ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula motherboard review

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A motherboard tested

ASUS ROG Maximus IX Formula

The 399 USD/Euro Z270 flagship motherboard

We have a peek at the Mac Daddy of the ASUS Z270 motherboards, let's all hail the ASUS Maximus IX Formula from the Republic of Gamers line. The board boasts everything you want and need, has a deep and profound AURA LED lighting system, is all shielded, comes with VRM area water-block from EK and then some. Though very little RGB bling is injected, this motherboard is compatible with the new generalized ASUS AURA SYNC, which is a software suite that allows for multiple choices in additional RGB gear to be driven from that one package. 

So, with the 7000 series processors (Kaby Lake) released, it's time for a peek at the motherboards based on Z270. We review the motherboard with a Core i5 7600K processor, that puppy is developed on the 14nm node. The Core i5 series processors are intended to be the more budget friendly offering from Intel, for a more mainstream consumer. For this review we look at the performance of this processor and motherboard in a wide variety of benchmarks and situations. Kaby Lake processors for the desktop platform have been released. Though you'd think it is an all new chip, it is however merely a respin seen from Skylake, meaning both series processors are Socket 1151. This also means that IF you are in the market for a new series 7000 processor, your H170 or Z170 motherboard can be compatible with Kaby Lake after a motherboard BIOS upgrade. The new series Kaby Lake processors are fairly energy efficient, still as powerful as they have been for years. If you are interested in new technologies like Intel Optane, you will however need to upgrade to a Z270 or H270 range motherboard. This new Z270 platform offers support for Optane SSDs and offers support for slightly faster DDR4 memory.


As you guys know, whenever there is a ROG label slapped in front of an ASUS product, you know it's at least high-end. For today's tested motherboard we need to advance even on that as the Maximus IX truly is a bit of an enthusiast beast (despite the fact you can house only quad-core processors on it). ASUS once again used that familiar shielded design, optimized for cooling and armed with a proper feature set. You will spot nice dark looks with almost camouflaged elements, a bit military even as that black seems to have a shade of green in it.

The Maximus IX motherboard is ASUS AURA SYNC compatible, it does offer much more LED bling compared to the other motherboards, you get an independently configurable chipset heatsink logo, PCI-Express slot, rear IO and power LED configurable options. We'll show it all in a little video, as it does rock. For a motherboard in this price class ASUS kept some stuff relatively simple, ye ol' Realtek 1220 CODEC is used for audio, and you will not spot an expensive Thunderbolt chip. Fine with us as ASUS scrapped the expensive audio and Thunderbolt chip and used that space for the AURA RGB system as well as a more advanced cooling system for the VRM area, you can actually water-cool (include it in your loop) that segment as there is a CrossChill EK II block mounted on there. ASUS also implemented really proper WIFI (dual band AC) on this motherboard and, yes, an Intel Gigabit jack (guys, can we just move to onboard 10 Gbps Ethernet jacks please!).

You are not going to find hugely expensive Creative labs audio chips or an Intel Thunderbolt controller on this motherboard. No, everything seems and feels normalized, in line with good looks and features you need. By doing so, ASUS is offering this motherboard at a pretty competitive price level, making your upgrade needs more budget friendly in that 239 Euro/USD range. This motherboard does come with everything you need with four DIMM slots, two properly fast M.2 slots, full speed USB 3.1 (10 Gbps) devices and so on. Fitted with that Z270 PCH chipset this motherboard offers three x16 slots and three 1x PCIe. Everything appears and seems very stylish and somewhat dark, the good stuff. But let me stop typing for now, and let's get started with the actual review shall we? Wanna see us take Kaby Lake to 5 Ghz stable?

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