Review Index:
Feedback

ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Intel Z390 Motherboard Review

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

UEFI Features

ASUS bundled the ROG Maximus XI Formula motherboard with the latest revision of their ASUS UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) implementation, a customized version of the AMI baseline UEFI BIOS replacement. The UEFI offers full keyboard and mouse support while using the BIOS pages. ASUS changed the way mouse right-click functions in their UEFI implementation with right-click having no impact on the screen. By default, the user sees the EZ mode screen when entering the UEFI. The Advanced mode screens accessible via the Exit/Advanced Mode button at the upper right corner of the screen or by hitting the F7 function key. Advanced mode screens can be set for the default user interface via the UEFI Boot menu as well.

As we've stated in previous reviews, the ASUS UEFI implementation remains among the best out there. The UEFI is very responsive to both keyboard and mouse input with almost no lag or questionable click-space evident anywhere. The UEFI is designed in an intuitive manner so that both novice and advance BIOS users can quickly find what they are looking for. The EZ Mode screen lays out everything in a highly readable format, while the Advanced Mode tabbed layout displays as you would expect from a traditional BIOS. ASUS also gives you the ability to taken screen captures from within the BIOS by pressing the F12 key with those screen-caps saved in a 1024x768 bitmap format to an attached USB device. From the Tools menu, ASUS houses their collection of of BIOS-related tools and applets, ranging from an UEFI-based updater (EZ Flash3) to their full UEFI profile load and save utility.

UEFI Notable Features

ASUS continues to revise and enhance their UEFI interface, exposing several new features specific to the Coffee Lake processor and Z300 series board lines. Updated and notable features include the EZ Mode page, the Advanced mode My Favorites tab, Shortcut screen, a graphical fan tuning interface, a graphical EZ Tuning Wizard interface, the AI Overclocking Guide interface and wizard, a keyword setting search feature,and a list of recent changes listed on the Save popup.

View Full Size

EZ Mode page

The EZ Mode page presents information organized into sections in an easy-to-read manner for those users who do not want to be bothered with the labyrinth of the Advanced Mode settings. ASUS enhanced this interface with an animated background, making for an interested effect.

View Full Size

My Favorites tab, populated

View Full Size

My Favorites & Shortcut setup popup

The My Favorites tab houses user selected settings for access to these from a centralized location. To access, select the My Favorites tab from within the Advanced Mode interface. Note that if a menu or sub-menu is added to this page, all fields on that page will be added. The real strength in this My Favorites tab implementation comes with the ability to mix and match commonly used options in a central location, rather than having to hunt them down through multiple sub-levels of menus.

View Full Size

Advanced mode, Search by Keyword page

The Search page, accessed from a link at the top of the Advanced mode page or by pressing the F9 function key, displays all settings that match the entered search terms. This can save the user a huge amount of time, especially when trying to find that one key setting buried under numerous sub-menus within the UEFI.

View Full Size

Q-Fan Tuning page

The Q-Fan Tuning page allows for graphical configuration of fan operation based on predefined threshold levels. The interface is similar in nature to the Windows-based Fan Xpert 4 fan configuration interface and is a nice touch in-lei of the text-based configuration approach. The Q-Fan Tuning page is accessed by clicking on the Manual Fan Tuning button within the EZ Mode page.

View Full Size

Easy Tuning Wizard - RAID Page

The EZ Tuning Wizard can be accessed by clicking the EZ Tuning Wizard link in the page header from within the EZ Mode page or the Advanced Mode interface. This wizard can be used to drive RAID setup based on user selections made within the wizard interface. BIOS automated overclocking function for the Maximus XI Formula are covered via the AI OC Guide interface or settings within the Extreme Tweaker page.

View Full Size

AI OC Guide

The EZ Tuning Wizard can be accessed by hitting F11 function key or via the AI OC Guide link in the page header from within the EZ Mode page or the Advanced Mode interface. The AI OC Guide page describes in detail how to use and configuring the AI Overlocking feature implemented in the UEFI.

View Full Size

Advanced Mode, Tools tab, ASUS Overclocking Profile page

ASUS allows for storing up to eight UEFI profiles through the ASUS User Profiles page within the Tools tab in the Advanced mode interface. The saved profiles contain all user configured settings from the UEFI, and can be saved to or restored from any attached storage device.

View Full Size

Advanced Mode, Tools tab, ASUS EZ Flash 3 page

The ASUS EZ Flash 3 utility was updated, allowing for BIOS update via an attached drive or through a network connection. When selecting the network update method, the utility launches a network connection wizard for getting the most up to date BIOS file from the ASUS servers.

View Full Size

Advanced Mode, Save & Reset popup

The Save & Reset page displays to the user a scrollable list of all UEFI changes made since the last save. Listed changes are not committed to BIOS memory until saved by the user. Note that the same list displays when the user chooses any of the save settings from the Exit page or the Last Modified option with Advanced Mode active.

View Full Size

AURA ON/OFF popup

The settings for configuring the onboard RGB LEDs via the UEFI is limited to various versions of enabling or disabling the LEDs only. This can be done by click the AURU ON/OFF link in the header of the UEFI or by click on the F4 function key. However, there is no interface in the UEFI to configure the behavior and color of the integrate RGB LEDS (or attached LED strips). You are forced to use the Windows-based AURA applet to configure the behavior of the RGB LEDs.

