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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
Written by Hank Tolman   
Monday, 30 May 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS Crosshair-V Formula AMD 990FX Motherboard
The AMD 990FX Chipset
Closer Look: Crosshair V Formula
Crosshair V Formula Detailed Features
Crosshair V Formula Specifications
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Extreme Benchmark Tests
Passmark Performance Test
PCMark Vantage Benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra
Cinebench R11.5 Benchmarks
Video Transcoding Tests
Street Fighter IV Benchmark
ASUS Crosshair V Formula Final Thoughts
ASUS Crosshair V Formula Conclusion

ASUS Crosshair V Formula Motherboard

Manufacturer: ASUSTeK Computer Inc.
Model Number: Crosshair V Formula
Product Name: AMD 990FX Motherboard
Price as Tested: $219.99 (Newegg)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by ASUS.

The long-awaited 990FX Chipset is finally here. The manufacturing partners have put together their offerings, each putting their personal touches to the design. Benchmark reviews is here with a look at the ASUS Crosshair V Formula 990FX motherboard and the all new 990FX Chipset. It's been a long time coming, and a full six months after the Intel P67-Express chipset means that AMD is behind the curve. A lot is expected of the new chipset and ASUS has a name to keep up with the Republic of Gamers series name.

The 990FX Chipset doesn't bring a whole lot of new stuff to the table. A higher RAM speed compatibility, a new socket, and SLI compatibility are about it. Even the SB950 southbridge is pretty much identical to the older generation SB850. The thing about that is, however, the 990FX and SB950 still offer a lot more in some ways than the P67-Express Chipset.

Namely, the 990FX Chipset offers a full 42 PCIe 2.0 lanes compared to 16 on the P67-Express. The SB950 gives you six SATA 6Gb/s ports, compared with only two from the Intel alternative. Neither chipset offers native USB 3.0 support, but ASUS has never been one to let that bother them. They fix this in the ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard with not just one, or even two, but three Asmedia USB 3.0 controllers for a total of 6 USB 3.0 ports. Additional features found on the Crosshair V Formula we will talk about in this article include:

  • uEFI - User Extensible Firmware Interface (BIOS replacement) with Graphical User Interface
  • Extreme Engine DIGI+ - Precision digital Voltage Regulator Module replaces analog management
  • AI Suite II - Combines DIGI+ VRM, EPU, TurboV EVO, BT GO!, FAN Xpert, and Probe II software into one program
  • ASUS DIP2 - Dual Intelligent Processors integrated onto the motherboard:
    - ASUS TPU (iROG Chip) (TurboV Processing Unit) Relieves parts of process-intensive tasks from CPU
    - ASUS EPU (Energy Processing Unit) Reduces power drain by up to 80%
  • Go! Button - Automatically enables an overclocking profile you set in the uEFI

ASUS_Crosshair_990FX_Box1.jpg

All motherboard manufacturers realize that the key to making their product stand out from the crowd of nearly identical motherboards is to add their own features. While some are common-place, like USB 3.0 ports that AMD oddly left of the 990FX chipset, others are rare. Some are seemingly cosmetic or serve a little used function. Whatever the case may be, all motherboards, even those from the same manufacturer, vary somewhat in their feature sets. Below is a table that outlines some of the ASUS motherboards so you can compare their features with those of the ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard.

Crosshair V Formula

Sabertooth 990FX

Crosshair IV Formula

CPU

CPU Socket Type

AM3+

AM3+

AM3

DRAM

DRAM Spec

4x DIMM, 32GB Max

DDR3- 2133(OC)AM3 CPU/2000(OC)/1866(OC)

