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ASUS Maximus III Formula

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Posted December 23, 2009 by Jake in CPU & Motherboards

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by Jake
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Manual Overclocking

While our auto overclocking escapades were quite successful and proved to be extremely easy, we had no doubt we could do better by going the manual overclocking route. As with all overclocking, your mileage may vary.  But more importantly, be sure you don’t get overzealous without knowing the implications and what could go wrong, since the last thing you want is a blown processor.  Manual overclocking requires time and effort to learn some of the basic rules, then work on the intricacies; your patience will be rewarded.

During our attempts to find the maximum speeds, we were less concerned about optimizing voltages and minor tweaks or settings. We went with a more brute force approach, looking to muscle up big numbers that could complete 15 minutes of Prime95. These numbers aren’t necessarily representative of what we’d run 24/7, but we think it’s important to show what is possible, as overclocking and performance increases identify a product’s potential, not what each person chooses to identify as their "safe and comfortable" levels since this entirely varies among users. As a result, we purposely chose not to be entirely conservative in our efforts; we want to see this board’s limits, so we really pushed things.

We used a combination of BIOS, TurboV EVO, and RoG Connect utilities, in conjunction with CPU-Z, and CoreTemp to achieve the following results.

MAXIMUM BCLK OVERCLOCK

Currently without a suitable LGA1156 bracket for our DICE/LN2 pot, we were relegated to air cooling for testing. So we installed a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus and stapped on a Scythe Ultra Kaze 3000, understanding that we wouldn’t hit the levels we could with more exotic cooling.

First up, we looked to find the maximum BCLK possible. We dropped the CPU multiplier and set about working the voltages, ultimately resting on a BCLK of 223, up from the stock 133, representing a 68% increase, and beating our best LGA1156 motherboard results by 3 MHz BCLK (which was the P7P55D Deluxe, incidentally).

This is an outstanding result for a LGA1156 motherboard.

MAXIMUM MEMORY OVERCLOCK

Memory overclocking is perhaps a bit less motherboard-dependent, but nonetheless an important component in system overclocking. We dropped in our set of killer Kingston HyperX DDR3-2133 modules and juiced things up.

We didn’t bother tweaking the BCLK and CPU multipliers much to squeeze out every last ounce of speed, but finishing with a final 2250MHz is nothing to be ashamed of. These Kingston sticks pack some serious punch, and will allow you to push some impressive performance numbers. The Maximus III Formula clearly can harness this horsepower and we had no problems, as dialing in the BIOS settings proved to be very easy. We could not beat our previous best result with any other LGA1156 motherboards, but the Formula did match our best result.

MAXIMUM CPU OVERCLOCK

Cooling was our biggest enemy in our quest for the highest CPU overclock, as our usual exotic cooling was out of the question due to a lack of proper LGA1156 brackets. Undeterred, we went for the jugular on air here and the Formula came out victorious, posting the best result we’ve seen.

Increasing the multiplier to 24, we had to lower our BCLK slightly to 193, resulting in a final overclock of 4.62GHz, a 58% increase of 1.7GHz on our i7 870. This is an utterly outstanding result, and the best we’ve ever achieved on any LGA1156 setup. Not once did the Formula struggle; it simply kept going until we decided to stop due to CPU temperature concerns.

Overclocking with the Maximus III Formula was an enjoyable experience; it’s not terribly picky with voltages, has a good range of BIOS Auto settings that are very robust for novices to achieve great performance increases, and has enough nuanced setting available for the veteran enthusiasts as well. In comparison to other manufacturer boards we’ve worked with, we were very impressed with the Maximus III Formula setups and results.

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