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ASUS ROG Maximus VII Formula (Intel Z97) Motherboard Review

By: Shawn Baker | Socket LGA 1150/1151 in Motherboards | Posted: Aug 27, 2014 2:08 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Manufacturer: ASUS

Close up with the ASUS ROG Maximus VII Formula

 

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After looking at the motherboard, I instantly find myself smiling, and thinking just how damn cool it looks. Thanks to the ROG Shield, most of the PCB is hidden, and you have this awesome looking cover going over most of the motherboard with just the necessary gaps for your components to be installed. Overall, it makes for a very slick looking motherboard.

 

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By moving in closer, you can see we've got three PCIe x1 slots, along with three PCIe x16 slots. As for the configuration of these slots, it's all very typical. With just a single card installed, you will get x16. If you install two cards, they'll both be running at x8. The final slot is wired at only 4x. Down here you can also see the SupremeFX shielding, which is, of course, for your audio.

 

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Looking at the bottom of the motherboard, you don't see anything too out of the ordinary. You've got all the normal headers, including fan, USB 1.1 and USB 2.0, TPM, and front panel. We also have a button for KeyBot and SoundStage down here.

 

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By turning the corner, you can see we've got a ton of SATA ports offered here; there are ten SATA III ports, and two SATA Express ports to round things off. As for what runs off of what, the M.2 Socket, one SATA Express and four SATA II ports that are all to the left of the motherboard run off the Intel Z97 chipset. The other SATA Express and two SATA III ports run off the ASMedia SATA Express controller, while the final two SATA III ports run off the ASMedia ASM1061 controller.

 

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You can see we've got a fair bit going on at the north end of the board, as usual. We have our four DIMM slots supporting 32GB of DDR3 ranging from 1333MHz DDR to 3300MHz DDR. We also have our main 24-pin ATX power connector across the bottom, a USB 3.0 header to the left of that, and a fan header to the right. Up in this corner, we can also see our start and reset button, along with a LED Debug reader, and our MemOK button tucked away in the corner.

 

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Moving around to the back corner, you can see our CPU power connector setup. Being a high-end ROG board means that ASUS offers not only the standard 8-pin CPU power connector, but also a 4-pin connector next to it. Using both won't be necessary for most people. However, if you're looking to do some serious overclocking, the second connector is handy, as it helps make sure the power to the board is as stable as it can be. Also, to the right you can see the connector for the COMBO card that is seen in the bundle.

 

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Moving back, you can see the CPU socket area, which is super clean. Thanks to the ROG Shield, and a generally clean CPU area, you've got a socket that just looks very nice. You can see our main heat sink setup here, and if you remove the two plastic ends, then you will expose the area for your water cooling barbs to be installed, if you want to make use of them. This is a really nice looking motherboard with a bunch of really nice features that help separate this board from the rest of the competition.

 

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Finishing up our look at the motherboard, we head over to the I/O. Starting from the left, you can again see where the COMBO card sits, which will have a spot for our wireless antenna to be plugged in. Moving next to where that would be, we've got two buttons; one button is to help clear the CMOS, while the other button is for ROG Connect. Moving on, we've got a combo PS2 port, with two USB 2.0 ports below it.

 

Video out options are offered via a DisplayPort and HDMI connector, and above that we've got an optical port. The optical port, along with six auxiliary ports, give us audio via the ROG SupremeFX Formula 2014 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC. Along with that, we've got six USB 3.0 ports, and a gigabit networking port that runs off the Intel I218V controller.

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