ASUS Maximus V Formula In The Box

I am always impressed when a motherboard manufacturer can elbow in a decent set of extra kit in with a SKU.  With motherboard margins getting tighter as the total motherboards being sold in 2012 was lower than 2011, it gets harder and harder to find the perfect package.  Some golden rules exist – a decent set of SATA cables (at least ½ the number of SATA ports), antenna if WiFi is included, a USB 3.0 panel/bracket if there are at least two USB 3.0 headers on board, and ideally both a rigid SLI and CrossFireX cable if the motherboard is multi-GPU capable.  For the high end products, we want something that differentiates the product line, such as a themed USB 3.0 panel, perhaps a gaming related keychain, or motherboard standoffs for overclocking oriented boards.

The ASUS MVF costs a pretty penny for a non-PLX enabled board, despite the wealth of features on board.  In terms of in-the-box contents, this translates to:

Rear IO Shield
User Guide
Driver Disk
ROG Door Sign
Cable Labeling Stickers
Six SATA Cables
Flexi-SLI Bridge
WiFi/mSATA Combo Card
RF Cables and Antenna for WiFi
ROG Connect Cable
Q-Connectors for Front Panel

This is a typical ROG Gene/Formula gamut of box contents, and satisfies most of my in-the-box criteria listed above.  Aside from the door sign, there is nothing ROG labeled, though using the ROG Connect cable is an obvious sign of an ROG board.  I am becoming a big advocate of systems that include plastic standoffs for overclock testing, like the ASRock Z77 OC Formula, so it would be nice to see some here.

ASUS Maximus V Formula Overclocking

Note: Ivy Bridge does not overclock like Sandy Bridge.  For a detailed report on the effect of voltage on Ivy Bridge (and thus temperatures and power draw), please read Undervolting and Overclocking on Ivy Bridge.

Experience with ASUS Maximus V Formula

As luck would have it, conditions were perfect for overclock testing on the MVF.  Ambient temperatures were low, giving an idle CPU temperature of 15°C on our open test bed and TRUE Copper cooler.

Automatic overclocking options are found both in the OS and BIOS, and for the most part the options (and the results of those options) were the same.  While there was not as many options to choose from compared to the ASRock Z77 OC Formula, all the options worked without much of an issue.  A couple of points concerned me however – voltages for various clock speeds seemed high (in order to make sure more processors hit the speeds), and no memory OC took place.

Manual overclocking took advantage of our Z77 and i7-3770K overclocking experiences.  The MVF accurately applied our selected BIOS voltage at load, and eventually reached 5.0 GHz at 1.400 volts stable under our testing conditions, hitting only 87°C under OCCT load.  We tried for 5.1 GHz, although even at 1.500 volts PovRay was not stable and temperatures hit 99°C.  The only other motherboard to hit 5.0 GHz stable in our testing was the Z77 MPower, although air testing is always limited by temperatures.  This is one area of testing in our reviews we wish to change in the future, to using chilled water.


Our standard overclocking methodology is as follows.  We select the automatic overclock options and test for stability with PovRay and OCCT to simulate high-end workloads.  These stability tests aim to catch any immediate causes for memory or CPU errors.

For manual overclocks, based on the information gathered from previous testing, starts off at a nominal voltage and CPU multiplier, and the multiplier is increased until the stability tests are failed.  The CPU voltage is increased gradually until the stability tests are passed, and the process repeated until the motherboard reduces the multiplier automatically (due to safety protocol) or the CPU temperature reaches a stupidly high level (100ºC+).  Our test bed is not in a case, which should push overclocks higher with fresher (cooler) air. 

Automatic Overclock:

CPU Level Up software in the OS offers three settings – 4.2 GHz, 4.4 GHz and 4.6 GHz.  These options are mirrored in the BIOS with two additional settings – CPU Level Auto and Gamers’ OC.

Results were as follows:

Overall, I personally found the voltages a little high, especially for CPU Level 1+2.  The Gamers’ OC option is a great one button tool to get a nice overclock across the board.

Manual Overclock:

For manual overclocking we used the BIOS, starting at our nominal 4.4 GHz and 1.100 volt starting point.  Given our previous overclocking experience, the following settings were also changed:

CPU Voltage Frequency: 500 kHz
CPU Power Phase Control: Extreme
CPU Power Duty Control: Extreme
CPU Current Capability: 140%

For every setting we tested stability using a PovRay run and five minutes of OCCT. While not an extensive stability test by any means, it allows us to quickly evaluate every setting on every motherboard in a similar fashion.

