Introduction, Specifications, and Pricing
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The Maximus Formula has been the go-to enthusiast platform for years. Living between the Hero, one of the best gaming platforms, and Extreme, the top-tier ROG board is no easy task. Still, the Z690 Formula manages quite well, offering legit connectivity from Thunderbolt 4 to USB 3.2 Gen2x2, 10Gbe with the help of Marvell AQC chipset and top-of-the-line audio with the new Realtek ALC4082.
Specifications start with the LGA1700 socket on the Z690 chipset. The Formula is a DDR5 platform, offering four slots with a maximum capacity of 128GB. Speeds range from JEDEC 4800MHz to 6400MHz with an overclock.
The expansion includes two PCIe 5.0 enabled slots, operating in x16 mode if one is used and x8 x8 for both. An additional PCIe slot routed off the chipset supports Gen4 in x4 mode. Storage support includes five m.2 slots, the top slot pulling CPU lanes for Gen5 support while the other four pull from the chipset and support Gen4 speeds. Six SATA ports are also available for legacy storage support and support Intel RST in RAID 0/1 and 5.
Pushing to network connectivity, the Formula is supported by the Marvell AQC chipset and 10Gbe, while ASUS has pushed the Intel AX210 for Wi-Fi 6e that includes Bluetooth 5.2. Connectivity via USB 3.2 includes ten ports on the rear I/O and another five available via internal headers. Audio is powered by the ALC4082 chipset.
The ASUS ROG Z690 Maximus Formula carries an MSRP of $799.99 with a three-year warranty.
Packaging, Accessories, and Overview
Packaging and Accessories
ASUS went glacial with the Formula this time around, giving options to those that want to do a white-themed build. Chipset and CPU support are listed bottom right.
Included with the board are the ROG Hyper M.2 card and reading materials. You will also enjoy the typical Wi-Fi antenna and SATA cables not pictured.
ROG Z690 Maximus Formula Overview
The Formula is a near-all-white platform, supporting watercooled VRM heat sinks and heat sinks covering the m.2 and chipset area.
The rear of the board has a white metal plate to increase board rigidity.
Rear I/O is stacked with USB 3.2, along with Thunderbolt 4 and 10Gbe for LAN.
Along the bottom of the board, you will find several RGB connections followed quickly by fan headers and USB 2.0.
Pushing to the end of the board, we have another set of fan headers and front panel connections.
Around the corner, SATA is flanked by a pair of USB 3.2 headers.
Further up, we run into a Gen2x2 header and supplemental power via the 6pin and the 24pin main power connection.
Across the top, there is the debug LED and four fan connections.
Far left, two eight-pin inputs.
UEFI, Software and Test System
This BIOS should look familiar for anyone that has used a ROG platform in the last few generations. That said, for 12th Gen, we have CPU information in the right pane, BIOS info in the center.
Extreme Tweaker includes current CPU and memory clocks at the top, tuning for both down below. The Advanced menu includes options for SATA storage and PCH along with Thunderbolt and NVMe. CPU config includes the ability to enable/disable cores, including E cores and P cores separately.
Monitoring is included alongside fan control, while the tool menu allows you to control RGB and Secure Erase storage devices.
ASUS AI Suite includes software for the motherboard for tuning as well as monitoring.
This allows for Auto overclocking and optimization.
You can also manually tune the system within AI Suite.
Motherboard Testing Supporters
Sabrent supports our storage testing with the Rocket 4 Plus.
TweakTown Intel Motherboard Test System
Cinebench R23 and AIDA64
Cinebench and AIDA64
Cinebench is a long-standing render benchmark that has been heavily relied upon by both Intel and AMD to showcase their newest platforms during unveils. The benchmark has two tests, a single-core workload that will utilize one thread or 1T. There is also a multi-threaded test that uses all threads or nT of a tested CPU.
We are starting to populate charts with boards, The Formula being our sixth board to come through. In 1T, the Formula was tested at 1992.
nT showed 27487.
AES comes in at 141107.
SHA3 tapped in at 5148.
Memory throughput pushed 81K read, 77K write, and 79K copy.
PCMark10,3DMark and CrossMark Benchmarks
PCMark is a benchmark from UL and tests various workload types to represent typical workloads for a PC. Everything from video conferencing, image import, and editing, along with 3D rendering, are tested.
The overall score in PCMark was just under the Hero at 9415; the breakdown can be seen below.
Score breakdown shows a slight decrease in Digital Content performance with the Formula.
Formula rang up a score of 2321 in CrossMark; again, the breakdown can be seen below.
Breakdown of CrossMark showed results on par with all other platforms tested.
CPU Profile shows the Formula performing right with the pack, slightly above at 16 threads.
Timespy shows average gaming performance for the Formula, about 200 points better than our Strix board.
The Formula seemed to excel at CPU performance, grabbing an extra 200 points over the Hero and 400 over the Strix.
Gaming and System I/O Benchmarks
Tomb Raider showed equal performance for all boards tested, pretty much 196 FPS for 1080p and 145 FPS for 1440p.
FCND showed similar performance here as well, 172 FPS for 1080p and 1440p tapping 150 FPS.
Storage with CrystalDiskMark
Storage performance was fantastic, NVMe topping 7019 MB/s with our Sabrent Rocket Plus; Gen 2×2 at 2011 MB/s followed by Gen 2 at 1071 MB/s and Gen 1 at 459 MB/s.
Power consumption for the Formula was 91 watts at idle, and full load with R23 peaked at 384 watts.
Motherboards like the Maximus Formula have a long history in the enthusiast market. The Z690 aims to carry on that legacy with a relatively stacked feature set that includes a 20 phase power design using stages rated for 105A. This required ASUS to beef up the cooling, so they went with larger heat sinks and the EK CrossChill solution for those that want to take advantage.
Additionally, the I/O connectivity of this board is top-notch with Wi-Fi 6e, 10Gbe via the Marvell AQC113, and Thunderbolt 4 as the main features and a plethora of USB 3.2 available alongside five m.2 slots and SATA.
The performance of this board, as tested, was on par with previous motherboards. I didn’t find any benchmark the Formula excelled at and didn’t have any hiccups in testing the Z690 platform. As I’ve stated in nearly every review, these boards all perform the same given the same components are being used; BIOS tuning can certainly make a difference as some early revisions lacked proper XMP support on some vendor’s boards, not the case for the Formula.
That all said, for many of you, it will come down to cost, and the Formula isn’t a cheap board by any means, and it all adds up with shortages in DDR5 production and the ongoing GPU issues. That said, ASUS does attempt to make it worth it with a complete feature set, and like the AORUS XTREME, the Formula leaves nothing behind but possibly a few extra dollars in your wallet as it’s nearly $100 cheaper than the XTREME.