One of the major announcements at Computex this year was that of the Maximus VII Formula, ASUS’ ‘gaming-rather-than-overclocking’ focused member of the Republic of Gamers line-up. The additions for the new Formula will centre on the PCIe storage support that Z97 affords, as well as the iterative design of the ROG brand. The main elements that ASUS wants to promote with the new Formula include the power delivery hybrid cooling solution, the SupremeFX audio solution, the ROG Armor, TrueVolt 5V, GameFirst III and Extreme Engine DIGI+ III.

For those not familiar with the Formula, particularly from the last generation, the main visual feature is usually the ROG Armor. This is a fixed shroud on the front and back of the motherboard, with the aim to improve the rigidity of the product but also reduce dust build up on components or shorting due to errant screwdrivers.

The CrossChill hybrid cooling combines air cooling with a water cooling heatsink on the power delivery. The design is based in corrosion-resistant copper, and ASUS claims that temperatures in this area of the motherboard can be reduced by up to 23ºC. The thread fittings are set at G1/4-inch and require users to use their own barbs. The chokes underneath are the 60A Blackwing chokes found on the high-end Maximus VI range, and the NexFET ICs are designed for 90% efficiency. Knowing that gamers will also want to overclock, there are also 10K black metallic caps with a 20% increase in extreme temperature endurance over that standard solution.

The audio solution uses many of the same elements we have come across on an enhanced ALC1150 setup – PCB separation, EM shields, filter caps and headphone amplifiers. ASUS engineer their design to also include a Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC for the rear output and ‘Sonic SenseAmp’ technology to detect when low or high impedance headphones are used and adjust accordingly.

For storage, M.2 is supported via the mPCIe combo III card for the rear IO, supporting any type 2260 devices. This looks to be a PCIe 2.0 x2 solution. ASUS also includes two SATA Express ports, one powered by the PCH and the other via an ASMedia controller. Given that three PCIe storage options are present and each requires two PCIe lanes, I would imagine that the M.2 and SATAe from the PCH are shared via a switch and the second SATAe slot is shared with the PCIe 2.0 x4 slot on board or the extra USB 3.0 ports. Alongside the PCIe storage there is also ten SATA ports (four shared with SATAe), eight USB 3.0 ports and six USB 2.0 ports.

At the launch of Z97, ASUS released the Gene, Hero and Ranger, with the Formula, Impact and Extreme expected in due course. Computex saw the announcement of the Impact and the Formula, although I have a feeling that the team that design the Extreme might be focusing on X99 for now. 

Initially the Formula will be available as a bundle with Watch Dogs from Newegg and Tiger Direct for $369 from next week, with a standard edition available shortly after for around $319.

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  • WithoutWeakness - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    It's a shame that they put the M.2 connector where they did. The VRM heatsinks are going to block anything longer than the 2260 drives. The ROG Impact has a much better placement right above the PCIe slot and will accept longer drives as a result.
  • dgingeri - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    It looks to me like that slot is more intended for wireless cards than PCIe storage. In other words, it's practically useless and probably just there to check off a feature list. This board is also more expensive than the Z97-WS, which has nearly all the same features plus a PLX bridge to give more usable expansion slots. It's too bad the Z97-WS has other issues.

    (Tip on the Z97-WS, the middle screw has to be a screw and has to be screwed down. If you mount it in a case with a post in the middle, like my Corsair Carbide Air 540, the second memory channel won't work. Weird, eh? It took me weeks to figure out why the second memory channel wouldn't work after my replacement had the same issue. Now I'm stick with using this board in a CoolerMaster HAF XB instead of my Air 540. Also, Asus's supposed server level warranty service for the Z97-WS is totally bogus. It took them a week to process and send out the replacement board, and the second case I opened with them got dropped after three weeks of no responses from them. Asus's support sucks pretty bad, but it's average for the MB industry.)
  • craige4u - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    In Z97 Deluxe, I have a question with regards to PCI Lanes:

    1] I will always be using Single GPU... and say if I add upcoming Asus M.2 x4 Adapter on PCI slot - In this case will my GPU run in x16 OR x8 mode?

    2] If I add M.2 x4 adapter + Lan Card, In this case will my GPU run in x16 OR x8 mode?
  • extide - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    It appears this is a PCIe 2.0 M.2 solution, which means it will never take lanes away from GPU. GPU will always be at 16x unless you put a card in the second PCIex16 slot.
  • vin_mehta1988 - Monday, July 21, 2014 - link

    I just got my corsair 750D and after installing my 3 years old motherboard the 2nd memory channel stopped working I was about to buy a new motherboard and I came across your comment. I think I will remove the middle standoff and check if it is working or not. Thank you for sharing the information.
  • Eidigean - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    As soon as I read that the M.2 port is using only 2 PCIe lanes and only supports 60mm drives, I was turned away. One cannot fit a Samsung XP941 in this board. Maybe the next Samsung M.2 part will use 3D V-NAND and be 60mm in length, but until then, this is no good.

    Asus, the combo riser card needs to go away. Place two 80mm slots on the motherboard, using 4 pcie lanes each (8 total), and let the GPU use the other 8. Then allow me to use 4 lanes from the PCH to drive thunderbolt 2.

    I will keep my Asus Rampage IV Formula for the time being. I just hope that Asus releases an updated BIOS for my board to be able to boot from an NVMe M.2 stick in a PCIe adapter. I have 40 lanes, and I would like to put them all to good use.
  • danjw - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    From what I read there will be no Maximus VII Extreme. The Extreme team were working on a project for a different platform. Asus did not mention an Extreme version at Computex, from what I have read.
  • tolis626 - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    Finally! Been waiting too long for this!
    Although it has to be pointed out : Why the increase in price? Unless it drops to 300€ and below without Watch Dogs when it's available for purchase... Meh. I'll probably buy it anyway, but I don't like it.
  • Aikouka - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    I believe the original Maximus VI Formula released at $329 without any sort of bundle, which makes this revision $10 cheaper at launch. Although, the bundling of Watch Dogs reeks of corporate funny business by the hands of ASUS and UbiSoft. "Oh, you really want this new motherboard? How about you pay $50 extra and buy our game too!" Keep in mind that this game was recently on sale for $30 on Steam, it's a digital copy ($50 for that as a bundle is atrocious), and NVIDIA gives it away "for free" with their GPUs. You could probably buy a voucher off eBay for less.
  • tolis626 - Friday, July 18, 2014 - link

    There's no way in hell I'm buying the Watch Dogs bundle. I don't like Watch Dogs and I won't play it, so there's that. I'll wait for the Watch Dogs free edition. That's what I hope is cheaper. I couldn't care less about how much the bundle is going to cost. I'm selfish...

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