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ASUS ROG Maximus III Formula Review

ccokeman    -   September 17, 2009
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Conclusion:

When motherboards are built similarly the results for the most part are within a certain margin. Add in the same processor and memory to test the system with and the results end up in a relatively small bucket. So what separates the good from from the mediocre and the really bad motherboards? Using quality components is a start. While the DP55KG is no slouch, the feature set and construction are not what is available on the ASUS Maximus III Formula. The Maximus III Formula is built using the same Extreme Design concepts used on the non ROG P755D models with Solid Capacitors, Stack Cool 3+ technology, dual 2oz copper layers, anti EMI and ESD features, Extreme Phase and more of the key marketing buzzwords. What all of it means is that you have a board that is well built and functional. The black and red theme used on this board just oozes performance much the same way a black or red Ferrari ENZO does. The layout was easy to work with where the only issue of note being the fact that the first DIMM slot is not going to be usable with a large heatsink and tall heatspreaders like those offered by Patriot, Kingston and Corsair. The easy solution is to go with water cooling for the CPU or take the easier route and get some modules with low profile heatspreaders!

Overclocking was straightforward and predictable based on the capabilities of the CPU and memory. Extreme screenshots are nice for bragging rights but for most of us the computer has to be used day in and day out reliably. Along that vein, the Maximus delivered a slightly higher overclock with less voltage than was needed on the same processor on the Intel Kingsberg board. The Turbo V Evo software auto tuning feature worked well enough but it took a while to test and tune to get the same overclock that I can manually set and boot in thirty seconds. What this tool is designed for is to be used by the novice who wants a bump in performance without any risk. By setting up a profile you can change from stock settings to the overclocked settings with the touch of a button, all on the fly. One thing I have to give ASUS a hand on is the overclocking recovery functionality. All it takes to get back to where you left off is to shut down and press the power button. I don't think I have had to use the CMOS clear button on an ASUS board in quite some time, and not for lack of trying! The voltage measurement points offer the hardcore user the ability to verify the voltages set in the BIOS and to find out just what kind of deflection from the set point there is under load.

The sound solution offered by ASUS is X-Fi sound that I must say is a bit better than the Realtek sound used for most onboard solutions. I found that the discrete card did not have any clearance issues with the three video cards I have used thus far in the Maximus III Formula. Priced at the higher end of the P55 chipset based board spectrum, it is still a good $150 less expensive than its X58 based brother, the Rampage II Extreme. What you get with the Maximus III Formula is a board that lives up to its ROG heritage, both in performance and overclocking.

 

Pros:

  • Overclocking
  • Failed OC recovery
  • Good looks
  • Voltage measurement points
  • Performance
  • X-Fi sound
  • SLI and Crossfire capable
  • Q Connectors
  • No fuss overclocking
  • Useful utilities
  • Memory overclocking
  • High end components
  • EPU-6 software

 

Cons:

  • Price

 

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