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ASUS Maximus VII Formula Z97 Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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The ASUS Maximus VII Formula motherboard is one of the newest members of the ROG (Republic of Gamers) product line, integrating several new features to elevate the board to an entirely new level over is predecessor. From outward appearance the Maximus VII Formula looks very similar to its previous revision, the Maximus VI Formula. However, ASUS made some under-the-hood enhancements and minor layout adjustments to the board, utilizing the functionality of the integrated Intel Z97 chipset. The Maximus VII Formula comes with a premium MSRP of $369.00, but is well worth the cost given the premium feature set and performance potential of the board.

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ASUS designed the Maximus VII Formula motherboard with a top-rated 8-phase digital power delivery system, combining 60A-rated BlackWing chokes, NexFET MOSFETs with a 90% efficiency rating, and 10k Japanese-source Black Metallic capacitors, for unprecedented system stability under any circumstance. Additionally, ASUS integrate their updated SupremeFX Formula audio system for superior audio fidelity through the integrated audio ports. The Maximus VII Formula contains the following features integrated into its design: six SATA 3 ports; an M.2 (NGFF) 10 Gb/s port integrated into the ASUS mPCIe Combo III card; two SATA Express 10 Gb/s ports; an Intel I218V GigE NIC; an AzureWave (Broadcomm chipset) 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth controller integrated into the ASUS mPCIe Combo III card; three PCI-Express Gen3 x16 slots; three PCI-Express Gen2 x1 slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, Keybot, MemOK!, BIOS Flashback, ROG Connect, and Sonic SoundStage buttons; Probelt voltage measurement points; OC Panel support; SupremeFX Formula 2014 audio solution; CrossChill Hybrid air and water cooled VRM copper-based cooling solution; ROG Armor overlay; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Maximus VII Formula motherboard!

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Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS continued the tradition of adding their ROG Armor to the Maximus Formula line. The Maximus VII Formuls includes an ABS plastic overlay on top of the board with a steel plate covering its bottom. The overlay on top of the board is plastic, offering protection to the top mounted components as well as an optimized cooling path. The ROG Armor bottom plate is constructed of steel with thermal padding in key areas to give the board more rigidity, to protect the sensitive underbelly of the board, and to further aid with board heat dissipation.

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Technical Specifications (taken from the ASUS website)

CPU Intel® Socket 1150 for the 5th/New 4th/4th Generation Core™ i7/Core™ i5/Core™ i3/Pentium®/Celeron® Processors
Supports Intel® 22 nm CPU
Supports Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0
* The Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 support depends on the CPU types.
* Refer to www.asus.com for CPU support list
Chipset Intel® Z97
Memory 4 x DIMM, Max. 32GB, DDR3 3300(O.C.) / 3200(O.C.) / 3100(O.C.) / 3000(O.C.) / 2933(O.C.) / 2800(O.C.) / 2666(O.C.) / 2400(O.C.) / 2133(O.C.) / 2000(O.C.) / 1866(O.C.) / 1600 / 1333 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel Memory Architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
* Hyper DIMM support is subject to the physical characteristics of individual CPUs.
** Refer to www.asus.com for the Memory QVL (Qualified Vendors Lists).
Graphic Integrated Graphics Processor- Intel® HD Graphics support
Multi-VGA output support: HDMI/DisplayPort 1.2 ports
- Supports HDMI with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz
- Supports DisplayPort with max. resolution 4096 x 2160 @ 24 Hz / 3840 x 2160 @ 60 Hz
Supports Intel® InTru™ 3D, Quick Sync Video, Clear Video HD Technology, Insider™
Multi-GPU Support Supports NVIDIA® Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology
Supports AMD 3-Way CrossFireX™ Technology
Expansion Slots 2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x4 mode) *1
3 x PCIe 2.0 x1
1 x mini-PCIe 2.0 x1 *2

1. The PCIe 2.0 x 16 slot (PCIEX4_3) shares bandwidth with SATAExpress_E1 connector. The default setting is in Auto mode that automatically optimizes the system bandwidth. If you install PCIe 2.0 x4 device, the system will automatically detect and disable SATAExpress_E1 connector.
2. The mPCIe slot is on mPCIe Combo III card and pre-installed with a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module.

Storage Intel® Z97 chipset:
1 x SATA Express port, compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
1 x M.2 Socket 3, , with M Key, type 2260 storage devices support (both SATA & PCIE mode)
4 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red
Support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
Supports Intel® Smart Response Technology, Intel® Rapid Start Technology, Intel® Smart Connect Technology *3

ASMedia® SATA Express controller: *4
1 x SATA Express port, compatible with 2 x SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports

ASMedia® ASM1061 controller: *4
2 x SATA 6Gb/s port(s), red

3. The functions support depends on the CPU types.
4. These SATA ports are for data hard drives only. ATAPI devices are not supported.