/1800(OC)/1600/1333

/1066 ECC/Non-ECC, Unbuffered Memory

4x DIMM, 32GB Max

DDR3- 2000(OC)/1866

/1800/1600/1333

/1066 ECC/Non-ECC, Unbuffered Memory

4x DIMM, 16GB Max

DDR3- 2000(OC)/1866

/1800/1600/1333

/1066 ECC/Non-ECC, Unbuffered Memory

Chipset

Chipsets Used

AMD 990FX/SB950

AMD 990FX/SB950

AMD 890FX/SB850

Power Solution

CPU / iGPU

8+2 Phase EXTREME ENGINE DIGI+

8+2 Phase DIGI+ VRM

8+2 Phases Hybrid VRM

Networking

LAN Controller

Intel 82583V

Realtek 8111E

Marvell 8095

Audio

Audio Solution

SupremeFX X-Fi 2 built in

ALC892

SupremeFX X-Fi

Audio Features

EAX Advanced HD 5.0

THX TruStudio Pro

X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity

Creative Alchemy

N/A

N/A

VGA

Multi GPU

Quad-GPU SLI / CFX Tech with 2 Cards

Quad-GPU SLI / CFX Tech with 2 Cards

Quad-GPU CFX Tech with 2 Cards

3 Way SLI / CFX

3 Way SLI / CFX

3 Way CFX

4 Way SLI Tech with Xpander

N/A

N/A

Storage

SATA 6Gb/s

7

6

6

SATA 3Gb/s

0

2

1

eSATA 3Gb/s

1x eSATA6G

1x power eSATA

1x power eSATA

RAID Support

RAID 0,1,5,10

GPT Boot

Yes

Yes

N/A

2TB+ on Non-GPT OS

Disk Unlocker

USB 3.0

6 (2 front, 4 rear) via Triple Asmedia USB 3.0 controller

4 (2 front, 2 rear) via Dual Asmedia USB 3.0 controller

2 via dual NEC USB 3.0 controller

USB 2.0

12 (4 midboard; 7 rear, 1 white shared with ROG Connect)

14 (4 midboard; 10 rear)

12 (5 midboard; 7 rear)

1394

0

2

2



 

Comments 

 
# Good reviewAi 2011-05-30 22:13
I do think your overstating the AMD benefits! As most all enthusiasts know the performance edge is with Intel, and has been for some time. I find it hard to find any good news about this new chipset, when it is being out performed by the OLD X58 chipset! Plus Intel is just around the corner from releasing the Z series chipset.
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# RE: Good reviewDavid Ramsey 2011-05-30 22:20
Intel has already released the Z series chipset...where have you been for the last few weeks? It's a nice chipset, mind you, but still suffers from the paucity of PCI-E lanes that every Intel chipset except the X58 does. AMD users don't have to buy new motherboards every time AMD comes out with a new processor, which leaves extra money for graphics cards, RAM, and SSDs.
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# RE: RE: Good reviewKiv 2011-05-30 22:39
I always make the same argument, that with limited funds and a gaming oriented goal, CPU/MOBO savings being redirected towards GPU and/or SSD is the best overall way to improve performance.

However, if there are CPU based productivity concerns to be addressed, Intel is definitely a great choice. And of course, if you have the budget to build a computer without much limitation, then of course build around a Core i7 Sandy Bridge!

All that said, I am going to relinquish my AMD parts for Intel in the future if AMD continues to fail to deliver. I just read that Bulldozer is being delayed to September to create a better stepping. That's not the news I was waiting for. I carried an AMD torch for a long time, but I can't wait forever.
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# A paragraph from the review...Hank Tolman 2011-05-31 10:57
I think you may have missed this paragraph,

"I know by writing this, I'm sure to be accused of being biased toward AMD but my true desire is to see competition thrive and flourish. This will help keep prices down and performance increasing steadily. Up until the Sandy Bridge release, I think that AMD systems have been preferable to Intel systems for gaming, while Intel systems had the edge for more CPU intensive processes. Even with the Sandy Bridge release, Intel didn't do much with the P67-Express system to appeal to extreme gamers or even overclocking enthusiasts. They locked the processors, stuck with minimal PCIe 2.0 lanes, and even offered up only two SATA 6Gb/s ports. The CPUs are amazingly powerful and they run cool. For CPU intensive processes, the Sandy Bridge release was a huge success."
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# j smiothj smith 2011-10-06 08:58
The intel edge is true but amd are about to release the bulldozer which is likely to outperform intel almost immidiately.
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# RE: j smiothOlin Coles 2011-10-06 09:06
I think you might be surprised. We'll have the full review of Bulldozer posted very soon.
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# whyanikhtos 2011-05-30 22:23
why you did not used a 890 mainboard with the same processor to see if there is any gain to the 990?? which apparently would not.
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# Check out my review of the Phenom-II 980BEHank Tolman 2011-05-31 10:51
I reviewed the Phenom-II 980BE using an 890GX motherboard. Feel free to head over to that review and see how those numbers compare. But you are right, there isn't any difference, as there shouldn't be since nothing substantial changed between the chipsets.
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# who knowsmcpanawa 2011-05-30 22:40
"why you did not used a 890 mainboard with the same processor to see if there is any gain to the 990?? which apparently would not."

I agree. Thats a good idea.
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# RE: who knowsDavid Ramsey 2011-05-31 08:29
If every reviewer on staff had access to every type of motherboard...
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# LOLRealNeil 2011-05-31 05:52
"The Sydney Opera House was getting old."

