ASUS ROG Maximus XII Z490 boards leak with 16 power stage VRM design
Earlier we saw MSI’s Z490 boards, and today, it is the ASUS Republic of Gamers’ turn. This leak from Videocardz reveals an impressive array of ROG Maximus XII boards based on the Intel Z490 platform, and all of them feature a similarly beefy power delivery system, and some impressive looking features across the board (pun not intended).
ROG Maximus XII Extreme Glacial — new color variant?
ASUS is expected to unveil a new ROG Maximus XII Extreme Glacial, which might be a white/ice blue variant of the top-of-the-line Maximus XII Extreme. That would make it the first white-colored flagship board from the ROG family. Meanwhile under the flagship ROG Maximus XII Extreme there’s the Maximus XII Formula, Maximus XII Hero (WiFi) and the Maximus XII Apex. Most of the features of these boards are pretty similar to their Intel Z390 counterparts. The ROG Maximus XII Formula sports a hybrid waterblock on its VRMs and the flashiest design out of the four boards leaked today, while the Maximus XII Apex is oriented towards extreme overclockers and only features two DIMM slots to improve RAM overclocking potential.
Now speaking of that potential, the ROG Maximus XII Apex is the only board out of the Maximus XII family to promise speeds over DDR4-5000. Of course the maximum overclocking potential will in the end boil down to your RAM sticks themselves, but if you want to push the absolute limits of your memory, the Maximus XII Apex board is the one to get.
Sixteen power stages across the ROG Maximus XII family
When it comes to the VRMs, all the Maximus XII boards feature 16 power stages, with most of them not having any power for the iGPU, which is fine considering that no sane person will buy a flagship-tier gaming motherboard to use the iGPU. If you want to have a ROG board and use the iGPU as well, the more affordable ROG Maximus XII Hero cuts off 2 power stages from the VCore to power the VGPU. Considering their previous designs, the Maximus XII series should once again feature the teamed power stages design which means there should be a total of eight phases with two power stages per phase.
If you look closely at the images, you can also see that the VRM heatsinks are pretty overkill this time around, surrounding the entire LGA1200 socket on all three sides except where the DIMM is placed. That’s not too surprising considering that the upcoming 10th Gen Intel Core processors are expected to really stress the VRM components on any Z490 board.
WiFi 6 for everyone
In addition to that, all the ROG Maximus XII boards will feature WiFi 6 thanks to a Intel WiFi 6 AX201 adapter and Thunderbolt 3 headers. Intel is definitely pushing Thunderbolt 3 and WiFi 6 to differentiate itself from AMD, so this should come as no surprise. I am not sure if there are Thunderbolt 3 ports on the rear I/O, as a header will more often than not end up unused unless ASUS throws in an add-in card to make use of the header. Speaking of which, the highest end ROG Maximus XII Extreme will come with a ThunderboltEX 3-TR card bundled. For those who prefer a wired connection, all the boards come with at least a 2.5 GbE LAN port.
Now all there’s left to do is wait for the price. We can safely assume that these would cost a fair bit considering the amount of power delivery hardware found on every board, as even the entry-level ROG board, the ROG Maximus XII Hero (WiFi), comes with sixteen power stages and the largest VRM heatsinks we have seen in a long time.
Pokdepinion: I guess the 10th Gen parts really challenged ASUS’ engineers to design a VRM capable of handling it…