ASUS has been all the rage with its Z77 models, from the most basic to the more extravagant ROG series. Today we look at the AMD side of things with the new revision of the Crosshair V Formula.
Introduction – ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z
ASUS and the ROG team make it a constant goal to always improve. With this sometimes even an existing and current model may get upgraded as new and innovative technologies are created or introduced on another platform entirely. This is the case with the board we have today the Crosshair V Formula-Z is the newest iteration of the previous Crosshair V Formula motherboard. ASUS has taken some of the tricks and cool new features it learned and implemented on its Z77 lineup and pushed them over to the AMD side to see how they would work when paired with the best AMD has to offer. The Z variant of the Crosshair V Formula omits the legacy PCI slot in favor of a extra PCI-E x1 slot. Also thrown into the mix are 2 more available SATA 6G ports, an extended Extreme engine DIGI+ II design which improves upon the older Extreme Engine DIGI+ design of the non Z variant. New memory improvements which brings the memory up to a rated capability of 2400+ MHz and also introduces the new T-Topology memory design seen previously on all of the Z77 line of boards. Add to this such gaming improvements as GameFirst II and the new SupremeFX III audio and you can see this board is shaping up to be a real killer.
We have not done many AMD boards as primarily most of the recent traffic has been Z77 so this should be a nice break to see an ROG board from the other side of the fence. The Crosshair is a highly featured gaming board with some LN2 benchmarking capability mixed in. The retail price for this board at time of writing is $229.99 at Newegg and this places it at the high side of AMD board pricing.
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 than just their X79 models and even 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 functionality integration for better compatibility with the new OS. Other cool features include faster boot up times and optimized settings for a smoother 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
Here you can see that the Crosshair V Formula-Z is engineered with some key ingredients to make this ready and willing to take on some of the fast and secure boot features implemented in the new windows 8 OS. The direct Key button is very cool as there is no spamming the delete key anymore it simply takes you to the BIOS with a single press. Though this may be made for Windows 8, having a button that gets us directly into the BIOS is a very welcome addition. The fast boot switch really is what it says as it bypasses many normal boot options in order to give a super fast boot that almost takes you directly to the OS screen. The DRCT header allows a external switch mounted on the chassis to work with the same function as the DirectKey switch. Lastly is the TPM header which allows for very secure storage of passwords keys and other critical secure info to allow a much more secure working environment.
Other features not necessarily seen as plugs or interfaces on the board are seen above. This is all based around implementing Windows 8 for better performance, security and even smoother integration.
T Topology Memory Design
We have covered the T-Topology design at length previously and it has been implemented here now on the AMD side which means the possibility for better performance is now available for both sides equally. While present memory performance is very much limited by existing memory controllers I do believe as IMC’s improve at the rate they have been recently we could see some very strong performance from the T-Topology coming very soon.
The T-Topology design allows for equal length traces to the DIMM slots so that signals should in a sense be matched instead of the older designs where trace lengths could be slightly different causing signaling mis matches and this kind of thing could limit memory clocks when really pushing for the upper limit.
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.
This technology works with virtually any Network adapter which means if you decided to go wireless and install a WiFi card you can most likely control it and optimize the performance from the GameFirst II software. I have tested 3 different WiFi cards with the GameFirst II software and it worked without issue.
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
USB 3.0 Boost 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 Z77 motherboard some time ago 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.
Below are representations of test runs on the ASMedia chipset which shows the USB 3.0 Boost in action.
Here we see standard performance from the Asmedia controller under its “Normal mode” which is rather good and plenty fast for an external storage device
Here we see with the UASP mode enabled that the speed is increased massively by over 100MB/s throughput which put some serious speed into the equation.
For more information please see the ASUS USB 3.0 Boost landing page here
Supreme FX III
SupremeFX III we have seen previously on the Maximus V Gene just not to long ago. It is a quite advanced audio solution for an integrated unit and as so it performs quite well when I had tested it previously.