I squirted coffee through my nose at that.
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# repeat this every timeReSeRe 2011-05-31 06:24
"my true desire is to see competition thrive and flourish. This will help keep prices down and performance increasing steadily"

Couldn't agree more.
It's like the difference between truth and justice.
Nice review.
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# RE: ASUS Crosshair-V Formula AMD 990FX MotherboardServando Silva 2011-05-31 08:29
I'd love to see power consumption and overclocking capabilities between this and a 890FX motherboard. But other than that, great review!
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# And you will!Hank Tolman 2011-05-31 10:52
There is so much in the way of power management and overclocking available on the Crosshair V Formula that I didn't want to people to skip over it in a 20+ page review. The Overclocking and Power Consumption will be part of another article soon.
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# RE: And you will!Servando Silva 2011-06-01 20:03
Then I'll be waiting for the next part. Thanks!
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# 890FX vs 990FX with 1090T CPU?JuicyFruitSweeT 2011-05-31 09:24
I would love to see if any performance game from upgrading the motherboard =)

Thanks
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# RE: 890FX vs 990FX with 1090T CPU?Hank Tolman 2011-05-31 10:55
Unfortunately, I don't have a 1090T CPU, but you aren't going likely to see any performance increase with the 990FX chipset over the 890FX chipset since they are practically the same. Even if they were different, you wouldn't likely see any performance increase in games. Those are too GPU dependent. The uEFI in the ASUS 990FX boards has been optimized on for quad and six core CPUs, so you will have an easier time overclocking and tweaking, but pure performance, especially in games, won't be changed.
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# RE: RE: 890FX vs 990FX with 1090T CPU?JuicyFruitSweeT 2011-05-31 11:53
Is there a release date yet for this motherboard?
This will be my last piece then I got myself a new RIG
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# RE: ASUS Crosshair-V Formula AMD 990FX MotherboardAthlonite 2011-05-31 21:26
whats with the 4 way SLI/Crossfire bull sh!t the only way I can see that happening is if you can find 4 high end single slot graphics cards and one of your pics shows 3way sli and all slots are used or covered and made unusable even with water cooling your going to have a hard being able to use the other slots (PCI/PCIe 1x) bigger mobos please more space between slots so they're all usable
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# RE: RE: ASUS Crosshair-V Formula AMD 990FX MotherboardDavid Ramsey 2011-05-31 21:51
If you'd read the review more carefully, you would have noticed that Hank mentioned that ASUS Xpander is needed for 4-way SLI.
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# RE: RE: RE: ASUS Crosshair-V Formula AMD 990FX MotherboardOlin Coles 2011-05-31 21:54
But there wasn't a chart or picture that showed him this!
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: ASUS Crosshair-V Formula AMD 990FX MotherboardAthlonite 2011-05-31 22:27
Thankyou Olin

@ David my point being why didn't they just make the mobo bigger by 2~3 inches and spread the slots out some more most new cases are capable of having XLATX mobos installed in them unless ofcourse you planning on using an older or cheap cae to install this in.... as it stands this mobo is not capable of 4way SLI/CF without having to purchase an addon or finding 4 single slot type graphics cards unless the addon comes in the box
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: ASUS Crosshair-V Formula AMD 990FX MotherboardDavid Ramsey 2011-06-01 07:35
If the spread the slots out more, then you'd need a special case for that motherboard, since slot spacing is standardized. Of course there are a few like this: EVGA's SR-2 mobo, for example, requires a 10-slot case (of which there are only a few), and you can't use a case at all with the Xpander. I imagine ASUS simply didn't want to limit it's user's case choices.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: ASUS Crosshair-V Formula AMD 990FX MotherboardAthlonite 2011-06-01 21:15
yeah and the price for this mobo isn't going to limit sales at all.. even a simple swap of the PCIe x1 and first PCIe x16 slot would be a better design as it stands 3 out of 6 slots become unusable if you choose to use 3 duel slot cooler graphics cards
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: ASUS Crosshair-V Formula AMD 990FX MotherboardAthlonite 2011-06-01 21:21
Prices for Asus Crosshair IV extreme in New Zealand $546.54 and I bet you can add another 2 to 3 hundred dollars to that when we start seeing CH V mobo's here
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# Wait overpricedJuicyFruitSweeT 2011-06-02 17:55
Suck to be you living in Australia. Over here in North America the Crosshair IV Extreme is like $300~
I bet the Crosshair V Extreme will be pretty much same price and that is $300~

This Crosshair V Formula also same price as the IV and I think ASUS will do a price drop on that motherboard soon =)
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# RE: Wait overpricedAthlonite 2011-06-03 00:29
DUDE you fail Geography or what New Zealand is it's own Country and nothing to do with Australia

