Tom's Hardware's 2009 Gift Guide: Part 1, For System Builders

Motherboard: Asus Maximus III Formula

www.asus.com
$249
By: Devin Connors

Like the Maximus Formula (X38) and Maximus II Formula (P45) before it, the Maximus III Formula is geared towards PC enthusiasts who demand the best and the most fully-featured motherboards available. Asus likes to say, “the Republic of Gamers consists only of the best of the best. We offer the best hardware engineering, the fastest performance, and the most innovative ideas.”

Asus designed the Maximus III for performance junkies, but that doesn’t mean looks aren’t important. As soon as you open the box, the Maximus catches your eye with its stand-out black and red paint job, sharp logos, and sleek-looking heatsinks surrounding its LGA 1156 interface. If the Maximus III finds its way into a case with a window, you will definitely get some envy from your gamer buddies at the next LAN party.

Asus includes its Extreme Engine Power Design on this board, which consists of 16 phase power for the CPU, three phase power for memory and three phase VTT power. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Maximus III Formula is its ROG Connect capabilities. ROG Connect allows you tether a laptop to your Maximus III Formula-equipped desktop via USB. Once connected, you can monitor post code and hardware status in real time, as well as tweak OC settings with the click of the mouse, much like a mechanic using a laptop on a performance coupe. If you do go the overclocking route, the COP EX feature on the Maximus III will help you increase chipset voltages without the risk of overheating. Also usable on your GPU, COP EX should keep your hardware within safe parameters while your get the most performance for your money.

The Maximus III Formula also comes with CPU Level Up, which allows you to “pick a CPU” to upgrade to. This is an intriguing feature for the OC-timid; a quick trip to Level Up and you can OC that Core i5-750 to the equivalent of an i7-870 (just don’t expect Level Up to add things like Hyper-Threading); all it really changes is the base operating frequency.

Don’t feel like shelling out $100+ on a Killer Xeno Pro Network Card? The Maximus III Formula has you covered with its built-in GameFirst technology. GameFirst localizes network traffic management, allowing the user to prioritize connections to game servers ahead of VoIP, downloading, or streaming media. Other RoG board exclusives include iROG, Extreme Tweaker, Probelt, Loadline Calibration, and a Voltminder LED.

The Maximus III Formula includes a pretty generous I/O suite, including nine USB 2.0 ports (one is reserved for ROG Connect), 6-pin FireWire, eSATA, PS/2, Gigabit Ethernet, and a SupremeFX X-Fi 7.1 discrete sound card. An additional rear bracket provides two USB ports and an additional eSATA port. Expansion slots on the Maximus III Formula include two PCI Express 2.0 (single x16 or dual x8), one PCIe x16/x4, two PCIe x1, and two older PCI slots. The Maximus III also comes with ten SATA 3Gbps ports.

Other features include memory support up to 16GB with speeds up to DDR3-2133, SLI and CrossFireX support, MemOK!, and MemPerfect.

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    Top Comments
  • gtvr
    FoShizzle gets the Freudian slip of the day award
    23
  • Bluescreendeath
    She would make a far better Christmas present than hardware components... ;)
    22
  • FoShizzleDizzle
    Bet shes likes a good overcocking.
    21
  • Other Comments
  • the_silent_one
    Anytime you mention eyefinity, be sure to mention that ONE MONITOR MUST EITHER BE ON DISPLAYPORT OR ON AN ACTIVE DISPLAYPORT ADAPTER (not just any displayport adapter, but one that uses supplemental power). If people don't know this. They are in for a rude surprise. Also, if using a displayport to hdmi or dvi active adapter for eyefinity, make it the middle monitor.
    -4
  • Bluescreendeath
    She would make a far better Christmas present than hardware components... ;)
    22
  • dhowie
    I think she should be on the gift guide, I can certainly bet most of us would rather have her then anything on here :)
    -2
  • 1898
    Does she come with the retail version of the i7?
    9
  • 1898
    Obviously I meant to say i5 but seriously, why isn't there an edit button?
    -10
  • nanotiberium
    I would like she to bring me the gift! :)
    -7
  • FoShizzleDizzle
    Bet shes likes a good overcocking.
    21
  • FoShizzleDizzle
    overclocking*
    11
  • gtvr
    FoShizzle gets the Freudian slip of the day award
    23
  • kencolestud69
    Sarah, you make christmas better for us(tech geeks) each year.
    :P
    5
  • JeanLuc
    1898Obviously I meant to say i5 but seriously, why isn't there an edit button?


    All your posts you make on the feedback page here can been found in the forum. If you want to edit your post here simply go the review comments (found here) forum, find this article and find you post and click on the quick edit button just and make the changes.
    15
  • twanto
    I don't understand why you recommend a 1.65v RAM kit at 1600 when you can have 1600 speeds at 1.5v with other kits, for a lower price. G.skill ripjaws, for example.
    4
  • zelannii
    The power supply, really, 850w for $179 and it;s only an 80+, not 85+?

    Sure, it's got 6 8pin connectors... but it onl;y has 850w... an 8pin + 6pig GPU, like the 5890 Toms just recently reviewed, can handle 280w. That means 3 of those alone exceeds this PS performance, not even including any other components...

    1: not modular. 2: too many connectors. 3: not 85% + rated. 4: about $40 too high of a price for what it DOES have.
    -7
  • blacksins
    well, i saw all the pages only because of her!! i actually use toms hardware from long time ago and never registed, i did now only to comment hehe :P
    4
  • JeanLuc
    Why do I get thumbs down vote when all I do is try and help the guy? Some of you are a bit trigger happy.
    4
  • bill gates is your daddy
    Is it wrong for me to want to spank her with my keyboard?
    11
  • zak_mckraken
    JeanLucAll your posts you make on the feedback page here can been found in the forum. If you want to edit your post here simply go the review comments (found here) forum, find this article and find you post and click on the quick edit button just and make the changes.

    Wow, thanks! Didn't know we could do that. Finally!
    3
  • digitalkryme
    Would of been better without the woman in the pics, cant get a good view of the hardware. Besides that my wife is better looking :P
    -13
  • blacksins
    DigitalkrymeWould of been better without the woman in the pics, cant get a good view of the hardware. Besides that my wife is better looking

    WOW! really?!!
    -3
  • Anonymous
    JeanLucAll your posts you make on the feedback page here can been found in the forum. If you want to edit your post here simply go the review comments (found here) forum, find this article and find you post and click on the quick edit button just and make the changes.


    Well golly gosh! That's so convenient. In the next iteration, see if you can add more steps.
    -1