View Full Size

Advanced Mode, Extreme Tweaker tab, Tweaker's Paradise page

View Full Size

Advanced Mode, Extreme Tweaker tab, Tweaker's Paradise page continued

To cater to the extreme overclockers, ASUS exposed many esoteric board settings not normally exposed to the end user and housed them in the Tweaker's Paradise menu. This menu contains voltage, timing, and bus settings for those of you trying to squeeze every last ounce of speed and stability out of you overclocked board. It contains settings for tweaking everything from CPU internal settings to PCI-Express bus related settings. Enjoy your time in the Tweaker's Paradise.

View Full Size

Advanced Mode, Extreme Tweaker tab

The Extreme Tweaker tab houses the settings controlling all board overclocking settings. The AVX Instruction Core Ratio Negative Offset setting allows the user to control the CPU core ratio when running programs using the AVX instruction set. This is to reduce processor heat since AVX processing is some of the most processor intensive operations.

View Full Size

Advanced mode, Extreme Tweaker tab, Overclocking Presets page

ASUS included several presets for overclocking your processor via the Overclocking Presets page, accessed via the link within the Extreme Tweaker tab. The presets include speed specific targets as well as base clock specific targets.

View Full Size

Advanced mode, Extreme Tweaker tab

Nested within the CPU voltage settings on the Ai Tweaker tab is a setting named BCLK Aware Adaptive Voltage that enables UEFI-enhanced voltage regulation based on the currently active base clock value. Also in the voltage section is the enhanced Adaptive Mode voltage settings for the CPU Core and Cache voltages.

View Full Size

Advanced mode, Extreme Tweaker tab, AI Features page

The AI Features page, accessed from a link within the Extreme Tweaker tab, houses settings used by the AI OC Guide wizard for UEFI-enabled overclocking and board regulation.

UEFI Walkthrough highlights - Advanced mode interface

Extreme Tweaker tab

The Extreme Tweaker tab houses various sub-tabs and settings for controlling motherboard performance settings. The other settings are logically divided up between the linked pages - DRAM Timing Control, External DIGI+ Power Control, Internal CPU Power Management, Tweaker's Paradise, AI Features, and DRAM REF Voltage Control .

View Full Size

Extreme Tweaker tab tab

View Full Size

Extreme Tweaker tab, frequency settings and sub-menu links

View Full Size

Extreme Tweaker tab, CPU cache and voltage settings

View Full Size

Extreme Tweaker tab, voltage settings continued

View Full Size

Extreme Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page

View Full Size

Extreme Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, Memory Presets page

View Full Size

Extreme Tweaker tab, DRAM Timing Control page, Memory Presets page, Memory-specific presets page

View Full Size

Extreme Tweaker tab tab, DIGI+ VRM page

View Full Size

Extreme Tweaker tab tab, DIGI+ VRM page continued

View Full Size

Extreme Tweaker tab tab, Internal CPU Power Management page

View Full Size

Extreme Tweaker tab, DRAM REF Voltage Control page

Main tab

The Main tab displays board model and BIOS version information, as well as housing the language selection and system time and date settings.

View Full Size

Main tab

Advanced tab

The Advanced tab houses settings owithin linked sub-tabs for controlling the various subsystems and devices integrated into the motherboard, like the PCIe M.2 slots, SATA ports, USB slots, etc.

View Full Size

Advanced tab

View Full Size

Advanced tab, System Agent (SA) Configuration page

Monitor tab

The Monitor tab contains settings related to BIOS monitored temperature, voltage, and fan speed settings. Additionally, fan header operation can be configured via settings at the page bottom (in addition to using the graphical based Qfan Control functionality).

View Full Size

Monitor tab

View Full Size

Monitor tab continued

View Full Size

Monitor tab, Q-Fan Configuration page

Boot tab

The Boot tab contains settings related to system initialization and boot, including the boot override settings. CSM (Compatibility Support Module) and Secure Boot settings can also be configured via the links at the bottom of the tab.

View Full Size

Boot tab

Tool tab

The Tool tab houses all ASUS-specific customizations to the UEFI, logically grouped in the linked sub-pages. ASUS customizations include a BIOS flash utility, SSD secure erase functionality, a UEFI profile load and save app, memory-based SPD information display, the ability to enable/disable the ASUS Armoury Crate functionality, and graphical PCIe-based card information. The Armoury Crate function automatically installs all board drivers and utilities without the need for a driver disk.

View Full Size

Tool tab

View Full Size

Tool tab, SSD Secure Erase page

View Full Size

Tool tab, ASUS SPD Information page

View Full Size

Tool tab, ASUS Armoury Crate page

View Full Size

Tool tab, Graphics Card Information page

View Full Size

Tool tab, Graphics Card Information page, GPU Post page

Video News


February 25, 2019 | 04:14 PM - Posted by Ripersnifel (not verified)

I was under the impression that this board has the same VRM as the lower cost z390 maximus boards - which is not a true ten phase, but a 4 phase with doublers +2 for power to the igpu - or something along those lines.

February 25, 2019 | 08:19 PM - Posted by Marc M. (not verified)

Actually it's a 4 + 2 phase VRM. Four phases are for the CPU, and each phase has two power stages. The problem with that is the efficiency that goes out the window, and the inductance gets cut in half. The other two phases are for the iGPU. And it's not like ASUS uses some kind of super high end VRM components, or they know something that no one else does. ASUS just wants to save money, and when you can save $30 per motherboard on VRM design, it quickly adds to millions. If you want a motherboard with decent VRM, get the Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Xtreme. I never liked Gigabyte much, but damn, they stepped up their game!

February 27, 2019 | 07:15 PM - Posted by Brett Hood (not verified)

Thanks Morry great write up this is a seriously attractive M/B highly quality all the way through

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.