When it comes to motherboards, ASUS seems to be of the opinion that more is better. (For the record, that’s just fine with us.) The MAXIMUS VI FORMULA is a perfect example.
This Z87-based motherboard is overflowing with features, including a set of threaded fittings to install liquid- cooling barbs on the VRM heatsink, digital power delivery, premium sound, speedy storage, enhanced durability, and loads of connectivity. To top it all off, the MAXIMUS VI FORMULA looks cool, thanks to the ROG Armor that covers much of the front and back of the PCB. Let’s see how well this armored motherboard withstands our piercing scrutiny and punishing benchmarks.
Specs: Max memory: 32GB (DDR3-1600; Max OC: DDR-300); Slots: 3 PCI-E 3.0 x16; 3 PCI-E 2.0 x1; Storage: 10 6Gbps SATA ports; 1 M.2 port (supports type 2242 SSD
card); Rear I/O: 1 DisplayPort, 1 HDMI, 6 USB 3.0, 4 USB 2.0, 1 optical S/PDIF out, audio I/O, clear CMOS button, ROG Connect On/Off; Form Factor: ATX; Warranty: 3 years
Test system specs: Processor: Intel Core i7-4770K; GPU: ASUS ROG POSEIDON-GTX780-P-3GD5; RAM: 8GB ADATA XPG V2 DDR3-2400; Storage: 128GB Crucial
RealSSD C300; OS: Windows 8 Enterprise (64-bit)
Motherboard temperatures can impact a CPU’s overclocking headroom, but because waterblocks for a motherboard’s VRM and PCH aren’t readily available, system builders usually have to rely on their boards’ passive heatsinks to do the job. On the MAXIMUS VI FORMULA, ASUS adds its CrossChill VRM heatsink, which features two G1/4 threaded fittings. We like that ASUS opts to use standardized threaded fittings rather than building barbs into the waterblock, because you’ll be able to use barbs and hoses that match your existing cooling loop.
Inside the CrossChill, there are water channel fins that increase the surface area for improved heat transfer. ASUS also installs a leak-proof rubber gasket to ensure a tight seal with the heatsink. According to ASUS, incorporating the CrossChill heatsink into your loop can reduce MOSFET temperatures by up to 23 degrees Celsius.
Naturally, the heatsink over the VRM functions perfectly well as a passive cooler if you’d prefer to keep it dry, so to speak.
The MAXIMUS VI FORMULA’s ROG Armor helps to lower system temperature, too. The ABS top cover thwarts any errant heat radiating from your graphics card(s).
Thermal pads below the ROG Armor can move heat away from key components. It only makes sense to surround such a high-end board with equally high-end components, and the MAXIMUS VI FORMULA is more than happy to oblige. ASUS provides support for memory speeds up to DDR3-3000, for example. You can use up to 80% of your system’s memory (the motherboard supports a maximum of 32GB) to create a ROG RAMDisk that serves as a high- speed virtual storage drive. The RAM- based storage is 20 times faster than an SSD, according to ASUS, making it excellent for storing game images and any other important apps. Gamers will also like that the motherboard supports up to 2-way SLI or 3-way CrossFire.
ASUS has given this board’s integrated audio an injection of awesome, using a host of high-quality components that fall under the banner “SupremeFX Formula.” ELNA audio capacitors deliver outstanding fidelity and clarity, while WIMA film capacitors enhance high- and low-frequency sounds.
Those with high-end headphones will like that the board sports a 600ohm headphone amplifier and a Cirrus Logic headphone digital/analog converter with a 120dB signal-to-noise ratio. The whole audio path is physically shielded from electromagnetic interference using SupremeFX Shielding technology. Gamers can even take advantage of ASUS’ Sonic Radar technology to show them where sounds and opponents are coming from via an in-game overlay. When you need to issue orders to your teammates, the board’s built-in digital signal processing removes background noise, making your commands crystal clear.
The MAXIMUS VI FORMULA goes all out with connectivity. ASUS provides you with a ROG mini PCI-E combo module that supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0. The module also offers an M.2 socket where you can install a type 2242 SSD card. ASUS complements the built-in Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller with its ROG GameFirst II software that prioritizes network performance for games and critical applications. For internally connectivity, there are 10 6Gbps SATA ports, and headers are available to let you add more USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, as well as an additional S/PDIF audio out. There are even eight controllable fan headers spread throughout board. It’s a well-thought-out PCB design.
As is fitting with this motherboard, we tested it with the best components we could find, including a Core i7-4770K, an ASUS ROG POSEIDON-GTX780-P-3GD5, and 8GB of ADATA XPG V2 DDR3-2400.
The motherboard performed superbly in all of our tests. In 3DMark Professional’s Fire Strike Extreme test, we logged an overall score of 4694 and a graphics score of 4875.
The motherboard scored high marks in the processor-intensive Cinebench 11.5 and POV-Ray 3.7 Beta—8.55 points and 1607.86 pixels per second, respectively. SiSoftware Sandra’s Memory Bandwidth test showed that the MAXIMUS VI FORMULA took full advantage of the 2,400MHz ADATA memory, with speeds near 26GBps.
ASUS has done a great job of ensuring that every aspect of the motherboard enhances your overall PC experience. The overclocking capabilities and lightning-fast RAMDisk storage also mean that enthusiasts will be able to push the performance envelope with ease. There’s really no doubt that the MAXIMUS VI FORMULA is a power user’s motherboard.