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The best of the best – ASUS Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial

OHHHHH BOY We have something very special for you guys today, well this was very special even for us. We have one of the most expensive PC components on earth and probably the only one in South Africa right now. Now this special surprise is all thanks to ASUS as this is their top of the line flagship motherboard, the all new Z590 Maximus XIII extreme Glacial, and let me tell you, that we are extremely excited to unbox this monster. And yes unfortunately we will only do unboxing as we don’t have the required hardware to do water cooling for this bad boy. 

Now what makes this motherboard so special is that it uses a Monoblock water cooling system for the CPU, VRMs, SSD and chipset, all done by EK and their amazing liquid cooling solutions. 


But all this doesn’t come without a price tag, this is currently the most expensive consumer grade motherboard available right now. It will probably retail for around $1900 or R30 000 here in South Africa.

And that’s not even mentioning that you are going to need a custom water cooling system as well, which really isn’t cheap either. That will probably set you back another $800 for a very good full custom loop kit from EK, and I mean with a board like this you don’t want to go with soft tubing either so hard tubing is a must. So basically just the board and the required cooling will already set you back almost $3000.

But then again if you are looking at buying this board you most likely have enough money not to worry about the price anyways. 

Inside the box

So let’s get into the unboxing cause that alone is a treat in itself. ASUS really made the price tag worth it just almost from the unboxing experience alone… 

Inside you get

1 x 1-to-3 ARGB splitter cable

2 x 1-to-4 fan splitter cable

1 x RGB extension cable  

3 x ROG weave SATA 6G cables

1 x 3-in-1 Thermistor cables pack 

1 x ROG Fan Controller

1 x Fan EXT PWR cable

1 x ARGB input cable 

1 x USB input cable 

1 x ROG Fan Controller 3M Mounting tape

1 x Fan Controller manual

1 x ROG DIMM.2 with heatsink

1 x M.2 pad for ROG DIMM.2

2 x M.2 screw package for ROG DIMM.2

1 x Monoblock

3 x Screw package for monoblock

1 x Thermal pad for monoblock

1 x Fittings for monoblock

1 x ASUS Wi-Fi moving antennas 

1 x M.2 Rubber Package(s)

1 x M.2 SSD screw package(s)

1 x Q-connector


1 x ROG key chain

1 x ROG logo plate stickers

1 x ROG screwdriver

1 x ROG stickers

1 x ROG thank you card 

1 x ROG Graphics card holder

1 x USB drive with utilities and drivers 

1 x User manual


Now this is a Z590 board so it is made for socket LGA1200, so 11th and 10th GEN CPUs. 

Now being the Glacial it is basically made for overclocking so saying that it has an 18 phase – 9 teamed – 100A power section and two 8pin 12V CPU power inputs for the Infineon TDA21490 Power Stage

There are two more phases also 100A handling the System Agent. With the larger PCB format there is plenty of room to arrange things, including the 10K Black Capacitors and microfine alloy chokes. 

We don’t have any other info about the VRMs at this stage unfortunately but we can be sure that they are going to be extremely good. 


Like mentioned before it uses the LGA1200 socket that supports the new 11th GEN CPUs, it’s just unfortunate that Intel couldn’t release a CPU worthy of this motherboard but let’s not get stuck on that again. 

As for the RAM we get 4 DIMM Slots that support memory of up to 5333MHz and 128GB. You also get ASUS Optimem III tech. 

Now something cool right next to the DIMM slots is a DIMM.2, now this is an expansion slot that ASUS included to give you 2x extra M.2 slots. It’s basically an add on card, where you can install 2 M.2 drives running at PCIe 3.0, and then just easily slot this into the DIMM.2 slot. 

Something that we love to see is that ASUS angled the connectors to 90 degree, which will help a lot for cable management and keep the look of a build with this motherboard clean. 

Front top to bottom we have a radiator fan header – utilizing the ASUS Hydra node technology which allows you to control 3 fans independently from the single header – a water pump header, and the familiar RGB LED strip headers in both the standard and addressable types.

