ASUS was really crazy about the Intel P35 chipset and released more than a dozen motherboards with it in just a few months. As we noted in our 9-way shootout for the Intel P35 motherboard, the P35 is a well-equipped chipset that offers excellent performance, excellent overclocking options, and a very competitive price. In fact, the P35's price has allowed motherboard manufacturers to produce budget versions that cost only $ 100 and more extreme versions that cost $ 400 and more.
However, we knew all along that the Intel X38 chipset would be coming, and now that it is available in retail stores, it is set to take over the high-end market segment and at the same time replace the aging 975X chipset. Unfortunately, we found that the much anticipated X38 is a bit overwhelmed, as it offers nothing really new compared to the P35 chipset.
High-end boards that use either of the two chipsets use the ICH9R South Bridge chip, which means that they have the same functions. In terms of performance, the P35 is just as fast as the X38, unless you want to run multi-GPU (SLI / Crossfire) configurations. So far we have found that the P35 overclocked as well as the newer X38, so none of the chipsets have an advantage there either.
Just because the X38 chipset is being marketed (and priced accordingly) as a high-end product is expected to be used for extreme motherboard offerings like the one we have in stock today.
The ASUS Maximus Formula Special Edition not only has the X38 chipset, but also offers a number of additional functions that are intended to help you stand out from the competition's X38 products.
Typically, ASUS SE motherboards come with a significant price premium that costs between $ 50 and $ 100 more than the standard versions. However, we were surprised when ASUS announced the Maximus Formula price of $ 260, which is by no means cheap. Given the history of ASUS high-end motherboards, however, it is still significantly cheaper than the standard ASUS P5E3 Deluxe WiFi-AP @ n that costs a whopping $ 350. However, there are some good reasons for this …
The Maximus formula eliminates many of the features of the P5E3 Deluxe WiFi-AP @ n that ASUS believes the majority of players consider useless. For example, the WiFi AP @ n portion, which is essentially an 802.11n wireless access point, has been removed. The new and exclusive ASUS Express Gate function is also gone – this function enables you to surf the Internet in a 5-second start without entering Windows.
So there are two potentially useful features missing, but if you weren't going to use them, you would save a lot of money.
So we're wondering what ASUS has included on this & # 39; Special Edition & # 39; motherboard to make it special. For starters, the Maximus Formula is a water-cooled motherboard that is undoubtedly attractive to many, many gamers and overclockers alike. It also includes the SupremeFX II sound card, another feature for gamers, and a software package for the 3D FPS game S.T.A.L.K.E.R., a copy of 3DMark 06 and Kaspersky Antivirus.
Let's go ahead to find out what this new ASUS motherboard has to offer …