CPU Cooler Fit and Included Accessories
CPU Cooler Fit
To test the amount of space surrounding the CPU socket, we mounted the Noctua NH-D15 cooler to the CPU socket. This behemoth CPU air cooler sports a dual fan construction and two huge vertical cooling towers.
The cooler mounts to the board without issue and with adequate room provided by the board's design along almost all sides of the cooler. The size of the cooler and the proximity of the primary PCIe x16 slot to the CPU socket makes the primary PCIe X16 slot unusable with the cooler mounted, requiring usign of the secondary slot with a larger CPU cooler.
The close-up views of the cooler mounting illustrate just how well ASUS designed the CPU socket and component layout, minimizing interference between all sized coolers and the board components / VRM coolers.
The Noctua hold down mechanism is large enough to quickly determine exactly how much space is available around the CPU socket. The Noctua mounts fits the socket area well, and does not come into contact with any of the board's integrated components or heat sinks.
The cooler's backplate rests on the socket backplate, minimizing the risk of direct board contact.
The Maximus VIII Extreme motherboard comes with all the necessary components to get the board up and running, as well as some nice to haves to further justify the board's price point.
The manual included with the Maximus VIII Extreme does not disappoint, written in the clear and detailed language we've come to expect from ASUS motherboard manuals. Also included is a driver DVD with all necessary hardware drivers and Window's utilities, ROG case badges, and ROG case labels. The case labels can be used to label SATA cables, hard drives and SSDs, as well as Keybot-related function keys.
The board's rear panel shield is an aluminum plate with the port identifying text and icons printed in white text on its surface. Under good lighting, the text and icons are easy to read, but would be challenging to see under poor lighting conditions.
ASUS bundled in eight black and white 6Gb/s rated SATA cables for use with the integrated port. The cables have integrated port locks and a mix of straight and 90 degree connectors.
For multi-GPU use, ASUS included two-way NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire cables.
For use with the on-board front panel header, ASUS included one of their Q-Connector header plugs. You simply plug the front panel case leads into the Q-Connector, then plug the Q-Connector into the appropriate board header. It makes the installation of the front panel plugs much easier.
For use with the integrated WIFI adapter, ASUS includes a tri-plug antennae with gold-plated screw-in connectors. The antennae can be used in a flat or upright orientation with its flat surface optimized for broadcast and reception of 802.11ac type signals.
ASUS includes three temperature diodes for temperature monitoring via the integrated board headers. Fans connected to the bound fan headers can be programmed via the UEFI to operate based on the connected temperature diodes as well.
The included Fan Extension Card extends the fan control and monitoring capabilities of the board, adding three additional 4-pin fan and 2-pin temperature headers to the board. The external PCB connects to the board via the included proprietary cable. The board is powered by the on board MOLEX port. The 4-pin header marked FAN_IN is for attaching to a fan header on the motherboard for control signal purposes. That way, the fans attached to the extender card can be controlled via the Q-Fan settings in the BIOS.
ASUS included a CPU installation tool with the motherboard to ensure easy and proper CPU installation into the board's socket. You simply snap the plastic guide over top of the CPU and place the CPU in the socket with the "This Side Up" arrow placed near the socket hinge. The plastic guide remains in place when you lock the CPU into the socket.
ASUS also included a ROG-branded door hanger.