Features & SpecificationsThe Maximus II Formula list of integrated peripherals includes Firewire, dual Gigabit LAN, 8-Channel audio that supports EAX 4.0, eSATA, SATA RAID, EPU-6 Engine, CrossFire support, and the list just goes on.
As mentioned before, the board not only sports the newer P45 chipset, but the ICH10R south bridge as well.
In order to support the latest DDR3 memory running at 1333MHz, the chipset's Memory Controller Hub (MCH) features wider buses. However, the P45 does not do away with its support for DDR2 memory, which is still cheaper and in many cases fast enough. Hence, the Maximus II Formula offers official support for DDR2-1200 and up to 16GB of total system memory.
Despite of having Intel's 8-channel HD Audio codec built-in the chipset, Asus has added a separate soundcard as part of the package. This has been the case with many of the latest high-end Asus motherboards, where they have 'saved' valuable PCB real-estate by going with a soundcard-like approach.
What they call the SupremeFX X-Fi is the latest in their SupremeFX range. This small PCI Express x1 card features an Analog Device AD2000B HD Audio codec, supporting output for up to 8 channels and Creative's EAX 4.0HD API. According to the ADI website, the AD2000B chip features six ADCs with 96kHz at 95dB, simultaneous recording of three stereo channels, support for quad microphone arrays, independent sample rates from 8kHz to 96kHz, and 16, 20, and 24-bit PCM resolution.
Although the P45 chipset removes IDE support all together, Asus has restored this feature while also adding an additional 3 SATA ports, one of which is external. Using Silicon Image 5723 SATA ports, users can install two newly formatted drives and the controller will automatically configure the drives for RAID 0, without the need of additional drivers. The controller can also be set to work as a RAID 1 setup if the user desires so. The key advantage here, other than being quick and easy, is that the because the array calculations are made by the hardware, the operating system does not require a special driver.
Additionally, the ICH10R south bridge offers six more Serial ATA ports, boasting data transfer rates up to 300MB/s. These six ports also support standard RAID 0 for performance and RAID 1 for protection, along with RAID 5 and RAID10. The advanced host controller interface (AHCI) further boosts performance with Native Command Queuing (NCQ), and provides native hot plug for drive swaps.
The Maximus II Formula supports IEEE1394a (FireWire 400), offering bandwidth up to 400 Mbps, making it suitable for bandwidth-intensive applications like digital video (DV), professional audio, and hard drives which often consume hundreds or even thousands of megabytes of data per file. The board provides two 1394a ports due to the inclusion of the VIA VT6308P PCI IEEE-1394 FireWire controller. The more obvious USB 2.0 support comes from the P45 chipset, and therefore the Maximus II Formula does support a total of ten ports.
The dual Gigabit LAN design allows a PC to serve as a network gateway for managing traffic between two separate networks. This capability ensures rapid transfer of data from WAN to LAN without any added arbitration or latency. No more bottleneck to handle large amounts of data such as video, audio, and voice. The Maximus II Formula features dual Marvell 88E8056 Gigabit LAN controllers which use the PCI Express bus for maximum throughput.