ASUS hit the market hard with the little board that packed a big punch. Now they’ve released the bigger brother of that board: the Maximus V Formula, and the Maximus V Extreme is following shortly. Let’s check out the Maximus V Formula and see what it has to offer.
Introduction – ASUS Maximus V Formula
ASUS and ROG have become synonymous with high end gaming and overclocking enthusiasts. This has come from a lot of marketing activities surrounding overclocking events and gaming sponsorships to show what these models are truly capable of. We have seen a huge amount of ROG boards over our time viewing and using hardware, and we can say that when it comes to the high-end, it’s very hard to beat (or even match) the ROG lineup.
We had just recently checked out the Maximus V Gene board which is the mATX version of the ROG gaming lineup boards. At the time that was the only ROG offering for Z77, and rumors abounded of a Formula or even an Extreme variant coming to market. Well we can now say that both rumors are true, as we have both boards for review at our labs.
The Maximus V Formula has some very special features that take it above and beyond what the Gene offered. Some of those features include a completely new SupremeFX offering in the SupremeFX IV, integrated WiFi and even Fusion Thermo VRM cooling to allow for more than capable overclocking headroom. All of this plus more comes together to make for a serious contender for a top gaming board.
We know the Maximus V Formula is quite the step up in size from the Maximus V Gene. With that we will take a look at what this board offers in terms of performance and features to help determine how well it merits you spending the extra cash on this board versus its many competitors. The retail price for this board at time of writing is $279.99 at Newegg.
APS (ASUS Premium Service)
ASUS Previously offered the APS service on ROG boards, but starting with the X79 series they have extended the service to cover much more of their X79 models in the standard channel line. This is nice to see as the APS service allows an advanced replacement or a board to be shipped to the user which in turn means less down time for the end user. More on this service can be seen on the ASUS website HERE
Windows 8 Ready
ASUS has been hard at work prepping for Windows 8, the new revolutionary OS from Microsoft. With this comes a new BIOS CAP file which is said to improve features and fucntionality integration for better compatibility with the new OS. Other cool features include faster boot up times and optimized settings for a smooother Windows 8 working environment. We’re sure the features available for this upgrade will scale larger as the OS matures and becomes available so keep a lookout at the ASUS site for updates found HERE
mPCI-E Combo Card (WiFi/BT 4.0 mPCI-E card included)
ASUS included a Mini PCI-E and mSATA card with the Maximus V Gene, but with the Formula they did one better. With this board, ASUS decided that just having the mini PCI-E option wasn’t enough and they wanted the board to have WiFi to add to its many unique features. With that ASUS bundles a mini PCI-E WiFi/BT4.0 modules preinstalled on the small card. This alone allows for WiFi function and near-universal wireless functionality. Additionally, an mSATA SSD can be installed with capacities up to 240GB which means a complete and almost wireless system can be installed with no storage devices even plugged into the onboard SATA ports. We like this as it allows for some amazing versatility as to how you want your system configured.
Fusion Thermo VRM Cooling
ASUS has quite a history of Fusion liquid cooling solutions for their chipsets on their performance ROG boards. They have always supported full air cooling with the option to add liquid cooling for even better thermal efficiency. The Maximus V formula has the option but does not make that your only option as you see in the image that running parallel to the liquid pipe the Fusion thermo solution also has a standard heatpipe to allow full air cooling capability should you choose to not liquid cool the VRM.
ASUS shows here how the Fusion Thermo works, which is much like any basic watercooling device. It simply passes liquid through the heatsink pipe which transfers heat away from the heatsink/critical components through the water into the watercooling radiator.
Here we see the comparison direct from ASUS along with thermal imaging showing the difference between the aircooled Fusion Thermo heatsink and the same block and load with the liquid cooling plumbed to it. I do not have a Thermal camera to verify but my extensive background in liquid cooling tells me that this is not a stretch by any means as liquid assisted cooling tends to work very well.
