ASUS ROG Z390 Maximus XI Formula Preview
Published: 8th October 2018 | Source: ASUS | Price: |
EK waterblocks have got a huge reputation for good reason, combining excellent build quality with intelligent design and reliability. The use of them on a factory ASUS motherboard only emphasises the esteem with which their products are held.
Whenever you're using a cover on the PCB it can be difficult to have enough spaces to provide sufficient cooling headers or RGB LED Strip headers without cutting away so much of the cover that it might as well not be there, but we think the Maximus XI Formula has managed to do it successfully. The Rampage VI design is particularly echoed with the start and reset buttons.
There are all the usual connection options we've become accustomed to such as the 6 SATA ports, USB 3.0 and 3.1 headers and plenty of fan options. At the very bottom you can see the beginnings of the Water Cooling Zone, more of which in a moment.
Amongst the more common features such as COM ports, front panel USB and the like we find a new header, the ASUS Node. What exactly this does is somewhat of a mystery as even ASUS are being somewhat vague. All we know so far according to the documentation is that it is a "bi-directional interface that allows ASUS motherboards to communicate with other system components". So far the FSP HDP1000 Hydro DPM PSU allows users to control the PSU fan from the AI Suite, whilst In Win are currently developing a 301 Chassis that has a LiveDash compatible OLED front panel. Anything that gives us more control of our system without necessitating routing thermal probes and the like has to be a good thing. Let's hope it lives up to the promise.
The Maximus X used a vertical mount for one of the M.2 drives, which was an odd aesthetic choice. The Maximus XI Formula instead goes for both of the M.2 drives being mounted together, and beneath an attractive heat-spreader. It's a clever bit of design. If you cast your eyes to the right hand edge you'll see the flow and temperature monitoring points (the white square of four prongs) which are compatible with the latest Bitspower meters and are integrated into the ASUS AI Suite.
The IO section of the Maximus XI Formula shows how much there is on the Z390 chipset and the ASUS additions. More than enough USB 3.1 2nd Gen ports to satisfy even the most hardcore peripheral collector, whilst you also have the Intel LAN and AC WiFi. Additionally ASUS have included the Aquantia AQC-111C 5G Ethernet, if you happen to already be running the very latest hardware that supports it.