ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex Review

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For more than a decade, the ASUS Republic of Gamers brand has been a mainstay in the market for DIY gaming PCs. With so many models available in different price categories over the years, it’s fair to argue that ASUS has somewhat diluted the brand.

Nonetheless, the company continues to offer some of the most expensive and high-performing alternatives available. Gaming has always been a priority for ASUS’ ROG brand. Whether it’s true or not, this has the impression that you’re also concerned about overclocking. You may play games and not overclock, of course, but gamers are frequently the ones that are prepared to push platforms to the ultimate limit in order to have the best performance.

Both versions with broad appeal and ones that forego features in favor of price are available under ASUS’ ROG brand. The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex is the board with the highest performance, despite not being the most costly in the list. In order to offer the optimum performance for both CPU and memory overclocking, some of the extraneous features or fluff of the Extreme series are sacrificed. The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex from ASUS is not inexpensive. The board costs roughly $720 at the time of writing for the WiFi version.

Overclocking-specific motherboards have long been overshadowed by RGB-enhanced gaming designs. Although the days of overclocking a cheap processor and motherboard to flagship-tier performance levels are long gone, it’s still encouraging to see all of the major manufacturers continue to serve the OC market, no matter how little it may be. Boards like the Tachyon, Unify-X, and Asus Maximus Apex are frequently praised, yet these days they frequently have exorbitant prices.

Better news is that Asus has stopped using roman numerals in its naming. This makes finding the board without using Google easier. Its name has been changed to the Maximus Z690 Apex from the Maximus XIV Apex.

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ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex overall look & specs

The Apex Z690 platform has many of the same high-end Z690 platform’s specifications. Like previous OC-focused boards, it is constructed using the LGA1700 socket and features two DIMM slots. With these two slots, we can fit up to 64GB of memory at speeds between 4800MHz and 7000MHz. Additionally, with a 24+1 phase digital arrangement and 105A smart power stages, the Apex provides one of the most reliable VRM configurations on the Z690 platform.

Two PCIe x16 slots are included in the extension, both of which are on Gen5 lanes and operate at x16 when the top slot is empty or at x8x8 when both are in use. There are two additional slots that operate at x1 and x4, respectively. The onboard storage expansion consists of four m. 2 slots, with the top slot utilizing Gen5 lanes from the CPU and the lower slot using chipset lanes.

For an OC-focused platform, connection is stacked with PS2 for a keyboard and mouse, four Gen1 and four Gen2 ports provide plenty of USB 3.2, and a fifth USB-C port is included for Gen2x2 connectivity. With a 2.5Gbe LAN and an AX211 for WiFi6e, we have the standard Intel network setup. Realtek’s ALC4080 plays audio through a Savitech amplifier.

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The Z690 Apex does retain some of the Z590’s design cues in terms of appearance. We have nearly complete board armor that protects everything, including the chipset and M.2 slots as well as the VRM with a huge heat pipe solution. The DIMM slots to the right of the CPU are shielded, as are the two full-length PCIe slots on this board. A number of ICs are located around the VRM and a few more between the Gen5 PCIe slots on the board’s back.

For older installs, the rear I/O begins with a PS/2 connector. A USB 3.2 port with Gen1 in blue and Gen2 in red is next. A BIOS recovery port is located above the lone Gen2x2 USB-C port. We typically have six ports for audio and 2.5 Gbe on the RJ45 port, along with Wi-Fi antennas, for network connectivity.

Front panel audio is the first component running, then RGB and Thunderbolt header. We also have multiple USB 2.0 port headers and internal Gen1 expansion for USB 3.2 farther down. The SATA ports, a 6-pin power connector for additional PCIe power, and a second Gen1 header are located around the edge. Here, 24-pin power is the main focus, but we also have Gen2 expansion and power/reset buttons close by.

Anyone who has used a ROG platform in the last several generations should be familiar with this BIOS. Given that, we have CPU information for the 12th generation in the right panel and BIOS information in the middle.

The top of Extreme Tweaker displays the current CPU and memory clocks, with tweaking options for both underneath. Along with Thunderbolt and NVMe, SATA storage and PCH options are available on the Advanced menu. Cores, including E cores and P cores independently, can be enabled or disabled in the CPU configuration.

Fan control and monitoring are both included, and you may control RGB and Secure Erase storage devices from the tool menu.

ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex 4
CPU Support12th Gen Intel Core Processors
ChipsetIntel Z690
Power Design24+1 Phase 105A SPS
Memory Support2x Slot 288-Pin DDR5
Storage6x SATA 6Gb/s Ports4x Hyper M.2
NetworkingIntel 2.5GBeIntel AX211 WiFi6e
Rear I/OWiFi Antenna, RJ452x PS/24x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Blue3x USB 3.2 Gen 2, 1x USB-C Gen2x25x 3.5mm Audio + Optical
AudioRealtek ALC4080 + Savitech SV3H712
Fan and RGB6x Fan, 1x ARGB, 2x RGB
Form Factor ATX
WarrantyThree-Years

Final thoughts on ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex 

If you can locate one in stock, the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS Z690 APEX costs $719.99. It’s not even close to being the priciest motherboard in the list. Equally tough to obtain is the ASUS ROG MAXIMUS Z690 EXTREME, which costs approximately $1,099.99. If you can afford it, there is a Glacial version of that with an integrated EK monoblock for a staggering $1,999.99.

The APEX motherboard isn’t the most costly, but don’t let that deceive you. Its twin memory slot design, sub-ambient cooling features, and VRM implementation are unmatched. Although it misses some of the frills of its more costly cousins, this is ASUS’ top performance option and is by no means basic or stripped-down. It also accomplishes all of this while maintaining the ATX form factor, increasing chassis compatibility. For instance, the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 EXTREME is E-ATX. It’s important to keep in mind that motherboards from other brands that directly compete with the APEX are also E-ATX.

The ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex is, to put it briefly, the greatest Z690 chipset board we’ve evaluated to yet. The feature sets for overclocking and in general are essentially unmatched. What’s more, the motherboard is incredibly durable and dependable. The obvious catch here is the cost. Of course, the twin DIMM design places restrictions on what you can accomplish with it in terms of total memory capacity, making this a niche product.

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It was pricey. It is a fantastic board, though, and if you want to overclock a 12th-generation Intel CPU, this is arguably the greatest platform you can use to do so. This is arguably the finest motherboard you could have at the time of this writing if all you want to do is overclock the memory. Unfortunately, the price is very exorbitant. However, it is not a deal breaker. You won’t be let down by the ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex, in my opinion.

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ASUS ROG Maximus Z690 Apex
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