Here we see the basic overlay of the main components and features of the SupremeFX III 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 a similar fogged aluminum appearance cover with the SupremeFX III logo marked into it.
Top quality caps are used in the SupremeFX III audio solution to allow for the cleanest possible audio from the onboard solution. These are all solid state caps on the separated island ensuring excellent and clean audio is all that reaches your speakers or gaming headset.
Overall from the caps to processor to red line shielding this is what we have seen before from SupremeFX III and it makes for a great experience whether your gaming, watching movies or even your favorite music while surfing the web.
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 caps and how they help bolster the audio for not just elimination of the peaky highs but to ensure bottomless low end as well. Also detailed here is the 1500uF main cap which is utilized to ensure that even in major audio peaks there is plenty of power on reserve to punch out the high quality audio.
Testing the SupremeFX III
There are many times when we have seen testing of onboard audio via very advanced measures and giving exact SNR or other very technical audio feedback. At the end of the day we will would rather test user experience, which is really the most important.
For movie testing we chose several titles that we enjoy but also have some louder sequences within them. Below is the list of the selected titles we used:
- Days of Thunder
- Black Hawk Down
- The Avengers
- The Dark Knight
All give a good range of audio sounds. The overall audio was very clean and just sounded great. The also audio volume from both high end gaming headsets and higher power speaker sets was a bit higher at the same software volume level than a standard motherboard Realtek audio solution.
For gaming audio testing we tested multiple game titles to see how it reacted to both standard game audio and loud FPS explosions such as in Battlefield 3. The games used to test are listed below.
- Battlefield 3
- Dirt Showdown
- TES V: Skyrim
- Crysis 2
- Metro 2033
All in all we are impressed. Although we are no audiophiles, the communications during gameplay along with crispness of weapon fire all felt very clean and realistic to us. The explosions were loud and we actually felt a little more deepness or definition in the audio that switching to a standard chipset board such as my P8Z77-V Deluxe simply did not have. Overall we would say this audio solution is very strong and in my opinion does not disappoint.
This is an area we are sure will be subjective from user to user. Overall the music quality was crisp and clear possibly a little tinny in our gaming headset but that could have just been the need for adjustment via some EQ settings. Overall the music was clear, and once again the volume setting required for the same or similar audio output was a bit lower than a standard solution.
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+ II 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+ II components many times previously and the same carries over with full digital DIGI+ controllers, solid state FP5K caps and top shelf MOSFET components.
The DIGI+ both standard and extreme utilize DIGI+ digital controllers which allow extreme voltage accuracy along with throttling of VRM components to allow for better thermals and overall power efficiency. Without over complicating it, the VRM components under lightly loaded situations can power units on or off freely which will allow switchable loading of the VRM components as they are turned on and off actively to better balance load and allow thermals that would otherwise be very difficult to pull off with a constant on or off configuration. Also the efficiency is greatly improved as lower thermals allow components to run more efficiently and also the switching allows unneeded components to not pull or use unnecessary power.
We will post numbers on loading and power capacity for the components as soon as we finish testing.
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.
Overview of the ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z
The packaging for the Crosshair is pretty much exactly like all of the other ROG board we have reviewed with the exception of the AMD information and Crosshair name.
Flipping open the front reveals some of the advanced feature info along with a window to view the board directly.
The rear of the box has all of the specific details and spec info. This includes a visual layout of the rear IO section.
Click Image For a Larger One
- SATA Cables
- ROG Connect Cable
- IO Shield
- SLI Ribbon Cable
- 3 Way SLI Bridge
- Crossfire Ribbon
- ROG door Hanger
- Cable labeling Stickers
- Installation disc
- Owners Manual
The accessories are more than enough to get the board up and running and also the cable labels could be major help during swaps.
