ASUS ROG Maximus V Formula/ThunderFX (Z77) Review
Here we have the Maximus V Formula in its full naked glory. Even without its heatsinks on, it is one of the prettiest piece of hardware that we ever had in our lab.
No room for stupid "MOAR PHAZES" marketing shenegians here as ASUS deploy a sensible 8+4 phase digital power design that is more than adequate even for the most extreme subzero experiments.
Unlike the NXP LF-PAK variety that we've seen previously during our Maximus V Gene and Extreme reviews, it is instead Infinion 0906NS MOSFETs that are used for the high side and 0901NS for the low side, with a IR3598 phase doubler in between. These have fairly decent electrical characteristics, although not as potent as the IR3550 Powerstages found on the EVGA Z77 FTW and the new Gigabyte Ultra Durable 5 boards such as the Z77X-UP5 TH.
As usual, ASUS's DIGI+ PWM controller (speculated to be rebranded CHL8328) makes its way here to provide precise and decisive power control in most punishing and energy saving scenarios.
The inclusion of the extra 4-pin 12v connector next to the 8-pin EPS speaks volumes about the designer's intent – global warming inducing overclocking.
Situated at the edge of the board is also a plethora of conveniently placed Power/Reset buttons for easy access, and a unobstructed view of the PORT-80 debug LED which is a godsend when troubleshooting. The LN2 slow mode switch here helps extreme overclockers to bypass "cold bugs" during boot time or to buy some time when the system is about to crash. Multimeter probe points for the major voltage parameters are also provided but we would have preferred a socketed mechanism to allow for prolonged hands free monitoring.
One of the major selling points of the board is what ASUS calls "Fusion Thermo", which is a hybrid heatpipe and waterblock for the VRMs. Since most affluent ROG users are likely to own fancy water cooling systems, this is another example of the careful thought that went into the design of the board.
For those who are interested, the non-removable bulbs are of 3/8 OD variety.
When switched on, the board produces an attractive red underglow (reminds us of the first Abit Fata1ty board of yesteryears) as well as a pulsating ROG logo in the middle. We can categorically say that no other motherboard that we've had in 10 years at our labs comes close to the asthetics of this board.