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[Review]Asus Z270 Maximus IX Code, the lil’ brother of Maximus Formula

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Old 04-01-2017, 01:45 AM   #1
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[Review]Asus Z270 Maximus IX Code, the lil’ brother of Maximus Formula

Nice to have the opportunity to review the new Asus Z270 Maximus IX Code.

Introduction

Every year Asus has one of the highest end ROG board called the Maximus Formula series on it. It is made from the best of everything and combine it to be one of the flagship motherboard. Indeed with all the great power of features and being top of the line and premium quality, it comes with a hefty price tag.

What about people whom do not wish to pay too much for top of the line stuffs and certainly do not mind to have some of features shaved off what they do not need?

This year Asus have not forgotten you guys. Build on the renowned and trusted ROG gaming legacy. It is designed to forge premium gaming features combine with streamlined styling to create an all-new model for this generation and today i have with me the all new Asus Z270 Maximus IX Code motherboard, supporting Intel’s 7th gen Kaby Lake processor.

All right lets jump straight into the unboxing!

Unboxing

The Asus Z270 Maximus Code comes in a very heavy bulky box. It felt like a tank in a box. As usual the ROG Maximus series has the front of the box with its deep red colour scheme.



Left

At the left side of the box shows the key features of the Maximus Code motherboard in several different languages. Not to worry if you can’t see it clearly, i will elaborate them later on.



Top

The top of the box shows the “the choice of champions”.



Back

And lastly at the back of the box shows some key highlight features, with all the specifications of the motherboard.



Grand Opening

Opening of the box is pretty straight forward, just flap it open upright. Kinda easy to open up. Once opening it up, it has a welcome note on the box itself, “welcome to the republic”.



Accessories

Taking out the motherboard box, right below it is the accessories divider. We shall take a look at the accessories provided.



The first thing you will see is a few freebies that is included with the Maximus Code. It comes with a couple of ROG cable labels, a ROG cup coaster, a 20% cablemod coupon code, a user guide and a drivers CD with ROG case badge in it. Yes you heard me, 20% CABLEMOD COUPON CODE! Something to be excited about when you are doing up a new rig for your own. You actually can make use of the Cablemod coupon to actually buy custom sleeved cables for your very own PSU. Kudos to Asus!



I have no idea that Asus are into beautifying your entire PC case as well. What they actually have inside is the ROG stickers.


Last edited by royfrosty; 05-01-2017 at 09:56 AM..
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Old 04-01-2017, 01:46 AM   #2
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....Continued


Here are some of the included accessories. A total of 4 SATA cables, front panel connectors extender, Asus Aura LED extension, a M.2 cover, interestingly a ROG HB Bridge provided, a CPU installation tool kit just for users to install the CPU properly, wifi antennas, and a standard rear IO shield.

Unlike like the Z270 Maximus IX Formula, the Maximus Code does not have the build in IO. Instead they have opted a standard IO shield.



And here we have it, the the overall outlook of the Maximus Code motherboard.



Moving on to the motherboard walkthrough


Maximus Code with all the weapons and armor, gearing up for the best

The first impression that i got from the Maximus Code, it is a freaking heavy motherboard. With the armor on it felt like a tank. It felt like a great sentinel that can never be squashed. It is in a all black PCB and armor, very stealth and nice brushed VRMs heatsink.



All right i will do a walkthrough of the Maximus Code starting from the top left corner of the motherboard.

CPU Power

First of, the Maximus Code uses a 8pin CPU power.



Power Phases

Moving towards the right, the Maximus Code has a total of 10 power phases.



Just beside the VRM cooler, there is a total of two 4pins PWM fan headers, and accompanied with a Asus AURA LED header. Now there is two of Asus AURA LED header found on the Maximus Code, one of it is at the bottom of the board, while this is located just beside the RAM slots. I find it very good in terms of placement. Cause if you were to have LED strips located at the top of your PC case, this header will come in handy, instead of using a LED extension cable, routing it from the bottom of your chassis and daisy chain it, this will be a better solution.



