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ASUS Maximus V Formula Review

ccokeman    -   December 16, 2012
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Maximus V Formula Testing:

Testing the  ASUS ROG Maximus V Formula will involve running it through OCC's test suite of benchmarks, which includes both synthetic benchmarks and real-world applications, to see how each of these products perform. The gaming tests will also consist of both synthetic benchmarks and actual gameplay, in which we can see if similarly prepared setups offer any performance advantages. The system will receive a fully updated, fresh install of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit edition, in addition to the latest drivers for each board and  AMD Catalyst 12.8 drivers for the XFX HD 7970. To ensure as few variables as possible, all hardware will be tested at their stock speeds, timings, voltages, and latencies – unless otherwise stated. Turbo Boost is disabled to make a fair comparison without skewing results.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Boards:

 

Overclocking:

For this review's stock testing, I used my trusty Core i7 3770K ES. However, as an overclocking chip, it is limited to 4700MHz any which way you get there, be it bclock or multiplier increases. As a board for the gamer, enthusiast, and overclocker, this board needed a chip that could scale a bit higher. For that, I have a retail chip that scales a little better than 4.9GHz with the right cooling solution. Reading between the lines, that would be a full-on custom water cooling loop. This is the same scenario used when I looked at the Asrock Z77 OC Formula that reached 4818MHz. To offer a reasonable comparison run, the same cooling solution (Corsair Hydro Series H100) is used to see if this chip is capable of exceeding the 4818MHz mark. That being said, the Maximus V Formula is pulling from the same user pool and seems to handle the competition quite well, with a maximum stable overclock of 4848MHz.

Overclocking on ROG platforms is going to be what you would expect from ASUS, as the company builds its platforms to function almost identically from top to bottom when it comes to performance tuning, be it manual or automatic using ASUS-supplied utilities. Where you see differences are in the granularity of Extreme Tweaker section of the BIOS. ROG versions of ASUS Win 8 certified UEFI offer the ability to tweak an insane amount of settings to reach the highest overclocks. To reach the maximum overclock, I first worked my way up by adjusting the multiplier from 35 to 47, adjusting the vcore up to 1.325, and using the settings I know my ES is good for with a memory speed of 2133MHz. 4.7Ghz was good, so I bumped the multiplier up again to 48 with the vcore set to 1.335v, again with positive results. bclock tuning can be as lucrative, with this board able to reach as high as 107.6MHz by reducing the bclock muliplier and memory speed/ratio. For maximum speed and performance, I adjusted the bclock to 101, keeping the multiplier at 48 for a max speed of 4848MHz using 1.34v on the CPU.

My Mushkin memory has proven stable at speeds just over 2400MHz with the right combination of timings and voltages. Using the Memory Preset feature under the DRAM timing control tab of the Extreme Tweaker section of the BIOS, I was again able to reach this level by loading the loose Hynix profile and tweaking from there to get the most speed from the modules. That being said, reaching stability required tweaking the DRAM voltage to 1.68v, Internal PLL over voltage to Enabled, VCCSA to 1.06v and VCCIO to 1.13v, and adjusting the load line calibration for the CPU to Extreme. ASUS BIOS is such that even leaving the settings on auto allows the user to realize excellent overclocking with minimal input. Tweaking manually can get you into a position where the system will not POST. After a failed boot due to overclocking, ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall) allows the board to boot into the UEFI BIOS so that the settings can be tweaked to remedy to reason for the failed overclock. If you go too far out of bounds, an on/off cycle of the power button on the power supply still gives the same result.

Manual tweaking aside, ASUS provides alternate means to improve system performance by overclocking through the TurboV EVO CPU Level Up function in AI Suite II. Options range from a mild 4.2GHz to a more aggressive 4.6GHz. Choosing the 4.6GHz option allowed the system to reboot and use the specific overclocking algorithms to reach the predetermined speed level; in this case, 4.6GHz on the CPU and 1866MHz on the memory. This level proved to be Prime 95 stable and results in increased performance. By choosing the Manual mode you can tune voltages, bclock, and the bclock multiplier, but not memory speed. That will need to be set in the BIOS. Another option is to use the CPU Level Up or Gamer's OC profile functions from within the UEFI Extreme Tweaker section. If that is not enough, the user can connect to the board via ROG Connect to tune a limited number of settings that still will drive performance "on the fly" from a laptop or netbook. Any way you look at it, the options are there to reach for a higher level of performance.

 

 

Maximum Overclock:

Each CPU and motherboard has been tested for stability at the clock speeds listed when in an overclocked state. These clock speeds will be used to run the test suite and will show the performance increase over the stock settings in the overclocked scoring.

 

Benchmarks:

Scientific & Data:

  1. PCMark 7
  2. HD Tune 5.0
  3. AIDA64 2.50
  4. Sandra 2012 SP6
  5. x264
  6. HandBrake 9.8
  7. ATTO 2.47

Video:

  1. 3DMark 11
  2. DiRT 3
  3. Battlefield 3



 




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