For those that have bought, or at least followed ROG for its entire 6 year existence, you will remember the first Fusion block system outing on the Blitz Extreme, which later evolved on the Maximus and Rampage Extreme motherboards. The idea behind the Fusion block system was that you could use either aircooling or watercooling, depending on your PC setup. Air-cooling is adequate for most overclockers, but if you really wanted to chill the chip underneath you just had to add it into a watercooling loop.

maximus v formula

Roll on a few years and the northbridge has become property of the modern CPU, so overclocking enthusiasts have now moved onto cooling the CPU VRMs instead.

maximus-v-formula fusion thermo

Hybrid Thermal Solution

The Maximus V Formula reignites the hybrid thermal flame (from previous Fusion block systems) with its Hybrid Thermal Solution hybrid VRM cooler. Buried within the anodized aluminum metal fins that act as air-cooling fins is both a heatpipe and 100% copper water channel. The heatpipe helps spread any potential hotspots, so the air-cooling fins can act more efficiently. The alternative water channel is 100% copper with electro-plated nickel barbs, which make it compatible with existing high-end watercooling setups. ROG engineers have already co-worked with over a dozen watercooling companies to ensure compatibility in this regard.

watercooled fusion thermo

The idea behind chilling the VRMs is three-fold. The cooler temps potentially yield more reliable MOSFETs and less PCB warp (through localized heating effects) to backup a heavily overclocked CPU. Secondly, not having to pay to replace the VRM cooler with a 3rd party solution cuts the overall build cost, and finally ROG PC modders can integrate the Hybrid Thermal solution into their designs, in-keeping with the motherboards core aesthetic design.

Here it is under a thermal camera:

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SupremeFX IV

Yes, it was only been 8 months since ROG launched SupremeFX III on the Rampage IV series, but the new Formula builds on those features with a revised array of audio-specific capacitors and a 300Ohm headphone amp. This brings the onboard spec up to 110dB SNR, which ROG engineers are confident as being unparalleled in onboard gaming audio. Test it and tell us what you think! The Creative X-Fi and DTS sound enhancements are included as ever, but as software additions you can choose whether to add them or not,  depending on your affinitity for them. We know some people can't live without them, while others prefer 'pure' audio, sans-enhancement.

maximus v formula supremefx 4

3-way CrossFireX and 2-way SLI

The three red PCI-Express 16x slots support up to three graphics cards. This generation continues the growth of PCI-Express Gen 3 with compatible switching and PCB design, but remember you must use a 3rd generation Intel 'Ivy Bridge' CPU to take advantage of it. Under 2-way SLI/CrossFireX the slots are 8x-8x, while 3-way is split 8x-4x-4x directly from the CPU (which has a maximum lane capacity of 16x) for CrossFireX. Since PCI-Express Gen-3 is twice the bandwidth of of Gen-2, those 4x Gen-3 slots offer the same bandwidth as an 8x Gen-2. Remember you'll need a current generation graphics card with Gen-3 PCIe to complement it though, because mixing two generations defaults to the slower one.

maximus v formula reario

And the best of the rest:

  • mPCIe Combo card, with 802.11n WiFi pre-fitted
  • ProbeIt area for checking realtime voltages with a multimeter
  • Intel Gigabit Ethernet with GameFirst II
  • A total of 10 SATA ports (including mSATA on the mPCI Combo card)
  • BIOS Flashback on the rear I/O
  • Clear CMOS button on the rear I/O
  • ATX format (actually, ever so slightly wider, but less than E-ATX size)
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maximus v formula sata

ThunderFX

Like the /Battlefield 3 models that quickly sold out in the late months of 2011 (sorry if you missed that one), the Maximus V Fomrula will get its own /ThunderFX moniker for selected models. However unlike 2011's most popular FPS game, the ThunderFX is a USB audio device. That might seem a weird thing to bundle with a motherboard that already boasts the best onboard audio out there, but bare with me.

thunderfx

The ThunderFX fits between SupremeFX IV and the Xonar Phoebus, where each offers a slightly progressive feature-set.

Headphone Amp:

All contain a headphone amplifier, although the Phoebus' affords a greater power at 600Ohm versus 300Ohm in the ThunderFX and SupremeFX IV.

SNR:

The A-weighted SNR output increases from 110dB in SupremeFX IV, to 120dB in ThuderFX and Phoebus.

Environmental Noise Cancellation (ENC):

Where the SupremeFX IV has no noise isolation technologies, the ThunderFX includes environmental noise cancellation (ENC) via a microphone built in the unit itself. The Phoebus also includes ENC via two microphones in its desktop control hub, but this device can be placed relatively more freely than the ThunderFX due to its smaller size. Both are designed to work with headset microphones, but the Phoebus control hub is also designed to act as a microphone itself, should the need arise.

Other differences:

As an internal PCIe sound the Phoebus design is squarely aimed at gaming PCs, whereas the ThunderFX is USB so it can be used with both PCs and notebooks. The ThunderFX also includes a set of rear RCA jacks that allow it to connect to PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles as well! The idea being that you can hook-up the audio-outs that are meant for the TV, and use your favorite headset instead - with all the added benefit of ENC and a supe'd up SNR.

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