At the top right corner there is a high amp 4pin PWM fan header. What it does is that it can support a total of 3A current output with a total of 36w power. To know more on how much current and power of each fan header, you can refer to the user guide book at page 1-25.

Just below the fan header, there is a 7 segment display debugging code. In an event if the motherboard fails to boot, you can actually look at the codes in the user guide.

And we have the push button for powering on and reset button.



Just below those power and reset button, would be the 24pin power and USB 3.1 front header. Now if you noticed that there is a “CPU” “DRAM” “VGA” and “BOOT” etched onto the armor? Those are actually running LEDs that will light up and go through it during POST. Anything wrong with the system, together with the debugging code, you can tell where the fault lies onto.

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Old 04-01-2017, 01:46 AM   #3
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.... continued

The standard RAM slots



SATA and USB3.0

Just below the USB 3.1 front header, the Maximus Code has 6 SATA ports with a USB 3.0 front connector. Nicely flushed right angle ports.



LN2, custom watercooling sensors etc

There is a few headers just below the SATA ports and it is kinda new for me to see such a thing implemented on this board.

The black headers on the right are for LN2 features, a jumper to toggle between normal mode and LN2 mode, and also the sensors for it. I have not done LN2 before, so i can’t comment much on this feature, but what it does for LN2 jumper is to allow users to toggle between LN2 mode or normal mode, by toggling LN2 mode, the motherboard will be optimized to remedy the cold boot bug during POST and help boot the system successfully.

But the one in white and labelled as “W_Out” “W_In” and “W_Flow”. This is actually to probe sensors for custom water cooling setup that has a flow rate sensor and temperature sensors. Pretty awesome to see something like this implemented.



At the bottom left corner of the motherboard, there is a system panel connector, a m.2 slot, another 4pin PWM pump connector, a slow mode dip switch, a USB 2.0 front, a ROG extension connectors for OC Panel or other Asus related products,



Push my "buttons"

Moving on to the left, there is a Mem OK push button, which i find it very interesting. If for whatsoever reasons that you bought a non compatible RAM and causing not to boot up, so what you can do is to press and hold Mem OK button till the DRAM LED starts blinking and let it go, it will then boot with automatic memory compatibility in order to boot sucessfully.

Just beside the Mem OK button is the Safe boot button. This button is useful for overclockers, what it actually does is that it allows users to force reboot the system into BIOS WITH overclocking profiles. But do note that it actually temporary applies safe settings in order to boot and bring you to BIOS. This is good as you won’t forget what you have last set.

Now the last button is the Retry Button. This is designed for overclockers and is most useful during the booting process when the reset button fails for whatever reason, this Retry button forces the system to reboot while retaining the same settings in quick succession to achieve a succesful POST.

Now beside all those three buttons are the TPM 14pin connectors, another 4pin PWM chassis Fan header, another Asus AURA RGB header, and lastly the front audio connector.



The "hidden" m.2

Now have you all noticed that the Maximus Code has only one visible m.2 connector? Well there is another one hidden behind the armor. Now i don’t think this is a good implementation. I have to take out the faceplate armor in order to use the m.2 slot inside the armor. They should have tried to put it somewhere that is easily accessible. To use the second m.2 slot, one has to remove the philips screw found on the faceplate of the armor.



Just below the faceplate, then only you will find the second m.2 slot. Gosh this is so troublesome if the board is inside the PC Case.



Moving on to the middle section of the Maximus Code, it is the reinforced steel PCIE slot called the Safe Slot. The first two PCIE slots are with steel armor, but the last one is the normal PCIE slot. Something that i think it’s fine. Cause normally, there isn’t much people using the last PCIE slot with a GPU.

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Old 04-01-2017, 01:46 AM   #4
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.... continued

Just above the PCIE slots, there is two 4pin PWM Fan headers. One of it is the AIO Pump fan connector, the other is the chassis fan. My god, that’s a lot of pump fan connectors.



SupremeFX

Moving on to the Audio section. The Maximus Code indeed comes with a new ROG SupremeFX S1220 Codec, together with the R4580I op amp from texas instrument and ES9023 24bit audio DAC.





