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ASUS ROG Maximus VII Formula Motherboard Review

11
Posted September 4, 2014 by Kenny in CPU & Motherboards

Overview

Hardware:
 
 
Price at time of Review: $349.99 on Newegg.com
 

WHAT WE LIKED:

Hybrid CrossChill Copper VRM Cooling Block, Armor Shield, Fantastic Aesthetics, Stable Overclocks
 

WHAT WE DISLIKED:

A bit Pricey, M.2 SATA Port Location
 
BOTTOM LINE:
If you take the overall performance for the Maximus VII Formula, and paired 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. So 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, we say its worth every penny.
by Kenny
Full Article
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Summary

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.

Installation 4

 

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.

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11 Comments


  1.  
    Ron

    Hi Kenny, just found your review, which I found very interesting do to the fact my next build is based on the same motherboard.
    I was wondering if you could give me a little advice, I was going to use the Swiftech H220-X but after seeing your setup, I see no point in cutting into a closed loop system also I am not water cooling my graphics cards, so I was wondering if I can get away with one radiator 420m Top instead of two like your setup.
    I’m using the Phanteks Enthoo Luxe and a Intel i7-4790k.
    This will be my first time at water cooling so any help would be welcome also please take into account that when I was born hot & cold running water and inside toilets had not been invented, so whats the norm to you youngsters is another world to me.
    Thanks for a great in depth review which I understood……..Ron.




    •  
      Sandy Bruce

      Hey Ron,
      Kenny does some amazing work for us at PureOC. I am glad to hear you found his review interesting. The H220-X is a good start for those not ready to jump head first into custom water cooling (aka WACO). Since you do have the stones to go custom to heck with it! Custom offers better cooling hands down anyways. A 420mm rad is more than enough to cool a single cpu and the board block on the ROG M VII. Depending on thickness of rad it can also handle a single GPU in the loop. Personally I would make sure the rad is at least 45mm thick for future expansion. I am almost 100% sure you will change your mind about that adding the GPU to your loop. water cooling is addictive.

      Also you will blend in well with the rest of PureOC. We have a good mixture of “Seasoned Vets” and spring chickens. lol Trust me, you will feel right at home. Join the forums and ask any questions you may have for this project. We are glad to help.




      •  
        Ron

        Thanks for the quick reply and advice. Thanks also for throwing me a life-line, I’ll join the forums and keep you posted.




        •  
          Sandy Bruce

          No problem at all. That is why we are here. That and to drool over parts and other peoples systems. Look forward to checking it out.




  2.  
    Kenny

    Hi Ron,

    Thanks for reading the article and thanks Sandy!
    As Sandy already mentioned, if you are not afraid of jumping right into custom watercooling, that is the route I would take.

    While Sandy is correct that a single rad will be more than enough for CPU and MB, I don’t think a 420 will fit at the top of the Luxe case. I have one here and I believe the largest rad is a 360 at the top at 30-35mm thickness, any larger and you will run into possible issues with clearance of the motherboard heatsink once you add the fans.

    But even a 360mm with a 30-35mm thickness rad at the top will be enough for just the CPU and MB. However, that limits the expansion to possible future GPU added, but the Luxe does allow for a 240mm at the front which can be added later when the times comes to upgrade.

    As Sandy said, join the forums and we will be more than happy help you. Trust me, the group the guys we have here will make you feel right at home. In any case, hope you see you on the forums and possible future build in progress in our worklog section.

    Kenny




  3.  
    Ron

    Another question, from what I’ve read the on board sound system is very good so is it worth me using my Xonar D2X sound card, which I’m very happy with or is the on board one just as good. Thanks….Ron




    •  
      Sandy Bruce

      Sorry we never got back to you about the sound card question. A dedicated sound card will always produce better sound quality than an integrated solution. It also is determined by what sound system you will be using. If you are using a standard PC headset or speaker setup than integrated is fine. A really nice setup would be wasted on integrated, use the Xonar D2x.




  4.  
    Mike

    I actually purchased this board with the intent to run 2 titan x’s in sli and a 750 ti on the pci e x4 lane for physx. SLI works fine and the nvidia control panel does state that the 750 ti is set as dedicated physics. In the bios i disable the sata express ports and set the pci e lane to 4x for that slot. In windows GPU-z Reports the card is running at 2x instead of 4. I am also getting a similar physx score in 3d mark firestrike that i get while just running off my 4790k. Any idea why this would be because Asus’s techs cant seem to figure out their own technology.




    •  
      Sandy Bruce

      mike, Is it possible you are still short on PCIe lanes? Disable unused SATA ports or even a 2nd controller, SATA Express Controller(s), M.2 if there is a manual setting if not used(if used your screwed). If you are using any of the PCIEx1 slots it will effect the speed of the PCIe2.0x4 slot.

      Even at 2x there should be some gains in Phyx. Have you tried different benchmarks? you may also want to create a forum account and post your question there. We have a lot of helpful people that will enjoy this question.




      •  
        michael

        I have disable all unused data express ports as well as the m.2 controller. Using the 4790k as well as 2 gtx titan z’s in sli. According to the manual I should still be getting 4x out of the PCI 2.0 providing I have disabled the m.2 and data express. Which I have. I will definatley sign up and dearth the forums.




        •  
          Kenny

          Hi Michael,

          As Sandy said, with the M.2 SATA Ports and SATA Express unused, you should be seeing x4 speeds on the last lane.

          I still have the board installed in one of my system using 290s in Crossfire. I don’t have anything populated in the last PCIe slot right now.

          I’ll look into the issue you are having and update with any additional information I find.





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