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::>Motherboards > 2014 > 05 > ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER

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29-05-2014


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ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER motherboard review and testing

This review is devoted to a new ASUS motherboard based on flagship chipset Intel Z97, the main features of which we examined in the review of model ASUS Z97-A.

ASUS Z97 MAXIMUS VII RANGER version belongs to well known gaming and overclocking models ASUS ROG. It offers very good equipment and number of proprietary features and improvements designed to brighten the life of gamers. But let's look at a detailed technical specification of a new item.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

The specs:

Producer

ASUS

Model

MAXIMUS VII RANGER (rev 1.02)

Chipset

Intel Z97

SPU socket

Socket LGA1150

Supported CPUs

Intel Core i7 / Core i5 / Core i3 / Pentium / Celeron 4th and 5th generation: Intel Haswell, Intel Haswell Refresh, Intel Devil`s Canyon, Intel Broadwell

Memory frequency

3200* / 3100* / 3000* / 2933* / 2800* / 2666* / 2600* / 2500* / 2400* / 2200* / 2133* / 2000* / 1866* / 1800* / 1600 / 1333 MHz

(*OS)

Memory support

4 x DDR3 DIMM-slots with memory support up to32 GB

Expansion slots

2 x PCI Express 3.0 x16

1 х PCI Express 2.0 x16

x16

x8+х8

x8+x8+x4

3 x PCI Express 2.0 x1

Memory support

Intel Z97 chipset supports:

1 x M.2 (NGFF)

6 x SATA 6 GB/s

RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 10

LAN

1 x Intel WGI218V (10/100/1000 MB/s)

Sound subsystem

ROG SupremeFX codec

8-channel sound

S/PDIF Out

Power connectors

1x24-pin ATX main power connector

1x8-pin ATX12V power connector

Fans

2 x CPU fan connector (4-pin)

3 x system fan connector (4-pin)

Cooling

Aluminum radiator on the chipset

Aluminum radiator on power subsystem elements

External I/O

1 x HDMI

1 x DVI-D

1 x D-Sub

1 x LAN (RJ45)

4 x USB 3.0

2 x USB 2.0

1 x Optical S/PDIF out

6 x audio jack

1 х PS/2 (mouse and keyboard connection)

1 х кнопка USB BIOS Flashback

Internal I/O

1 x USB 3.0 each with support of two USB 3.0 (19-pin)

3 x USB 2.0 each with support of two USB 2.0

6 x SATA 6 GB/s

1 х TPM socket

1 x connector of audio output to front panel

1 x set of front panel connectors

1 x CMOS jumper

1 х MemOK!

1 х power button

1 х reboot button

1 х LED-indicator

1 x KeyBot button

1 x Sonic SoundStage button

BIOS

64 MB Flash ROM UEFI AMI BIOS

PnP, ACPI 5.0a, SM BIOS 2.7, DMI 2.7, WfM 2.0

Packaging

User’s manual

Warranty description booklet

Driver and utility disc

1 х set of ASUS Q-Connectors

4 x SATA cables

1 х Way NVIDIA SLI bridge

1 х faceplate of interface panel

Form factor,

Dimensions

ATX

305 х 244 mm

Producer website

ASUS
Updated versions of BIOS and drives are available on support page

Packaging and content

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

Packaging is made of high quality cardboard framed in a corporate style of ASUS ROG line. In addition to name of the manufacturer and model of the device on the front side you can watch a number of logos at the bottom showing the OS support Windows 8.1, NVIDIA SLI technology and AMD CrossFireX, and output images to a display with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K Ultra HD).

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

All the most interesting information is under the lid where the description of all the key advantages of ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER is focused:

  • SupremeFX is a preinstalled audio codec that offers the support of eight channel sound. To avoid interference caused by electromagnetic interference a special screening technology Black chrome EMI cover is used and to ensure maximum quality sound a special audio capacitors ELNA are used. Also here is a support of technologies DTS Connest, BD Audio Layer Content Protection and Music PnP, and the presence of the port S/PDIF out interface panel on the motherboard.
  • Sonic Studio is company software allowing to activate the function of virtual sound playback in a format 7.1 and provides a wide range of audio settings.
  • Sonic SoundStage - provides hardware switching of audio profiles with a special button on the PCB.
  • Sonic SenseAmp - hardware and software technology that allows you to adjust the playback sound with the level of headphone impedance.
  • Intel Ethernet is preinstall Intel network controller that has a high capacity and consumes less CPU resources than competing solutions.
  • LANGuard - as part of a LAN port, a special safety device that will help prevent damage to the system due to shock or static electricity during a thunderstorm.
  • GameFirst III - technology designed to optimize Internet traffic in order to increase the priority of online games, which should reduce the delays and accordingly make the gameplay more comfortable. You can also select the priority "media streaming», VoIP or file sharing.
  • KeyBot - using proprietary software, a special controller and buttons on the surface of the printed circuit board you can record macros and create functional buttons even for ordinary keyboards.
  • 10K Black Metallic Capacitors - as part of the circuitry of motherboard exclusively black solid capacitors with increased to 10,000 hours of life and 20% higher efficiency when operating at low temperatures are used.
  • DRAM Over-current Protection special protection devices protect memory modules and DIMM-slots from damage due to overvoltage or short circuit.
  • ESD Guards are special safety devices for increased protection against electrostatic discharge.
  • Stainless Steel Back I / O - Interface panel is made of stainless steel with chromium oxide coating. It has high resistance to oxidation, which makes it three times more wear-resistant.
  • Black Nickel-coated Q-shield - interface board plug has rounded edges that will protect the user's hand in the process of installation. 
  • Q-DIMM - for greater user convenience slots for memory modules are equipped with a latch on one side only.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