Gold

Nichicon gold capacitors!



A naked Maximus

Removing the armor feels like the Maximus Code looks empty. It feels like a lady with no makeup on. Kinda look all ugly.



Now to remove the armor, simply flip the board to the back and unscrew all nine philips screws.



When you remove all the nine screws at the back, be VERY careful not to pull it apart too fast. There is two very thin and delicate LED connectors just beside the rear IO. Remove it using a tweezer instead, cause the space is just so tight. This two LED connectors are for the shroud ROG and rear LED.



Now just in between the Rear IO and the 5pins LED strip header comes the ROG LANGuard.

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Old 04-01-2017, 01:47 AM   #5
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Rear IO

Last but not least, the rear IO. From the left to the right…

- Clear CMOS
- BIOS flashback button that allow users to flash BIOS without the need of a CPU/VGA/RAM. Just power and USB with BIOS file inside it.
- Wifi module in m.2 slot
- HDMI Port
- DP Port
- 4x USB 2.0 Ports
- 4x USB 3.0 Ports
- LAN
- USB 3.1 Type A
- USB 3.1 Type C
- Audio jacks with SPIDIF output



3D Printing Friendly design

The Maximus Code has a 3D printing friendly design. Just like all the previous motherboards by Asus, there are some mounting points or things that are include to do 3D printing. Things like the Maximus IX Code ROG offers a template for enthusiasts to print out their own ideas DIYers
can now make their own customisation in whatever color they are interested in with ease and
hassle-free.

Here are the links to all the other templates that they have done in the past, but certainly they will be adding a few more templates for the Maximus Code.

Link

BIOS Walkthrough

EZ Mode

During first boot, the board brings up the EZ Mode. Which nothing much you can do in this screen. You probably can set the XMP profile, QFan Control, Boot Prioriy, EZ System Tuning, and lastly go into Boot Menu.



Advanced Mode

Hitting the F7 will bring you to the "Advanced Mode". The "Extreme Tweaker" would be all your overclocked settings that you can set. There is another tab which has some preset overclocking profiles. Which i think is insane lol.



I have tested it, and most of it doesn't boot up properly, i guess no harm trying YMMV haha.



More on other overclocked settings


There is also the AVX Core Ratio Negative Offset, which is meant for overclockers to bench or using AVX instructions to offset Core Ratio.





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Old 04-01-2017, 01:47 AM   #6
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.....Continued

Favorites Tab

There is all the shortcuts to all the overclocking settings that are there, you can actually change some of the settings and also the voltages. Apart from that all the "Boot logo display", "Fast Boot" settings etc can be found in this tab. This is actually good, cause this are most of the settings being touched most of the time.



Main Tab

Shows more of the board info, processor info and system info.



Advanced Tab

This will show users the configuration and all the parameters being set. One thing for sure, this is not easy to understand what it is for and what are the functions does. The bad thing about Asus BIOS is the info that they provided at the info bar is far to brief. Sometime it is hard to understand what they are even trying to say.



Monitor Tab

This shows all the sensors probe monitoring. It has everything, from temperature to speed of the fans.



At the bottom of the monitor tab, there is a new Q-Fan Configuration.



Inside it you can do Q-Fan Tuning that sets all the fan controls.



Now i find it not intuitive enough. There are so many settings and it look very messy. They should have it in a simple GUI so that one can set all the settings in it. They do have a GUI, simply press the F6 key, but it is not the best i have seen.



Boot Tab

All the boot setups and all the other settings for POST.

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Old 04-01-2017, 01:48 AM   #7
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....Continued

Tool Tab

Some of the tools that might come in handy, such as "EZ Flash 3 Utility", "Secure Erase" for slow performance SSD etc.



Overclocking Profile, which allow users to set up to 8 different profiles.



And that is all for the BIOS walkthrough.

Lets move on to software included.

Software

There are a couple of software included with the Maximus Code, so i will go through a few.