Lucidlogix Virtu MVP
ASUS like all other manufacturers offers the Lucidlogix Virtu MVP support for their Z77 line which is a very interesting improvement over the previous lucid virtu we had used before. This version of Virtu MVP does all of the same functions that the original could do but is better optimized, and now adds some new 3D enhancement features to the mix that make for a very interesting possible implementation. Virtu MVP offers HyperPerformance which allows for rendering to be offloaded to the iGPU and in turn allows the discreet GPU to do the grunt work it was designed for while the iGPU does the light frame renders to ensure better fps as the frames are pre rendered in place and any duplicate frame is not rendered by the discreet GPU and is dropped by the discreet GPU to keep the discreet GPU processing only frames which are new or different than the previous.
Also included in the MVP package is Virtual Vsync which allows for the tear free quality of vsync display without being limited to the display refresh rate which ultimately will allow for smoother performance and playback. This is accomplished by the same methods as mentioned above by pre rendered frames and dropping partial rendered frames before they get to the discreet GPU to avoid from partial redraws which will cause the undesired tearing affect we have seen before.
Further in this review we will do some game testing to find what exactly we get from Virtu and if the performance is worth the hype.
ASUS GameFirst II
ASUS has pushed the Gamefirst technology even further with its cFos software which now offers a EZ mode to allow even easier tweaking and adjust ability for all end users to increase online gameplay performance. The Gamefirst II technology builds off of the ability to shape the network traffic to better control throughput and packet priority to ensure the program that needs maximum speed and reduced latency such as streaming HD video or simply online gaming is all at your fingertips.
USB BIOS Flashback
ASUS offers the BIOS Flashback utility which is actually a multi-facet tool and has many capabilities which some may not be aware of. we have had many times where a motherboard did not support a CPU and a frantic search for a supported CPU just to flash the BIOS (ex. Gulftown CPU support on X58). ASUS has eliminated the worry of these kinds of issues by allowing the BIOS flashback procedure which does not require a CPU or memory to flash the BIOS. All that is needed in order to flash the BIOS is to have the desired firmware ROM file on a USB thumb drive and insert that into the ROG connect USB port.
Depressing the ROG Connect button for 5 seconds will start a flashing LED which indicates the firmware is being updated and once the update is complete the flashing will stop. It really is that easy and ensures no matter the condition the firmware can be flashed even if the newest CPU is not supported without the previously mentioned hunt for a compatible CPU.
This may seem like an odd feature but many may buy the newest and greatest CPU on the market while the board could have been shipped with the older firmware which in most cases would leave the user stuck without an option. As for our usage we have found this useful in quite a few experiences where running a LN2 cooled system not necessarily in the most stable conditions and a BIOS had gotten corrupt, but with the BIOS flashback it was remedied as quickly as we could copy the Rom file from our laptop to the flash drive and get it flashing.
USB 3.0 Boost
Turbo USB is a new feature we have seen from ASUS as of recent and it allows for a speed increase from older USB 2.0 thumb drives or storage devices when the Turbo mode is enabled on that device through the ASUS AISUITE II software.
One thing that not many have publicized is the fact that this boost also supports a protocol called UASP which supports a much higher transmission rate via the Asmedia controller. ASUS included with the motherboard a Thermaltake BlacX 5G USB 3.0 capable external docking station along with a Corsair Force GT SSD to allow for testing of this feature. we went ahead and tested multiple different drives and combinations to see how the functions actually plays out in real world scenarios.
Keep in mind that this is not just for external docks as any USB storage device can possibly be sped up via the USB 3.0 boost even USB2.0 thumb drives may grab a small advantage from being plugged into the USB3.0 port and having the boost enabled.
For more information please see the ASUS USB 3.0 Boost landing page here
Supreme FX IV
SupremeFX IV is the next iteration past the SupremeFX III we saw on the Maximus V Gene just not to long ago. This is not necessarily reinventing the wheel here, but more just improving it for an even better gaming experience.
