If you didn’t jump straight to the Conclusion and actually read our review, then I am sure you won’t be surprised that we are going to criticize Asus Maximus V Formula quite a bit here. But let’s maintain our objectivity here and take another unbiased look at the issues that we uncovered. Are they really serious enough?
I would like to start by saying that our impression of the board turned south even before the actual tests during the prep stage. Asus usually provides extensive information about their mainboards, including the models of all additional controllers. This time, they only mentioned the controller manufacturer names: ASMedia SATA 6 Gbps controller, Intel Gigabit network controller, ASMedia USB 3.0 controller and no other details. As for the sound card, they only mentioned its marketing name, SupremeFX IV, and not a single word about the actual codec. As a result, we had to put the board under a magnifying glass to get all the controller names and models. Of course, non-disclosure of useful information is not a plus, but could it be regarded as a serious drawback? Not really. Many users don’t even care about the additional controller nomenclature, but only until one day they need to find the latest drivers for them.
Then we saw that there was still no “hot” key hint list on the start-up screen. This is a real pity and I guess I will have to make myself a little chart to use with Asus mainboards. The default CPU settings aren’t nominal, but with a little effort you can bring it back to its official nominal mode. You can’t adjust the rotation speed of three-pin processor fans; you can’t disable the start-up image and make it part of your settings profile; the mainboard can’t automatically overclock the processor, but can only slow it down, at least if you are using the latest Ivy Bridge CPUs. So what? Just switch to four-pin fans, get used to the start-up logo and give up imperfect automatic overclocking technologies. The power-saving technologies also do not work by default on this board, but they may be enabled manually. We couldn’t overclock our processor to its maximum, but it is quite possible that another reviewer with a different mainboard and a different CPU may succeed. Moreover, a 100 MHz difference from the majority of mainboards does not really affect performance that much anyway. So, even though we pointed out quite a few things here, there seem to be no critical issues. So, let’s focus on the advantage of Asus Maximus V Formula now.
Unlike the company’s marketing department, we do not consider “Fusion Thermo Solution” combining the air- and liquid-cooling functionality to be the primary advantage of the new Asus Maximus V Formula. A system like that would make perfect sense on LGA 1366 and LGA 2011 mainboards, where the processor voltage regulator circuitry does heat up a lot and requires efficient cooling. As for the LGA 1155 mainboards, they need this enhanced cooling system probably just as much as they need a “do not disturb” door tag. It is good to have it, but you may do just as fine without it. In our opinion, the main advantage of the Asus Maximus V Formula mainboard is the ability to use the bundled mini-PCIe Combo card with mSATA and mPCIe connectors. There are mainboards with mSATA ports. There are mainboards with mini-PCIe. There are some mainboards with a universal connector that can accommodate cards with either interface. However, we have never seen a mainboard, which could allow using both expansion cards, the mSATA and mini-PCIe, simultaneously. As for other advantages of the Asus Maximus V Formula mainboard, you can see them on other Asus products as well as on competitors’ mainboards. We didn’t see any other truly unique and exclusive features.
Even if some of you may have had not very positive experience with other Asus products, their mainboards are practically sacred. Asus mainboards, are like Caesar’s wife – must be above suspicion. I am not being ironic here, because back in the days, when I didn’t know which mainboard to recommend, I would always advise checking our Asus products, as they would undoubtedly have a good fit for your needs. Other manufacturers’ mainboards can have some unique features or look better in terms of price-to-functionality, but Asus mainboards are really solid overall. Unfortunately, sometimes they roll our products like Asus Maximus V Formula. There is nothing seriously wrong with it, you can use it just fine, but not due to its advantages, but merely despite its shortcomings. It’s OK if you have your mind set on this product, but I personally wouldn’t recommend it.