The card we’ve been waiting for and built around Intel’s latest chipset, the Z790, has just arrived at the editorial staff. And what could be better before our full test than to show yourself to ” unboxing this ROG Maximus Z790 APEX.
The resemblance to the Z690 APEX version is striking although Asus surprised us by opting for a metallic gray colored PCB.
The APEX series represents the best from Asus for overclockers. The card has many tools located on the PCB and benefits from regular BIOS updates. The group engineers are very reactive and many BIOSes are already available. If you want to lower your CPU temperature below 0°C, this APEX will definitely be one of the best choices for chipsets Z790. A flurry of records fell during the launch of Rocket Lake processors.
A short tour through bundle of this ROG Maximus Z790 APEX to see if it benefits from “special accessories”. And the least we can say is that there are many things to show you!
For once, the bundle is a bit lighter and the “ROG True Voltician” oscilloscope is gone. On the other hand, there is a USB key that contains drivers, an M.2 DIMM2 SSD support as well as a PCIe card with space for a hard disk in M.2 SSD format and PCIe 5.0 compatible. The interest is that when these disks are available, you can add one to your configuration through this card. Currently, there are no GPUs or SSDs available in this standard.
A very nice little accessory comes in here bundle, it’s a six-digit padlock. This is not really a “real” padlock, but it was used to demonstrate the frequency of 8812.85 MHz reached with an APEX Z790 and an i9-13900K which became the highest frequency reached with an Intel processor. Finally, there are standard cables as well as a support and a fan that can be added at the power supply stage level.
This is actually the fifteenth Maximus, one of the most popular models of the Asus brand. It is of course part of the ROG series (Republic of Gamers). It seems that Asus no longer names the series number as the title on the box is Maximus Z790 APEX. We no longer have reference to the number “XV”.
Small word on the box that becomes black and differs from other models and previous generations by forgetting the traditional color code of the brand. The ROG Maximus Z790 APEX is built around the new chipsets from Intel, the Z790. This motherboard maintains the outlet of the previous generation with LGA-1700 because the processor has seen its size since Rocket Lake.
The chipsets The Z790 supports PCIe 5.0 which offers higher storage performance than the previous generation as well as support for DDR5.
The dimensions of the card are 305 mm x 244 mm, which corresponds to the ATX format. The dominant colors on the PCB are metallic gray and white. This is a drastic color change for the PCB. The design is still special but in this version, the PCB continues its rectangular shape. Aesthetically, it is quite similar to the previous version of the APEX model, the Z690.
Let’s start the owner’s tour with radiators number four!
First, the three heatsinks located on top of the motherboard and surrounding outlet The two largest occupy the stage of power. These two radiators are connected by a heat pipe.
The third, smaller one, also connected by a heat pipe, is responsible for keeping the phase part of the power supply cool. We are here in a completely passive system. The radiator is stamped with the quote ” For those who dare (for those who dare). It consists of two parts and hides under the upper part a slot for an M2 PCIe 4.0 type SSD.
The fourth is that which covers the chipsets and which has a relatively large surface but a low height to easily allow the installation of graphics cards. There is an Asus ROG logo that benefits from an RGB backlighting system.
No M.2 5.0 SSD on PCB:
A white aluminum plate whose cut-out perfectly matches the one placed on chipsets, covers an M.2 type SSD slot on the PCB. As you can see, SSD is in between the two pads thermal. You also have the possibility to use the vertical support (ROG DIMM2), which is in bundle, which can also accommodate two M.2 SSDs. The total number of M.2 SSDs increases to four, but this is the PCIe 4.0 x4 version.
If you want to benefit from a Gen 5.0 slot, you’ll need to use the PCIe card that’s in bundle.
Sockets and PCIe:
The space around the outlet is fairly clear and will be easy enough to isolate with gum for testing under LN2. In addition, Asus offers two mounting holes on the ROG models. A compatible with coolers LGA-1700 but also LGA-115x! A very good point for Asus.
This Maximus Z790 APEX can accommodate a maximum of two DDR5 memory modules. Who said the new processors told Intel before chipsets. At first, it was the chipsets Z790 that will be available. Good news because this one kept the outlet LGA-1700 as well as backward compatibility. In other words, you can use an i9-12900K in chipsets Z790 and vice versa, an i9-13900K in chipsets Z690. Intel will continue to support DDR4 here chipsets but this should be the last time as the switch to DDR5 will definitely be made in 2024.
As in the Extreme version, this APEX has a button called Q-Release. When a card is inserted into the first PCIe port, pressing this button will open the retention system and eject your graphics card. This is an issue we noted in the previous generation when a heatsink was too close to the first PCIe slot. Well done Asus!
This APEX supports memory kits in dual channel up to 8000 MHz+ (OC) and for a maximum volume of 64 GB. There are two PCIe 5.0 16x ports that will work at x8/x8 if you choose SLI or CrossfireX. A third PCIe 4.0 x4 slot is also available as well as PCIe 4.0 x1. To power all these little guys, the card has a flat 24 pin connector and two 8 pin connectors next to the power supply stages.
RGB or not RGB?
Like most of the ROG lineup, it features the AURA system with LEDs present on the PCB at the radiator level covering the connectors as well as the logo placed on chipset. Their management is set through the AURA house software but it is possible to deactivate them, quite easily, through the BIOS if you wish.
The rendering is quite sensible, it’s simple and effective, nothing more is needed! See you in a few days to discover the complete test of this ROG Maximus Z790 APEX and thanks to Asus France for giving us this samples.