Overclocking and Final Thoughts
Our success has been pretty limited with overclocking AMD Phenom processors, and while the Crosshair II Formula did little to change this, the board did provide us with our best stable result yet. We managed a stable 2.8GHz overclock with our Phenom X4 9850, and while we are hardly excited about the extra 300MHz, it is a big improvement from what we've been getting out of other AM2+ boards.
Therefore, when it comes to Phenom overclocking, we feel the Crosshair II Formula does deliver, it just depends on how far your processor is willing to go. It is a shame though that we are stuck below 3.0GHz with these processors while there are half a dozen Intel Core 2s that are more than happy to operate at over 4.0GHz!
But back at discussing motherboard issues. It has to be said first that the nForce 780a SLI is just awful at wasting power. The chipset is 20% less efficient than the AMD 790FX, while delivering no additional performance or nothing new in terms of features. If you must have SLI support, then it's obvious only the nForce will fit you, but this heavily contrasts with our opinion that the Phenom platform as it stands today should be reserved as a budget solution only. In other words, it's hard for us to recommend pairing it with more than one GeForce 9800 GTX graphics card, for example.
While on the subject of value, at $280 the Crosshair II Formula is also more expensive than the M3A32-MVP Deluxe which we put side to side throughout this review.
One salvageable feature could have been the integrated graphics engine, which we tested, but in the end saw as unnecessary or rather irrelevant in terms of power savings considering that even with the desktop GPU disabled, the Crosshair II Formula still used considerably more power than the M3A32-MVP Deluxe.
In the end, who is it to blame? The board design of the Crosshair II Formula is excellent, the BIOS options are nice, and stability is rock solid. Should you want SLI support for your Phenom processor, it seems that the Crosshair II Formula is an obvious choice, but at $280 we wonder if its worth the asking price. And if you are spending all that money, shouldn't you be looking elsewhere anyway?