After the huge rocking success of the Maximus VI Hero, Asus has continued to upgrade and equip the Hero with the new Z97 express chipset from Intel. Carrying the Maximus VII badge, they have also decided to launch another budget friendly board which would slot just below the Hero, meet the new Ranger, the most budget friendly ROG board ever.
Meet the Maximus VII Ranger, your budget friendly base for an LGA 1150 based build
Just like all the ROG boards, Ranger looks stunning, clad in black and red colour scheme with an all black PCB and red accents on DIMM slots and PCIe slots. Being budget friendly doesn’t affect Ranger’s build quality or aesthetics. The board implies an Intel’s latest high end mainstream platform the Z97 chipset with FCLGA 1150 socket and standard I/O chipset features.
Preview: Asus Maximus VII Ranger: Most budget friendly ROG
Starting off with the CPU, as said earlier, it has a FCLGA 1150 socket to house in your 4th Generation Haswell and Haswell refresh chips and the top notch PWM components make it possible to drop in a K series CPU and over-clock it to heights. Talking about the PWM features, the board implies 8 phase VRM design, but mind you that the power phases are not independently unlike the Hero but are controlled in pairs. But theoretically that won’t and practically won’t limit the OC potential of this board. The NexFET MOSFETs and 10K NichiCON capacitors make up for the true 8 phase design, but it doesn’t feature the BlackWing chokes or inductors.
Other than that the Gamers’ Guardian system protects the USB ports against ESD and the Stainless Steel Rear I/O panel makes it resistant against corrosion in humid conditions. And the Heatsinks on the VRM and PWM area makes the board look and stay cool.
A total of four DIMMs are available which support up to 32GB of DDR3 dual channel memory with frequencies varying from 1333 MHz to well above 3200 MHz!! The MemOK button comes in handy too.
The PCI-E Expansions
M7R can support both 2–way NVIDIA® SLI and AMD® CrossFireX. Although 3-way CFX is also supported, but that’s not quite an option since the 3rd slot runs at 4x directly from the PCH which handicaps the bandwidth of the 3rd card. Effective solutions like the PLX switches are dropped to lower the price of the board. Hence, one who plans for a 3-Way CFX shouldn’t consider this board.
Number of SATA III ports remain Z97 standard, i.e. 6 in number. All the 6 SATA III connectors remain functional even if the two of the M.2 slot are populated due to the implementation of Asus’ unlike vendors using SATA Express alternative.
The ports are placed normally to the PCB to manage cables effectively.
One of the most striking features of the ROG boards is the SupremeFX audio chip which is actually a Realtek ALC1150 codec with ELNA audio caps combined with Sonic SenseAmp to recognize the impedance level and automatically adjusts the audio settings.
Intel’s I218-V is used instead of the pricey Killer E2200 NIC incorporated with the LANGuard engineering to protect LAN port from ESD and GameFirst III checks that you don’t miss a frag due to lag.
Back Panel I/O
Rear I/O panel is quite standard, just like any other mid end board. Four USB 3.0 from PCH and two USB 2.0 and a PS/2 port. DVI-D. VGA and HDMI are standards as always. Optical audio ports are present too.
The specifications and features of the board might seem very standard ones just like a similarly priced board in this price bracket but mind you that this isn’t from the “budget gamer” oriented Gamer series from Asus, it’s a full-fledged ROG board with enough eye candy and VRM muscle to push you K series CPU to new heights. Features like NexFET MOSFETs, 10K All solid Caps and digitally controlled 8 phase VRM design along with Power, reset, MemOK, on the DRAM area and BIOS flashback button on rear I/O demarcate it from the rest.
So what’s your opinion? The Comment section is for that 🙂