Hitting 5.0 GHz at 1.400 volts on our CPU is great.  It is a shame we could not get 5.1 GHz, though I am sure under the right water cooling setup it would be possible.

Memory Overclocking

One common thought of ASUS boards is usually memory compatibility and the ability to push certain memory kits.  ASUS spend a lot of time ensuring that those purchasing the high end memory kits can use them and push them to their limits (regardless of what real world effect it may have).  For our memory testing I take a G.Skill 2x4 GB 2666 11-13-13 1.65 V kit and see where it goes.

Like all Z77 motherboards, the MVF handled XMP gracefully.  Moving up a strap to 2800 C11 also provided no issue, being completely stable.  What came next surprised me – the system successfully booted at DDR3-2933 C11!  At this speed I was near to either the limit of the memory or that of the CPU IMC, having hit DDR3-2950 for overclock competitions.  I nudged the BCLK up using TurboV EVO, managing to get DDR3-2962, a new personal record.  At this point after a few seconds the system crashed spectacularly, suggesting that perhaps some more voltage or setting tweaks could get the DDR3-2933 stable.  The MVF is the best Z77 motherboard we have tested for peak memory speeds so far under our methodology (I do not doubt that a memory enthusiast could do better!).

ASUS Maximus V Formula Software Test Setup, Power Consumption, POST Time
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  • DanNeely - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    Are the 3/8" barbs on the waterblock fixed; or can they be unscrewed and replaced with 1/2" ones?
  • noeldillabough - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    I'm actually interested in this question too; can we unscrew them and put in G1/4" fittings?
  • DarkStryke - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    The're fixed, sadly.
  • Razorbak86 - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    I have an MVF board with two rads and 3/8"x5/8" tubing throughout in a mid-tower case (Corsair Obsidian 650D). The 3/8" tubing was easy to route, looks stunning in blood red color, and performs exceptionally well in my system.

    Although it would have been nice to have G1/4" connections instead of barbs, once the tubing is installed, the barbs are barely noticeable, because they are hidden after installation of the tubing. Furthermore, there is very little real-world performance difference (from a thermal efficiency perspective) between 3/8" and 1/2" lines in a water cooling setup. Fractions of a degree, actually. Even with G1/4" connections, I would have still chosen 3/8" tubing throughout my system, simply for the ease of routing in my mid-tower case.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    Yeah. I bought in for 3/8" 5/8" tubing for ease of routing; but lots of people either decided bigger was better or that the last 0.1C was worth chasing and mixed size tubing looks ugly.
  • noeldillabough - Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - link

    I agree the smaller tubing is so very close but I got the larger tubing because it looks badass.
  • EnzoFX - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    I hate how we've devolved in the number of USB Ports. Moreso when there's wasted I/O space. Let alone when it's filled with legacy connections.
  • DanNeely - Monday, March 25, 2013 - link

    What exactly on this one are you blaming as a legacy connector? Unless you're complaining that most PC audio is still done via discrete analog hookups instead of via digital connections, or by turning our monitors into TVs I'm not sure what you're complaining about. If that is what you're complaining about, requiring everyone to either buy a tv receiver to break the audio out of their HDMI or to convince monitor makers (that won't spend an extra dollar for a DP input) to add 5.1 audio out to their monitors is delusional.

    Until Intel/Amd either put a lot more USB3 into their chipsets or add several extra PCIe lanes to the south bridge mixed USB2/3 is going to be here to stay because you can't get 10 or 12 USB3 ports in without giving something else up?
  • EnzoFX - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - link

    Did I say this particular board had legacy connections? No. My gripe is with few usb ports, a simple to grasp concept. You're average intel board has 6-8 usb ports, this was when Sandy Bridge came along I believe, and then we had DVI/VGA ports on there too, when there's already HDMI on board, or when an adapter could be used. With P55 we had 10USB ports on your most common average/budget board, and that's just on the back. This oh so premium board only has 8.
  • Moricon - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - link

    The bard has 14 USB Ports 2/3, who needs 14 on the back, I want as many coming to the front as possible.

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