Here we see the basic overlay of the main components and features of the SupremeFX IV audio module. Something we have seen before is the “red line” shielding which is an island in the PCB with blank PCB space separating the audio components from the rest of the board to ensure minimal interference from the digital board components getting into the Analog audio circuits. This blank PCB is also backlit by red LED’s to show off the red PCB separation line.
The EMI protection shield is also backlit and is in place to block EMI from getting to the audio codec and causing stray noise from ruining your audio experience.
Top quality audio caps are used in the SupremeFX IV audio solution to allow for the cleanest possible audio from the onboard solution. This is all designed around the idea of providing the best possible gaming environment for you the end user. We can say that from our testing the audio quality is very good.
Once again something we have seen before are high quality and high power headphone amps built onboard. The Formula boards’s SupremeFX IV solution does not disappoint with a 300ohm amplifier for excellent performance from high end gaming headsets.
Here we see more detail covering the separation of the “red line” PCB as the audio solution has its own island of PCB. This effectively isolates the audio circuit from any sort of crosstalk or noise from the digital to analog circuits. Also illustrated is the PCB layer separation and how it works to ensure every possible step has been taken to ensure noise free audio.
Here we see some detail about the high end audio caps and how they help filter the audio for not just elimination of the peaky highs but to ensure bottomless low end as well. Also detailed here is the 300ohm headphone amplifier designed to ensure maximum audio power makes it to your high end gaming or even studio music headset.
Here ASUS shows the lossless audio of the SupremeFX IV solution compared to a standard audio solution found on some other models.
Extreme Engine Digi+ II
The Digi+ solutions have been a mainstay on ASUS boards for some time now. For the ROG models the Extreme engine Digi+ solutions are selected from very top components to ensure overclockability and constant load performance is never a matter of compromise. We have covered the Extreme Engine Digi+ components many times previously and the same carries over with full digital Digi+ controllers, solid state black Nichicon GT caps and top shelf mosfet components.
GPU/DIMM POST is one of those features whose benefit usually will be seen in the most stressful times like when something is not working. We actually wound up using this feature without intention on a previous ROG review, when a 32GB memory kit we were testing only showed up as 24GB. As we entered the BIOS after several attempts to fix the problem, we checked the GPU/DIMM POST and found that 2 modules were reading as “abnormal”. Powering the system off and resetting those DIMMs remedied the issue, but seeing that info directly in the firmware can save a lot of time when diagnosing errant behavior or instability; this kind of information being readily available is an invaluable asset to users. Additionally, the GPU POST option allows us to see the installed GPU’s in each slot, so that when benching LN2 or even on a liquid cooled gaming rig, the GPU POST screen can be checked to ensure identification of all installed cards is accomplished. See the BIOS Section for more info.
Fan Xpert 2
ASUS has always had Fan Xpert technology as part of its AISuite utility chest but its always been used for manual adjustments and profiling of the system fans.
The Fan Xpert 2 now comes with a automatic profiling system which we will attempt to demonstrate in the following.
Here is the main screen where you can select between custom fan profiles such as Silent which spins down all fans except the CPU cooling fan. The Standard profile specifies a standard throttling setting for fans depending upon temperatures, and lastly we have the Turbo mode which throttles every fan up for maximum cooling when needed.
Pressing the “Fan Auto Tuning” button will start the motherboards intelligent learing process which we see below.
Here we see as the fans are proceeding through the automatic tune process. The fans are ramped to maximum then gradually ramped down to stopping at which point the motherboard knows where the stop and start point for every fan connected to the motherboard would be and this helps the motherboard better tune the system for an optimum airflow/noise ratio.
After the analysis is complete the fan Xpert screen moves to the next and final step which is where you select where each detected fan is on the chassis. if you are not sure you can always click the “Search” button to the right and the system will spin all fans down and it will spin the selected fan only up to maximum speed so that you can identify its position and even name it. This as well will help with the cooling setup and how the system throttles each fan independently.
