- Socket: LGA 1151
- Chipset: Intel Z170
- RAM Slots: 4
- Memory: DDR4
- Ports: 1x PS/2, 1x DisplayPort, 1x HDMI, 1x LAN, 1x USB 3.1, 1x USB Type-C, 6x USB 3.0, 5x Audio ports, 1x Optical (SPDIF), 2x WiFi antenna port, 2x PCIe x16, 1x PCIe x4, 3x PCIe x1, 8x SATA 6Gb/s, 2x SATA Express
- Lots of features Cool design
- Benchmark Results
- PCMark 8 Home: 4,474 points
- PCMark 8 Creative: 5,003 points
- PCMark 8 Work: 3,801 points
It almost seems like yesterday when Intel launched its Z170 chipset, but OEMs are already biting into it, predicting that the enthusiast market is ready to upgrade. Are you? If so, then check out the new and shiny ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Formula.
The Maximus VIII Formula has an imposing design, with its all black shroud and RGB illumination. The RGB LEDs can light up in different ways, such as a breathing effect or just plain static. You can also add an additional 12V RGB strip of your choice with the built-in header. At the back, you’ll find a steel backplate filled with thermal pads to help conduct heat away from the major components. Even more interesting is the CrossChill EK, a cooling block placed over the MOSFET that enables you to do liquid cooling on it. The amount of thermal reduction on this motherboard is incredible and it works too, keeping temperatures noticeably lower than most motherboards. Overclockers are sure to appreciate this, because it means the limits to which this board can be overclocked could be very high.
It’s not a Maximus board without a tonne of I/O support. The Maximus VIII Formula has four DDR4 DIMM slots that support up to 3,733 MHz, onboard WiFi for 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, and a USB 3.1 Type-C. Moreover, there is a total of eight SATA ports and two SATA express, as well as an onboard M.2 that can be connected to using a U.2 connector. For GPU support, there are three PCIe 3.0 with two that can run a SLi or CrossFireX setup.
The motherboard is equipped with the SupremeFX audio chipset and the Sonic Studio II programme. The programme proves handy when you need to tweak the audio, improve audio recording quality for those who like to cast or stream, and reduces noise so that you can hear in-game voice chat with greater clarity.
While having RGB lighting is a nice touch, it’s really just there for the aesthetics and has no practical use. But those who are who want something really special, you won’t be disappointed by the Maximus VIII Formula. Between its high performance, heat threshold and polished design, it is undoubtedly one of the best premium motherboards available now that money can buy. That’s if you can afford it, of course.
CHIP CONCLUDE: An amazing motherboard that can bring current hardware to its limits, provided you use liquid cooling. However, its performance and rich feature set will cost you an arm and a leg.
(previously published in issue February 2016)