Audio||ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220 |
– Impedance sense for front and rear headphone outputs
– Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
– High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input
– SupremeFX Shielding Technology
– ESS® ES9023P
– Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback
Audio Feature :
– Gold-plated jacks
– Sonic Radar III
– Sonic Studio III
|LAN||Intel® I219V Gigabit LAN|
|WIFI/Bluetooth||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac |
Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz
|Form Factor||ATX Form Factor – 12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )|
Courtesy of ASUS
Packaging & Accessories
ASUS return to its roots, with a familiar color set of red on the package. The backside of the box is neatly presented with clean, and concise information. The box is larger than most ATX products, and there’s a real premium and super high-quality vibe.
Taking a look at the bundle now in no particular order, you’ll find the following:
- I/O Shield
- 4X SATA Cables
- Sticker Label Kit for cables
- User manuals/Quick start
- CPU Install Tool
- M.2 screws
- SLI HB bridge
- RGB header extension
- A ROG Coaster
- ROG Stickers
- Wi-Fi Antenna
- Misc documentation
For the price point, this is a very generous bundle.
We start our tour with a complete top down view, to absorb what’s on offer. If you’ve been following the ROG series, it will have a lot of familiar design elements. Despite using an award winning DNA to craft the Code, is a whole new product. With a doubt the best on the market no question.
Your eyes are spoilt for choice, and you won’t know where to look first. For me, I was drawn the I/O Shroud and that beautifully integrated heatsink. The armor, well…its a complete nerdgasm. What’s special about this board is sheer amount under the hood, the actual armor allows for a super clean but feature packed product.
I don’t think description can justify how epic this product is the flesh…(silicone?) Anyhow, the design speaks volumes and being 2017 its RGB ready of course. With enough lighting from the zones to make a difference, but really needs to be coupled up with an ASUS GPU to shine (literally). Even More so if you add more RGB via the internal headers.
The shrouding and armor are just fantastic; the small details really make a difference. The clever use of grays, silver and black produce a blank canvas to theme as you wish.
The Armor has removable sections, to add your M.2 drive, and ASUS have implemented a clever workaround for the ATX space limit, with an additional vertically mounted Slot, and support bracket.
ASUS Safe slots have been implemented on the first two slots, granting more strength and support for heavier cards. Which is a must these days, for your peace of mind! Your good to go for both AMD Crossfire, or Nvidia SLI here. I do wish they’d added the extra strength, to the third for sake of symmetry…a trivial annoyance and not a deal breaker
- Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology
- Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way SLI™ Technology
- Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology
- Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
- Expansion Slots
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (Single at x16, dual at x8/x8
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)
3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1
Audio has been improved on the STRIX Z270, over previous generations. Now sporting the S1220A codec, which brings loads of new tech and features. As usual ASUS back their hardware with optimized and productive software, such as Sonic Radar and Sonic studio to unleash its potential and maximize usability. ASUS have a track record fo delivering stellar audio,
ASUS have gone for an all SATA approach, avoiding U.2. Instead, offering 6x SATA III 6gbps ports. Which are all angled, for cable neatness.
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s),
- Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
- Intel® Rapid Storage Technology supports
- Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology
[M.2 / U.2]
M.2 is now the go-to choice for most, and Z270 allows for some interesting options. Namely, additional m.2 ports and the new Intel optane tech. (which requires a 7th gen CPU). As referenced earlier, 1 port is hidden inside the armor, and the second in a vertical port. A clever use of the space left, after Asus crammed so many features onto the Code
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (both SATA & PCIE mode)*2
1 x M.2 Socket 3, with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)*3
ASUS have always provided more than most. The code offers a great deal more
3x dedicated headers for monitoring water flow and temps. 7X fans header-inc water pump optimized
[Other ports/ Features]
Along the motherboard base, you’ll find an insane amount of connectivity.