Overview of the ASUS Maximus V Formula
The Packaging is very much like other ROG products we have seen many times before. It’s a full red packaging, flip open cover showing the board along with many of the key features. The rear shows the IO layout along with small highlights of some key features.
Inside the box there are two black boxes one of which being the mainboard box, and the other being the accessory box which holds the plethora of accessories that come with the board.
Click Image For a Larger One
- SATA Cables
- ROG Connect Cable
- mSATA/mPCI-E Combo card (w/pre-installed WiFi/BT4.0 Card)
- WiFi/BT 4.0 Antennae
- Qconnect front panel connectors
- IO Shield
- SLI Ribbon Cable
- ROG door Hanger
- Cable labeling Stickers
- Installation disc
- Owners Manual
The accessories are plentiful with the formula although one thing I could see as being useful would be adapters to connect the Fusion Thermo barbs to a standard 1/2″ID performance LCS tubing size. The reason we say this is that many enthusiast parts come standard as 1/2″ ID.
- Clear CMOS Button
- ROG Connect Button
- mSATA/mPCI-E Card Header
- 4x USB 2.0 Ports (3 Blk, 1 Wht)
- eSATA 3Gb/s Port
- 4x USB 3.0 ports (2x Asmedia, 2x Intel Z77)
- 2x Optical S/PDIF Port
- HDMI Connector
- Displayport Connector
- Intel Gigabit (10/100/1000) LAN Port
- 7.1 channel SupermeFX IV audio connections with Optical S/PDIF port
Checking out the SupremeFX IV Chipset EMI cover it is backlit red when powered on which makes for a cool look, and also the cover is functional for keeping stray signals from saturating the Analog audio signals. Also there is the large headset amplifier at the lower edge designed to ensure the audio that makes its way to your high end headset reaches there with some power behind it.
The lower edge also houses a 4 pin Molex connector which is used as supplemental power to the GPU slots to lighten load on the 24 Pin ATX connector and to ensure that there is no shortage of needed power under heavily loaded conditions.
ASUS has not strayed too far from their already successful software design. However we can say that the software has been tweaked and improved while also adding new features to ensure users get the full control they expect from their board.
The AISuite bar has many tools and features hidden within just waiting for users to discover. We are now going to walk you through each one with some key pointers as to which does what.
The CPU Level up button allows quick and easy single click overclocking to give a free performance boost for demanding users.
The Manual section is the polar opposite to the CPU Level Up, as it allows manual configuration of an overclock which will easily exceed the CPU Level Up presets. All of the important settings from voltages to frequencies can be adjusted here.
The DIGI+ Power Control Center has separate sections for DRAM, CPU and Smart DIGI+ power sections. Digi+ has to do with ASUS’s implementation of its industry leading digital power controls, which have been proven for excellent efficiency and accuracy which leads to better overclocking potential.
Here is what we see when entering the Smart DIGI+ power screen. For those looking for the ultimate in low power computing there is the Smart CPU Power Level which when enabled there are 2 options 45W and 35W. These settings allow limiting the CPU to these preset wattage settings for power savings and it will be throttled as such. this is especially great in business type environments where full CPU performance is never utilized as this can cut power consumption and wasted energy by quite a lot.
The Digi+ screen for CPU control is where we can adjust all settings related to CPU and VRM controls. This includes VRM frequencies, thermal protections and even thresholds. These are the settings you will need if pushing the limit on your chip.
The DRAM settings allow for maximum tweaking of the memory power circuits and how they behave. Much like the CPU counterparts we see this as very useful the more you push your DIMMS.
The EPU utility allows for custom tuning of the system to best match the usage model and even graphs out the present setting into whether it is more tuned toward performance and speed, or whether it is tuned toward power savings and tranquility.
The Manual mode of the Turbo V EVO software allows for very precise fine tuning of the overclock and settings. This includes as pictured above the fact that you can adjust individual cores multiplier to allow for much better tweakability and overclock fine tuning to get the maximum performance from your rig.
