Tuesday, July 10, 2012

[REVIEW] : ASUS ROG Maximus V Formula

Teaser photos from the recently concluded Computex 2012 held in Taiwan, have whet our appetites for the latest ROG products that ASUS plans to release before the year ends. And guess what? We now have in our possession one of the aforementioned show stoppers from Computex 2012, the ASUS ROG Maximus V Formula.

The ROG Maximus V Formula supports socket LGA1155, making it compatible with Intel 3rd and 2nd Generation Core processors, as well as with the latest Pentium and Celeron Processors supporting the same socket.
The ROG Maximus V Formula (M5F), is a board built specifically to cater to the needs of the hardcore gamer. It is based on Intel's new Z77 chipset and supports the latest 3rd Generation Intel Core processors. It can also support multi-GPU configurations for either NVIDIA SLI or AMD CrossFireX and includes the new Virtu MVP GPU Virtualization technology. However, if you would notice, there are only three PCIe slots but, despite this configuration the board can still support Quad-SLI and Quad CrossFireX through two dual-GPU graphics cards.

If you would recall, Virtu technology allowed users to utilize both a discrete GPU and the integrated GPU inside 2nd Generation Intel Core processors to boost graphics performance and ultimately maximize their hardware. VirtuMVP does the same thing except now it can boost graphics performance up to 60% compared to just utilizing the discrete graphics card without the integrated Intel GPU.

With liquid cooling having become so popular among hardcore gamers and enthusiasts, it only made sense for ASUS to include a liquid-cooling solution built into their latest ROG gaming motherboard.
Upon inspection, one will notice two plugged up cylindrical ports on either end of the one-piece L-shaped VRM cooling block. These are in fact ports for funneling liquid coolant should the user opt for a liquid cooling system. The heatsink, referred to by ASUS as the ROG Fusion Thermo, is no ordinary VRM cooler as it is coated with a ceramic finish similar to what can be found on the VRM coolers of the TUF series of motherboards to increase heat dissipation.

While in its 'Off' state, the division between the SupremeFX portion and the rest of the motherboard is barely noticeable save for the sudden difference in capacitors. When switched 'On', a red line lit by LEDs will become clearly visible.

Moving on to a different part of the M5F, one can spot a familiar SupremeFX chip off to one corner of the board beside the PCIe slots. ASUS in fact implemented the same Red Line separation found on the Maximus V Gene to show the division between the components for the SupremeFX audio system and the rest of the motherboard. But more than a fancy looking design, this division helps mitigate the EM interference from the rest of the motherboard components to deliver a smoother and cleaner audio output.

From the rear, the M5F has just enough I/O ports which includes 4 USB 3.0, 3 USB 2.0, eSATA, HDMI, DisplayPort, and SPDIF.
Catered for the hardcore gamer, the M5F also features some considerable overclocking capabilities. If the liquid-cooling block wasn't hint enough, then perhaps this extra 4-pin power connector could give you a better clue.
Further down the board is another 4-pin power connector, this time as added power support for a multi-GPU configuration as it is found beside the lowest PCIe slot.
As a board that was made for hardcore gaming, ASUS made sure to include ample overclocking support. A quick look at the board showed two extra 4-pin power connectors for when running a heavily overclocked system with multiple GPUs. It can also support memory frequencies up to 2800MHz and comes equipped with the new USB BIOS Flashback.

The monitoring corner of the board, this piece of PCB real estate features the GO Button, Slow Mode switch, an LED post monitor, and the Probelt.
This mPCIE combo card can support a Bluetooth and and WiFi module.
Another of the M5F's stand-out features is a detachable mPCIe combo card that comes with a Wi-Fi module, again similar to the M5Gene and to the more mainstream P8Z77-V Deluxe. With this add-on, M5F users can enjoy the benefits of wireless connectivity for their desktop PC and ASUS Wi-Fi GO! technology, which allows users to manage the internet bandwidth for their PC. Additionally, the M5F also comes with GamerFirst II for maximizing bandwidth for online gaming use.

The other side of the the mPCIe card can support either a Bluetooth module or mSATA SSD.
The mPCIe slots in as such and is secured by a single screw beside the ROG Connect button.

Packaged with the mPCIe combo card Wi-Fi module is a pair of folding antanae.