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ASUS Maximus VII Formula – Top End ROG Gaming For Z97

Overview of the ASUS Maximus VII Formula

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Its a ROG board!!!! but the front is not ROG Red like we are used to but that is only due to the fact that this is a special edition Formula board which comes with the Watch Dogs game included so the front cover is taken up by some game art which I tyhink could definitely grab some eyes if you happen to be searching for a board in one of the few brick and mortar establishments which eTail has not pushed out yet. I like cool packaging and I think this one was done quite well without being over done as I have seen in the past.


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Accessories, accessories, accessories!!! This board comes with more than enough to get going.
  • SATA Cables
  • WiFi Dual in one Antennae
  • Qconnect front panel connectors
  • IO Shield
  • SLI Ribbon Cable
  • ROG Door Hanger
  • Cable labeling Stickers
  • Installation disc
  • Owners Manual
  • WiFi AC/BT 4.0 combo card with M.2 (NGFF) Port
  • Watch Dogs Game Code Card

The accessories here are more than enough to get going and as you can see we test fit our 2280 drive and while it mounts into the combo card when fitting it to the board it simply cannot go into place as it hits the VRM cooler.

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Here we see the board layout from a top down view and just like previous Gen Maximus VI Formula this board has a very similar look with triple slot spaced GPU slots to allow plenty of cooling performance in dual card operation and mostly dark coloring with red slots and SATA to offset the appearance. All of the connectors as we have come to expect are well placed so that cable routing can happen efficiently with little to no cable management snags or issues.

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Looking at the IO it as well as the board is stuffed quite well with features.
  • mPCIe combo card connector
  • USB BIOS Flashback Button
  • ROG Connect button
  • 2x USB 2.0 Ports (KeyBot)
  • PS2 Combo Keyboard/mouse port
  • Intel Gigabit (10/100/1000) LAN Port
  • 6x USB 3.0 ports (4x Asmedia, 2x Intel Z87)
  • Optical S/PDIF Port
  • HDMI Connector
  • Displayport Connector
  • 8 channel SupremeFX powered audio connections

As you can see here there is plenty of connectivity here and the addition of WiFi capability along with plenty of USB 3.0 ports makes high speed connectivity a easy luxury, and I do like that two versatile digital display options are available to fit pretty much any type of display with the option of using adapters for DVI or VGA.


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This board supports dual triple slot or dual slot GPUs which means that even with much thicker triple slot cards space was put in place for this. However as more common dual slot cards are used this gives you a sizable air gap to allow for much cooler running cards under heavy gaming loads. Also a 3rd slot running at PCIe Gen 2 speeds from the PCH allows for HBA or other add in cards for  a more complete gaming rig as needed based on your specific needs.
The memory interface uses T-Topology V2 as ASUS was the first to introduce the T-Topology memory trace layout design they improved it further for not only single DIMM but even Multi DIMM performance for up to 5% better performance under fully loaded scenarios. This goes back to what I said during Z77 and the new T-Topology at the time as we all knew Haswell was coming and with it extreme memory capabilities so ASUS simply used the memory performance of the Ivy Bridge components as a test bed to fine tune the trace layout for the upcoming and now here Haswell lineup which now uses the optimized T-Topology V2. This is a more efficient trace layouyt design which overall help with optimized signaling for the memory and better overall performance from the system.
The SATA for the Maximus VII Formula starting with the Z97 supported ports offers 4x SATA 6G ports, a M.2 port on the mPCIe combo card and one of the two SATA Express ports which can also be used as dual SATA 6G ports. ASMedia is also employed for the other SATA Express port via  an ASMedia SATA Express Chipset and lastly two 6G ports are fed by an ASMedia ASM1061 controller. This is a ton of connectivity all very high speed as well to ensure no matter your storage solution there is a way to get it running quickly on this board.