The Probe II software is very similar to what we have seen before which is simply allowing monitoring of temperatures, voltages and fan speeds all to keep a good eye on the system performance. Also here we can set alarms for specific areas we want to keep an eye on such as if a fan drops in speed below an amount we specify.
The sensor recorder function is cool because if you hear a fan ramping up during gaming or something seems to be getting to hot you can always engage the sensor recorder to monitor and graph the fan speeds, voltages or temps recorded while in game so you can better diagnose possible issues before they become bigger ones.
AI Charger + allows for charging of high draw APPLE i-devices at a much higher rate than before. This feature supports BC 1.1 function although as listed you will need to confirm that your device supports this spec.
USB Charger+ is much like the AI Charger but for non i-devices or Android phones, tablets or high draw USB charged devices.
Here is the USB 3.0 boost which was covered briefly before as it allows a speed boost to many USB 2.0 storage devices and even some supported USB 3.0 storage devices by changing the communication protocol being used.
A full list of supported protocols and presently supported devices can be found here
The System info screens show all of the key system specs included memory SPD info along with CPU data and also motherboard key information.
ASUS includes the ROG Connect utility with all their ROG boards. This allows connection of a remote computer via USB (with an included USB cable), which allows not only remote monitoring, but remote control of ROG boards from the separate connected system. as we see the ROG connect is the same between all of the ROG boards which is great for familiarities sake and ability to switch platforms.
Here we have the main screen. This is RC TweakIt, which allows adjustment of all of the main voltages along with monitoring of voltages, temperatures, frequencies, and fan speeds on the remote system. This is our home screen and all menus we see from here will be accessed via this main screen to start.
Here we have the RC Remote which allows a few key functions such as:
- Power on
- System reset
- Power Off
- Clear CMOS
This kind of message will be displayed to ensure no unintended operations or shutdowns occur because of an accidental click.
During POST, with a system connected, we see this display which tells us which point in the POST process we are at presently. This will help greatly when overclocking, in the event we suddenly run into a POST issue.
Here we have the RC diagram tool which allows remote monitoring of many sensors for fan speed, voltage/amperage, or temps to ensure our system is running well. We were very interested in the amperage of the CPU, which gives us a very good indication of the low power cycles were able to achieve during periods of idle usage.
Here we see the GPU TweakIt option, which allows remote control of our ASUS GTX 580 Matrix Platinum. This program allows frequency, voltage, and fan speed changes. This could be helpful while benchmarking.
GameFirst II is yet a further improvement on the packet priority and traffic shaping controls to give you better control over your online experience. Individual programs can be tweaked for network priority to allow for full control over which programs get top spot on network access which means that downloading while gaming online is not really an issue any longer as your important game packets will get better ping and priority while the download packets can still be transferred as well.
WiFi GO! is something we have looked at before but is something worth talking about. The WiFi GO! function allows for multiple different configurations to be made quickly and easily using this utility to configure multiple different usage models for the network. Things such as DLNA media streaming, remote control via tablet or other device, remote file transfers, motion control via motion enabled devices, remote desktop to compatible devices and even remote screen capture is just the tip of the iceberg as to what you can do with this.
Mem TweakIt is a great program for extreme overclockers or tweakers as it allows real time adjustment and tweaking of the memory for the system which can make the difference between a high point run and a world record run.
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This board has some of the most indepth memory clocking portions including a completely insane amount of presets depending upon the IC your memory modules use. As seen recently Ivy Bridge IMC’s tend to scale very well with PSC or older BBSE modules so if you have some of those theres a good chance you will be seeing 2200-2600 C8 or even better especially with some of the tweaking this board can do.
