Asus Maximus Formula Special Edition X38 S775 Motherboard

Board Layout & Features

Board Layout & Features

Asus certainly know when they are on to a good thing and this is undoubtedly reflected in the layout of their "Republic of Gamers" boards, which all share much the same overall layout. Therefore it's no surprise to see the Maximus following suit, with a strong resemblance to the recently reviewed Blitz Extreme board.

Asus Maximus Formula Board Layout Asus Maximus Formula Board Layout

Thankfully Asus have also kept the inoffensive blue, black and white colour scheme found on the rest of the ROG series. This not only looks much more professional than multi-coloured combinations used by some other manufacturers, but also ensures that the Maximus doesn't stand out in modified cases with windows.

In terms of general layout, the 8-Pin EPS-12v connector has been placed at the very top left of the board, keeping any cables trainling across the board to a minimum. Over on the right side of the board, the ATX connector sits just above the floppy disk connector and allows for easy routing of the PSU's ATX cable around the top of the motherboard without interfering with the CPU socket area.

Asus Maximus Formula CPU Socket Asus Maximus Formula

While the measurable clearance around the CPU socket on the Maximus is identical to Blitz, The extra heatsinks and heatpipses on the Maximus certainly make the area feel much more claustrophobic. In addition to this Asus has switched back from the low-profile digital PWM found on the Blitz to a more traditional array of mosfets and capacitors. This certainly doesn't pose any problems for people wanting to watercool the board - as we successfully installed both Swiftech Apogee and D-Tek Fuzion waterblocks, but will certainly make things more tricky for those of us wanting to use any kind of sub-zero cooling.

Asus Maximus Formula I/O Panel Asus Maximus Formula I/O Panel

The Maximus Fusion keeps thing fairly modern on the I/O panel, providing only one legacy port for a PS2 keyboard. This is a great idea considering I've often experience problems with my USB keyboard not working correctly when trying to enter the BIOS or after swapping a motherboard over. Unfortunately, due to the additional space taken up by the heatsink attached to the Fusion cooling system, Asus have been forced to remove the eSATA connectors.

Asus have also answered the prayers of many overclockers by providing a CMOS clear button on the I/O panel. I personally can't count the number of times I've been forced to pull the side off my PC case and fumble around for the CMOS jumper after a bad overclock. This little button will undoubtedly prove to be a life (and time) saver for many enthusiasts!

Asus Maximus Formula Fusion System Asus Maximus Formula Fusion System

Asus Maximus Formula Fusion System Asus Maximus Formula Fusion System

Various improvements have been made to the Fusion cooling system since we visited it last on the Blitz review. While the Fusion Northbridge block essentially remains the same, much needed improvements have been made to its mounting design, which now consists of  four screws fixed to a retention plate on the back of the board.

In addition to this, Asus have installed a large heatsink to the left of the Fusion Northbridge block. This should not only help reduce temperatures when using the Maximus with watercooling, but also provide some level of passive cooling for the Northbridge when watercooling is not available.

Asus Maximus Formula Expansion Slots

With three x1 and two x16 PCIe slots, the Maximus certainly seems to be putting its faith in manufacturers releasing their existing PCI cards in PCIe format. This is even more apparent when you consider that one of only two available PCI slots on the board will more than likely be blocked by a GPU cooler when two graphics cards are installed for Crossfire.

Asus Maximus Formula SATA / IDE connectors

As with the rest of the "Republic of Gamers" series, the Maximus Formula features right-angled SATA and IDE connectors. These not only help to keep things looking a bit more tidy inside your PC case, but are also significantly more robust than the standard SATA connectors found on most other motherboards.

Asus Maximus Formula Switches Asus Maximus Formula Q-Connector

At the very bottom of the motherboard we can see where the Asus 3-in-1 Q-Connectors come in to play. Colour coded in red, blue and white for the IEEE1394, USB and Switch/LED headers respectively, these connectors are a boon for those of us who regulary install and remove our motherboards.

Last but not least is the illuminated Power and Reset switches. These make it extremely easy to use the motherboard outside of your PC case when benching (on a bench!) or testing other components.
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Most Recent Comments

06-11-2007, 05:08:01

Mr. Smith
God that took some reading!

It doesn't perform much better than the P35 dfi and is almost identicle to the blitz, bar a few extra insane/unusable voltage options so I feel no inclination to buy this.

Nice to see the score being penalised for the pretty outragous price!

Overall, ROG ftw!Quote

06-11-2007, 05:20:13

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Mr. Smith'
God that took some reading!

It doesn't perform much better than the P35 dfi and is almost identicle to the blitz, bar a few extra insane/unusable voltage options so I feel no inclination to buy this.

Nice to see the score being penalised for the pretty outragous price!

Overall, ROG ftw!
Yeah, personally I wouldn't upgrade from a Blitz or other high-end P35 board to it as it doesn't really have much more going for it (not until we see some PCI-E 2.0 ATI cards worth CF'ing).

But as a purchase for a new rig it's one hell of a beastly board - and I'm real glad that watercooling isn't a requirement anymore. That was a pretty big downer on the Blitz.Quote

06-11-2007, 05:29:29

Mr. Smith
I guess it's lucky I had w/c for the blitz! That is a marked improvement, did you actually state that in the review? That water was no longer required? Must have missed that.

The only additional thing I would have liked to have seen is the removal of the nb waterblock just so you could further comment on its construction...

Re. cards worth CF'ing, I hope there are some I have this desire to CF or SLI even though I know its not really worth it!Quote

06-11-2007, 06:08:03

Aqua-Pc's
Bah ive just had to fork out for one of these to pop my QX9650 in

But the board looks good to me Quote

06-11-2007, 06:15:49

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Mr. Smith'
I guess it's lucky I had w/c for the blitz! That is a marked improvement, did you actually state that in the review? That water was no longer required? Must have missed that.
Yeah mate it's in the conclusion (*hopes he didn't accidentally delete it*)

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Mr. Smith'

The only additional thing I would have liked to have seen is the removal of the nb waterblock just so you could further comment on its construction...

Re. cards worth CF'ing, I hope there are some I have this desire to CF or SLI even though I know its not really worth it!
The block is actually extremely hard to remove as they've used some kind of thermal cement on it. I did have a quick go at levering it off, but didnt want to get a slapped wrist for breaking one of Asus limited review boards

As for the construction, the heatpipe side of things is the same as the blitz, but the finned heatsinks around the block and on the 'fets feel much thicker aluminium.Quote
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