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.
|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.
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:
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
AMD AM3+ FX™/Phenom™ II/Athlon™ II/Sempron™ 100 Series Processors
AMD Socket AM3 ;Phenom™II /Athlon™II /Sempron™ 100 Series Processors
Up to 5200 MT/s ; HyperTransport™ 3.0
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
4 x DIMM, Max. 16 GB, DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600(O.C.)/1333/1066 ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Supports NVIDIA® 3-Way SLI™ Technology
Support ATI CrossFire™X Technology graphics cards
3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (dual x16 or x16, x8, x8)
3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (dual @ x16, triple @x16 x8 x8)
AMD SB950 controller :
Intel®, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller
Marvell 88E8059 Gigabit LAN controller
SupremeFX X-Fi 2 built-in 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
SupremeFX X-Fi built-in 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
ASMedia® USB 3.0 controller :
NEC® USB 3.0 controller
2 x 1394a port(s) (1 port at back I/O, 1 port onboard)
ASUS Unique Features
ROG Connect :
ASUS TPU :
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
1 x External SATA
Internal I/O Connectors
1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)
3 x USB 2.0 connectors supports additional 5 USB 2.0 ports
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
WOL by PME, WOR by PME, PXE
WOL by PME,WOR by PME,PXE
ATX Form Factor
ATX Form Factor