- 2 x Aura RGB Strip Headers
- 1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)
- 1 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 2.0 port(s)
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (SATA mode & X4 PCIE mode)
- 1 x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key, type 2242/2260/2280 storage devices support (PCIE mode only)
- 1 x TPM connector(s)
- 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
- 1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
- 1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
- 3 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (3 x 4 -pin)
- 1 x H_AMP fan connector
- 1 x W_PUMP+ connector (1 x 4 -pin)
- 1 x AIO_PUMP connector (1 x 4 -pin)
- 1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
- 1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
- 1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
- 1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
- 1 x MemOK! button(s)
- 1 x Slow Mode switch(es)
- 1 x Reset button(s)
- 1 x LN2 Mode jumper(s)
- 1 x ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header(s)
- 1 x Safe Boot button
- 1 x ReTry button
- 1 x EXT_Fan header
- 1 x W_IN header
- 1 x W_OUT header
- 1 x W_FLOW header
- 1 x Thermal sensor connector
- 1 x Start button
- 1 x USB 3.1 front panel connector
Finishing up our tour of the board, looking at the I/O which consists of:
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
- 1 x USB 3.1 (black)Type-A
- 1 x USB 3.1 (red)Type-C
- 4 x USB 3.0 (blue)
- 4 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Optical S/PDIF out
- 5 x Audio jack(s)
- 1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
- 2 x Wi-Fi antenna port(s)
- 1 x USB BIOS Flashback Button(s)
2016 was the year of RGB. like any trend, It’s very much a love-hate feature, but I must applaud the efforts from ASUS, unlike other brands they been very careful and smart. Lots iof thought with how and where they implemented the actual lighting. With Some brands, its crystal clear they’ve added lighting to their products just for the sake of having it.
It’s been done right here and on the many other RGB enabled products, dubbed as AURA we now even have certified cases and more, to create a spectacular system. Slightly timid regarding how much lighting. Some users may have preferred more, for me its just right.
Lighting emits from various points and can tweaked as you see fit
Test Setup and Overclocking
Proudly Powered by our Dimastech Mini V1.0 Test Bench
[TECHICIZE TEST SYSTEM]
|Intel® 7700K (Kabylake)|
|Memory:||16GB Kingston Kingston Predator 16GB DDR4 PC4-24000C15 3200MHz Quad Channel Kit|
|Video Card:||AMD/ XFX 390|
|PSU:||Bitfenix Fury 750G|
|Hard Drives:||SSD – Kingston HyperX 3k240GB |
M.2 -Kingston M.2 HyperX 240GB
|OS:||Windows 10 X64|
We covered the i7 7770K and other Kabylake products in a much more detailed review, here we’ll be looking at more than the new CPUs from Intel.
We tested using the i7 7700K, which has a mild boost in clock speed over the skylake 6700k and features the new Intel 630 iGPU
While we managed to post at 5.1GHz on other boards, this is first to boot and benchmark 100% stable We feel with the right kit of RAM and some fiddling, we could have hit even higher. This is all thanks to the premium components and epic UEFI. With settings not seen elsewhere, the best on the market, hands down
Our test method uses a large variety of software to determine the results and product award. For your viewing, these are broken down into the following categories
- General System
- CPU & Memory
- Storage & USB
- Audio &Networking
We start with a broader view of general system performance and then break it down, as we delve deeper with sub testing, where we can examine key areas.
-[PC Mark 8]
PCMark 8 from Futuremark. PCMark 8 is designed to test the performance of all types of PC, from tablets to desktops. With five separate benchmark tests plus battery life testing, PCMark 8 helps you find the devices that offer the perfect combination of efficiency and performance. It’s the complete PC benchmark for home and business.
The first test we run is PCMark 8, as we’re also able to gauge an all-around score. This test is heavily affected by all internal components rather than focusing on just one.
Pitting the new Z270 again its predecessor the gains are apparent but I want to emphasize that the CPU has a higher clock speed than Skylake, and the bulk of the improvement shown is directly linked to just that. That said a higher end board do produce better results from the same CPU/RAM and Storage setup.
-[Performance Test 8]
Passmark PerformanceTest is an award winning PC hardware benchmark utility that allows everybody to quickly assess the performance of their computer and compare it to a number of standard ‘baseline’ computer systems. Find out if your PC is performing at its best, compare the performance of your machine to similar machines and make objective independent measurements on which to base your purchasing decision.
A nice boost in scores compared to the others we’ve tested so far.
Cinebench is the perfect tool to compare CPU and graphics performance across various systems and platforms (Windows and OS X). And best of all: It’s completely free.