Aura/Sync

What Asus has created is the all new Aura Sync, which allow users to toggle all the RGB settings on all the Asus product such as Claymore, Gladius, Motherboard, GPU and so on. This allow users to customise all the RGB lightings both individually and overall sync together. BUT however, the Aura software is extremely buggy. It is so buggy that at times it will just not work.

I have set Sync for all devices, it does work, but the moment i set to independent mode, it will not work and the only thing works is the back to default mode. Lastly the colors at time does not change according to what i have set. So people whom are looking to Aura settings for this board, i think you better know what you are up to. And the only way is to wait for Asus to come out with a newer version for it.



Clone Drive

Clone drive, a free utilities that allows users to clone out another drive in order to use it on a new drive.



Keybot II

Keybot gets a small change. What keybot does was to add in macro keys to your keyboards, which i find it interesting as when i game like street fighter. Damn this thing works flawlessly like playing on a keypad. Everything is auto lol.



Another thing worth using are probably for people whom are using mechanical keyboards that has no multimedia keys. The "Function Keys" tab allow users to actually customise their own function keys to bind it with their keyboard.



And lastly, you can set shortcut to your programs or file destinations with the keys you desire.



RAMDisk

Asus also added the RAMDisk.

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Old 04-01-2017, 01:48 AM   #8
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....Continued

RAMCache II

They also included a RAM Cache.



Game First IV

Game first actually allow users to set priority to the things that they want to be prioritize, such as gaming, internet, and all the other programs. And channel bandwidth priorities to your applications.



The network monitor section allows you to check which are the applications that are using the most bandwidth.



Network Information tab allows you to see which network are connected, and also the IP address and physical address being assigned.



Sonic Studio III

The Sonic Studio allow users to customise their own equalizers for each and different applications, such as music, movies, gaming or communication with others. However YMMV, it can sound really weird with different headphones or earphones connected. So you need to adjust again each time you change a new headphones/earphones, not unless you save the profile under the settings tab.



The record studio tab allow users to actually set their own recording audio.



That is the end for the software section.

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Once again, Asus deliver a very nice motherboard that cater to a bigger audience, the mainstream users. Catering certain things that are needed from the Formula, but shaving down a few features that probably won't be needed. Such as the build in IO, the EK water inlet for the VRMS and the motherboard backplate. Hence shaving down the cost of it, thus making it slightly more affordable to the mainstream users.

Another thing that i think the Maximus Code shines is the amount of fan headers and LED headers that are included. It has a lot of ways for you to figure out on how you want to customise the LED configurations, and best of all the Aura Sync software which can synchronize the entire LED. They have quite a generous amount of fan headers that are optimized for AIO pump or water cooling pump.

Another thing that Asus implemented since quite some time back is all the 3 push buttons on board, the "MEM OK", "SAFE BOOT" and lastly the "RETRY BUTTON". Which makes it kinda good for overclockers whom doing overclocking. It is good that even at the worse case scenario, there are ways to boot it back. Kudos to Asus.

But however, because of the huge armor, that make it looks like a tank. Some of the fan headers are being blocked or too tight to the corners of the armor. Making it hard to insert fan connectors on it especially when the motherboard are installed into the PC case.

Another thing that i think it is not intuitive is the BIOS implementation. I think Asus could improve further on things like information. Some of their BIOS settings has no explanation, just simple brief description on what they are and what features they are setting.

Apart from that, the Q-Fan Control, which i think can be improved. There are tons of fan control settings which i think can be put all together and come up with a simple GUI control. Which it will be easier to navigate rather than setting up a different drop down bar for every single fan controller.

Lastly the hidden m.2. I'm not a fan of removing the plastic shroud using a screwdriver to find the second m.2. I think that they can improve on that. Especially if people have a SLI configuration and being water cooled, there is no way to remove the plastic shroud to access the second m.2. Same goes to the CMOS battery. It is totally covered. Making CMOS battery swap a pain to do.

