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Review: ASUS Z170 ROG Maximus VIII Formula

Discussion in 'Frontpage news' started by Hilbert Hagedoorn, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. Hilbert Hagedoorn

    Hilbert Hagedoorn Don Vito Corleone Staff Member

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    We review the hip 'n hot ASUS Z170 ROG Maximus VIII Formula. Armed with a customizable AURA RGB LED system, some extensive shielding and then regulars like the hippest features of 2015/16 and you are...

    Review: ASUS Z170 ROG Maximus VIII Formula
     
  2. Ziggymac

    Ziggymac Member Guru

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    Nice RGB lighting.

    ..except I hope people realise that once you've plugged everything in to the motherboard, it all gets covered up and you can barely see it.

    Two graphics cards for instance will cover the lighting on the heatsink and around the sound chip.

    In other words..you can't see any of this fancy lighting once the PC is switched on.

    Unless you're running a fancy low profile water cooling loop don't buy this Motherboard for the RGB aspect of it.
     
  3. LordSilver

    LordSilver Member

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    This motherboard gets 5 stars whereas the Extreme gets only 4 stars, despite being the highest model and also 50 euro more expensive. That's quite ridiculous.
     
  4. Hilbert Hagedoorn

    Hilbert Hagedoorn Don Vito Corleone Staff Member

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    The Extreme is catered towards a very specific crowd, I find it a tad of a hard sell. This is a more consumer oriented board with much better aesthetics hence the extra star. However the final prizing is still not available. Where did you get the notion that formula is 50 EURO more expensive ? An Extreme vanilla is 399 with the OC panel model running up-to 499.
     

  5. LordSilver

    LordSilver Member

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    In my country you can preorder the Formula for 399 euros from some shops. The Extreme costs 449 with the OC panel.

    EDIT: I think you read wrong. Actually in my post I said it's strange that, being the Formula cheaper, it scores better than the Extreme in your review.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  6. Hilbert Hagedoorn

    Hilbert Hagedoorn Don Vito Corleone Staff Member

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    Pre-orders are always expensive, in the end this this is going to be 325~375 EURO board.
     
  7. LordSilver

    LordSilver Member

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    It makes sense. Sure it would be more attractive for that price. Because for just 50 euro difference I would take the Extreme, no doubt. Also, it's more clean without the armor and I personally hate the LEDs trend of last years. Too many times gaming stuff is confused with having hardware which resemble a disco, so there's little choice for normal people.
     
  8. SSD_PRO

    SSD_PRO Member Guru

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    This makes the Hero Alpha look like ASUS' ROG sweet spot (assuming the Formula comes in at 375USD/340EURO. The Hero Alpha also has U.2 and M.2 and the bandwidth sharing is a bit better on the Alpha. Since I keep my motherboard in a chassis, the shield/cover/support and improved RGB customization isn't worth the extra cost.

    edit: Newegg over here in the USA is going 400USD with low price guarantee. In Newegg speak that means the thing is going to stay 400. So you have the Hero at 235USD, Hero Alpha at 300USD, Formula at 400USD and Extreme at 485USD.
     
  9. Kyrat

    Kyrat Active Member

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    MSI copy!
     
  10. Denial

    Denial Ancient Guru

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    Since you seem knowledgeable about SSD's in general I have a few questions maybe you can help me with, or Hilbert or anyone (hopefully this isn't too off-topic because I may actually buy this board)

    I'm looking to buy a 950 Pro 1TB, which I assume will launch in M.2 form factor.

    My first question is will this work on my current board, the Hero VII in M.2? I've read a few posts that the Hero only supports 2x to the M.2 slot and I'd need a PCI-E adapter to get 4x. And I'm assuming when I do that it will kick my graphics card down to 8x. Which leads me to my next question:

    Does Z170 (This board specifically or the Hero Alpha) kick the graphics card down to 8x when an M.2/U.2 is being utilized? Or is their enough PCI-E lanes to run both at full? I know that currently 8x doesn't matter much for the sake of the 980, but I'm worried that going forward a theoretical Polaris/Pascal card will take a larger hit when HBM2 becomes standard.