On the reverse side of the package in addition to a brief technical specification and diagrammatic representation of interface panel there is a repeated mention of support the technologies SupremeFX, GameFirst III, KeyBot, and also the availability of technology Sonic Radar II is noted. Thanks to it in the game process on the screen there is radar which analyzes the sound of footsteps, shots or requests for help and shows information about the location of enemies and allies, which gives the user a distinct advantage on the virtual battlefield.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

Supplied motherboard ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER is consistent with its higher level. In addition to the usual CD with software, user guides and interface plug in the box we found:

  • four SATA-cables;
  • ASUS Q-Connectors set which greatly facilitates the process of connecting the front panel of the PC casing;
  • ASUS ROG logo sticker;
  • NVIDIA SLI bridge;
  • door hanger.   

Design and features of this board

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

The product is made on black ATX PCB (305 x 244 mm) with a matte covering. Color scheme corresponds with the concept of corporate design ASUS ROG with a predominance of black and red colors.
Speaking about the arrangement of on-board elements, we note that all the ports and connectors are located on the best places on the edges of the board and DIMM-slots are equipped with a latch on one side only. As a result, you won’t have problems with the assembly and further operation of the system.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

On the reverse side of the motherboard in addition to the supporting plate of CPU you can see the screws of cooling system radiators, as well as two low profile radiators that not only conduct heat away from the PCB area, but also play the role of supporting plates.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

At the bottom of the board there are the following connectors: front panel audio leading-in sockets, COM and Sonic SoundStage buttons, three TPM ports and front panel leading-in socket. And KeyBot function button. Also here are: three USB 2.0 leading-in sockets and one is jointed with ROG_EXT sockets.  Total number of USB 2.0 sockets is eight: six are internal and two on the interface panel.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

The possibility of organizing a disk subsystem is presented by M.2 (NGFF) connector and six-port SATA 6 GB/s. The operation of all interfaces is implemented by the chipset. There is support for SATA RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5 and RAID 10.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

Mainboard ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER is equipped with four DIMM-slots for memory modules DDR3, which are equipped with latches on one side only. RAM can operate in dual channel mode. To implement it the modules must be installed either in the first and third or second and fourth slots. Modules operating at frequencies from 1333 to 1600 MHz in the nominal mode and up to 3200 MHz overclocking are supported. Maximum memory capacity may be up to 32 GB which is enough for almost any tasks.

Leading-in socket for remote panel with USB 3.0 ports is also located on the right side of the PCB. Total number of supports USB 3.0 is six: two internal and four on the interface panel.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER

Also the upper right corner of the PCB has: button MemOK! which allows you to automatically pick up the necessary parameters of the memory system for a successful system start; diagnostic LED-indicator, as well as power and reboot buttons.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

Cooling system of the product is a fairly complex scheme which includes three aluminum radiators: one for heat removal from chipset Intel Z97 while two others cover elements of power subsystem. 

In the process of testing the following temperature indices were fixed:

  • radiator for chipset cooling – 38.5°C;
  • radiator for cooling of processor elements power – 40.3°C.

The received results are characterized as good.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

Processor power supply is performed via 8-phase scheme for computational cores and additional joints. Converter is based on a digital PWM controller ASP1252 with integrated DIGI+VRM power consumption subsystem control. All power components of CPU have high reliability level: solid capacitors Black Metallic, MOS transistor NexFET and improved chokes with ferrite core are used. Basic 24-pin and additional 8-pin connectors are use for power feeding.    

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

To extend motherboard functionality the user has 6 slots:  

  1. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  2. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (х16 or х8 mode);
  3. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  4. PCI Express 3.0 x16 (х8 mode);
  5. PCI Express 2.0 x1;
  6. PCI Express 2.0 x16 (х4 mode).

As you can see, only two (from three) PCI Express x16 slots are connected to the processor respectively they share the available 16 lines of standard PCI Express 3.0. The third slot is connected to the chipset and always uses a maximum four lines of standard PCI Express 2.0. In cases if installation of two dimensional graphics cards with three slot cooling system you will have access to one PCI Express x1.

Also do not forget that the chipset PCI Express 2.0 x16 connector shares own lines with slots PCI Express 2.0 x1 and M.2. By default, the automatic mode of lines distribution is used. That means the system automatically monitors the connected devices and divides a line between them.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

If you decide to take advantage of the integrated on the CPU graphics core then you have three video outputs: HDMI, DVI-D and D-Sub, switching is carried out by chip ASMedia ASM 1442K.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER

Multi I/O capabilities are based on NUVOTON NCT6791D chip which controls the operation of the system fans, PS/2 ports, as well as provides the monitors. 

