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ASUS ROG Maximus III Formula Review

ccokeman    -   September 17, 2009
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Testing:

Testing is the only way to prove whether or not one motherboard is better than the others when it comes down to performance. Some groups like all the whiz-bang features while the hardcore enthusiasts just want good solid reliable performance. To find out which one gives that last little bit of clock speed or has the right options in the BIOS means you have to test the motherboards out one at a time. Quite an arduous task when you get down to it, but it's the only way. To test out the Maximus III Formula from ASUS I will be running it through the OverclockersClub suite of benchmarks to see if it distinguishes itself from the comparison board(s). The only deviations from the default BIOS settings will be that the energy saving features as well as Turbo technology are disabled so that the motherboard can be tested with a measure of repeatability. The video card control panel settings are left at factory defaults except where noted. As part of the ROG line up I expect the Maximus II Formula to deliver some strong results.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Motherboards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 870 205x21 4300MHz
  • System Memory: Kingston HyperX 1090 MHz 9-9--8-24

Overclocking the Maximus II Formula was pretty straightforward without any major hurdles. To generate the overclocked results I was able to push the bclock up to a maximum of 218MHz using an i5 750 and 215Mhz with the i7 870. The Maximus gave up a bit more clock speed than the DP55KG did but only by about 95MHz. The voltage to do this was slightly less than what was required on the Intel board so more clock speed with less voltage are always good things as the i7 8 series seems to suffer the same thermal fate as the 9 series when the voltage is pushed. Meaning in a few words "hot damn hot." A good air cooler is required to reach for the stars. The CPU not only did better on the Maximus but the memory was able to hit 1090MHz with a touch over 1.65 volts. Hitting 1090MHz on the memory was accomplished by increasing the bclock frequency with the memory divider set to 10 (1333MHz). I kept increasing the bclock until it hit the limits with Cas 8 at just over 1000MHz. I then had to change the Cas and TRCD to 9 to go any further. Finally reaching 218MHz on the bclock, the modules would go no further than the Cas 9 limit I placed on the testing. The CPU and memory results were not too shabby. Manually overclocking the board is something that not everyone has the capabilities to do for one reason or another (fear of killing the hardware is a big incentive to not do so).

 

 

ASUS has this point covered and you can overclock your system without fear of killing your hardware. By using the TurboV utility and the Auto Tuning feature included you can reach a good strong stable overclock by just pushing a button and letting the system do the work. By manually configuring the system I was able to pull 4.3GHz from the system. A pretty decent overclock. Now with the Auto Tuning process you go through a series of screens and reboots while your hardware is being tested. I walked away for about thirty minutes and came back to a 3.7GHz stable overclock. That is a good almost 800MHz over the as delivered clock speed on the i7 870. All at the touch of a button. It looks as though overclocking has taken one more step into the mainstream.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Office 2007 Excel Number Crunch
  4. POV Ray 3.7
  5. PCMark Vantage Professional
  6. Sandra XII
  7. ScienceMark 2.02
  8. Cinebench 10
  9. HD Tune 2.55
  • Video:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Crysis Warhead
  3. BioShock
  4. Call of Duty World At War
  5. Dead Space 
  6. Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II
  7. Left 4 Dead
  8. 3DMark 06 Professional
  9. 3DMark Vantage



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