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  1. #1
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    Short review: Strix Z390-F vs. Maximus XI Gene

    Just a quick pro/con comparison on my part, having tested both boards extensively, maybe someone's interested. I certainly would have been, lol.

    Gene
    + 10x IR3555 powerstages (5x2 phases), high-end (but not top-end). VRM ~10°C cooler than Z390-F in my tests (65°C vs. 75°C, ~200A)
    + superior memory overclocking with 2 modules (~4400 vs. ~4000, same 2x8GB 3200 CL14 B-Die kit, 1.45V)

    o not too sure about CPU overclocking advantages for normal (non-subambient) cooling. These "corrected" vcore voltages actually do make a comparison hard but CPU appears to run a bit cooler, I don't know. It's certainly no worse than Z390-F, so all is good.
    o makes sense for competetive overclocking/benchmarking, not so much for normal usage.
    o strange and undocumented UEFI settings like XTU/Maximus Tweak/useless memory presets/etc. Not really useful, just confusing.
    o useless RGB-Aura crap (for me at least)
    o awkward placement for voltage read points, flow-meter and water temp in/out. Completely obstructed by GPU usually.

    - too few controllable fan headers (only 4, including Pump and AIO header, which act strange anyway. Also, Q-Fan application in UEFI isn't working for those as of 0805 BIOS... wtf)
    - screw these 2 full speed fan headers, they don't even show rpm. Why not just implement "normal" fan headers??
    - and screw the DIMM.2 slot putting the PCI-Express slot to x8! It's kinda useless that way and I bet only a very small fraction of users is ever going to make use of it. So why do we all have to pay for it? Just cut it, reducing price, making space on the PCB for actually useful stuff.
    - price too high, sorry. I do understand this has some premium surcharge, but it's just not warrented, esp. when looking at the Apex (which btw makes even less sense for normal usage imo!).


    Z390-F
    + reasonably priced, much cheaper than Hero despite being _very_ similar overall. It has got more or less the same VRM after all. Get this one instead of the Hero (unless you absolutely need WIFI)
    + no complaints regarding memory or CPU overclocking, all fine, no bad surprises.
    + works flawlessy, no strange BIOS behaviour/bugs or anything (unlike Gene).
    + nice additions in the box (e.g. temp sensor), more than Gene.

    o 8x SiC639 powerstages (4x2 phases), absolutely fine. (There might be another version with NCP302045, which are somewhat worse. I guess you wouldn't want those for 9700K and upwards. Strangely I think the more expensive Z390-E is always using NCP302045, so definitively stay away from that one.)
    o at least 1 additional fan header would have been nice.

    - I would have liked 2 temp-headears instead of just 1. But ok, can live with it.
    Cannot think of more negatives really, that's a very good sign!


    I'm very positively surprised by the Strix Z390-F! For normal 24/7 usage it's very appropriate and I think it is simply the best offering in Asus' current Z390 lineup. Well, at least if you don't absolutely need features it doesn't provide. Overclocking-wise it's working very good and never ever is the Gene's surcharge worth it. At least if you're not into competitve benchmarking or something. For normal, 24/7 operation, Z390-F is actually superior to the Gene in my opinion.
    Last edited by vvoid; 03-19-2019 at 06:14 PM.

  2. #2
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    Small follow-up because I can't stop it, sorry. Maybe someone from Asus is reading along...

    How about a Gene-like board, but without focus on benchtable/LN2 operation. What I mean by this, take Z390 Gene, but
    - strip various LN2-related board switches
    - strip benchtable-targeted features like power/reset buttons, maybe even post-code
    - strip DIMM.2

    We have the Apex for all of this. And it's even better for LN2 etc, so why try to make the Gene Apex-like, even price-wise they're not much apart. Makes no sense imo.

    Instead offer a "simpler" M-ATX board with
    - only 2 DIMM slots
    - 3 M.2 slots
    - general focus on watercooled setups: Solid VRM, many controllable fan-headers, 2-3 temp-headers + water flow.

    It could be somewhat cheaper than the current Gene and serve its purpose better. Maybe for the next generation, ok?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by vvoid View Post
    Also, Q-Fan application in UEFI isn't working for those as of 0805 BIOS... wtf)
    I have a Gene and the qfan profile works for cha-fan, which is the only one i control with it.
    Before setting up a profile it was behaving weird though, going up and down in RPM. I think 0805 fixed that, but can't remember.
    I agree wrt the full speed fans, which are for bench testing only. At least one more PWM fan connector was useful, placed near the corners of the board not in the middle.

    I plan to get another mATX board for a special project of underclocked 10c/10c when it will be out and if z390 supports it. Either of these boards is my first choice still, as I'm very happy with the Gene.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Telstar View Post
    I have a Gene and the qfan profile works for cha-fan, which is the only one i control with it.
    Yeah, for cha-fan all is ok. It's Pump and AIO which aren't working with the GUI application. Setting manually via entering the numbers does work though. Still, why? No such issues on the Strix...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by vvoid View Post
    Yeah, for cha-fan all is ok. It's Pump and AIO which aren't working with the GUI application. Setting manually via entering the numbers does work though. Still, why? No such issues on the Strix...
    Interesting. I think I have the AIO plugged into the AIO pump connector, and I dont remember to see it in the bios, maybe it runs at 12V all the time. But the alphacool pump is quiet and so I don't mind. Fans are connected to a rheobus.

    I think they will fix these issues in a new bios.

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