ASUS Z77 LGA1155 Motherboards Preview

Author: MAC
Date: March 13, 2012
Product Name: ASUS Z77
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Maximus V Formula & Maximus V GENE

You can't have an ASUS motherboard preview without some Republic of Gamers (RoG) models, these ones are sweet.

Click on image to enlarge

The Maximus V Formula represents, at least for the moment, the hardcore enthusiast-oriented motherboard. With that in mind, it features the new ROG Fusion Thermo heatsink that offers the choice of air or watercooling of the VRM area. The M5F features an 8 + 4 + 2 digital phase power design, but unlike the VRM on the other motherboards, this one is labelled as DIGI+ II not just DIGI+. Aside from using better capacitors, we don't know yet know exactly what the differences are, but obviously ASUS wouldn't shortchange their highest-end model.

ASUS is confident enough in the overclocking capabilities of their RoG motherboards that they have unveiled a new overclocking database called ROG Exchange, which will not only allow users to upload their OC profiles, but also browse, compare, and even download the profiles of other overclockers. If you are interested in determining whether your memory settings are optimal, the new MEM TweakIt feature will quickly reveal your memory efficiency and allow you to compare how fare compared to other overclockers.

Below the second PCI-E x16 slot, you can probably spot the PLX switch which is used to create more PCI-E for onboard devices. This is PCI-E 2.0 bridge chip, not the fancier 3.0 variety used on the Workstation model. So with that in mind, you can expect 2-Way SLI and 2-Way CrossFireX capability on this model. On the audio front, this particular model has been outfitted with the new SupremeFX IV unit. While ASUS is touting how it is EMI shielded from the rest of the system, nothing was revealed when it comes to the actual codec used, so we will have to wait until we have a board on hand to see what hardware is being used.

We have kept the coolest bit for last, mPCIe Combo is little riser card that is exclusive to the Republic of Gamers model, and which allows for mini-PCIe and mSATA modules (mSATA SSD caching anyone?) to be installed. Basically, it allows for a huge number of potential upgrades ranging from WiFi, SSDs, Bluetooth, 3G, GPS, etc. Sharing the rear I/O panel are the ROG Connect and USB BIOS Flashback buttons, four USB 3.0 ports, and DisplayPort + HDMI outputs.

Click on image to enlarge

As we have come to expect from ASUS, even after miniaturization the Maximus V GENE does not disappoint. Although it is missing one mechanical PCI-E x16 slot, all the PCI-E x1 slots, and two SATA ports, there is still a lot of capabilites here in a small package. This model not only features same DIGI+ II 8 + 4 + 2 phase VRM as the Maximus V Formula, but the exact same rear I/O panel, which includes the mPCIe Combo cradle. There are also onboard power and reset buttons, an LED debug display, a USB 3.0 header, and a better than average onboard SupremeFX III audio solution.

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