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ASUS Crosshair V Formula Review – The Best AM3+ Motherboard

Rey Basti
 


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If you’re looking for the best of the best AM3+ motherboard the Crosshair V Formula is perfect for you. This is a high end ROG motherboard from ASUS, therefore, we’re expecting the best performance from it, as it always does just like in their previous ROG models.

Today we’re going to see how the Crosshair V Formula performs. Although we can’t see its full potential in the absence of the AMD’s FX processor, however, we can still test it with Phenom II X4 980BE processor. Is there any big difference in their performance compare with its rival Crosshair IV to be a worthy upgrade? Let’s find out.

The Looks

The ASUS Crosshair V Formula looks bad ass as always in their traditional black and red color. The AM3+ socket is perfectly position that provides adequate space for an oversized cooling system when operates at overclock speed, in which all ROG motherboard are made of. The northbridge and southbridge chipset including the MOSFET regulators has an oversized heatsink to keep it cool at all time. To fully distinguish the ROG motherboard, a logo on top of the Southbridge heatsink is clearly noticeable.

It provides four DIMM slots in a nicely color coded manner with red and black to fully identify the pairing in a dual channel configurations. The four PCI-E slots are in red color, with the first two are well spaced to breathe some air when both installed, the next two are a bit crowded. This also includes a PCI-E 1x and PCI slot each in black.

There are seven SATA 6GB/s slots in red, six of them are in right angle arrangement and one in vertical position. The 24, 8 and 4pin power supply connector keeps it in the sideline for fast access as well as less messy when wired.

The back I/O panel provides a healthy number of ports, for a total of 12 USB ports, 8 of these are 2.0 in black/red and 4 at 3.0 in blue. All properly color coded for you to easily identify. This also includes the LAN, PS/2 mouse-keyboard, optical, eSATA 6GB/s and 8 audio ports. The CMOS clear button at the back panel is a very clever design, an immediate available for fast switching without the need for opening the case when needed to reset.

Did we miss something here? Yes, it doesn’t have a FireWire connector, this is probably a bit lacking in this board. If you need one, unluckily you can’t find it here. Overall, an excellent design for a ROG motherboard and we’re expecting also an excellent performance.

Specs

Supports AMD AM3+ FX /Phenom II/Athlon II/Sempron 100 Series Processors

Chipsets: AMD 990FX North Bridge and AMD SB950 South Bridge

Hyper Transport Bus 5,200 MT/s

4 x DDR3 DIMM slot supporting up to 32 GB of system memory

Supports Dual channel memory architecture for DDR3 2133(O. C. )/2000(O. C. )/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz

Support the 3-Way NVidia SLI and 3-Way AMD CrossFireX multi GPU technology

3 x PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, running at dual x16 or x16, 8x, 8x mode

1 x PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, running at x4 mode

1 x PCI-E x1 slots

1 x PCI slot

7 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors

12 x USB 2.0 ports (8 x back panel, 4 x internal USB headers)

6 x USB 3.0 ports (4 x back panel, 2 x internal USB headers)

1 x eSATA supporting 6Gb/s at the back panel

SupremeFX X-Fi 2 built-in 8-Channel High Definition Audio

1 x Intel Gigabit LAN Controller

Features

Latest motherboards from ASUS have the UEFI BIOS features. This is ASUS first introduction with the EZ BIOS navigation that eliminates the use of traditional keyboard controlled. This is a GUI (Graphical User Interface) just like you’re into windows OS when setting BIOS. You got two options here, the EZ mode that displays the most common setup info and the Advance mode for enthusiast that needs more complicated settings. This also includes the large disk support for hard drive more than 2.2TB that demands for a huge disk space.

We can expect more gamers stuff from a ROG motherboard especially when it comes to overclocking. The fastest way to do this is just one click away, simply push the OC button during off then turn the power on and your PC instantly overclocked safely.