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Here we have the GPU/DIMM post screen which we have talked about endlessly as to how helpful it has been previously. We had memory not showing up in the OS, this tool was extremely useful in diagnostics. None of our other methods worked, but when we entered this screen, we instantly we saw that all DIMMs were detected but one was reading as “Abnormal”, at which point we powered off and reseated that stick and all was well. This also definitely helps when running subzero and losing a memory stick detection (turned out a little too much vaseline in the DIMM slot cause it not to make adequate contact)
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Here we have the CPU power management screen which deals with a few key processor technologies. This area allows for enable/disable of speedstep, turbo and of course adjustment of the CPU ratio and the turbo power limit control.
Also the Digi+ screen is another important one as it can really open up the throttle on your overclocking efforts by extending power limits well beyond stock values where otherwise the limits would stop you from seeing the platforms full potential. Thsi is also where you can adjust the performance of each of the Digital PWM components that are found in the Digi+ implementation. Once again here setting extreme values while it may allow more overclocking headroom do keep in mind that you are opening the door to more thermal dump and higher temps so be sure not to just crank everything up for no reason unless your going cold.
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Here we have some of the advanced board features including many settings such as CPU feature settings. Also seen in this area will be SATA settings and many others to adjust how the components operate on the board. This is all fairly standard stuff you will see on most boards so we put up a few shots just to show the general more important options and their layout.
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The monitoring area allows for multiple options from monitoring voltage, to temperatures and even fan speeds. With the inclusion of the Fan Xpert II Software the cooling fan performance is now at a whole new level so adjusting in the BIOS will be a thing of the past.
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The rest of the settings are just basic boot setup and BIOS flashing tools which all are standard fare for motherboards. Lastly we have the tools which of course include the EZ Flash 2 utility, memory SPD reader and even clock profiles to allow you to save your favorite overclock settings. And lastly the EZmode bios which is a primarily GUI interface where a few clicks easily can do some basic setup in the UEFI.
Testing & Methodology
We’ve expanded our testing suite considerably since the X79 chipset release, and will continue to use the same methods for most of the motherboards and CPU’s we test. In the interests of thoroughness and accurate results, we run each test at least three times, and some tests more than that. We average the total of all the tests from each benchmark then report the average here.
The OS we use is Windows 7 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.
Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear pre-fetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.
One thing to note is that we are revamping our testing method in order to better represent motherboard performance and offering to you guys the consumer. Also we want to make it an easier read for you without miles of endless charts. Please feel free to provide feedback on what you think as many benchmarks will be shuffled or removed completely.
|Case||Thermaltake Level 10 GT|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-3770K/Intel Core i7-2600K|
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus V Formula|
|Ram||(TBA) 16GB Patriot Viper Xtreme 2400MHz +|
|CPU Cooler||Swiftech H20-220 Edge|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital Velociraptor 300GB|
|SSD||Intel 510 series SATA III 120GB|
|GPU||Asus GTX680 Top/GTX 580/Intel HD 4000|
|Case Fans||Front (intake): 200 x 200 x 20 mm ColorShift Fan x 1 (600~800RPM, 13~15dBA)Rear (exhaust): 140 x 140 x 25 mm Turbo Fan (1000PRM, 16 dBA)
Top (exhaust): 200 x 200 x 30 mm ColorShift Fan (600~800RPM, 13~15dBA)
Side (intake): 200 x 200 x 30 ColorShift Fan (600~800RPM), 13~15dBA)
|PSU||Thermaltake Toughpower Grand 1200W|
|Mouse||Thermaltake esports Black gaming mouse|
|Keyboard||Thermaltake Meka G1 mechanical gaming keyboard|
We will use the following applications to test the performance of the Motherboard and installed components.
|Heaven benchmark 3.0|
|SiSoft Sandra 2011b|
The Z77 platform is still very new and just like Z68 we had tested before the BCLK increases are quite small. With that being said these chips rely heavily on Multiplier to get the job done. With the new 22nm chips we are facing much higher thermals which is the opposite of what were used to with a process change like this.