- PS2 combo mouse/keyboard port
- Optical S/PDIF Port
- 8x USB 2.0 Ports (7 Blk, 1 Wht)
- ROG Connect Button
- Clear CMOS Button
- 4x USB 3.0 ports (Asmedia controller)
- 2x eSATA 6Gb/s Port
- Intel Gigabit (10/100/1000) LAN Port
- 8 channel SupermeFX III audio connections with Optical S/PDIF support
The connectivity is very solid on this board allowing for plenty of devices and also 4 ports from ASMedia supporting USB 3.0 spec and also UASP function for even faster throughput.
The GPU slot layout is nice and allows for dual card setups with lots of space for cooling or of course some ASUS triple slot high end cards. 3 way configuration users will be limited to dual slot cards or liquid cooled to fit but that’s not really an issue as there is only so much room on the board. The included x1 slots allow for NIC or Capture cards or whatever else you may have that does not need the higher bandwidth given by a over x1 slot.
Here is the AMD Overdrive utility which comes direct from AMD is quite useful and allows monitoring down to a very granular level. We even found an area where it showed devices and in a block diagram format showed how they were connected. Within the Overdrive utility we also found many helpful tool for overclocking and even stability testing which is nice as it is basically an all in one solution. The Overdrive app even has a benchmark application which gives a repeatable numerical score that can be used while tweaking to check for real improvements in performance.
Overall the Overdrive utility is a good universal tool with some real capabilities but now lets look at the ASUS provided tools in the AISuite utility.
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 TurboV EVO tool is used for OS based overclocking and tuning. This allows for tuning of voltages and frequencies outside of the BIOS and could make a difference as some chips simply do not boot at a certain speed but can be adjusted up to a higher speed once in the OS.
The DIGI+ Power Control Center has separate sections for DRAM and CPU. 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.
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.
AI Charger+ allows for charging of high draw Apple iDevices at a much higher rate than before.
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.
Note that the software does not work just on the included Intel controller but also on any other controller installed, such as PCI-E based WiFi cards.
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This board has some indepth memory clocking and tuning options with a couple presets should you come across using a PSC set or even a preset for 4GB DIMMS which has specific settings for these slightly higher density DIMMS
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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 DIGI+ screen which 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. This 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||AMD 8-Core FX-8150 (Bulldozer)/FX-8350 (Piledriver)|
|Motherboard||ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z|
|Ram||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|
|PSU||Thermaltake Toughpower XT 1475 Gold|
|Mouse||Tt eSPORTS Black gaming mouse|
|Keyboard||Tt eSPORTS 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 990FX chipset is the newest from AMD and designed around overclocking its Black Edition or newer FX series processors. Overclocking the AMD platform is quite a bit different than what many of us have gotten used to with the X79/Z77 chipsets of present from the Intel side. There is much more to deal with in terms of settinsg such as NB frequencies, HTT, CPU ratio among so much else including dividers all which if set incorrectly could range from degraded performance to just flat out not working.
We tried to keep it simple by finding a clock frequency that worked and adjusting CPU ratio to get the clock speed we desired. Reaching 4.6GHz took a bit more work than it does on the Intel counterparts but we could get there without too much trouble nonetheless. 4.6GHz is about our standard for testing as it gives continuity among our platforms and overall on recent platforms we have found it to be obtainable without resorting to extreme or exotic cooling methods. Mind you this is not something we would try with the stock boxed cooler or a cheap aftermarket. AMD chips can definitely eat some voltage so expect to pair a very good air or liquid cooler to obtain clock speeds in excess of 4.5GHz
Being that we had the great opportunity to test 2 different generations of chips this time around we had a FX-8150 (Bulldozer) core chip and also a FX-8350 (Piledriver) core ship we can attest to the overclocking ability of this board under a liquid cooler.
The FX-8350 certainly is a bit easier to clock than the 8150 as we found both 8 cores could reach my 4.6GHz testing speed rather easily the 8350 simply took less time tweaking to get there. This could be as simple as a not so great 8150 sample and a better 8350 sample but nonetheless it is what we observed. The voltage we was a little shocked as we had not used AMD in awhile so we had forgotten that 1.45V was rather common at such clocks and the accompanying temps are as well.
