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ASUS Maximus V Formula Review

ccokeman    -   December 16, 2012
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Maximus V Formula Conclusion:

By now it should be painfully obvious that Intel's latest platform is going to deliver performance numbers that are very consistent from board to board when the installed components are identical. Each Z77 chipset motherboard that I have tested has fallen in a very specific performance envelope both at stocks speeds and when overclocked to similar speeds. Ultimately it makes choosing a motherboard based solely on performance numbers a bit more daunting a task. At that point, feature set and pricing are going to be the way to make that final determination. Pricing on the ASUS Maximus V Formula comes in around $279 and sits at the upper end of the Z77 price range, but includes add-ins that bring value to the package. In terms of feature set, the ASUS Maximus V Formula has an overabundance that separates this board from the masses. ROG series boards are made for the enthusiast and gamer and come equipped with tools that enhance the experience for those user bases, but are just as happy running as the family PC. For the gamer, you get ASUS' new Supreme FX IV sound solution, GameFirst II network traffic management, and multi-GPU support for AMD's CrossFireX with up to three cards and NVIDIA SLI support with up to two cards, yet still supports quad-GPU gaming with dual-GPU cards. Lucid LogiX Virtu MVP software is part of the feature set for a true hybrid solution when the installed discrete card is coupled with the integrated solution to give you some serious FPS options. During testing, when the MVP software was enabled, my 3DMark 11 score on the Extreme preset went from X2975 to X4210, and DiRT 3 at 1920x1080 maxed out went from an 131FPS average to 209FPS – both significant bumps in performance.

Additional add-in value comes in the form of included software, such as Deamon Tools emulation software and Kaspersky Anti-Virus that sweeten the pot. Most of us are using digital distribution for our games, but Daemon Tools is still an added value. ASUS Windows 8 certified UEFI BIOS continues as the best UEFI BIOS implementation out on the market, in my opinion. It offers an EZ mode for the novice and an Advanced mode that is granular enough to give the enthusiast the tools to pull as much clock speed out of their hardware as possible. The Maximus V Gene is one of the strongest memory overclocking boards out today and the Maximus V Formula is just as strong with up to 14 memory presets in the BIOS, sorted by memory IC type with loose and tight profiles. Navigation through ASUS UEFI BIOS is as easy as it gets without the mouse or keyboard issues seen in competitors' BIOS.

Gaming excellence is the primary draw with the ROG series boards, yet the hardcore overclocker is looked after as well. One of the items that screams out is the Fusion Thermo hybrid cooling solution that can be used as is, with air cooling like any traditional motherboard. For those that liquid cool their systems, the VRM cooling can be incorporated into the liquid loop to lower the temperatures up to 25%, adding stability when pushing the CPUs limits. You get dual-channel 32GB memory support (4 x 8GB) at speeds of up to 2800MHz if your modules and integrated memory controller can handle it, LN2 mode and slow mode switches, on-board power and reset switches, Probe It voltage measuring points to validate the voltages applied in the BIOS, and an all-digital voltage regulation circuit using ASUS Extreme Engine Digi+ 8+4+2 phase control for the CPU IGPU and DRAM. ASUS uses Nichicon GT Black metallic capacitors to improve longevity while running cooler. With all the high end build components and BIOS tuning, I was able to reach almost 4.85GHz on the retail Core i7 3770K , the highest this chip has gone with the Corsair Hydro Series H100 I use in my test system. A pretty stout number for this CPU to say the least. Whether you use the BIOS or ASUS AISuite II, the options are wide open when it comes to overclocking. When you reach the point that you get the settings too far out of bounds, ASUS C.P.R (CPU Parameter Recall) allows the user to shut down the PC and restart to get back into the BIOS with the last settings used. A feature that can't be overlooked, as ASUS has about the best failed overclocking recovery solution on the market. There is even a solution if you hose up the BIOS with USB BIOS Flashback that does not require the CPU, GPU or DRAM to be installed to flash the BIOS. Just power to the board.

Features that cater to both the gamer and enthusiast include ASUS Red Line "PCB Moat" Supreme FX shielding, a feature that isolates the sound solution on-board both vertically and horizontally with Red LEDs that show the point at which the sound solution is isolated from the rest of the PCB, except where necessary electrically. This essentially gives the end user the best sound possible with this on-board codec. Fan control through Fan Xpert 2 for all eight of the 4-pin on-board fan headers gives you the best noise to cooling ratio. An mPCIe add-in board that comes with a dual-band (2.4/5GHz) WiFi/Bluetooth module improves network connectivity options. Adding an mSATA SSD to the module allows the user to take advantage of Intel's Smart Response technology, Intel Rapid Start Technology, and Intel Smart Connect Technology. The software package ASUS includes with the Maximus V Formula proves to be a point of difference with a wide selection of tools, including USB 3.0 Boost, ROG Connect, Fan Xpert 2, AI Charger, Turbo V EVO Mem Tweakit, GameFirst II, Boot Setting, and much more, with each tool adding functionality for the end user. An upcoming feature for the ROG user is going to be ROG Exchange, which will bring forum users the ultimate sharing ability, with complete BIOS profile sharing and a ranking system to let you know who has the best shared profiles. This makes sharing BIOS screenshots almost obsolete.

After taking some time with this board, it really met and exceeded the expectations I had for it in terms of performance and the unique feature set that this ROG board is equipped with. If you want a board that offers it all, while not totally breaking the bank, the Maximus V Formula should easily be in the running for your performance and gaming dollar. Awesome overclocking, excellent cooling, Supreme FX IV sound, gaming enhancements, software tools galore, and the great looks ASUS ROG series are known for – it's got it all.

 

Pros:

  • ROG Style
  • Win 8 Ready UEFI BIOS
  • Overclocking
  • Performance
  • Utilities
  • Multi-GPU Support
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Supreme FX IV Audio

 

Cons:

  • None
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