Summary: There’s a catch to all this goodness: The MIIF has a $260 street price, while the equally fast MSI P45 Platinum is about $75 less. But that extra $75 does get you a lot, including an English-language POST LCD box, X-Fi EAX4 support (hopefully), and more SATA ports. It also gets you a heatsink that doesn’t look like a bad art-school project.
Pros: Tons of SATA ports, some X-Fi support, an eye-pleasing color scheme.
Summary: Initially I had my doubts about the performance of the Asus Maximus II Formula. I thought that Asus's ROG - "Republic of Gamers" was nothing but a marketing ploy, a gimmick to entice gaming enthusiasts to buy their boards ... but how wrong was I. During our tests, the Asus Maximus II Formula produced excellent scores in all of our tests and benchmarks. In fact, it was one of the fastest P45 motherboard we tested to date.
Pros: - Uses Intel's aslready proven P45 chipset, - Supports DDR2 ram, - Excellent performance, - Good overclocking ability (with some tweaking), - Separate Creative X-Fi HD audio card, - LCD poster for diagnostic purposes, - Internal Power-on and Reset switches, - Lots of innovative features from Asus, - New Asus Extreme and EPU engines
Cons: - Pricey for a P45 motherboard, - May not suit everyone. It's very enthusiast.
Conclusion: I found it very hard not to adore this motherboard to be quite honest. Visually, the board is stunning with new look gun metal grey heat sinks splashed with blood red 'shields', which is a much more appealing sight than copper coloured aluminium heat sinks of old. The Maximus' layout is nigh on perfect, with all the connections in the right places making for clutter free cabling.
Pros: Multitude of BIOS options, Excellent BIOS recovery, Visually stunning, X-FI riser card, 16 phase power design, Screw down heatsinks, Energy saving, LCD Poster options, Support for 16GB of DDR2