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ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula Review

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ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula Conclusion:

With very few exceptions, the Maximus IX Formula is another step forward in the evolution of ASUS' ROG brand. The red and black theme never gets old and you can surely stick to it if you want to do so. However, ASUS' AURA Lighting and AURA SYNC technology takes the visuals a little bit further, well, a lot further away from the red and black, actually. Using ASUS' AURA Lighting controls you can set the LED accents on the Maximus IX Formula to any color in the rainbow with up to nine different lighiting patterns. It's interesting just to sit back and watch it. To take the RGB lighting control a bit further, you can connect RGB LED strips to the pair of headers that are also managed by ASUS AURA. If you purchase ASUS SYNC compatible peripherals you can essentially match the LED lighting theme throughout your ecosystem.

Built with a decided bent toward gamers, the ROG brand is also the premier overclocking solution in ASUS' product stack. Built with hardware that supports overclocking and the software package, and UEFI BIOS to back it all up, you can get the most out of your installed hardware. In the two comparison boards, my Core i7 7700K is, at best, a 4.95GHz chip that takes about 1.375v to 1.39v to maintain stability at that level. Thanks to ASUS' Extreme Engine Digi+ all-digital VRM, TPU, and Pro Clock chips, this CPU does indeed hit 5GHz for daily use with an applied 1.36v. By manually tuning the clock speeds to 102MHz x 49, 5GHz was easy to reach, with a cache ratio of 45 and memory speed of close to 3700MHz.

Manually tuning works well for performance tuning, but you can use any one of ASUS' built-in tools to get a 5GHz overclock on the CPU. You can do it by using the TPU tool in AISuite III, the Tuning tool in the BIOS, or setting the 5GHz OC profile in the overclocking presets under the Extreme Tweaker section of the world class BIOS. If your chip runs a lttle warm with it fully loaded, you can use the CPU overclocking temperature tool after applying the 5GHz OC profile and manually setting an applied voltage to the CPU core. It's a pretty cool tool to use that gives the end user better control of the CPU when it throttles.

As a Formula board, ASUS has equipped this board with plenty of hardware to work with both AIO and full on custom liquid cooling loops. You get the EK Crosschill II hybrid cooling solution over the VRM to the High Amp 4-pin connection for use with a liquid pump. There are also thermistor connections for water inlet and outlet temperature monitoring with a connection for a water flow meter. Much like every recent ROG board, there are a multitude of individually controllable 4-pin PWM controlled fan headers that interface with ASUS' Fan Xpert tool in the AISuite III software package. This tool gives you high performance cooling when you need it and virtual silence when you don't. Of course, the fans you use will limit how quiet you can actually get.

Speaking of the software package, you can either like or hate the AISuite software package, but you get a ton of useful tools in one easy-to-use interface. AURA Lighting Control, RAMDisk, RAMCache, EPU, USB BIOS Flashback, Clone Drive, Sonic Radar, Sonic Suite, and Fan Xpert IV are just a few of the tools in the suite. Add-in software includes Overwolf, Kaspersky antivirus protection, Daemon Tools, and value added tools that ASUS provides in the package. ASUS' world class UEFI BIOS does not change much as far as the look and base functionality. Why change a good thing other than to improve the minor microcode tweaks you usually see through out the lifespan of the platform and well beyond.

As an ROG board, the Maximus IX Formula comes to market with premium pricing. Currently, the M9F is running about $392 at the usual e-tailers. As ASUS' top line ROG board in its Z270 product stack, this is not surprising in the least. There are those that argue that its $392 price point presents a poor value! But to use an automotive analogy, it's much like driving a high performance car with the bells and whistles then comparing it to a daily driver econobox. You still get from point A to point B, but it's the manner with which you get there. If the price point for the Maximus IX Formula is a bit rich for your tastes, ASUS has you covered with a board a little less feature rich. However, the ROG Maxiimus IX Formula is a board I could see using as a daily driver! It's got everything I want and could need. Proven hardware with great sound and maximum overclocking flexibility.

 

Pros:

  • ROG tools
  • AURA Lighting
  • SupremeFX sound
  • Extreme Engine Digi+
  • Overclocking
  • 5GHz OC profile
  • Factory EK water block
  • Software package
  • Wireless performance
  • BIOS

 

Cons:

  • Pricing
  • Upright M.2 slot


 

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