Packaging and Overview
ASUS re-did the box of the Formula, and the new box is sleek. The packaging does a very good job of protecting the motherboard from the elements.
The accessory package includes six SATA6Gb/s cables, vertical M.2 mount, and screws, 2R2T Wireless AC antenna, RGB extension cable, SLI HB Bridge, Q-Connectors, new ROG case badge, stickers, cable stickers, coaster, CPU installation tool, and of course driver DVD and manuals.
ASUS has made some improvements to their already dominating fan control system. The Maximus IX Formula has a total of eight traditional fan headers, all of them support auto-sensing of DC or PWM fans and will change fan mode to match the fan installed. The headers circled in blue support 1A current; the two circled in red (H_AMP and W-PUMP) headers support up to 3A each. You can expand fan control even further through ASUS's external fan card, and the extension port is circled in orange.
The motherboard has a single external temperature sensor input circled in green. ASUS's new feature is close to fan and temperature inputs, I will cover it here; ROG Water Cooling Zone. Circled in purple (I ran out of easy to see colors), are three headers; W_IN, W_OUT, and W_FLOW. The W_IN and W-OUT pins are for external temperature sensors designed to measure water temperature at the input and output of a water block, the difference between the two temperatures is of interest to many users, and ASUS has integrated this into their motherboard. The W_FLOW tachometer header is designed like a DC mode fan header and would be connected to a pump and monitor it's RPMs and perhaps control its power.
Oh, did I mention the motherboard supports 3D printed add-ons? The same metal shield on the backside protects the rear of the PCB and ensures the PCB stays straight, while the topside plastic shield improves aesthetics and keeps away dust.
Everyone's favorite integrated IO panel is back, no longer will you install the motherboard just to find that a metal tab from a cheap IO shield went into the LAN port instead of on top of it requiring you to uninstall the entire system to fix. The integrated IO panel offers four USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.1 type-A, USB 3.1 type-C, four USB 2.0 ports (one is for BIOS FlashBack one for KeyBot), HDMI 1.4a, DisplayPort, WIFI antenna, BIOS FlashBack button, Clear CMOS, Intel Gbit LAN, and gold plated audio ports with S/PDIF optical.
The PCI-E layout is identical to its predecessor, but the first two slots are not reinforced by a metal shroud. The first and second x16 slots operate at x16/x0 or x8/x8. The last slot is wired x4 to the PCH and shares bandwidth with the x1 slot above it. New to the Maximus IX Formula is the new USB 3.1 20-pin internal header, and while there are not many cases that support this (I think a really expensive INWIN case does), many should in the coming year. There is also a right-angled USB 3.0 internal header. Error LEDs are located near the 24-pin connector in case your system fails to boot.
Removing a plastic cover reveals the first M.2 slot. The motherboard carries two fewer SATA6Gb/s ports than its predecessor. It does supply six SATA6Gb/s ports from the PCH.
Start (power) and reset buttons, as well as the POST Code display, are in identical positions compared to the Maximus VIII Formula. The ROG Water Cooling Zone features, the water temperature and pump tachometer headers, are located at the lower right corner of the motherboard and use white plastic to distinguish themselves. An external temperature sensor and LN2 Mode header are located right above them. The second x4 M.2 slot is a vertical one and is located at the bottom of the motherboard.
To the right of the USB 2.0 internal header is a slow mode switch used for extreme overclocking. To the left of the USB 2.0 internal header are ROG extension headers (presumably for the OC Panel), MemOkay, Safe Boot, and Retry buttons. I don't believe the Maximus VIII Formula had so many overclocking features, and it is nice to see them added since this motherboard is a ROG product. One of two RGB LED headers is located at the top of the motherboard above the CPU fan headers.
The second RGB LED header is located at the bottom of the motherboard near the front panel audio header. Removing the shields and even IO panel reveals very similar designs to the Maximus VIII Formula, but with some tweaks.
The water block is different on the Maximus IX Formula than what I found on the Maximus VIII Formula, but you can only really tell if you open them up, which I have done for you. For starters, instead of rubber inserts the screw treading have caps, and while this is still an EK water block, internal modifications were made. Instead of larger channels, the new block uses micro fins much like a heat sink, and ASUS claims 4C reduction compared to its predecessor.
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- Page 1 [Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing]
- Page 2 [Packaging and Maximus IX Formula Overview]
- Page 3 [ASUS Maximus IX Formula Circuit Analysis]
- Page 4 [ASUS Maximus IX Formula Circuit Analysis Continued]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Software]
- Page 6 [Test System Setup]
- Page 7 [Overclocking]
- Page 8 [CPU, Memory, and System Benchmarks]
- Page 9 [System IO Benchmarks]
- Page 10 [Thermal Imaging and Power Consumption]
- Page 11 [What's Hot, What's Not & Final Thoughts]