The Maximus V Formula easily took our 3770K north of 4.6GHz which is our standard testing speed and even planted us at 5.0GHz on water with very reasonable temps. This all with the memory clocked at 2400 MHz 8-8-8-24 and this is of course with some older Elpida Hyper modules but for testing we went with some more modern Patriot Viper Extreme modules. Let’s face it not many people have these older modules anymore but its still fun to show what the board can do with the right parts.
It is also worth noting that the Maximus V Formula use about .02V less voltage to be stable at 5GHz with a Vcore setting of 1.28V. This is quite a good chip but oinly under cold will we know how far it can go.
Speaking of cold, as you see below, when you engage LN2 mode and get the processor to -150 to -190C, things really start to take off. One of our chips hit 6.6-6.7GHz benchable depending on the bench. This won’t break any records, but it’s not a bad chip by any means either. Mind you it took about 8 minutes on the smaller Maximus V Gene to hit this speed, and we daresay it was easy. The Maximus line in general tend to clock very well but when put under cold is where they really pull away from the pack as the UEFI is optimized to take advantage of cold running and with that has many settings and skews to adjust the board function to best match the cold running as well.
For the Ivy Bridge benchmarks we stuck to a modest 4.6GHz overclock as we found it easily obtainable with acceptable temperatures without too much tuning hassle. This is not an indication of the board’s inability to overclock, but more a representation of what any user could expect with a decent air cooler and a few minutes of tinkering. This can also be attributed to the large amount of heat dump from the chip when overclocking which is why we always recommend maximum cooling capability such as a liquid cooling system to ensure thermals are kept under control.
Important note: Overclocking can cause component failure. Please exercise caution when attempting any level of overclock on system components.
The temperatures were recorded with RealTemp while running wPrime 1024 right before the end of the 5th run. The results were recorded carefully. After the results were recorded, we waited for 30 minutes before taking Idle temperature measurements. The results were as follows:
|CPU Temperatures||Temperature (Idle/Load)|
|ASUS Maximus V Formula OC (4.6GHz)||31C/67C|
|ASUS Maximus V Formula||24C/52C|
|Chipset Temperatures||Temperature (Idle/Load)|
|ASUS Maximus V Formula OC (4.6GHz)||38C/44C|
|ASUS Maximus V Formula||32C/40C|
The reason temps may look a little lower than seen elsewhere online is that We are using a custom liquid cooling loop compliments of Swiftech which helps us reach an area of much higher headroom for overclocking and performance testing.
The power consumption was tested while running Wprime 1024 for a few minutes at stock settings. The results were recorded carefully with a Kill-A-Watt power consumption measuring tool at the wall. After the results were recorded, we waited for yet another few minutes minutes before taking Idle power consumption measurements.
|Configuration||Power Consumption (Idle/Load)|
|ASUS Maximus V Formula (4.6GHz)||186W/407W|
|ASUS Maximus V Formula||133W/336W|
The power consumption is measured with a GPU installed but is not with GPU load. This is with CPU/system loading but nothing graphically intensive in order to provide the most accurate results by not ramping up the GPU, which will pull significantly more power.
SiSoft sandra 2011
“SiSoftware Sandra (the System Analyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software. It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what’s really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCI-X, PCI-E (PCI Express), database, USB, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc.”
First up we test with SiSoft Sandra which is a pretty comprehensive benchmark. SiSoft Sandra has many tests that can give you a good gauge of relative performance for your system. For this we tested the Maximus V Formula vs pretty much every system we have record for and here are the results above. As you can see the 3770K has a decent but small advantage over the 2600K in most cases as the new architecture we have already found averages between 3-5% increases across the board but remember this is not an end all tell all test as there are many variables in each config which could easily and dramatically affect performance and efficiency.
SuperPi is a single threaded benchmark which measures efficiency and is heavily influenced by architectural changes as much as it is by clockspeeds.
