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ASUS Z77 Chipset Motherboard Preview: Formula, Gene, mini-ITX

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: ASUS

Maximus V Formula and Gene

By far the most exciting motherboards we were shown were the pair of Maximus V models - the Formula and the Gene.  ASUS wouldn't confirm if an Extreme model would be released, but I can see no reason why they would stop that trend now.  

ASUS Maximus V Gene

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The infamous red and black color combination continues and the Gene board brings a level of overclocking performance we aren't used to see on mATX offerings.  It supports SLI and CrossFire with properly spaced PCIe slots, has integrated power and reset buttons for out-of-case testing and more.

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The external configuration reveals the array of USB connections, eSATA, gold plated audio connections and an odd thing standing up there on the left hand side. 

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The mPCIe Combo card has BOTH an mPCIe slot on it and an mSATA slot to allow you to connect devices for WiFi, Bluetooth, 3G, GPS or an SSD directly to system.  Now you can enable SSD caching without having to have a specific case or even a 2.5-in SSD in your system.  This kind of flexibility is really sweet to see in a high powered board like the Maximus V Gene.

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ASUS Maximus V Formula

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The Formula model looks very similar though it expands on the feature set in some interesting ways.  Obviously this board will support 3-Way SLI and CrossFire though there is more to it than that.

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The external configuration is basically the same including the mPCIe Combo card. 

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The audio solution wasn't revealed yet, ASUS is claiming that the audio solution on the Formula model will be "better than most discrete options" thanks to a feature called SupremeFX Shielding.  They are claiming to have complete PCB isolation from the rest of the motherboard to allow for reduced EMI.  Oh, and it lights up too.

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The PLX chip seen here is responsible for making sure that the connected devices (USB 3.0 controllers, SATA controllers, etc) have enough bandwidth so that you aren't forced to disable any features on the motherboard - you can run everything at full speed.

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Finally, the return of the integrated water cooled chipset is here!  The Fusion Thermo System is half heat-pipe and half water block to allow for combination cooling if you want to integrate it.

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March 6, 2012 | 06:31 AM - Posted by Mangix

that first mini itx board with the 90 degree 8 phase power is sexy. with it you can pack some serious power in a small case. this is just awesome.

March 6, 2012 | 12:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I hope Asus supplies those matched dust covers with their ROG offerings as well. I know a lot of people will be ready to pay little extra for dust protection.

March 6, 2012 | 12:31 PM - Posted by BigJayDogg3 (not verified)

The Sabertooth? Or the GENE? Decisions, decisions.

March 6, 2012 | 02:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

i think i like that z77 work sation board but only one pcie 3.0 slot? am i reading correctly? also does anyone know the form factor of the board? atx?

March 6, 2012 | 04:04 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

You did not read it correctly. He said that the way that they have enough bandwidth to supply all 4 slots is using PCIe 3.0 PLX Chip. So its an actual chip rather than a slot.

March 6, 2012 | 03:01 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Probably in the minority, but wish the Pro model did not have PCI slots, or one at most.

March 6, 2012 | 04:08 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

I really just can't justify to myself why I would ever want to spend $300 on a motherboard like the Maximus. I've done it before - I bought the very first EVGA X58 Classified board on the day it was released, but got rid of it about a month later (on ebay for $100 more than i paid!). To me $100 for a good board makes sense, but that $200 extra should be spent on other components, assuming there is a budget.

March 6, 2012 | 05:19 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I think the Formula board we featured here will be more in the $200 range actually. The Extreme board might be much higher though.

March 7, 2012 | 12:23 AM - Posted by PapaDragon

Excellent preview!! Lots of goodies,especially The Maximus 4 Formula, OMG, that's a work of Art...and the Gene.

"The external configuration reveals the array of USB connections, eSATA, gold plated audio connections and an *odd thing standing up there on the left hand side*." LMFAO!!

@Ryan, excuse my noobness, but are those two optical out ports on the Maximus V Formula??
http://www.pcper.com/image/view/11511?return=node%2F53780

I know that the one on the right is a optical port, but what's the one on top of the HDMI port for?

Edit: Ok, Bios reset button!

March 11, 2012 | 10:38 PM - Posted by R (not verified)

P8Z77-I Deluxe mITX

My god that thing is pure sex.
Please let it be stable and not burn up after 6 mo.'s

I don't even care what it costs.

March 17, 2012 | 10:27 AM - Posted by Antillar (not verified)

Wow! If $200 is the correct price rance, there is no reason to buy anything else but the Maximus. I've owned the Maximus II Formula and it was the best board I have ever used. Looks like this continues the trend.

March 17, 2012 | 10:28 AM - Posted by Antillar (not verified)

range*

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