The Kabylake architecture brings better performance from the exact same kit of ram we used on Skylake, The Code delivers the best we’ve seen in write performance
This is echoed again in Performance Test 8
Armed with a Nvidia GTX 1080, how does the new kaby processors affect FPS?
The code is gaming product, and it lives up to its name, placing 1st
Quite a notable gain over other Z270 products, and nice jump from Z170
Stella performance with an m.2 drive, and keep in mind you now can use more than one on Z270… Imagine those in Raid!
We don’t have any USB 3.1 (Gen2 ) devices at the time of testing, so will be focusing on 3.0/3.1 only. Be sure to understand the actual difference between USB 3.0/3.1 Gen 1 & Gen 2. As it’s something that not all brands have explained clearly.To measure speeds we use AS-SSD, with an SSD inside a USB 3.0 Caddy from Startech
The Kingston SSD has a theoretical limit of 499MB/s Write, when hooked up internally to an SATA 6GB/s port. Overheads and such we accept that some degradation occurs when used over USB 3.0/3.1
As expected the controllers have matured over time but differences in terms of speed between models, are minimal generally. Code delivers more than we expected
Using the in built network test for Performance test 8. The method is to install the software on two machines, that are on the same network. One acts as a client and the other as a server, a designated amount of data is sent across and then the min, Avg, and max transfer speeds are outputted.
ASUS uses an Intel LAN solution, which has in the past and continues to deliver the best all round results. (Compared the popular Killer LAN seen on most other boards) While the max between the rear aren’t too far apart di pay attention to the better minds and average especially
While the max speeds, between the rest aren’t too far apart, do pay attention to the better min’s and average especially!
We use RightMark Audio Analyzer, connecting “Line out” to “Line in” with a 3.5mm cable.
|Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB|| |
|Noise level, dB (A)|| |
|Dynamic range, dB (A)|| |
|THD, %|| |
|THD + Noise, dB (A)|| |
|IMD + Noise, %|| |
|Stereo crosstalk, dB|| |
|IMD at 10 kHz, %|| |
|General performance|| |
The Audio quality, as you would expect from ASUS, was fantastic! The new codec delivers amazing audio.
Conclusion – TL:DR
So then conclusion time, and man what an experience that was. We see a whole range of products from budget to high end here. It’s not often that a product arrives, and makes this kind of impact. On paper, the product seems amazing, and in reality is even better. Let’s tackle the elephant in the room because yes the Code is expensive, but let’s talk about why I feel it justified. The feature set alone is stellar, the board is packed to the brim with features and options to please the masses.
If you want the most from your kit, the Maximus IX Code can handle anything you demand from it. These aren’t software gimmicks either we’re talking true hardware optimized offerings for watercoolers, with tuned ports, sensors for flow and temps. (options you won’t find elsewhere). An insane VRM and power delivery system, again not a play on words or slogan, just true high-end components. This is all backed up with software that makes
Visuals are out of this world, it may just be in our opinion the best board …ever in this price range. I’m not exaggerating… we can’t identify a single are for improvement. As is, we feel it’s balanced perfectly and doesn’t cater for one niche user more than the next, it is an epic design. The armor really separates this product from the many other impersonators on the market, The Lighting solution is fantastic, and obviously AURA compatible to sync with your other ASUS kit, this can be further expanded with the RGB headers. Its one of the few RGB solutions on the market that works, and works well. The Code and Formula are both beautiful products.
Performance, well truth be told we’ve barely scratched the surface today. The product is able of such much more, and needs more high-end kit to shows its true potential. You ought to be using multiple graphics cards, dual m.2 drives and pairing it all up with some custom water cooling. Numbers across our entire testing suite were stellar, as always with any ASUS board, I must mention the UEFI, If you’ve yet to experience the ASUS layout then your in for a treat. Visually brilliant but also a tweaker’s paradise. Overclocking allowed us to push past ou CPU limit of 5000Mhz and run stable at 5100mhz, with the right kit and more time, I m confident we could have squeezed even more
If you want the best in the market for around 300 GBP, and don’t feel drawn the EKWB chiller found on the Formula, then the ASUS ROG Maximus IX Code Z270 is the logical product to buy
Thanks to ASUS for sending out the sample for this review.