Final Ratings and Scores

The functionality of this board is kinda a mix for me, first of all, i really love the way how they deliver the fan connectors, the accessories they have provided such as the Cablemod coupons, the HB SLI Bridge, the stickers and being 3D print friendly of certain parts of the boards. But however there are some things that i think could be improved further, such as the fan connectors placement, with the armor along the way, some of the fan connectors are pretty cramped up. Especially making it difficult to access when the motherboard is placed inside the PC Case. I feel that it is hindering a lot on the CMOS battery and the 2nd m.2 slot. Although yes it may not affect a lot such as we may not need the use of an extra m.2 or the need to keep changing the CMOS battery. But it can be a big turn off to those doing custom liquid cooling when maintenance is already a pain to do yearly, and this 2 things are kept away hidden. Which i hope Asus can redesign the two options. So for that i would give functionality 8/10.

Performance, this board has what it takes to do good overclocking, good implementation for custom water cooling such as the flow sensors and temperature probe. Lastly all the BIOS overclocked settings are pretty easy to navigate. They even included all the 3 "safe" buttons. It is kinda great to have. There is no wrong in this department and no denying that they are good. 10/10

Aesthetics, well although they have provided a lot of decal stickers, allowing you to 3D print some parts, the two RGB header for AURA, the stealth looks of the entire board, it looks good. But certainly it looked dull. Worse is when one pulls out the armor, it looked way too naked. For that i would rate it 7/10. Sorry Asus, Maximus Code doesn't scream unique enough.

Pricing of it seems to be quite steep, despite in the US is selling at US$357, it is no where near cheap either. But what you are getting is a good solid motherboard with a LOT of USB at the back, the fan headers that are all PWM/DC config, the armor, the RGB headers lastly the freebies and accessories. I would say it is fair for the price paid. For that i'm giving a 7/10.

That gives the score a total of 8/10.
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Last edited by royfrosty; 05-01-2017 at 01:51 PM..
Processor
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Graphics Card
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Display
LG 32GK850G Gsync display
Storage
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Optical Storage
Can eat or not?
Casing
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PSU
Seasonic Prime 850w 80+ Gold
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Old 04-01-2017, 01:52 AM   #9
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Jin satki mens!!
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Old 04-01-2017, 03:01 AM   #10
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As of 0259hrs 4/1/17
- Covered partial of the review

To be completed by 4/1/17 after lunch
- BIOS walkthrough
- Conclusions and ratings

Sorry guys, unable to continue now, i'm tired, sleepy, and down with a flu. Will continue when i get up.
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Old 04-01-2017, 03:05 AM   #11
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Rest well no hurry.
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Old 04-01-2017, 11:56 AM   #12
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Omg when is this coming out? The moment I saw this I instantly fell in love with it! Looking forward to your review!
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Windows 10 Home Edition (64 bit)

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Old 04-01-2017, 01:59 PM   #13
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As of 1358hrs 4/1/17
- Review completed

To add on
- Other small features and programs.
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Processor
AMD R9 3900X
Mainboard
MSI Prestige X570 Creation
Graphics Card
Palit RTX 2080 8gb Gaming Pro OC
Memory
Gskill Trident Z 3733Mhz 2x16gb kit
Display
LG 32GK850G Gsync display
Storage
Samsung Evo 960 1tb + Adata XPG SX8200 1tb Pro
Optical Storage
Can eat or not?
Casing
Lian Li O11 Air
PSU
Seasonic Prime 850w 80+ Gold
Audio
Bose Soundtouch 300 + Bose Acoustimass 300 + Bose Invisible 300
OS
Windows 10 Pro

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Old 04-01-2017, 02:23 PM   #14
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hi roy, were u able to test this feature, in ur addon hopefully...?

our 200-series motherboards have the ability to map GPU core temps (of supported ASUS graphics cards) to system fans, as well as the ability to assign up to three thermal sources to each fan header. And it’s done in a smart way; the firmware and software are coded to compare the temperature of each sensor and automatically react to the hottest one.
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Old 04-01-2017, 02:25 PM   #15
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Dun know but i still prefer the Asus over the MSI for your Z270 reviews. lol
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