ASUS ROG Maximus V Formula Motherboard Review

 

Features - UEFI BIOS

shortcut1ASUS boards have adopted a reputation for being wonderfully easy to configure thanks to the mouse friendly UEFI BIOS. The UEFI BIOS of the Maximus V Formula varies from those on other ASUS boards only in its color scheme, and there is no part of the interface that leaves us wanting. The visual appeal and ease of navigation makes scrubbing through menus a breeze. Rather than spending valuable time digging through layer upon layer of system settings, users can press F3 to call up a set of shortcuts to access commonly adjusted performance metrics. One major update to the BIOS as a whole is that it is now CAP based rather than ROM based. This ensures the best performance, interoperability and compatibility for the UEFI specification and Windows 8. The BIOS is presented in an ‘EZ Mode’ upon first booting up the system. The EZ mode acts as a simple dashboard for viewing basic system information and allows users to set the display language, performance mode, and boot device priority.

Those wanting to get at the real meat of the interface can dive into the ‘Advanced Mode.’ Placed at the forefront of the Advanced Mode is the 'Extreme Tweaker.' This menu acts as a hub for overclocking, allowing the user to set CPU ratios manually, select the desired Level Up setting, enable X.M.P. mode, or even load a tailored Gamers' OC Profile for day-to-day gaming. One can also manually adjust a bevy of voltage settings including CPU voltage, DRAM voltage, and the CPU I/O skew to increase overclocking potential. Modifications to memory frequency are just a click away, and users can find a great deal of powerful options within the DIGI+ Power Control menu. Those who are diligent about getting their system’s just right will appreciate the ability to press F12 to send a screen capture to an attached flash drive. No more forgetting those finely tuned settings!

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Activating advanced Intel features of the chipset such as Adaptive Thermal Monitoring, Virtualization Technology, Rapid Start, and Smart Connect can be accomplished via the ‘Advanced’ tab. Every other core function that one can think of is probably in here as well.  Whether it’s configuring the response of the APM in the event of a power failure, enabling USB 3.0 support on legacy operating systems, or empowering both integrated and discrete graphics, if there’s a setting you’re looking for and it cannot be found here, then it probably doesn’t exist. One can even go so far as to extinguish the red LEDs on the front of the board, although I can’t imagine why they would ever want to do so.

For a quick look at system voltages, temps, and fan speed thresholds, there is the aptly named ‘Monitor’ tab. Only the Fan Speed Control menu offers any adjustability, but the options found there can prove quite useful. Minimum allowable fan RPMs and maximum temperature ranges can help keep your fans operating at a speed that provides a healthy amount of airflow for your overall system.

One of our favorite features of the ‘Tool’ tab is the SPD menu. It helps to diagnose DIMMs that aren't operating properly, which could be either due to faulty hardware or a failed overclock. It is especially helpful to determine which stick or slot isn't being properly detected without having to attempt a boot into the OS, only to be turned away by a blue screen. Other available functions include labeling, saving, and/or loading overclocking profiles, in addition to password protecting the BIOS itself. One can also set the overclocking preferences to be loaded at a push of the ‘Go Button’ mounted on the front of the board.

Corrupted BIOS got you down? It can happen to anyone, even if they are using an ASUS motherboard without soldered ROM chips. Providing a plug-and-play solution for the ROM is a good first line of defense against surges, as are the ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) diodes sprinkled around the board. If the ROM still manages to become corrupted, it's time to break out the EZ Flash 2 Utility. You can download the latest version of your board's BIOS to a flash drive and update over USB. The utility will go the extra mile to compare the old and new version of the BIOS to confirm that you are flashing the correct file. Those that still experience trouble can resort to using the USB BIOS Flashback button on the rear I/O. All you need is the same USB drive and ATX standby power connected. No CPU, GPU, or memory is required. Press and hold the BIOS Flashback button for three seconds and you will be back in business with a fresh BIOS in minutes.

 

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