ASUS ROG Maximus III Formula Reviewccokeman - September 17, 2009
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A motherboard is a motherboard. Right or wrong? What sets one apart from the other? Feature set, potential, reputation, build quality? All of these things play a part in helping us determine which motherboard we use on our high performance systems. ASUS' Republic of Gamers series motherboards have been the pinnacle of each series and offered that extra something that was not found with regularity on the non ROG models. The knock on X58 based systems was the cost of entry into the club of ownership. Intel has realized it left a significant portion of the public to its competitor so the company has now rectified this mistake with the introduction of the P55 Express chipset and socket 1156 i5 and i7 processors to bring the cost of an Intel high performance system down to a comfortable purchase point. Along with this introduction ASUS has released a large number of P55 based motherboards to fit every price point from mild to extreme. The Maximus III Formula is ASUS' latest ROG motherboard that is built upon the P55 chipset. The Maximus III Formula is built using the latest design philosophy from ASUS called Extreme design. This concept is meant to provide all the benefits that you may or may not see such as diodes used to prevent static discharges when plugging in an external device from killing your hardware. Solid capacitors for long life, Stack Cool 3+ technology to reduce the operating temperature of critical components, dual 2oz copper layers to help with efficiency and board cooling. All things that fall within the three design goals of Safety, Reliability and Performance. As if that's enough, ASUS has included a large suite of software tools that bring added functionality. Let's see if the Maximus III Formula is worthy of earning its ROG status.
The packaging of the Maximus III Formula is quite different from the last ROG series motherboard I looked at. The color scheme has moved from an industrial gray and black to an eye catching red. The ROG logo is featured on the top left corner and the Windows 7 ready logo is right under the motherboard's name. Along the bottom of this panel socket 1156 Core i5 and Core i7 compatibility is noted as well as the fact that the Maximus III Formula supports both ATI and nVidia multi GPU technologies. The rear panel lists some of the Republic of Gamers (ROG) specific features including ROG Connect, the Go button, Speeding HDD that uses double the bandwidth for faster HDD performance and the Supreme FX X-Fi discrete audio card. Next to the ROG specific features are the specifications. The box has a flip up panel that contains much more information on the technologies and feature set while giving the first glimpse of the Maximus III.
The Maximus III and accessory bundle are in separate boxes and slide out the top of the outer enclosure. The box that contains the bundle looks pretty well jam packed full of parts to get you started. Much more than just the manual and driver disc. You can get a glimpse of the Supreme FX X-Fi audio card and ROG Connect cable.
Just the packaging alone does not make a successful implementation of all the technologies and features. Let's see if the good looking packaging is all hype or if there is some substance behind all of the features listed.