LAN Intel® I218V, 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller(s), featuring GAMEFIRST III
Intel® LAN- Dual interconnect between the Integrated LAN controller and Physical Layer (PHY)
Anti-surge LANGuard
Wireless Data Network Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Supports dual band frequency 2.4/5 GHz
Bluetooth Bluetooth V4.0
Audio ROG SupremeFX Formula 2014 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Supports: Jack-detection, Multi-streaming
- SupremeFX Shielding Technology
- Cirrus Logic® CS4398 DAC: 120 dB SNR, -107 dB THD+N (Max. 192 kHz/ 24 -bit)
- WIMA® film capacitors
- ELNA® premium audio capacitors
- TI LM4562 high-fidelity audio OP AMP(s)
Audio Feature:
- Blu-ray audio layer Content Protection
- DTS Connect
- Optical S/PDIF out port(s) at back panel
- Sonic SoundStage
- Sonic SenseAmp
- Sonic Studio
- Sonic Radar II
USB Ports Intel® Z97 chipset: *5
6 x USB 3.0 port(s) (4 at back panel, blue, 2 at mid-board)

Intel® Z97 chipset: *6
6 x USB 2.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, black, 4 at mid-board)

ASMedia® USB 3.0 controller:
2 x USB 3.0 port(s) (2 at back panel, blue)

5. Support ASUS USB 3.0 Boost, UASP standard on the Intel native USB 3.0 is only supported under Windows® 8.1/8.
6. 2 x USB2.0 port at mid-board shares with ROG extension (ROG_EXT) port.

ROG Exclusive Features CrossChill Copper (Hybrid air and liquid cooling)*7
ROG Armor (including top cover and SECC steel backplate)*8
mPCIe Combo III (mPCIe/M.2 combo card)
ROG Connect:
- RC Diagram
- RC Remote
- RC Poster
Extreme Engine Digi+ III:
- 8 + 2 phase power design
- NexFET™ Power Block MOSFET
- 60A BlackWing Chokes
- 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
ProbeIt
KeyBot
- CPU Level Up
- XMP
- Direct Key
UEFI BIOS features:
- GPU.DIMM Post
- Tweakers' Paradise
- ROG SSD Secure Erase
- Graphic Card Information Preview
ROG RAMDisk
GameFirst III
Extreme Tweaker

7. Supports G1/4" threaded fittings. Fittings require separate purchase.
8. Chassis must conform to ATX specification for successful installation: brass stand-offs of at least 6mm are required.

Special Features 5-Way Optimization by Dual Intelligent Processors 5
- Whole system optimization with a single click! 5-Way Optimization tuning key perfectly consolidates TPU, EPU, DIGI+ Power Control, Fan Xpert 3, and Turbo App together, providing better CPU performance, efficient power saving, precise digital power control, whole system cooling and even tailor your own app usages.
Gamer's Guardian:
- ESD Guards on LAN, Audio, KBMS and USB3.0/2.0 ports
- DRAM Overcurrent Protection
- 10K Black Metallic Capacitors
- Stainless Steel Back I/O
ASUS Wi-Fi GO!
- Wi-Fi GO! Function: Cloud GO!, Remote Desktop, Remote Keyboard & Mouse, File Transfer
- Wi-Fi GO! & NFC Remote app for portable smartphone/tablet, supporting iOS 7 & Android 4.0 systems
ASUS Exclusive Features:
- MemOK!
- AI Suite 3
- Ai Charger+
- USB Charger+
- USB 3.0 Boost
- Disk Unlocker
ASUS EZ DIY:
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
- ASUS USB BIOS Flashback
- Push Notice
ASUS Q-Design:
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-Code
- ASUS Q-LED (CPU, DRAM, VGA, Boot Device LED)
- ASUS Q-Slot
- ASUS Q-DIMM
- ASUS Q-Connector
Overclocking Protection:
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Media Streamer
Operating System Support Windows® 8.1 x86 x64
Windows® 8 x86 x64
Windows® 7 x86 x64
Back I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo port(s)
1 x DisplayPort
1 x HDMI
1 x LAN (RJ45) port(s)
6 x USB 3.0 (blue)
2 x USB 2.0 (one port can be switched to ROG Connect)
1 x Optical S/PDIF out
6 x Audio jack(s)
1 x Clear CMOS button(s)
1 x ROG Connect On/ Off switch(es)
Internal I/O Ports 1 x USB 3.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 2 USB 3.0 port(s)
2 x USB 2.0 connector(s) support(s) additional 4 USB 2.0 port(s)
2 x SATA Express connector: red,
1 x TPM header
6 x SATA 6Gb/s connector(s)
1 x CPU Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
1 x CPU OPT Fan connector(s) (1 x 4 -pin)
6 x Chassis Fan connector(s) (6 x 4 -pin)
1 x Thunderbolt header(s)
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector(s)
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector(s)
1 x Front panel audio connector(s) (AAFP)
1 x System panel(s) (Q-Connector)
1 x MemOK! button(s)
10 x ProbeIt Measurement Points
1 x Thermal sensor connector(s)
1 x Power-on button(s)
1 x Reset button(s)
1 x mPCIe Combo III connector(s)
1 x ROG extension (ROG_EXT) header(s)
1 x KeyBot Button
1 x Sonic SoundStage Button
Accessories User's manual
I/O Shield
8 x SATA 6Gb/s cable(s)
1 x ASUS 2T2R dual band Wi-Fi moving antennas (Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac compliant)
1 x SLI bridge(s)
1 x Q-connector(s) (2 in 1)
1 x 12 in 1 ROG Cable Label(s)
1 x mPCIe Combo III card(s) with dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth v4.0 module
1 x ROG Door Hanger(s)
1 x Watch Dog game coupon
BIOS 64 Mb Flash ROM, UEFI AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.7, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.8, ACPI 5.0, Multi-language BIOS
Manageability WfM2.0, DMI2.7, WOL by PME, PXE
Support Disc Drivers
ROG GameFirst III
ROG RAMDisk
ROG CPU-Z
ROG Mem TweakIt
Kaspersky® Anti-Virus
DAEMON Tools Pro Standard
ASUS WebStorage
HomeCloud
ASUS Utilities
Form Factor ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

