ASUS ROG Maximus VII Formula Review
There is plenty to like about the Maximus VII Formula.
As always with any ROG product in the ASUS range, the colour scheme and design is of an exceptional standard. They've been doing it for so long now that it must be second nature, and so it proves with the Formula a particularly pretty motherboard. We loved the Armour on the Sabertooth and time hasn't diminished its appeal. You don't really realise how much stuff is stuck to your PCB until it's all hidden, and suddenly even a motherboard can have some classy lines. Yes, perhaps we'd like to see ASUS go even further and embed some LEDs into the covering to highlight the PCI Express slots or similar, but we're nitpicking. It's a great looker.
It's not form at the expense of function though. Everything is laid out exactly as you'd wish for it to be, and there are plenty of accessories to help plump out the specifications and give you some choices. If we had a minor quibble it's the movement of the M2 slot away from its regular position below the CPU and up into the top left hand corner as part of the add-in cards. A small thing, and something that is probably a side-effect of the Armour coating.
Performance is, as you'd expect from a ROG motherboard, excellent. It comfortably drove out i7-4770K to 5GHz at a mere 1.26v, and whilst maintaining a stable 2933MHz with our Corsair Vengeance RAM too. The results in our calculation heavy tests bear out this monstrous level of overclocking capabilities, with the Formula regularly heading our graphs. The only blot on the copybook was the PC Mark Vantage test, which definitely didn't enjoy playing with the Maximus VII Formula, but on the flipside the PC Mark 7 Pro test suite had it at the top. So it's hardly a slacker.
3D performance was, as is so often the case, more about the GPU than anything and the Formula was only top-middle of our 3D Benchmarks. This also leads into the only real negative about the Maximus VII Formula. The price. Early indications are that it will retail for around £240-£250, which is about where the Formula has always been, except it's now topping the Z97 range of Republic of Gamers motherboards and so has a heavier burden to bear. It very nearly manages this and, if we hadn't already seen how fantastic the Hero is, might have succeeded. The problem with modern motherboards is the performance is always insanely close.
So it has amazing looks, fantastic performance, a wealth of ROG specific features, it is probably one of if not the best Z97 board available and due to this its not got a bargain basement price. The M7F is the cream of the crop when it comes to black and red, its ROG done right so its not a timid after thought to try and steal some sales by chucking red heatsinks at a cheap motherboard. If you demand the best and are willing to work a bit harder to pay for it then this is the board for you, what you get for your extra beer tokens is a board that feels that little bit more special, its like dating a super model thats also a member of Mensa. A worthy winner of the OC3D Gold award.