The ASUS Z97 Maximus VII Formula motherboard is the Flagship product of the ROG “Republic of Gamers” series. We hope to continue to see ASUS grow strong in this division, but it would be interesting to see some new design aspects from its well matured ROG series.
When it comes to the software package, ASUS has always included an abundant variety. We said this with the Maximus VII Hero motherboard and it was no different here with the Maximus VII Formula. The extensive software package that is included with the motherboard gives users something to appreciate, and ASUS continues to impress in this sector with each new motherboard release. It’s like getting all the bells and whistles of a high end car. While some may think that all this is bloatware, we find many of the applications to be rather useful especially with all the exclusive ASUS developed interfaces.
With this ASUS Maximus VII Formula series board, this time around we did see quite a few software improvements as well, and this was especially appreciated since this board offered quite a bit of unique features like the, ROG Front Base Panel Interface, Fan Xpert III, Memtweak, RAMDisk, KeyBot, Sonic Radar and the Supreme Audio just to name a few. All of these were designed to enhance your experience while gaming, playing media, or just your normal every day use. ASUS gives you total control over your system via their easy to use software.
The layout hasn’t changed much with the exception of the M.2 PCIe Gen 2 x2 slot compared to the Hero. The Formula uses a mini-PCIe slot which doesn’t allow for regular sized M.2 SATA drives to be used, so you will need a shorter drive which can hinder capacity. This can be a set back if this feature is important but it does offer a better SATA express set up compared to the Hero. The Maximus VII Formula does offer a couple of extra features such as on board AC Wireless and Bluetooth via the mini-PCie and also has much better aesthetics with the Armor Shield and the additional cooling features from the Hybrid CrossChill VRM block. This gives users a little more headroom for overclocking, but if you take those away, the Hero and Formula are very similar.
For performance, this motherboard performed as we expected. When we put the Maximus VII Hero and Formula side by side in just the CPU reliant benchmarks, we saw very little improvement from one or the other. With the 4770K, we found that our 1866MHz memory was able to run at the advertised speeds with little to no work. In the OC sector, using the AI Suite Auto OC or Digi Optimizing, we were able to hit speeds of 4.2GHz with little to no work, and we were able to manually overclock to 4.6GHz with little work and even pushed our memory to 2133MHz from its default 1866MHz. While overclocking can vary, it was nice to see that ASUS continues its reputation for stable overclocks.
The board overclocked quite nicely as we mentioned. While the overclocking will vary from chip to chip, the motherboard does play a big role in its overclocking stability. We didn’t have any stability issues with the ASUS Z97 Maximus VII Formula motherboard up to 4.6GHz. With higher overclocks, heat became our enemy in this sector as we moved the voltage up. Still, with the 4770K Processor, we find that performance was rock solid.
If you take the overall performance for the Maximus VII Formula, and pair it with a set of nice graphics cards, you will get a very nice set up that will last years with today’s current games. Now, if you didn’t need all the extra bells and whistles that the Maximus VII Formula board offers, we can see that the Hero is a very good alternative option. When it comes to valuing the Formula, we found the board to be bit pricey for some users at $349.99 on Newegg. But if you can use all the extras you get from the Maximus VII Formula, It’s worth every penny.
In the high-end flagship motherboard sector we easily honor the ASUS Maximus VII Formula ROG Motherboard with the PureOverclock Editor’s Choice Award.