With the ROG connect feature you can do overclocking by linking your PC via USB cable with laptop. You can do the tweaking on the laptop and monitor your PC status. Another thing is the Extreme Engine Digi+, using this you can easily achieve the maximum overclock by adjusting the CPU clock and voltage.

The GPU. DIMM post that checks and detects any possible component failre of your system memory including the GPU in the BIOS. The ROG BIOS print allows the user to share their BIOS settings easily by simply pressing the button. The ROG gameFirst helps you to speed up your internet latency.

This also includes some ROG bundled software with CPU-Z especially designs for ROG version only. To keep your PC safe from virus, Kaspersky is also added. To backup you important files the DAEMON tools will make it possible for you, this creates a virtual copy in CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs.

To complete your gaming experience, the SupremeFX X-Fi 2 produces an ultra real cinematic game surround sound with THX TruStudio PRO. Not only in games but your movies and music definitely sounds exceptional.

Testing the Crosshair V Formula

The Crosshair V Formula was tested using the Phenom II X4 980BE 3.7GHz with NVidia GeForce GTX 580. If you want to overclock it the easy way, you can take full advantage of the OC button, just press it during off and the motherboard will do the rest for you. When it starts up you got an instant additional speed, in this case the Phenom X4 is now 4GHz from a stock of 3.7GHz. A quick jump of 300MHz shows vast improvements in its performance.

You can also use the AMD’s OverDrive downloadable software which is compatible with Windows OS, this will make it possible for you to easily tweak for your desired overclock speed. Using the AMD OverDrive you can maximize the CPU and increase the multiplier. Keep on trying until you get the best possible clock speed, you can play around with it, if it crashes simply back to the last stable frequency. If you’re satisfied with it, you can finalize it by transferring the data on the BIOS settings.

In the case of the Phenom X4 980BE, the final overclocked speed is now very stable at 4.3GHz. Achieving this with CPU voltage at 1.5V and the multiplier is set to X21.5 keeping the bus speed at 200MHz. Keep in mind that, whenever you’re do the overclocking the temperature rises drastically and this will requires an oversized cooler to keep your CPU safe. Another thing is that, expect the CPU power ratings will also climb up, this makes it a power hungry that demands for higher supply wattage.

Conclusion

The Crosshair V Formula is definitely a solid performer, overclocking it is easy giving you more options. You can push way further any processor you put in it, but we haven’t seen yet its full potential due to the absence of the Zambezi processors. In the case of Phenom II X4 980BE we can see it clearly how it works perfectly.

Compare with the previous version Crosshair IV, the results here is much better and I should say a worthy upgrade. Although the 990FX chipset slightly differ from the 890FX, the support for both SLI and CrossFireX is what gives you more freedom of choice in multi GPU configuration, NVidia fans will surely cheering for this.

The 900 series chipset also gives you a faster HyperTransport, a faster USB 3.0, more PCIe 2.0 options and SATA 6GB/s, forget the 3GB/s. The dual x16 multi GPU support is no where to find in any intel based motherboard, luckily we have it in the new AM3+ board. As you can see, AMD is giving all to maximize the speed potential in preparation for the upcoming FX series processors. By the time it arrives, you’re processor swap away and prepare for the new beast rig.

Noticeably a clear domination over the other socket AM3+ motherboard due to its ROG features, this board is design for ruthless gamers you, therefore you can expect most the possible way to overclock it the easy way. The 3-way SLI and CrossFireX is a big plus here while other offers only 2-way and the 2133MHz OC memory support is unbeatable.

The drawback we can see here are some shortage in ports like the FireWire and an additional LAN. Although, it’s got the highest number of USB 3.0, it provides only 7 SATA III ports while other boards has 8.

Performance wise, we got an absolute beast here in the presence of Crosshair V Formula in black and red monster looking board. If the shortage doesn’t bother you that much, this is a definitely the best AM3+ motherboard you can have.

Read more of the Best Motherboard Review here and discover the top 5 Best AM3+ Motherboard that supports all Zambezi FX series processors.

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