Despite recent releases focusing on Intel chipsets, Asus’ Republic of Gamers (RoG) range of motherboards also extends to supporting AMD CPUs. These AMD- focused boards carry the Crosshair name and have a pedigree that dates all the way back to the first ever RoG board, which was released way back in early 2007. The quality of Asus’ Crosshair boards has been relatively constant ever since, and the Crosshair V Formula’s predecessor, the Crosshair IV Formula, was a highly desirable Socket AM3 motherboard.
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The Crosshair V brings official Socket AM3+ support to the range, along with the 990FX chipset, and even sports SLI support. At £179, it’s a pricey option, but it does plenty to justify this assault on your wallet.
The PCB looks rather cramped, but this is mainly due to the large heatsinks attached to the VRMs and chipset. The various components are also laid out neatly, with all the regular power connectors located at the edge of the PCB.
This is also true for the six SATA 6Gbps ports that run off the SB950 Southbridge, which are mounted parallel to the PCB for easy cable routeing. As well as this, there's also an additional SATA 6Gbps port by way of an ASMedia 106x controller just below the other SATA ports.
Meanwhile, the PCB bristles with fan headers – eight in total – although two are for 4-pin PWM CPU cooler fans; this is a good move, as dual-fan coolers are very effective for cooling hot AMD CPUs. Three fan headers are also located on the bottom edge of the PCB, so you should be able to power all your fans using the Crosshair V, wherever they're located.
Incredibly, the fan power circuitry is able to handle up to 7A, so Asus is clearly catering for some scary ultra-fast fans. What's more, you’ll have even more power on tap if you insert a Molex power connector into the Crosshair V’s EZ Plug connector, as it’s designed to provide the board with additional power if you use more than one graphics card.
As you would expect from a RoG motherboard, there are on-board power, reset and overclocking switches, along with a clear-CMOS switch located on the I/O panel. There are four 16x PCI-E slots too, although only triple-card SLI or CrossFireX setups are supported out of the box.
If you’re this way inclined, be aware that the second and third slots will only provide eight PCI-E lanes apiece, while setups based on two graphics cards will see the second slot offering the full 16 PCI-E lanes. There’s a fair amount of space between the first and second 16x PCI-E slots, although this is also where the Crosshair V’s only 1x PCI-E slot is located. Meanwhile, a single PCI slot is located beneath the second 16x PCI-E slot.
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There’s plenty to talk about on the USB front too. There are four USB 3 ports on the I/O panel, and a USB 3 header on the motherboard to take advantage of the ever-increasing number of external drive bay devices that support USB 3 too. The usual RoG features are present as well, including RoG Connect, CPU Level Up and also on-board SupremeFX X-Fi 2 audio, which supports Creative's CMS 3D, Crystalizer and EAX 5.0 features, among other standards.
Chipset AMD 990FX
CPU support Socket AM3 Athlon II, Phenom II Sempron 100-series, Future Socket AM3+ CPUs
Memory support 4 slots: max 32GB DDR3
Expansion slots four 16x PCI-E 2.0 slots (two 16x or one 16x, two 8x and one 4x), one PCI, one 1x PCI-E
Sound 8-channel HD Audio via Creative SupremeFX X-Fi 2
Networking Intel 82583V Gigabit Ethernet
Overclocking HTT frequency 100 – 600MHz; max voltages, CPU 2.1V, CPU NB 1.875V, Chipset 2V, HT 2V, RAM 1.8V, Southbridge 1.8V
Ports 7x SATA 6Gbps, 1x PS/2, 14x USB 2, 6x USB 3, 2x FireWire, LAN, 4x surround audio out, line in, mic, optical S/PDIF out, eSATA 6Gbps