maximus v formula 1 Asus brings back water cooling for the Maximus V Formula

Although not available at the launch of Intel's new 7-series chipset, we can see a lot of Asus R.O.G. fans waiting to upgrade until Asus releases the Maximus V Formula. Not only has the company brought back water cooling to the R.O.G. platform, but there's plenty of other features on offer, some that were weren't even told about at the preview event we attended.

Although not available at the launch of Intel's new 7-series chipset, we can see a lot of Asus R.O.G. fans waiting to upgrade until Asus releases the Maximus V Formula. Not only has the company brought back water cooling to the R.O.G. platform, but there's plenty of other features on offer, some that were weren't even told about at the preview event we attended.

The basic board layout consist of two x16 PCI Express 3.0 slots – which are of course operating in dual x8 mode – a single x16 PCI Express slot, an open-ended x4 PCI Express slot – we're not entirely sure how many lanes are available for each slot – and three x1 PCI Express slots. We spotted a PLX bridge chip on the board which means that Asus is splitting the available bandwidth from the chipset between the various PCI Express devices on the board, as there isn't enough bandwidth to go around.

maximus v formula 1 Asus brings back water cooling for the Maximus V Formula

Beyond the standard four SATA 3Gbps and two SATA 6Gbps ports, Asus has added a second set of SATA 6Gbps ports. Beyond that we spotted pin headers for two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports, a POST80 debug LED, power and reset buttons and Voltage measuring points. The Maximums V Formula also has a new audio solution which we were told should be based on a C-Media chipset. If you look closely at the lower left hand side corner of the board, you'll notice an R.O.G. logo on a matte square, this apparently hid some secret feature that we weren't told about, so it'll be interesting to see what Asus has come up with once the board is officially announced.

maximus v formula 2 Asus brings back water cooling for the Maximus V Formula

The rear I/O is identical to that of the Maximus V Gene and as such you get four USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.0 ports, an eSATA port, Gigabit Ethernet, 7.1-channel audio with optical S/PDIF out – note that Asus appears to have fitted the wrong audio connector here as there are two optical S/PDIF connectors and as far as we're aware, the board doesn't feature S/PDIF input, unless this has something to do with the change of audio chip – and a DisplayPort and HDMI connector. You also get the same mPCIe Combo pin header and riser card that accepts an half-size mini PCI Express card and an mSATA SSD as you get with the Maximus V Gene.

maximus v formula 3 Asus brings back water cooling for the Maximus V Formula

The return of water cooling is done quite differently from in the past, as this time there's no need to cool the chipset with water, simply due to the fact that it doesn't get very hot. So what Asus has done instead is to create a water cooling solution for the MOSFETs. For those of you that don't want to use water cooling this isn't a huge issue, as below the water cooling pipe you'll find a regular heatpipe connecting the two VRM heatsinks. As such you get good enough cooling without using water, but you might be able to push the system even further with the addition of water cooling.

maximus v formula 4 Asus brings back water cooling for the Maximus V Formula

Another new feature is the inclusion of the ThunderFX USB sound card and amplifier. The ThunderFX is quite different from your average USB sound card though, as not only can it be used with a PC headset, but it can also be connected to either a PS3 or an Xbox 360 thanks to a pair of RCA audio jacks at the rear. It even has a special 2.5mm microphone connector for Xbox 360 headsets. When used with a PC it also offers active noise cancelling thanks to a built in microphone that records and tries to cancel out background noise. This has apparently been specifically tuned to work well in environments where there are a lot of people, such as LAN parties.

thunder fx Asus brings back water cooling for the Maximus V Formula

The Maximus V Formula might not be the most visually impressive R.O.G. board from Asus to date, but it has a decent enough feature set, although we're curious about what Asus was hiding. We'll make sure to follow up with more details once Asus is ready to launch the Maximus V Formula sometime in May according to what we were told at the preview event.