Asus – Maximus II Formula review

P45 motherboard for hardcore gamers
Photo of Asus – Maximus II Formula
£155

Asus has rolled out the successor to its Maximus X38 motherboard with the startlingly unimaginative name of Maximus II Formula. The new model uses the P45 chipset which positions Maximus II below the Asus Rampage Formula which uses X48, so you’re thoroughly spoilt for choice if you fancy building your PC around a Republic Of Gamers motherboard that supports CrossFire graphics.

Most of the features of the Maximus II are familiar from the P5Q Deluxe that we recently reviewed. There are dual graphics slots with 16 lanes of PCI Express 2.0 fed to the primary slot, and if you insert a graphics card in the second slot the PCI Express bandwidth is divided evenly with eight lanes for each slot.

The four memory slots support up to 16GB of DDR2 memory, there are six USB 2.0 ports on the I/O panel as well as a Firewire port, dual Gigabit LAN and an eSATA port. On a bracket there are two more USB 2.0 ports and a second Firewire port. Add in a total of eight SATA II connectors and you’ll see that we have no complaints about the connectivity offered by this motherboard.

The Maximus II uses 16-phase power for the CPU along with an Asus EPU-6 power management chip, 2-phase power for the RAM and 3-phase power for the P45 Northbridge.

In addition to keeping the bulk of the features from the P5Q Deluxe it seems that the Maximus II has also retained the layout of the P5Q Deluxe and that’s no bad thing. The layout is very tidy, which is what we have come to expect from Asus Republic Of Gamers motherboards, and it is hard to see how it might be improved.

The various Republic Of Gamers features are present and correct, starting with the analogue and digital audio connections on the Supreme FX X-Fi riser card and moving on to the external LCD Poster device that helps you identify problems during start-up.

The most visible feature of the Maximus II is the passive cooling system on the chipset and power regulation hardware, which looks absolutely spectacular while also doing an effective job of keeping the hardware cool. Asus has also changed the Power and Reset micro buttons for items that have far greater cosmetic appeal than the buttons we have previously seen.

P45 can be a temperamental chipset to overclock so Asus has rolled out the big guns in the shape of two iROG chips that control the Extreme Tweaker overclocking features via CPU Level Up, AI Overclocking, Voltiminder LED, Component Overheat Protection and Loadline Calibration.

During our testing we found that the Maximus II performed well and we could overclock our 3.0GHz QX9650 to 3.6GHz, however those were the same results that we achieved with the P5Q Deluxe.

Company: Asus

Contact: 0870 120 8340


Verdict
The new Maximus II looks absolutely spectacular and has decent performance, but in essence it is a P5Q Deluxe with the addition of a few bells and whistles. That means you're paying about £50 extra for the privilege of a funky cooling system and the LCD Poster and that doesn't seem like particularly good value for money.