    Also is M.2 being phased out eventually? I feel like the form factor doesn't belong on a desktop motherboard and that U.2 and normal 2.5 inch drives will eventually replace it now that U.2 is becoming more popular. I don't want to buy a 950 Pro only to have some future motherboard lack M.2 and require an adapter anyway.

    Idk, I'm thinking about upgrading to Z170 and probably either this or the Hero Alpha board but if I do and I'm still stuck in the same situation as my current Hero VII in terms of 8x and requiring an adapter I guess there isn't much of a point.
     

  11. SSD_PRO

    SSD_PRO Member Guru

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    Denial,

    I am pretty sure you are correct about the Maximus VII Hero allocating only 2 PCI 3.0 lanes (x2) when M.2 is used. All of these boards, Z97, Z170 etc share bandwidth in some way to allow all the features as there just isn't enough bandwidth for all of it at the same time. Things got better with Z170 but it still isn't perfect. According to ASUS' specifications for the M7H PCIEX4_3 shares bandwith with PCIe 2.0 x1 and M.2 slot. An M.2 device will be limited to x2, but you should still have 1 @ x16 slot or 2 @ x8. You just lose the 3rd PCIe slot.

    Neither the original Maximus VIII Hero or Hero Alpha will drop your primary graphics to x8. If you have one card it will still have an x16 link. If you have 2 they will be x8 link.

    The Maximus Hero and Maximus Hero Alpha both have M.2 but only the Hero Alpha has M.2 and U.2 (like the Formula of this article). The Hero shares the M.2 with a SATA port. The Hero Alpha shares the M.2 with PCIEX4_3 (3rd PCIe slot). The Hero Alpha's first U.2 shares with nothing. The 2nd U.2, if the 1st is also used, shares with SATA_1234.

    I don't see M.2 going anywhere for several years. It really does suit notebooks if the right power savings is used but it also has a place in desktops. It has the positive of no cables but lacks mobility and ease of access. U.2 will grow this year. What happens with SATA, only time will tell. SATA 3.0 is still sufficient for most purposes.
     
  12. Denial

    Denial Ancient Guru

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    This is exactly what I was looking for, thank you!

    I guess based on the price of the 950 1TB or any other NVMe 1TB solution that launches in the next few months -- I'll decide. Getting a 6700K/6600 will be like a sidegrade for my 4790K, but I figured I might as well upgrade to the DDR4 platform at some point and if the bonus was also being able to maintain 16x on graphics and full SSD performance then it seems maybe worth it.

    I'm hoping that all the new NVMe drives coming out will drive the $/gb down. I imagine the 1TB 950 will be priced close to $700-800. But I don't know if I can justify buying that + $300/400 motherboard.
     
  13. The Laughing Ma

    The Laughing Ma Ancient Guru

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    Lol PLEASE, MSI did something and Asus decided to include it in their latest high end board, given that the Formula boards where amongst the first to have WC / Air cooler pre-installed on the VRMS does that mean MSI are Asus copiers for having that feature on some of their high end gamer boards now? What about the thermal armour, something that no MSI board seems to have?
     
  14. stereoman

    stereoman Master Guru

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    Problem with LED lighting on motherboards is once you have all the gear installed, graphics card, cpu, soundcard etc it covers all the leds up, my maximus hero looks great but once everythings installed you can barely see any of the lighting. I like that you can change the colours on this one tho it's an improvement over previous generation.
     
  15. edekoning

    edekoning Member

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    Regarding the 950 Pro. I've read that it runs really hot, and starts throttling once that happens. On this motherboard the M.2 connector is hidden underneath a piece of plastic. Doesn't that mean it gets zero airflow, and will run even hotter and hence will throttle earlier and more often?
     

  16. SSD_PRO

    SSD_PRO Member Guru

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    In looking at the pics, ventilation of the M.2 is a concern. Having a 950 Pro myself I can attest to the throttling and mine is openly mounted with normal primary intake cooling as well as a secondary fan on the M.2 slot.

    When mounted vertically in a traditional chassis, the M.2 sits right behind the U.2 port. That blocks direct incoming airflow. Perhaps the bottom of the shield is vented. I guess you leave that little cover off if you use a high performance M.2. I would still think that makes for a hot pocket. Or maybe all that heat just stays under the shield and rises up to the Z170 then the mem/cpu?
     

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