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The VRM uses a 8+4 pin CPU ATX power connectors to ensure plenty of power is available even under the most strenuous loads or heavy overclocks the board may see.
The VRM employs the new Extreme Engine Digi+ III components which we discussed before but as you can see it utilizes specially selected components to feed your critical components. First up and the most visible change   would be the BlackWing Chokes which have a very unique finned design. Also the black color caps make them much less noticeable when placed on the black PCB and the NexFET MOSFETs which are rated at over 90% efficiency during normal loading which means better power efficiency and less thermal dump.
The CrossChill cooler can be seen internally and you can see the copper color from the new Copper coldplate design which should help with better heat dissipation.

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Here is the upper overclocker corner and much like the Maximus VI Formula it is much cleaner as alot of the extreme overclocking tools has been moved to the optional accessory OC Panel tool which allows for more focused components on the main board PCB. Up top you find the MemOK button along with lighted power and Reset buttons and lets not forget the two digit LCD poster.
The lower left hand edge houses the audio solution which on the Formula is the newest SupremeFX solution which is in place to offer very high end audio solution including choice audio capacitors and components to ensure it meets the enthusiasts gamers needs.
The bottom edge of the board is what takes the Formula to the extreme with the ROG EXT header designed to allow the OC Panel to be plugged directly into the board and full OCPanel functionality including SubZero Sense and VGA hotwire functionality from the Formula board. This is a major plus as previously you had to have the extreme board to get such functionality, but now with the introduction of the OC Panel and ROG board on the 8 series can run these features with the separate purchase of the OC Panel. Also you will see a soundstage button at the lower edge which allows for manual changing of sound modes through the high end audio solution and adds a bit better depth to the functionality of the Formula board.
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Here you can see the Massive backplate for the ROG Armor, and it looks really good along with providing some nice protection to the PCB keeping things like standoffs or something from chipping off sensitive SMD components should the board be dropped in or mis aligned by accident.

Software Overview


ASUS has completely redesigned the AISuite Software with the AISuite III software. A completely new user interface is now available and with that comes a much smoother function.

Here you can see that the AISuite now has a newer look like the UEFI we saw and the function is well laid out in easy to use menus just be sure to notice some of the corner arrows and other things as I found myself suddenly realizing there was another menu in a section due to some separate menu options not jumping out at you letting you know it was there.

Mem TweakIt


 Mem TweakIt is a great program for extreme overclockers or tweakers as it allows real time adjustment and tweaking of the memory for the system which can make the difference between a high point run and a world record run.

BIOS Overview


The BIOS of the ASUS Z97’s still carries the same fluidity that the Z77 and Z68’s carried but with a newer look as ASUS has done very well on the overall UEFU/I code which means the only think they have really needed to add was updates based on features or tuning of the board. Well all of that aside ASUS did add some very interesting features which we think will help some users especially those who like to tweak their boards and try to squeeze a bit more performance from them. The ability to  take notes within the BIOS is very cool although I am old school and always keep pen and paper near by, we guess you could call this a “Green” alternative as you take notes on adjustments, although I would still keep a paper backup of any notes or at least a screenshot (F12) of the notes before flashing the BIOS as a bios update that goes deep enough could clear those notes and they would be gone forever.

Another neat feature would be the Last modified section which basically just logs any changes you made in the BIOS so that if you run into an issue you can go back and look at what your changes were all dated and with a timestamp so that you can revert changes and test again without starting over. This is a interesting feature and I am not saying everyone will use it but well for the target audience of this board (Extreme enthusiasts and overclockers) we think it could ultimately be very useful.

Another cool addition is the my favorites page which allows you to earmark certain settings within the bios to be placed on this page where you can go to and have access to your most commonly used settings without having to go through all of the other settings as there are quite a lot on this board.

As we have seen before the BIOS has a huge amount of memory presets for the optimal tuning pre-configured form the ROG engineers so that when overclocking you can get the absolute best or at least a great starting point on tuning your memory.


Review Overview


The ASUS Maximus VII Formula has all the right features and great looks which make it a must have and well deserving of the Bjorn3D Golden Bear Award.

User Rating: 2.94 ( 20 votes)

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