Asus Maximus III Formula review

  • £200

The Republic's gladiator enters the P55 arena swinging

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Our Verdict

A tenner more than Gigabyte's top-end P55, but it's certainly got the edge in-game

For

  • Great added extras
  • Gamer-centric performance
  • Notebook overclocking interface

Against

  • Seriously expensive

Good ol' ROG (Republic of Gamers), you can rely on him to chuck out a top-end mobo as soon as a new chipset rolls around, sporting all the bells and whistles you could want from a serious gamer's board. The P55 chipset proves no different with Asus and ROG hitting the ground running just after launch with the Maximus III Formula, the P55 version of Asus flagship, PC gamer brand.

As you would expect it looks the nuts. The standard Asus black PCB is complemented with steely heatsinks, emblazoned with metallic red flashes, LEDs and all kinds of buttons strewn liberally across the board. It's not all just for show though as there's a whole lot going on under the hood of this beast.

The standard, high-end P55 board from Asus isn't exactly feature-light, but the added extras on the Maximus III Formula set it apart.

The stand-out feature is the ROG Connect. This is an extra USB port on the board into which you can plug any note/netbook running the software from the bundled driver-disk grants access to hardware-level overclocking sliders.

Where most mobo manufacturers, Asus included, have been bundling software utilities for the purpose of overclocking on the fly, this option allows you direct access to the hardware with no software layer getting in the way.

It's by no means perfect and doesn't give you the same options that the fairly comprehensive BIOS does, but it makes base clock and voltage-tweaking a simple matter of moving a slider.

The ROG Connect is a handy debug tool as well, showing as it does all the POST codes as the machine initialises the various components connected to your motherboard.

The treatment of the Lynnfield's Turbo mode though is a strange one. It's inexorably linked with the SpeedStep function, and forces you to turn off Turbo if you want to ditch Speedstep too. This meant that without the dangers of voltage-tweaking we couldn't quite match the speeds of Gigabyte's high-end P55-UD6.

The furthest we could push either of those with Corsair's 1,600MHz kit was 3.52GHz, but the Gigabyte board was happily Turbo-ing away at 3.84GHz, beating the Max III in all tests bar the gaming one.

But that's where the Max III is setting out its stall and across the board its gaming performance was the top of the motherboards we've seen, even up against boards with far speedier RAM and clockspeeds.

And this is where another extra comes in. Like the Killer M1 network accelerator card that we knew and loved, the Max III comes with GameFirst technology, which prioritises game traffic over the network, helping to lower the ping rates and lower network latency. Unlike the Killer M1 though, GameFirst isn't a £200 extra on top…

So it's every inch the gamer's P55 board of choice. With a host of other extras like the auto-overclock on both RAM and CPU taking the hassle out of the whole process, if you're not even vaguely interested in getting elbow-deep in BIOS, the Maximus III Formula ticks all the boxes.

It even has an X-Fi sound card that plugs into the li'l PCI-e slot. That said, if you're looking to build a PC based around the bargain gamer's chip – the i5 750, then the Max III is a serious dent out of your spend.

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Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerIntel
Chipset ModelP55 Express
Multi GPU SupportedCrossFireX, SLI
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots3
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket 1156
Brand NameAsus
Form FactorATX
Processor SupportedCore i7, Core i5
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory16 GB
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots2
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces11
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots7
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports9
Total Number of FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports3
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
Total Number of PCI Express Slots5
Processor TechnologyEnhanced SpeedStep Technology
Width304.8 mm
Depth243.8 mm
Product SeriesRepublic of Gamers
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelMaximus III Formula
Product NameRepublic of Gamers Maximus III Formula Desktop Board
Controller TypeSerial ATA/300
Manufacturer Part NumberMAXIMUS III FORMULA
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing Information

The Republic of Gamers Maximus III Formula Desktop Board consists only the best of the best. We offer the best hardware engineering, the fastest performance, the most innovating ideas, and we welcome the best gamers to join in. In the Republic of Gamers Maximus III Formula Desktop Board, mercy rules are only for the weak, and bragging rights means everything. We believe in making statements and we excel in competitions. If your character matches our trait, then join the elite club, make your presence felt, in the Republic of Gamers.