Asus introduced an enthusiast-grade Z270 motherboard for liquid coolers at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, the ROG Maximus Extreme IX, and it is now available to purchase in the U.S. That's the good news. The bad news? This sucker will set you back $630. Oomph!
There are two reasons this motherboard is so expensive. First, it brings all the bells and whistles that we've come to expect from an ROG Maximus product—especially one tagged as "Extreme." It has built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi and USB 3.1 connectivity, reinforced PCI-Express slots, dual M.2 slots for installing multiple NVMe SSDs, high-end audio powered by a SupremeFX S1220 codec with a 113dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and the list goes on.
Secondly, it features a built-in liquid cooling monoblock. Asus says its ROG division teamed up with Bitspower to build a brand new solution from the ground up.
The monoblock cools the CPU and main power delivery circuitry. There is also an attachable heatsink for M.2 drives that Asus says negates the need for supplementary airflow.
Integrated into the monoblock are flow rate, water-leak, and temperature sensors to allow users to monitor things without excess cabling.
"The embedded flow meter sensor monitors the monoblock’s water-pump status in real time, while the temperature sensor monitors the temperature of both the water input and output ports. The leak detection sensor is capable of turning the system off in the event of a leak or spill," Asus explains.
And of course Asus brings the bling with integrated lighting that users can control through the company's Aura utility.
Users will find a bevy of onboard fan headers—eight in all, divided between the top and lower edges of the motherboard. Asus says they're strategically located for liquid cooling radiators. For cooling fans, there are two additional fan headers placed mid-board.