Asus puts AMD in the Crosshairs

Product: Asus Crosshair IV Formula
Price: £171.42

Asus has been busy adding more motherboards to its Republic of Gamers (ROG) range.

Hard on the heels of the Intel-based Rampage III Extreme comes the latest addition to the AMD based side of the family, the Crosshair IV Formula, based around AMD’s new 890FX chipset and as is standard for boards in this range, crammed with features; support for the latest AMD X6 six-core processors, four DIMM slots supporting up to 16GB of DDR3 memory, four PCI-E graphics slots supporting CrossFire X technology, SATA 6GB/s, USB 3.0 and the overclocking aids that are all part and parcel of a ROG motherboard.

Although four PCI-E x16 slots are provided and can be filled with graphics cards they can’t all run at full speed if the four slots are filled or even three for that matter. Fit a single or two-card setup and everything runs at the full x16 speed, add a third card and the speed drops to x16,x8x8, while adding a fourth card reduces the four slots to x8 speed.

To ease any confusion, the slots are clearly labelled as is everything else on the board.

Finished in the now familiar ROG colours of red and black, the Crosshair IV Formula like the Rampage III Extreme makes use of beautifully engineered heatsinks to passively cool the chipset and major power components of the board.

The board is well laid out to but with one exception, which is the placement of the 8-pin power header which is tucked up really tight to one of these heatsinks, if it was placed just a few more millimetres out, away from the heatsink, it would make it much easier to use.

Just like its Intel-based cousin, the Crosshair IV Formula features ROG Connect, which enables you to control and overclock the board via a laptop and ProbeIT voltage pads for those people who have a volt meter and know how to use it and want to know exactly what voltage various components are using.

For those who like to torture their motherboards without bothering with a case, Asus has placed four large control buttons on the edge of the board. Two of these are the standard on/off buttons while the other two are for Asus’ Core Unlocker and Turbo Key II technologies.

The Core Unlocker does what it says on the tin, unlocking any disabled cores on your CPU, something you can also do in the BIOS. The Turbo Key allows you to overclock the board without going into the BIOS, a handy tool for people who are just dipping their toe into the murky waters of overclocking without having to get their hands dirty having to plough through the myriad of options in the BIOS.

Verdict
Anther nicely designed Asus motherboard worthy of carrying the ROG label with a very good feature list and a plethora of overclocking options, which these days usually means a price tag of over £200, so the fact the Asus Crosshair IV Formula can be brought for around £170 quid makes it very desirable especially if you want to build a fast system and don’t want to go down the Intel path.

Specifications
Form Factor: ATX (30.5 cm x 24.4 cm) Socket: AMD AM3 Chipset: AMD 890FX / AMD SB850 Memory: Four DIMM slots, up to 16GB DDR3 RAM Graphic card slots: 4 x PCI-E x16 2.0 Expansion slots: 2 x PCI Storage: 6 x SATA 6GB/s, 1 x SATA 3GB/s, 1 x eSATA LAN: Integrated Gigabit Audio: Integrated 7.1 HD USB: up to 12 x USB 2.0, 2 x USB 3.0