ASUS ROG Maximus V Formula/ThunderFX (Z77) Review
In this section we will look at the expansion and connectivity options provided by the Maximus V Formula.
Over at the I/O panel, we can see that the team had the profile of the users of this board in mind during the design process, dropping onboard VGA/DVI connectors to make way for other options since a powerful discrete GPU(s) will most likely be used. The lack of a PS/2 port will disappoint some benchmark record chasing users wanting to conserve every precious CPU cycle without the bane of incessant USB polling.
For wireless networking connectivity, ASUS has bundled a Broadcom based 802.11AGBN + Bluebooth 4.0 mPCIe module which also has an mSATA slot on the flip side for further storage expansion.
The ASUS engineers have paid extra attention to the integrated audio solution on this board, choosing to upgrade the previous generation Realtek based "SupremeFX III" to its fourth iteration, which now includes front panel headphone amplification and audiophile quality capacitors on a carefully crafted audio path, pushing the output signal to noise ratio to a purported 110dB. Honestly though, we would rather see manufacturers implement sound on a discrete shielded PCIe card or external box instead of finding space on already crowded and electrically noisy motherboard PCB.
Onboard expansion wise the Maximus V Formula depends on the usual two 6Gb/s + four SATA 3Gb/s from the Z77 PCH and an additional ASMedia ASM1061 controller to provide another two SATA ports.
Thunderbolt connectivity is also enabled via a separately sold expansion card.
Like most other Z77 boards, the Maximus V Formula have the capability to support up to three way CrossfireX/SLI in a x16+0+0/x8+8+0/x8+4+4 PCIe 3.0 lane configuration. Legacy PCI slots have also been ditched here so that there isn't any slower buses adding latency or causing overclocking bottlenecks.