Moving down we find the 24 pin ATX power input handily placed next to an additional 6 pin PCI Express power header for those of you who want the maximum possible power input when running more than one GPU.

At the bottom right hand corner is a huge amount of connectivity options. There is a fan header right at the top, with two front panel USB Type-C headers just above a pair of USB Type-A ones. 

You get a good sense of the serious nature of the Maximus XIII Extreme Glacial from the bottom right hand corner. Usually something that just contains front panel connections and maybe a fan header, the M13 has water flow monitoring points – albeit with one of them not exactly mounted horizontally – next to another set of radiator and water pump headers. These sit alongside the onboard switches for helping you overcome some overly hopeful overclocking settings especially on these 11th gen CPUs, and DIP switches for LN2 modes as well as the V_Latch, which monitors voltage ripple to really help you accurately dial in your VCORE value.


Lastly we continue from the switches to two USB 2.0 headers, AURA RGB LED strip headers, an LN2 mode jumper and the front panel audio for the ASUS SupremeFX technology.

As for the IO like you would expect the Maximus XIII Extreme is also loaded, you get

2 x Thunderbolt™ 4 USB Type-C® port(s)

8 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 port(s) (8 x Type-A)

1 x HDMI™ port

1 x ASUS Wi-Fi Module

1 x AQC113CS 10Gb Ethernet

1 x Intel® I225-V 2.5Gb Ethernet

5 x LED-illuminated audio jacks

1 x Optical S/PDIF out port

1 x BIOS FlashBack™ button

1 x Clear CMOS button


Now this board is just stacked in cool features, but the biggest of them all is the ultrablock liquid cooler by EK. 

The EK® UltraBlock cold plate is made of pure electrolytic copper that’s plated in nickel to prevent oxidization. Coolant is steered through milled pathways passing over the CPU, mid-board M.2 slot, PCH, and VRM in sequence, prioritizing cooling where it’s needed most. Embedded sensors at the inlet and outlet stream flow rate and temperature stats directly to Fan Xpert 4 software, enabling custom cooling profiles for the best balance of performance and acoustics. The finishing touch is provided by addressable RGB lighting that blooms through plexiglass panes situated at opposite ends of the block.

Now another cool feature on this UltraBlock cooler is the 1.77” OLED display, which has a plethora of features itself. The 1.77” OLED panel that displays useful information and customizable graphics. During the power-on, self-test (POST) phase, OLED shows key progress stats in simple language, using traditional Postcodes. Then, during normal operation, the panel shows a choice of CPU frequency, device temperatures, fan speeds or information from the Water-Cooling Zone. You’re also able to customize the default OLED GIF, so it’ll display your own image or animation.

Another thing you have probably realized is the buttons over the 24pin connector now these are called flexkeys, FlexKey allows you to redefine the role of the chassis reset button. Assignable options include quick Aura lighting control, booting directly into UEFI, or performing a safe boot to recover settings​

I mean this board just screams I am THE BEST at everything, it has features you never even thought you would need, like the illuminated audio ports at the back, I mean I have, at numerous times struggled to get the right audio port at the back, just fumbling about trying to get my mic into its port. But with this, it just lights up for you and boom there you go. I know some people don’t like this and do switch it off as these LEDs can be very bright if the port isn’t occupied. 


So that’s it for this insane motherboard from us, probably one of the coolest hardware components that we have had in the studio. The Maximus XIII extreme glacial is a superb motherboard loaded with great features but aimed towards over clockers, and you will be able to break records with this board that I’m sure of. But even for someone that only does a fair amount of overclocking and wants the best motherboard for your components this is the board to go for, the features it comes with just shows us again why ASUS has the majority of the market shares and why they remain one of the favorite brands for gamers.

They went above and beyond with the Glacial, yes it’s a very very pricey board but you definitely get your money’s worth in return. This has to be one of my favorite PC components that have released this year so far. So a very big thanks to ASUS SA for sending this over for us to unbox…

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Written by Ruan Bronkhorst

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