As a rule, after a few days spent with a board, after numerous benchmarks have been completed and all the data analyzed and sorted out in a review, we usually shape up certain opinion about the product that can be summed up briefly as: great board, good board, not very good board or very poor board. It is hard to call Asus Maximus III Formula mainboard something definite like that. Any board has a lot of small issues, and Asus Maximus III Formula has them too, so we won’t mention them here again. And speaking of some serious problems, I believe Asus Maximus III Formula has two like those: very annoying habit of seeing a new processor after every start-up following power off, and extremely high power consumption in nominal mode. We realize that we can’t call Asus Maximus III Formula an excellent solution, but it is also difficult to claim it is a good one.
However, under no circumstances my intention would be to voice out a negative verdict for Asus Maximus III Formula. You know, sometimes people say: “I wouldn’t have this mainboard even for free”. This is definitely not about Asus Maximus III Formula, I would have it for free, and that is the issue. Once I got to know this board I didn’t not get the urge to rush to the store and buy one for myself, and in reality this is the feeling you expect to get from an easy to work with gaming board from the “Republic of Gamers” series. And the price is really not the issue here. There are a lot of expensive things out there: watches, cars, boats or homes, which you would never buy, although you’d love to own them. Asus Maximus III Formula price is high, yet affordable, but we do not feel like buying one. It is hard to work with, tricky to overclock, overloaded with features and technologies, which lack a clear description that is why it is hard to single out really handy ones that would suit great for everyday use. Overall, Asus Maximus III Formula is not a bad solution, but at the same time not a very good one either. Maybe we should wait for Asus Maximus IV Formula or maybe even Asus Maximus V Formula…
Update: February 17, 2010
During our review of Asus Maximus III Formula mainboard, we discovered one very annoying issue: after each power down the board assumed that there was a new processor installed. As a result, the startup was stalled and the board offered us to enter the BIOS to configure the parameters or continue booting with the default settings. All the previously configured settings were saved, so all we actually had to do was enter the BIOS and then quit and save right away in order to continue booting successfully. This issue didn’t formally affect the mainboard performance in any way, but we were pretty annoyed with the necessity to perform all these actions every time after powering the mainboard off. Unfortunately, neither battery replacement, nor complete change of the system configuration helped resolve this problem at that time. Obviously, we were plain unlucky and has a defective Asus Maximus III Formula sample at our disposal that is why we were extremely excited about the opportunity to check out another mainboard like that in action.
I believe I don’t have to tell you that as we suspected, the new mainboard didn’t have any boot-up issues of the kind. However, this was not the only positive change that we noticed during the tests, even though it hasn’t been that long since we posted our Asus Maximus III Formula review. Namely, we reflashed the latest BIOS version 1305 and when we decided to check the memory timings, we uncovered a very pleasant surprise. We have already mentioned multiple times that Asus mainboards have very inconvenient way of displaying the memory timings. There are a lot of timings that can be adjusted and they are split into several groups for additional convenience, but it was still pretty tricky to figure out what value stands for what parameter, when all the timings are listed in a string form: 7-7-7-20-4-59-8-6-16, for example. The new BIOS version does have the same string of values as well, but there is also a column with values:
Now each value is located next to the corresponding parameter that is why it is easy to determine at first glance, which each of the timings is set at. It is a very useful and long awaited change. Now we just need to make sure that it will also be introduced for mainstream Asus mainboards from the Republic of Gamers series.
Asus boards have long allowed the users to select one of the three fan rotation speed control modes right from the BIOS: “Standard Mode”, “Silent Mode” or “Turbo Mode”. Overall, we have never had any issues with that, as we could always find the mode that would suit our purpose best of all. For most demanding users as well as non-standard fans one could always use software rotation speed management for putting in special settings and then save a unique fan rotation speed control profile for future use. Now things got even simpler, because besides the three preset rotation speed modes for the processor cooling fan, you can also set your own parameters right from the mainboard BIOS.
We can set maximum allowed CPU temperature in the interval from 40 to 90°C with a 10°C increment. We can limit the maximum fan rotation speed in the interval from 100 to 20% with 10% increment. You can also control the minimum fan speed or even stop the fan altogether, because the supported interval goes from 0 to 100% with 10% increment.
We have mentioned only a few significant improvements that we managed to uncover at this point, however, there is also a bunch of less obvious but still very important changes. Namely, the new mainboard samples we tested overclocked the CPU and memory better and caught up with the best competitor solutions in this respect. It is a little sad that every new mainboard revision as well as any new BIOS update our reviews become more outdates. However, we are much more pleased with the fact that mainboard makers never stop improving their solutions after the launch and do not stick just to fixing the pointed out issues. It is great that they pay attention to users’ comments, continue to optimize their functionality of their solutions to ensure that working with their product delivers highly positive experience. As you see, everything we have just said is absolutely true for Asus Maximus III Formula mainboard.