The chips are capable of so much more but it is all dependent upon cooling at this point, and with that we try to stick to cooling that is reasonable for most users and expectations just the same.
Important note: Overclocking can cause component failure. Please exercise caution when attempting any level of overclock on system components.
The temperatures were recorded with AMD Overdrive and Coretemp 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 Crosshair V Formula-Z OC (4.6GHz)||33C/62C|
|ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z||24C/51C|
|Chipset Temperatures||Temperature (Idle/Load)|
|ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z OC (4.6GHz)||44C/56C|
|ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z||36C/47C|
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 Crosshair V Formula-Z FX-8350 OC||155W/326W|
|ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z FX-8350||147W/289W|
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 have SiSoft Sandra which is an excellent synthetic benchmark which gives an idea of system performance while completing various real world simulated workloads. Across the board the newer Piledriver sees an improvement even into the IMC with better memory bandwidth results. This shows that the new CPU has some definite improvements in the architecture as the overclock testing was done at similar frequencies.
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. These results cannot be compared with the likes of the Intel CPU’s as the efficiency of the units are simply not comparable. The efficiency difference between the two CPUs were quite surprising as the newer FX-8350 was actually shown to complete this single threaded task slower than the lower clocked 8150 at stock and also at comparable speed overclock.
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 FX Series 8 core processors crunch away quite well at the video benchmark and all 8 cores definitely can be seen and utilized to some extent by this bench which helps boost its performance. Overall the stock speed Piledriver comes almost to thesame performance as the overclocked 8150 Bulldozer.
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 scaled difference with overclocking and in this case the 8350 beating out the 4.6GHz overclocked 8150 which speaks well to its ability.
Here we look at how the system scores with an ASUS GTX680 installed in the system. Under Xtreme preset you can see that the scaling moves ahead for the8350 again meaning this should be a great gaming chip.
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.
The Heaven benchmark shows similar scaling with the FX-8350 and this just goes to show that in gaming or graphically based tasks this chip really excels.
The Metro 2033 test shows excellent performance again but to our surprise, the FX-8350 did well at default but actually lost FPS when overclocked. We’re honestly not sure as to why the gain in clcokspeed netted a loss in performance, albeit very slight.
Just Cause 2
The game testing continues with Just Cause 2, and you can see that once again the performance scales like it did previously with the overclock and standard clock 8350 beating out the 8150 at all levels.
Lost Planet 2
Lost Planet 2 shows similar scaling with the 8150 scaling well when clocked and likewise scaling with the 8350.
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 AMD platform scales about the same here as well with the 8350 outpacing the previous gen 8150 and overall being quite efficient at its own rite while also gaining some speed from the overclock as well.
AMD may not be as efficient as Intel processors but at the end of theday they have proven to be more than worthy at gaming and everyday computing or at least doing what most of us do daily. After using the FX-8150 & FX-8350 for a little while we would see no reason why any gamer looking for a decent build on a budget couldnt snag one up and have a very potent machine.
The Crosshair V Formula-Z is a great board as we have seen from so many ROG boards before it. ASUS truly has taken what they have learned from other platforms and added the best of the best including board level tuning to give this board a real edge both in gaming and in the overclocking side of things.
Items such as the T-Topology memory design, SupremeFX III Audio, Special Windows 8 features and overall BIOS/UEFI enhancements and Extreme Engine DIGI+ II components all culminate to make an amazing board that is more than capable of making any AMD gaming rig really spring to life.
To the credit of the ASUS team, they took an already powerful Crosshair V Formula board and breathed new life into it. Now it’s just a matter of time to tell how much farther these boards/chips can go with the right user and cooling. Stay tuned to Bjorn3D, as we have another article coming up with some extreme overclocking on this board!
|OUR VERDICT: Crosshair V Formula-Z|
|Summary: The Crosshair V Formula-Z is a great refresh with all the right new parts to make it a great gaming and performance option. For this it earns the Bjorn3D Golden Bear Award.|