ASUS Crosshair V Formula Z Motherboard Reviewformerstaff -
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I have been searching for a definitive answer to the question regarding the release of the rumored new AMD chipset that has been called 1090/1050. It was rumored to be eminent before the release of Bulldozer, then the rumor was revised for it to be released synonymously with the re-stepped Vishera. At about this time we were hearing about the Vishera refresh and that the new chipset would accompany it. Now the Vishera refresh does not seem as certain as the rumor mill once had it and again talk of the new chipset lingers, parallel to the release of Steamroller. It does appear however that the 1090/1050 chipset has been shelved and the 990FX chipset will continue through the release of Steamroller, due out Q4 this year. Is a new chipset needed? We don't know. But for right now, there are some high end motherboards laden with hefty features and advanced power delivery to eek out the maximum overclock and performance from at least the Vishera FX line of processors. Asus has sent us a trio of homes for the FX Vishera CPU, that provides a great contrast in motherboard features. Does It make a discernible difference in performance? That's also what I will be looking for. First up is the ASUS Crosshair Formula V-Z. The CFV is the Asus AMD flagship of the lineup. It is a board that is heavy on features and power delivery, designed to extract the maximum overclock from any CPU that fits the AM3+ socket soldered to it. It is particularly aimed at the FX octo-core processors with it's higher power requirements and price tag.
The ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z bares a resemblance to it's earlier incarnation the Crosshair V Formula and many have taken that cosmetic similarity and ran with the assumption. The fact is that the 'Z' line is all new, from the PCB up, with very tangible changes. From the power delivery to the on-board audio, many features have been improved, revised, or just simply replaced with better.
The Formula Z presents itself in a very similar package to that of its predecessor the Formula IV. It's a spare no expense, Velcro flapped, windowed showcase that matches the high end look and feel of the Formula V-Z. The Formula Z is part of the highly regarded and gamer smile evoking ROG or Republic of Gamers lineup. A line designed for the demanding task of gaming, with all of the heightened power requirements and conveniences that a gamer looks for when putting together that multi GPU machine, designed to chew through those heavily shaded and tessellated titles sitting on store shelves. Among the more prominent and powerful features are the 8+2+2 Extreme Engine Digi+II Digital Power delivery and 42 PCIe lanes for massive bandwidth. The Formula Z is designed to be the powerhouse king of the hill amongst AMD motherboards. Time to heat it up and see if that indeed is the case.
The packaging is a great looking Crimson red affair with the ASUS ROG flame design shooting from the lower left corner of the box. In the upper right is the ROG insignia letting you know that if you are a gamer, this board is for you. When you open the Velcro flap you get a good deal of information about the exclusive features of the Formula V and on the opposite side a windowed look at the entire black and red schemed board.
Having a look around the other six sides of the box, we have the usual amount of branding going on with a serial/SKU sticker on one of the sides and a handle on the top for easy transport. The packaging matches the impressive intent of the motherboard. You get the idea from the extensive design, layout, and quality of the materials that something special is inside.
Cracking open this showcase of a box, we find two separate boxes. One containing the motherboard and one for the accessory bundle, a very complete bundle it is. Inside you find user's manual, a shielded I/O Shield, 6 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s),1 x 3-Way SLI bridge(s),1 x SLI bridge(s),1 x CrossFire cable(s),1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1), 1 x ROG Connect cable(s), and a ROG "Do not disturb, I m gaming" door hanger.
This a very nice bundle, with sharp looking 90 degree SATA cables and a special 'ROG' cable, for the hardcore to be able to tune and OC their machines from a laptop or tablet. To keep all those cables straight and to make it easy to get them back into the original USB port they are married to, ASUS has included a sheet of self adhesive wire labels to keep things orderly.
From a looks standpoint the Formula Z screams power and performance. Let's have a look around this black and red beauty before applying the power and unforgiving loads on it and see if this is the case.