ASUS Maximus V Formula (/ThunderFX)
The Maximus V Formula is the ATX board with Z77 chips in the Republic of Gamers series. ATX means more space than Micro-ATX, which translates into more features compared to the Gene we reviewed on the previous page.
The Formula includes three PCI-Express x16 slots, one x4 and three x1. There are eight USB 2.0 ports and six USB 3.0, four of which are external. The board has 8x SATA slots, of which six are SATA 600. You'll also find a single eSATA connector, and an mSATA slot that's hidden away on small expansion card. An Intel 82579V chip provides the single Gigabit LAN connection. Bluetooth and 802.11n WLAN are combined on an expansion card as well.
We couldn't tell which audio chip is used, because it's hidden by a soldered enclosure with the inscription "SupremeFX". This indicates that ASUS bundles drivers with full support for EAX for games and also DTS optimisation. We're not familiar with this chip, but the sound quality wasn't great in our test. That could be due to software-based "enhancement" techniques. ASUS has implemented a type of shielding around the audio part, but we couldn't notice any benefits. It's a nice effect when the red line lights up as you turn on the motherboard, the look of the RoG boards remains one of our favourites.
You have another option in terms of audio. If you buy the ThunderFX edition of the formula, you get an external audio module with a potent headphone amp and a microphone input that filters out ambient noise. It's a nice accessory if you frequently game with a headset. You're also able to use the ThunderFX module in combination with a game console.
On to the overclocking features. Everything we described for the Gene board you also get on this motherboard, including onboard buttons, a HEX display, the Go button, RoG connection, voltage measuring points and so on. The Formula has eight fan connectors, which is more than the Gene. The heatsink on the 12-phase power supply is passive, but you can also connect it to a water cooling set provided you have tubes in the correct size.
The BIOS is very comprehensive, which you can see in the screen shot. ASUS has included about every overclocking feature you can think of. The performance is average, but that's because ASUS left the base clock at exactly 100.0. This motherboard is quite power-hungry, as it's in the lower end of those charts.
We don't have any pricing information on this board, as it wasn't out yet at the time of writing. Depending on which edition you buy, there is also a SteelSeries Diablo III mousepad included.