Overview: ROG Maximus IX Formula

Jan 04, 2017 Written by:ROG Article

The Formula is ever refining the pinnacle of style-meets-performance, and the Maximus IX Formula is no exception. Take a long look below.

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Serious About Water-Cooling

The Maximus IX Formula continues the trend of serious water-cooling ready support with the new CrossChill EK II. That commitment to hardcore watercooling began four generations ago with the Maximus V and the original CrossChill cooler! Has it really been that long?! Now, the ROG Water Cooling Zone is more than just the block - it combines several advancements that together make serious watercooling easier with the Formula, including water-cooling temperature and flow sensing headers, two pump power headers and a high-amp fan header.

  • High AMP fan header - high-amp fans are often used by high-end overclockers who need serious air-pressure for radiators or vent LN2 fumes. It can also be used by some water-cooling pumps. It will support up to 3 Amp on PWM (36W) and 1 Amp on DC (12W).
  • OTP and OCP IC protection - protecting your investment from rare extremes of temperature and current.
  • Water Pump header: the two headers include W_PUMP+ and AIO_PUMP and they default to 100W duty cycle. The names speak for themselves: AIO is design for AIO liquid coolers (up to 1A PWM) and W is for enthusiast water-cooling pumps that need high-amp (up to 3A PWM).

The CrossChill EK II is developed in conjunciton with EK waterblocks (EKWB), and is an improvement on the previous generation by utilizing a new thin fin design that simultaneously increases flow rate and copper contact surface area, for a 4˚C cooling improvement. 

Even if you're not water-cooling though, the CrossChill EK II can still be left to normal convective air cooling within the PC case.

These water-cooling focused fan/power headers are in addition to the five other fan headers (that support both PWM and DC modes) and the Fan Extension Card that can add three more fan headers. All this is controlled by ASUS' Fan Xpert 4 software.

The software has been updated in a couple of key areas:

  • The GPU, not the CPU, is often the major heat generator in PC chassis, however motherboard fan control software is always tied to the CPU temperature: low temps = low fans. Now ROG allows you to tie the case fans and its environmental temperature to the GPU temp, instead of the CPU.
  • Extreme Quiet Mode. A typically CPU-only feature has been extended to all chassis fans, allowing case-wide extreme quiet on the normal fan headers. This is particularly useful as more and more builds are either AIO liquid cooled or water-cooled, often with multiple fan radiators making the single 'CPU fan' connector insufficient alone.

 

AURA RGB, AURA Sync and Integrated I/O Shield

The RGB LEDs are back, of course, but this time there are 3 independent LED groupings across the board, including rear IO, power and reset buttons; ROG logo and PCI-Express slots; and PCH, plus the two extra  AURA RGB 4-pin power headers are included for lighting peripherals such as 5050RGB LED strips. The new AURA Sync lighting feature allows you to match those onboard RGB LEDS to AURA RGB equipped components like graphics cards, memory and compatible case lighting - driving it together as a single lighting array.

The LEDs intermingle with the laser etched ROG Armor, a full backplate and integrated I/O shield that perfectly blends some serious styling with structural reinforcement. Integrating the I/O shield is not only a lot less fuss when building your rig, it also means you never lose or forget it on a rebuild. Seriously, too many times to count, right?

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Overclocking 7th Gen Intel Core Processors & DDR4 Memory

The LGA1151 socket supports Intel's new 7th Generation Core processors - best suited for the unlocked K series to really unleash the full frequency potential - and the overclocking is powered by the familiar Extreme Engine DIGI+ that controls an 8-phase digital power design for CPU, plus two more for processor graphics and DRAM. Each power phase has the best of NexFET Power Block MOSFETs, 10k Black Metallic Capacitors and MicroFine Alloy Chokes, and is controlled through ROG's acclaimed UEFI BIOS and DIGI+ Power Control within ASUS' AI Suite software.