As for prices we're always getting ripped of here Retailers try and claim dollar rate or shipping cost because of the price of Fuel in order to rip holes into peoples wallets it's all just bull# because they sure as hell don't drop prices when our dollar is up of fuel cost go down
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# RE: ASUS Crosshair-V Formula AMD 990FX MotherboardPinakio 2011-05-31 23:42
This has to be one of the best reviews I've read on 9xx chipset. Lets just for a moment forget about Bulldozer vs. Sandybridge and concentrate on more basic things that AMD has done right. The best thing must be the cpu compatibility across boards. Generally CPUs outlive Mainboards, so this is a great news for those who currently have a capable chip in form of Deneb/Thuban based Phenom2. Only thing they have to do now is to buy one of these 9xx boards and wait for a convenient and timely upgrade to BD or whatever they see fit. On Intel side, things are far from convenient as my brother's one and half year old system is on LGA1156 and it is already EOL! Another thing, this 9xx series is going to be great for many Nvidia users as I know many who have been holding onto their nForce 7xx/9xx or Geforce 7xxx/8xxx Mobos and skipped the AMD 8xx. They can now migrate to this new boards with their CPU and GPUs for some good old fashion AMD/Nvidia SLI action. Finally competition FTW!
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# Typo or hint?PointBlank 2011-06-02 16:55
Intel P67 Test Platform
Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair IV Formula B3

Perhaps a Maximus IV Formula? Seriously, when will ASUS Extreme's cheaper sibling be announced?
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# Typo - sorryHank Tolman 2011-06-03 10:54
That should say ASUS Sabertooth P67 B3.
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# Small question big questionBryz 2011-06-21 21:51
Hi i was wondering if ASUS/AMD Chipset PCIE booting woes were over?

As you can see here on QVL OCZ revo works on Crosshair II
(final nvdia crosshair)
##ocztechnology.com/displaypage.php?name=revo_ibis_moboguide

But if you scroll down to the red Crosshair III and Crosshair IV
(first AMD chipset Crosshairs)
are still... after a year and a quarter on the problems/unsupported list.

Crosshair V is not in the red or the blue its not on the list
(at least yet)

Do you have an OCZ revo drive to test this on. If so it would be
greatly appreciated in your next part of the review? Im guess from what
u said there would be a second part? Or maybe you just know offhand.

Thank you Hank for reading
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# RE: Small question big questionOlin Coles 2011-06-21 21:57
Bryz: this might be a question best asked on OCZ's SSD forum for RevoDrive. They have a whole section there just for this SSD, and you can ask them what their technicians have found.
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# RE: RE: Small question big questionBryz 2011-06-29 20:30
it isnt i see youve never been to ocz forums before. its very unproductive.
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# reallykevin 2011-06-03 17:12
I can't help disagree, with the article where talks about the pci-e breakdown afaik
1) the pci lanes aren't only used by gpu's or add-on cards in general
2) I know for a fact that AMD cards aren't noticeably bandwidth limited until x4, I'll hazard to say it's probably the same for nvidia also
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# RE: ASUS Crosshair-V Formula AMD 990FX MotherboardChris 2011-06-10 18:08
Hank, do you think that there will a Crosshair V Extreme edition coming out in the next couple of months? Any idea if so, what will it offer?

As it stands, the 990FX seems like an incremental upgrade. Not having native USB 3.0 seems a bit disappointing. I suppose we'll have to wait until the processors (FX-8130P) come out before casting judgment on AMD.

Right now I'm looking at what to replace my q6600 and Bulldozer seems like a leading candidate.
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# RE: RE: ASUS Crosshair-V Formula AMD 990FX MotherboardBryz 2011-06-15 22:24
Crosshair V Extreme will happen im almost certain of it but just not at launch. It would just be the Quadfire version with slightly higher clocks for obvious beefed up reasons.

But not sure when. It'll only be the second extreme board in AMD flavor so i cant state consistency, but formula and extreme rarely come out side by side in the same month anyway. Maybe around the holidays, or sooner. I think they want bulldozer out before they show everything.

Same with G1(assassin,guerrilla) Gigabyte boards, you know they are coming either way, even though they are unannounced.
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# AMDJonathan 2012-07-31 13:23
I have this motherboard with my AMD 1100t Black Edition overclock to 4.0ghz, 8 gig ram overclock, EVGA gtx 690 overclock 'MSI after burner' software, Windows 7 64 bit, 30 inch gaming monitor and a laser mouse. All the games such as Battle Field 2 & 3, Medal Of Honor, Left for Dead, Dirt 2 & 3, Street Fighter all these PC games my Computer runs so freakin fast, total online domination, so smooth, never any lag. AMD is your total gaming computer hands down, all you really need for gaming PC to be honest is Dual core processor, good ram and a good video card and your good, Intel is for processing data like database or server, but for gaming this bad boy is a beast, always number 1 online gaming AMD rocks!!!
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