thumbnail2 ASUS Crosshair V Formula Review

Each time AMD or Intel releases a enthusiast chipset, you can be sure that ASUS will be ready with a Republic of Gamers motherboard. This time round, it's the 990FX and the motherboard waiting for us is none other than the Crosshair V Formula.

Before we dive into the Crosshair V Formula proper, let's take a look at what's changed since 890FX.

Northbridge Comparison

  990FX 890FX
Processor AM3+,AM3 AM3
PCIe 2.0 42
HyperTransport 3.1 (3.2GHz) 3.0 (2.6GHz)


And the answer is, well, nothing much at all. 990FX will use a faster HyperTransport 3.1 link when paired with Bulldozer, although with older processors it will revert to HyperTransport 3.0 speeds. Otherwise the number of PCIe lanes remains the same, and the chip is still manufactured on TSMC's 65nm process.

The good news is that AM3 motherboards only need a BIOS update to support AM3+ processors, subject of course to the board's ability to handle Bulldozer's maximum TDP (125W) and the manufacturer's willingness to provide said update. ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI have already announced the models which will be receiving an update to work with AM3+ processors, while ECS' website says that they are currently working on it. AMD does not officially support or endorse this, however.

Southbridge Comparison

  SB950 SB850
PCIe 2.0 2
SATA 3Gbps -
SATA 6Gbps 6
USB 1.1 1
USB 2.0 14
USB 3.0 -


The SB950 is essentially a renamed SB850. SB850 was ahead of its time with SATA 6Gbps support, unfortunately SB950 doesn't continue that trend and there's no USB 3.0 support. SB950 continues to integrate PCI and PATA support, which saves motherboard makers the cost of PCIe-to-PCI bridge chips.

We couldn't find a 990FX chipset diagram, but since so little has changed here's a 890FX diagram:

890fx diagram ASUS Crosshair V Formula Review

Now that we're done with that, let's have a look at the Crosshair V Formula's specifications. At first glance it looks very similar to its predecessor, the Crosshair IV Formula, with a nearly-identical expansion slot layout. Notable changes include a doubling of maximum memory to 32GB, an increase in the number of USB 3.0 ports, and the eviction of FireWire.

Asus appears intent on using in-house solutions as much as possible – JMicron and Renesas have been dumped in favour of Asmedia's SATA 6Gbps and USB 3.0 controllers respectively. In our Z68 motherboard review we found the ASM1042 to be as good as other USB 3.0 controllers, but we've yet to see how the ASM1061 performs compared to the more popular Marvell 88SE9128. We're also happy to see an Intel 82583V controller on the networking front, as these usually have the lowest CPU utilization.

You might also remember the Crosshair IV Extreme, the big brother (literally) to the Crosshair IV Formula and a true hardcore overclocker's motherboard. So far there's been no word of a Crosshair V Extreme, but then there's probably no real need for one given the similarities we've already described. Turn the page for a closer inspection of the motherboard.

 

Crosshair V Formula

Crosshair IV Formula

CPU Support

AMD AM3+ FX™/Phenom™ II/Athlon™ II/Sempron™ 100 Series Processors
Supports AM3+ 32 nm CPU
Supports CPU up to 8 cores
Supports CPU up to 140 W
AMD Cool 'n' Quiet™ Technology

AMD Socket AM3 ;Phenom™II /Athlon™II /Sempron™ 100 Series Processors
AMD 140W CPU Support
AMD Cool 'n' Quiet™ Technology
Supports 45nm CPU

Chipset

AMD 990FX/SB950

AMD 890FX/SB850

System Bus

HyperTransport 3.1

Up to 5200 MT/s ; HyperTransport™ 3.0

Memory

4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 2133(O.C.)/2000(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066 Hz ECC, Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture

4 x DIMM, Max. 16 GB, DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600(O.C.)/1333/1066 ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture

Multi-GPU Support

Supports NVIDIA® 3-Way SLI™ Technology
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology

Support ATI CrossFire™X Technology graphics cards

Expansion Slots

3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (dual x16 or x16, x8, x8)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x1
1 x PCI

3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (dual @ x16, triple @x16 x8 x8)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4
2 x PCI 2.2

Storage

AMD SB950 controller : 
6 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
ASMedia® ASM1061 controller : 
1 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red
1 x eSATA 6Gb/s port(s), red

SB850 Chipset
6 xSATA 6.0 Gb/s ports Support RAID 0,1,5,10
JMicron® JMB363 PATA and SATA controller
1 xSATA 3Gb/s port (Black)
1 xExternal power SATA 3Gb/s port on rear (SATA On-the-Go)

LAN

Intel®, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller

Marvell 88E8059 Gigabit LAN controller

Audio

SupremeFX X-Fi 2 built-in 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
– Supports Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
Audio Feature :
– X-Fi® Xtreme Fidelity™ 
– EAX® Advanced™ HD 5.0 
– THX® TruStudio PRO™
– Creative ALchemy 
– Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection 
– Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel

SupremeFX X-Fi built-in 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
– EAX® Advanced™ HD 4.0
– X-Fi CMSS®-3D
– X-Fi Crystalizer™
– Creative ALchemy
– Supports Blu-ray audio layer content protection
– Supports 1 Optical S/PDIF out port at back I/O
– Supports 1 x S/PDIF out header
– Supports Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking

USB

ASMedia® USB 3.0 controller :
6 x USB 3.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)
AMD SB950 controller :
12 x USB 2.0 port(s) (8 at back panel, black+white, 4 at mid-board)

NEC® USB 3.0 controller
– 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (at back I/O)
AMD SB850 chipset
– 12 x USB 2.0 ports (5 ports at mid-board, 7 ports at back I/O, 1 port at back I/O is also for ROG connect)

FireWire

-

2 x 1394a port(s) (1 port at back I/O, 1 port onboard)

ASUS Unique Features

ROG Connect :
– RC Diagram
– RC Remote
– RC Poster
– GPU TweakIt
Extreme Engine Digi+ :
– 8 + 2 phase power design
UEFI BIOS features :
– ROG BIOS Print
– GPU.DIMM Post
GameFirst
iROG
Extreme Tweaker
Overclocking Protection :
– COP EX (Component Overheat Protection – EX)
– Voltiminder LED
– ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)

ROG Connect
GameFirst
Extreme Tweaker
Power Design:
– 8+2 phase CPU power design
CPU Level Up
MemOK!
iROG
Loadline Calibration
Intelligent overclocking tools:
– ASUS TurboV Evo
– O.C Profile
Overclocking Protection:
– COP EX (Component Overheat Protection – EX)
– Voltiminder LED
– ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)

Overclocking Features

ASUS TPU :
– CPU Level UP
Core Unlocker
ASUS Exclusive Features :
– MemOK!
– AI Charger+
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution :
– ASUS Fan Xpert
ASUS EZ DIY :
– ASUS Q-Shield
– ASUS O.C. Profile
– ASUS EZ Flash 2
– ASUS MyLogo 3
ASUS Q-Design :
– ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
– ASUS Q-Connector

Turbo Unlocker
Turbo Key II
Core Unlocker
ASUS Q-Connector
ASUS Q-Shield
ASUS Q-Fan 2
ASUS EZ Flash 2
ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
ASUS MyLogo 3

Back Panel I/O Ports

1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
1 x eSATA 6Gb/s
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
4 x USB 3.0
8 x USB 2.0 (white port can be switched to ROG Connect)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
6 x Audio jack(s)
1 x Clear CMOS button(s)

1 x External SATA
1 x S/PDIF Out (Optical)
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x LAN(RJ45) port
8 -Channel Audio I/O
1 x PS/2 Keyboard port(purple)
2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
7 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (1 port is also for ROG Connect)
1 x ROG Connect On/Off switch
1 x Clr CMOS switch

Internal I/O Connectors

1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
7 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
2 x CPU Fan connector(s)
3 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
3 x Optional Fan connector(s)
1 x S/PDIF out header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s)
8 x ProbeIt Measurement Points
3 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x En/Dis-able Clr CMOS header(s)
1 x EZ Plug connector(s) (4-pin Molex power connector)
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x CPU Level Up button(s)
1 x ROG Connect switch(es)
1 x Go Button(s)

3 x USB 2.0 connectors supports additional 5 USB 2.0 ports
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors (Red)
1 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (Black)
8 x Fan connectors: 1 x CPU / 1 x PWR / 3 x Chassis / 3 x Optional
7 x ProbeIt measurement points
3 x Thermal sensor connectors
1 x IEEE1394a connector
1 x SPDIF_out connector
1 x 24-pin ATX power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
1 x En/Dis-able Clr CMOS switch
1 x Core unlocker switch
1 x Turbo key II switch
1 x Power on switch
1 x Reset switch
1 x OC Station Header
1 x Go Button
System panel connector

Accessories

User's manual
I/O Shield
6 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x 3-Way SLI bridge(s)
1 x SLI bridge(s)
1 x CrossFire cable(s)
1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
1 x ROG Connect cable(s)
1 x Cable ties pack(s)
1 x ROG theme label(s)
1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s)

User's manual
1 x I/O Shield
1 x ROG Connect Cable
1 x 2-in-1 ASUS Q-Connector Kit
1 x 2-in-1 SATA 6.0Gb/s Cables
2 x 2-in-1 SATA 3.0Gb/s Signal Cables
1 x 2-port USB2.0 + ESATA Module
1 x Crossfire Cable
1 x Cable Ties Pack
1 x ROG Theme Label
1 x 12-in-1 ROG Cable Label

BIOS

32Mb Flash ROM, UEFI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.5, ACPI2.0a, Multi-Language BIOS

16 Mb Flash ROM AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI2.0a Multi-Language BIOS

Manageability

WOL by PME, WOR by PME, PXE

WOL by PME,WOR by PME,PXE

Support Disc

Drivers
Sound Blaster® X-Fi 2 Utility
Kaspersky® Anti-Virus
DAEMON Tools Pro Standard
ROG CPU-Z
ASUS Utilities

Support DVD:
– Drivers and applications
* ASUS PC Probe II
* ASUS Update
* ASUS AI Suite
* Sound Blaster X-Fi Utility
* Kaspersky® Anti-Virus 1-year license

Form Factor

ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x24.5 cm )