ASUS Maximus IV Extreme Motherboard


The ASUS Maximus IV Extreme comes with four PCI Express x16 slots, one PCI Express x4 slot, and one PCI Express x1 slot. As you can see, this motherboard doesn’t have standard PCI slots.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme motherboardFigure 2: Slots

This motherboard uses an unusual configuration for its PCI Express x16 slots.

The first and the third PCI Express x16 slots are connected directly to the CPU integrated PCI Express controller. When only one video card is installed, the first slot works at x16 speed, but when you install two video cards, the first and the third slots work at x8 speed. When installing two video cards, this is the configuration you should use.

The second and fourth PCI Express x16 slots are controlled by an NVIDIA NF200 chip, and work at x16 speed. When installing three video cards, you must install the first one in the first slot, the second one in the second slot, and the third one in the fourth slot (and not in the third, as it would be the logical assumption). This happens because when installing a dual-slot video card in the second PCI Express x16 slot, you “kill” the third PCI Express slot.

Even though this motherboard has four PCI Express x16 slots, you can only install up to three video cards.

The PCI Express x16 slots support both SLI and CrossFireX technologies.

One advantage of this motherboard is that you won’t need a case with eight or more expansion slots if you decide to install three dual-slot video cards; the system will fit a standard seven-slot case.

This motherboard has two peripheral power connectors to provide more current to the PCI Express slots. One is located near the first PCI Express x16 slot, while the second one is located near the PCI Express x4 slot.

The Maximus IV Extreme has four switches near the first memory socket for you to enable or disable each PCI Express x16 slot. This allows you to detect which video card is malfunctioning without having to remove all video cards from the computer.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme motherboardFigure 3: Switches for the PCI Express x16 slots

In Figure 4, you can see one of the highlights of this motherboard, the NVIDIA NF200 chip.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme motherboardFigure 4: NVIDIA NF200 chip

Besides the NVIDIA NF200 chip, the ASUS Maximus IV Extreme comes with a PLX PEX8608 switch chip, allowing the motherboard to automatically “give” PCI Express lanes to the devices that need more bandwidth. On motherboards that don’t have this chip, you need to manually disable devices on the motherboard setup to give more bandwidth to other devices.

ASUS Maximus IV Extreme motherboardFigure 5: PLX PEX8608 chip

Author: Gabriel Torres

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.

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