ASUS's Crosshair V Formula is a good mobo...

ASUS's Crosshair V Formula is a good mobo...

Review: The mighty chassis of Bulldozer! But, really, you'd be better off with an older AMD chip...


So we finally got a taste of Bulldozer, after waiting months on end for AMD to signal the release of this new and highly promising architecture. Enthusiasts hoped that AMD could finally release an architecture so powerful and so well priced that they'd knock Intel off the performance pedestal they've warmed to since the days when the mighty Athlon came to an end. What we actually got was bittersweet, with a distinct sour aftertaste. In fact, sour sums up the entire enthusiast attitude toward AMD right now. There's only so much disappointment users will take before they give in and swap camps, and with the new FX-8150 chip from AMD severely underperforming, even the most hardened fanboys are giving into Intel's sinister charm. The 'sweet' part of the deal is the fact they released it at all.

Naturally when one is handed a high caliber motherboard such as the Crosshair V Formula to review, one opts to use an equivalent class of CPU to push it to the extreme. We're not sure if the FX-8150 fits the bill here, but it's certainly the best AMD have to offer. To made the process more interesting, we opted for the bundled AMD water cooling kit that was provided. This is a rebranded Asetek unit, the same used in the Corsair and Antec self-contained kits.

ASUS have their usual Republic Of Gamers (ROG) goodies on this board, such as ProbeIt points for measuring voltages manually, ROG Connect for monitoring and tweaking via a USB connected notebook, and Extreme Engine Digi+ for voltage stability. Along one edge of the motherboard are power/reset/OC buttons which come in handy for benchmark rigs. There's no debug display, however.

Visually the ROG influence is unmistakable. The red and black colour scheme permeates the design, and is completed by the ROG logo on the Southbridge. We couldn't identify any obstructions when installing our test kit, which is always a good sign. Although we didn't install the Noctua NH-D14 for testing, it should fit nicely provided that low-profile memory is used.

Audio is a strong point on ROG boards, with an integrated X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity chip baked into the board. This offers audio enhancements such as X-Fi Crystallizer, and CMSS-3D virtual/headphone. This is a middle point between the standard Realtek DACs we regular come across, and a dedicated sound card. ASUS offers a ThunderBolt external sound card as an optional extra if you require a better audio source.

The selection of I/O ports include a combo PS/2 port, 6Gb/s eSATA, 1Gb/s Ethernet, 4 x USB 3.0, 8 x USB 2.0, optical S/PDIF out, 8.1 audio jacks, and a clear CMOS button.

Bundled with the Crosshair V Formula are two CrossFire ribbon connectors and a 3-way SLI bridge. The 990FX Northbridge makes this motherboard an excellent choice for multi-card setups, with 3-way support for both SLI and CrossFireX technologies. There's also a Q-Connector and SATA cables.

Our overclocking results were impressive in terms of raw clock rate. We managed to hit 4704MHz with a 224MHz bus and 21x multiplier, by leveraging the provided 'Extreme OC Profile'. This required 1.45v to maintain Prime95 stability, although with a bit more time we're sure we could squeeze a few extra cycles out of this CPU. We managed 2089MHz and 9-9-9-22-1T timings, which is a tad above the stock rating of our 2000MHz/9-9-9-27-2T RipJaw kit.

With 4.7GHz powering this beast, we expected to see some awe-inspiring numbers. What we got was quite miserable, no thanks to the choice of processor. While the multi-threaded tests faired quite well compared to the ASUS Sabertooth 990FX we reviewed earlier this year (utilising a Phenom II X4 980), the single threaded results weren't quite what we were hoping for. About 6.5 seconds separates the PiFast performance scores, and 7 seconds in wPrime 32M. Cinebench R10 manages to edge ahead with the FX-8150, by a meagre 150 units.

Overall, the features of this board are top notch, and the build quality is as good as you can expect. Since this is the first motherboard we've tested with the new FX-8150, it's hard to draw comparisons with existing AM3+ based boards. At this point, the Crosshair V Formula stands as our reference board for future Bulldozer tests. That being said, we were quite happy with the overclock that we achieved using this board, which is testament to the quality of the components ASUS use.


AMD FX-8150

224 x 21; DDR3-2089 9-11-9-27-1T

224 x 21; DDR3-2089 9-9-9-22-1T

100 x 36; DDR3-2089 9-11-9-27-1T





wPrime 32M - single thread




wPrime 32M – multi-thread

7.971s (5.2x efficiency)

8.08s (5.14x efficiency)

10.437s (5.19x efficiency)

CineBench R10 64bit - single thread




CineBench R10 64bit - multi-thread

25235 (5.31x efficiency)

24942 (5.32x efficiency)

19433 (5.34x efficiency)

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ASUS Crosshair V Formula
4 6
A capable, quality motherboard.
Socket AM3+; 990FX chipset; ATX form factor; 4 x PCI-e x16 (3 x 16x, 1 x 4x electrically); 1 x PCI-e 1x; 1 x PCI; 7 x SATA3; DDR3-2133(OC)

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