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

To support network connections there are two GB LAN-controller Intel WGI218V.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER

Sound subsystem is based on HAD codec of 8-channel sound ROG SupremeFX that supports 2/4/5.1/7.1 sound systems.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER

Interface panel of ASUS X79-E WS model contains the following ports:

  • 1 x HDMI;
  • 1 x DVI-D;
  • 1 x D-Sub;
  • 1 x PS/2 for mouse or keyboard connection;
  • 1 x LAN (RJ45);
  • 4 x USB 3.0;
  • 2 x USB 2.0;
  • 1 х optical S/PDIF out;
  • 1 х USB BIOS Flashback;
  • 6 x audio jacks.

The layout of the interface panel deserves only a positive assessment, because it includes a sufficient number of USB ports, virtually all of the most popular video outputs, convenient connectivity and the availability of multi-channel acoustic optical audio output. Also here is a support of image with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels (4K Ultra HD) displaying as well as convenient update BIOS from a USB flash drive using the corresponding button.

ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER

ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER

For the organization of active cooling on the PCB there are five 4-pin connectors. Two of them are used to connect the CPU cooler fan, and the other three may be involved by systemic fans that have a positive impact on the temperature of the internal components.

UEFI BIOS

Motherboard ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER uses a modern pre-loader with UEFI basis. To provide the setting is possible using the mouse. It offers two main ways of usage.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

EZ Mode where all the necessary settings are grouped on one screen, and oveclocking is carried out using the EZ Tuning Wizard.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

Or used Advanced Mode where all settings should be done manually.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

All overclocking settings can be found in “Ai Tweaker” section.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

Frequency multiplier allows to set module connection speed within 800-3400MHz.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

If necessary you can get the access to memory delay adjustments.

 ASUS MAXIMUS VII RANGER 

To increase the stability during overclocking process you can use the setting of DIGI+VRM digital subsystem control.

Adjustments required to overclock and optimize the system:

Menu name

Range

Pitch

Initial BCLK Frequency

80,0 – 300,0

0,1

CPU Strap

100, 125, 166, 250

 

Memory Frequency

3400, 3200, 3000, 2933, 2800, 2666, 2600, 2400, 2200. 2133, 2000, 1866, 1800,

1600, 1400, 1333, 1066, 800

 

DRAM Timing

CAS Latency, RAS to CAS, RAS PRE Time, RAS ACT Time, DRAM COMMAND Mode, RAS to RAS Delay, REF Cycle Time, Write Recovery Time, READ to PRE Time, FOUR ACT WIN Time, WRITE to READ Delay, Write Latency

 

Min. CPU Cache Ratio Limit

8 – MAX

1

Max CPU Cache Ratio Limit

8 – MAX

1

Fixed CPU VRM Switching Frequency(KHz)

250 – 500

50

Long Duration Package Power Limit

1 – 4096

1

Package Power Time Window

1 - 127

1

Short Duration Package Power Limit

1 - 4096

1

CPU Integrated VR Current Limit

0,125 – 1023,875

0,125

Power Current Slope

Auto, Level -4 – Level 4

 

Power Current Offset

Auto, -100% - 100%

12,5 %

Power Fast Ramp Response

0,00 – 1,50

0,001

Power Saving Level 1 Threshold

0 – 80

1

Power Saving Level 2 Threshold

0 – 50

1

Power Saving Level 3 Threshold

0 – 30

1

CPU Core Voltage Override

0,001 – 1,920

 

0,001

CPU Cache Voltage Override

0,001 – 1,920

0,001

CPU System Agent Voltage Offset

0,001 – 0,999

0,001

CPU Analog I/O Voltage Offset

0,001 – 0,999

0,001

CPU Digital I/O Voltage Offset

0,001 – 0,999

0,001

CPU Input Voltage

0,800 – 2,440

0,010

DRAM Voltage

1,20000 – 2,40000

0,00500

PCH Core Voltage

0,70000 – 1,50000

0,01250

PCH VLX Voltage

1,20000 – 2,00000

0,01250

VTTDDR Voltage

0,60000 – 1,40000

0,01250

DRAM CTRL REF Voltage

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

DRAM DATA REF Voltage on CHA

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

DRAM DATA REF Voltage on CHB

0,39500 – 0,63000

0,00500

Clock Crossing VBoot

0,10000 – 1,90000

0,00625

Clock Crossing Reset Voltage

0,10000 – 1,90000

0,00625

Clock Crossing Voltage

0,10000 – 1,90000

0,00625

VCCIN Shadow Voltage

0,800 – 2,440

0,010

Initial PLL Termination Voltage

1,00000 – 3,00000

0,00625

PLL Termination Reset Voltage

1,00000 – 3,00000

0,00625

Eventual PLL Termination Voltage

1,000000 – 3,00000

0,00625

PCH ICC Voltage

0,60000 – 3,00000

0,00625


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