Superpi is a great efficiency benchmark and one we always use just because its simple and it shows improvements when they exist. Now bear in mind that the slightly higher clock speed plays a role in the difference. However, in the clock per clock comparison we are seeing similar to approximately 5% difference across our benchmark suite which means once again the 3770K is a small step up or forward so to speak. Here the Maximus V Formula showed a very small gain in efficiency, especially in the longer test which shows the board is quite well tweaked for efficiency.
The X264 benchmark is all about encoding and how well your CPU can do it. We all know the story here as the benchmarks are pretty well known at this point. The Formula once again bests the Gene ever so slightly but it goes to show that no matter the board you get, the Maximus line in general is a performance line.
3DMark 11 is the newest in Futuremark’s suite of benchmarking utilities. Its a fully capable DirectX11 benchmark which also stresses and analyzes the system performance as a whole to simulate a heavy rendering environment such as a high end game or other app the end user may run. This benchmark was run with Performance settings 5 times and all runs were averaged for the result below.
3DMark 11 Physics test shows similar that the 3770K pulls a bit ahead of the 2600K and becomes a rocket as it is overclocked, but clock for clock it’s not a world changer.
Here we look at how the system scores with an ASUS GTX680 installed in the system. Now remember that the 2600K offers PCI-E 2.0 whereas the 3770K is PCI-E 3.0 enabled, and therefore we do see a small jump in graphics performance when we run the Xtreme preset which pushes the benchmark with 1920 x 1080 resolution and high preset detail levels. We have observed this phenomenon in more than three boards tested, so it is no fluke: the Virtu MVP really does make that big of a difference.
Unigine Heaven 3.0
Unigine Heaven is a benchmark program based on Unigine Corp’s latest engine, Unigine. The engine features DirectX 11, Hardware tessellation, DirectCompute, and Shader Model 5.0. All of these new technologies combined with the ability to run each card through the same exact test means this benchmark should be in our arsenal for a long time.
After many times testing this there are minor variances, but for the most part MVP just flat out works and it works well.
The game tests confirm the synthetics as it also shows gains with Virtu MVP as well, but also does show a dip in themin framerates but with Metro 2033 im not exactly surprised as it is one of the most stressful games we have in my small testing suite.
PCMark 7 is a pretty good synthetic benchmark that mixes many everyday tasks to give a good representation of what kind of relative performance to expect from platform to platform. The Maximus V Formula does just fine here and it just goes to show that this board really can handle almost any workload.
The Z77 chipset has many boards to its name, and ASUS had quite a tough job carving out a niche for the Maximus V Formula, especially with the Extreme tight on its heels. We believe they accomplished this quite well, as each board tends to offer its own unique feature set to meet the needs of a specific user group.
The Maximus V Formula offers full 2 way SLI support with even triple slot cards, and with the 3rd slot it can support 3 way CrossFire. This is because CrossFire can run a card at 4X whereas SLI opts not to due to performance concerns when lane allocation is dropped that low. The Formula also offers WiFi onboard right out of the box which is a huge plus as well since many users want a system not tied to a network jack. The SupremeFX IV Audio offers very crisp and clear audio to our ears. The Fusion Thermo cooler allows for the extra cooling for the VRM so that even if used for rendering or constant heavy load, the power components will be nice and happy. There are so many features that we just cannot list them all here, but they are all found further up in the review.
We can’t say many negative things about this board. It is slotted in a segment below the most extreme gaming / benchmarking segment. It’s also above the segment that wants something simpler. The one thing we would have liked to see are adapters/reducers that would allow the Fusion Thermo to fit a standard enthusiasts LCS which is 1/2″ ID. Otherwise, this board is almost everything we want it to be, and the price it is in the right ballpark as well. If you want a board that has all the features, but without some of the extra goodies for the benchmarking crowd, this board is your perfect board.
|OUR VERDICT: Maximus V Formula|
|Summary: The Maximus V Formula looks awesome, and has the power and performance to back it up. With that it earns the Bjorn3D Golden Bear Award.|