Within the ROG UEFI BIOS it continues leading the way with cutting edge options including new 'Pro-Clock' base-clock tweaking for the experienced enthusiast, but also, on the other hand there's also a wizard process for quick and simple OC and RAID setup. ROG Pro-Clock helps baseclock OC, which is advantageous, for example, if you're pushing the limits of your DDR4 memory OC. On the Formula it's officially rated as up to 4133MHz, but really, with careful voltage and timing tweaks it's as high as your DIMMS will go. Up to 64GB of DDR4 is supported and if you prefer simpler one-click settings for your memory then XMP 2.0 can be enabled with DIMMs that include the profile(s).

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Upgraded SupremeFX Audio

You always get the best SupremeFX audio on the Formula, and the IX series is no excpetion. It boasts a significantly upgraded SupremeFX audio solution on both the back and front panel, using a combination of new ALC S1220 codec, ESS ES9023 Saber DAC, Nichicon Premium, Japan-made audiophile-grade capacitors, SupremeFX Shielding Technology and Left/Right channel isolation among other specific chips listed below.

The De-Pop MOSFET serves a dual function in this generation. Aside from switching on and off to minimize pop noises, it also acts as an impedance sense pathway that allows both the front and rear panels to detect the impedance of your headphone. This protects low impedance headphones from damage, but also allows high impedence ones the necessary breathing room to be better driven.

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ASUS exclusive Sonic Studio III and Sonic Radar II software are also included. Key improvements include:

  •  Separated Basic and Advanced modes: Basic provides a simple mode for most users, while Advanced mode offers audio enthusiasts a way to really optimize it to their liking.
  • Audio Routing allows users output sounds from the device of their choice.  
  • Per application profiles allow apps to always utilize the most optimum as profile determined by the user.
  • An autosave feature takes instant snapshots of the Sonic Studio profiles.

 

Dual PCI-Express Gen-3 4x NVMe M.2

Dual PCI-Express Gen-3 4x NVMe M.2 storage interfaces can power some seriously fast RAID-0 M.2 SSD setups, although if you still have a SATA-based M.2 SSD the primary port still supports SATA mode, allowing both PCI-E and SATA M.2 devices together on one board. Devices up to 22110 long are supported on the primary socket and 2280 on the secondary.

 

802.11ac Wireless & Intel GigE

Networking is handled by 802.11ac 2T2R Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1, and Intel i219-V Gigabit networking with LANGuard port, along with ASUS' latest GameFirst IV software.

Using the Intel i219V gives the best compatibility between Intel CPU-PCH-Networking for design and drivers, giving better native performance and power efficiency.

 

Storage & Connectivity

There's a metric ton of USB ports to choose from, with USB 3.1 Type-C that can deliver power up to 15W of power, driving a whole new metric of potential peripherals.

Below, the two armored PCI-Express 16x slots support SLI and CrossFire dual-GPU (in 8x8x configuration), with a third 16x slot (4x bandwidth - 3-way CrossFireX supported), and a few 1x slots for peripherals.

There's even a USB 3.1 Type-C header for the front ports of the chassis also. This connector is easy to use and provides the full 10Gbps transfer speeds to the front of the chassis, that usually only offers USB 3.0. ROG has partnered with chassis vendors Lian Li and In Win to prepare new case products for 2017 that take advantage of this new standard.

Software: Get More With ROG

The extra software included with Maximus IX Formula goes beyond the usual AI Suite, FanXpert or Sonic Suite that controls motherboard core features. ROG understand that significant speed-ups can happen with great software as well as hardware. In that mindset you'll find Clone Drive, RAMCache II (turbo boost your storage), RAMDisk (save NAND write wear and turbo boost your drive), AutoTuning (easy overclocking that's now got an in-built AVX stress test to ensure stability) and KeyBot II (go macro-mad with moar features - power on, clear CMOS, audio switch, safe remove USB, direcitonal exchange - and profiles) in the box as well. The functions and benefits of these softwares require in-depth explanation, and will be detailed in future articles - so keep an eye out on the ASUS ROG website!