 


October 8, 2014 | 02:08 PM - Posted by hoxlund

Bought this board with a 4790k cpu about a month ago. Replaced my MSI A88X G45 Gaming rig with a 7850k kaveri.

Such a huge upgrade. Rock solid performance. can go to 4.8GHz no issue. Using a Silverstone TD03 water cooler.

LOVE THIS BOARD!

October 8, 2014 | 07:26 PM - Posted by deadbc77

Also have 4790k with this motherboard,my first motherboard with Asus. Usually go with MSI,but with 4.8ghz 1.25v i really love this board.

October 8, 2014 | 09:57 PM - Posted by Morry Teitelman

That's a nice CPU you've got there...

October 13, 2014 | 09:59 AM - Posted by c plus plus (not verified)

Me too. Asus is just fantastic and i am loving Mr Ryan's hard work all the way from Ghana west Africa.

October 9, 2014 | 02:12 AM - Posted by Laststop (not verified)

This board is almost perfect. They messed up big time only including a pci-e 2.0 x2 m2 slot instead of a pci-e 3.0 x4 ultra m2 slot. It's a huge difference 10gbit/sec vs 32gbit/sec and lower latency since the pci-e is connected directly to the cpu instead of the pch. Would much rather have the the ultra m2 slot even though that means with an m2 ssd installed in an ultra m2 slot you only have 1 x8 and 1x4 pci-e 3.0 slots left for GPU. Limiting you to 1 nvidia gpu or 2 AMD gpu's. I only use single gpu setups so really an ultra m2 slot is a requirement for me.

This would of been a perfect motherboard if they wouldn't of bungled the m2 slot. Such a shame.

October 11, 2014 | 04:13 PM - Posted by PhoneyVirus

Almost everything in the specification list is the same as the Asus Maximus VII Hero, 60A-rated BlackWing chokes 10K capacitors etc. There's very little not to like about the motherboard and there's a lot to hated about their software bundle.

Don't install their software bundle as it could lead to a pure headache or worst a nightmare. I never in my life did I have so much problems with Corsair Link and Asus software bundle, there's countless complains about their software not to mention the problems with Firmware, he's one in the event viewer, it's tell me the follow error.

Event 13:

The embedded controller (EC) did not respond within the specified timeout period. This may indicate that there is an error in the EC hardware or firmware or that the BIOS is accessing the EC incorrectly. You should check with your computer manufacturer for an upgraded BIOS. In some situations, this error may cause the computer to function incorrectly.

These are the things like this that can't be seen because there is no way they have all that time to fine pick, test and tweak so many setting to see such problems. The only advice I can give you is that you always check the manufacturers forum before purchasing any motherboard.

PhoneyVirus
https://twitter.com/PhoneyVirus
https://phoneyvirus.wordpress.com/

October 13, 2014 | 10:02 AM - Posted by c plus plus (not verified)

Morry Teitelman is also great please keep it up

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