As with most Asus motherboards, the Maximus II Gene uses the American Megatrends BIOS, a tabbed BIOS for easy navigation. The BIOS launches into the Extreme Tweaker menu, where all overclocking settings are located. This menu is very long, and is the first I’ve seen of its kind, though the concept may not be totally new, as this is the first new ROG motherboard I’ve seen in a little over a year.
The difference is that there are actually two Extreme Tweaker menus, toggled by changing the “Tuning Mode”. The default is “Gaming” mode, which has less extreme overclocking tweaks. The other mode is “Extreme Overclocking”, which gives the user some very detailed settings such as CPU, NB, and Memory clock skew. There is lots of stuff here, mostly stuff we’ve seen before on high-end overclocking motherboards. The only thing that is missing is the projected clock speed of your overclock settings, without the display you need a calculator and something to write on.
Besides the two menu options, this is I guess the most complete overclocking BIOS menu I’ve seen. There are numerous helpful items that are never seen in the overclocking menu, if in the BIOS at all. For example, the current CPU, NB, and memory voltages are displayed just above the voltage tweaks. I deal with a lot of motherboards and several CPUs, and I can never remember what the default voltages are. No problem if the voltage tweak starts at the current voltage, but often you either start at the lowest available voltage, or have to directly type in the desired voltage. Yeah, I know, you write them down, but I often forget, and have had to leave the BIOS just to get that information.
Also listed are the current temps of each, usually found only in the Hardware Monitor menu. This is also pretty nice for the extreme overclocker, with your idle temps staring you in the face you can better judge how much higher you want to crank up the voltages.
The BIOS Main menu shows date/time and recognized SATA drives. The BIOS version is found in the System Information submenu.
The Advanced Menu contains submenus that involve most motherboard subsystems, including CPU and Onboard Devices.
The Power Menu contains the Hardware Monitor, and power related settings.
The Hardware Monitor is somewhat odd, rather than having all information displayed in one menu, the hardware information is broken down in submenus of Voltages, Temperatures, Fan Speed monitor, and Fan Speed Control.
The Boot Menu is broken down into submenus of Boot Device Priority, Boot Settings Configuration, and Security.
Besides Asus’ BIOS flash with thumb drive utility, EZ Flash 2, the Tools Menu contains TweakIt, a keyboard tweak utility, AI Net 2, a network evaluation utility, and Asus OC Profile, where you can set up to eight preset overclock CMOS profiles.
Although there are numerous overclocking tweaks, I generally like to keep it simple. By raising the FSB frequency, bumping up the CPU voltage, and enabling Load-Line Calibration, I easily clocked my E8400 from the stock 3.0gHz to a rock stable 3.9gHz, the highest I have ever successfully overclocked this processor. Many of the previous overclock attempts were done using this same memory, and all were done using high quality memory never clocked near its limit. I very likely could have gone much farther, but I was very happy with this clock. The previous high was 3.8gHz, and most motherboards would not allow it past 3.6gHz-3.7gHz. The Maximus II Gene is definitely an overclock conducive board.