Asus ROG Crosshair IV Formula
The Board Continued...
You shouldn't have much to complain about the board's layout either. Despite the amount of on board equipment, Asus have managed to arrange most components in a logical manner. There's plenty of open space around the CPU, easy access to the side-mounted SATA ports as well as I/O headers.
The Rear I/O cluster is fairly conventional. You'll find six USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 (in blue), Firewire, CMOS Clear, e-SATA, Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1 Sound and SPDIF. It is indeed a conventional cluster, but with one exception. You might be wondering what that vertically mounted USB port is for. This is for the ROG Connect Remote Overclocking and Diagnosis feature, which we will cover later.
All six of the "Red" SATA ports are operated by the new SB850 southbridge which permits 6.0Gb/s operation. There is also an isolated SATA 3.0Gb/s port powered by a JMicron controller. An interesting observation is that the layout of the Heatpipe Cooler prevented a seventh expansion port from being implemented. As a result, the four PCI-Express slots have been shifted down one space, resulting in the third and fourth slots sitting directly next to each other. This will prove problematic for prospective Quad CrossfireX users but I'm sure it's far from the end of the world for most.
A nifty set of buttons have been implemented at the bottom of the Crosshair IV Formula. From left to right this includes "TURBO KEY", an automatic overclocking function, "CORE UNLOCK" which provides you with the opportunity to unlock your castrated Phenom II X2, X3 or Zosma based X4 (9xxT) Processors. Again, if you intend on occupying the lower most PCI-E 16x slot, these buttons may not be accessible.
The motherboard's cooler can be removed with relative ease, exposing the 890FX and SB850 chips. Asus have been fairly careful with Thermal Paste application and the quality of contact is very good.
With the cooler refitted, it's now time to really get testing!