Features and Motherboard Layout


Courtesy of ASUS

  • Best hybrid-cooling Z97 gaming motherboard with 120dB SNR, 600ohm audio amplifier and double-sided covers
  • LGA 1150 socket for the 4th-, new 4th- and 5th-generation Intel® Core™ i3, i5, i7, Pentium®, and Celeron® processors
  • Intel® Z97 Express chipset with M.2 (SATA/PCIe x2) support
  • CrossChill Copper – Air or liquid – it’s cooler with copper
  • Intel Ethernet + LANGuard + GameFirst III – Game networking taken to the next level.
  • SupremeFX Formula 2014 + Sonic Radar II – New and improved audio that’s beyond compare
  • Best gaming power – Rock-steady power, inside and out
  • Best gaming interface – Grab a free keyboard upgrade and mPCIe Combo III compact card
  • Best gaming protection – Luxuriate in the smart design, premium components, durable materials and tough double-sided armor
  • USB UEFI BIOS and Secure Erase – Award-winning simplicity and factory-fresh conditioning for superb performance
  • ROG gives you more – Free Watch Dogs™ full game bundle and multiple gaming toolkits

Motherboard Layout

The ASUS Maximus VII Formula was designed with a black and red theme – black PCB and ROG Armor overlay with red colored PCI-Express x16 slots, DIMM slots, and SATA ports as a contrast. The ROG Armor overlay is tightly molded around the surface area of the board, offering protection while not getting in the way of using the board's integrated components. The board has a very clean look as a result with all components given sufficient room to work with.

The back of the board is protected by a steel full-cover back plate, completing "armoring" the board in concert with the front overlay. The back plate gives the board an added rigidity as well as a secondary heat path. ASUS was able to clear the area directly behind the CPU socket of any close-in components, so yo should have minimal issues with mounting your favorite cooler to the board.

ASUS integrated the following rear panel ports into the Maximus VII Formula: 2 USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports controlled by the Intel Z97 chipset (lower two ports located to the right of the DisplayPort port), 4 USB 3.0 ports controlled by the ASMedia controller (upper two ports located to the right of the optical audio port and two ports located below the GigE NIC port), a BIOS reset button (upper button to left of USB 2.0 ports), a dual purpose BIOS FlashBack / ROG Connect button (lower button to left of USB 2.0 ports), an Intel GigE NIC port, an HDMI video port, a DisplayPort video port, an optical audio output port, and 6 analogue audio ports. With the mPCIe Combo II device plugged into the mPCIe slot, AzureWave (Broadcomm chipset) 802.11ac dual-port Wi-Fi and Bluetooth ports are added to the rear panel.

The ROG Connect button can be used to connect the system to a remote system using a dual ended USB cable attached to the upper USB 2.0 port. Once the two systems are connected via USB and the ROG Connect button is pressed, you can change settings on the Maximus VII Formula board from the remote system using the ASUS TweakIt software. You must first install the ASUS TweakIt software on the remote system to change the settings on the Maximus VII Formula board.

The USB BIOS Flashback button can be used to re-flash the BIOS without having to boot the system into the UEFI BIOS interface or DOS. Simply plug in a USB drive containing the proper BIOS file in the root of the drive into the bottom USB 2.0 port(to the lower right of the button) and press the button for 3 seconds until the integrated LED begins to flash. As the BIOS is updated, the LED flashing frequency increases. Once the LED goes out, the flash operation is completed and the board can be booted. Note that if the BIOS Flashback LED flashes for 5 seconds and then glows solid, it means that something went wrong with the flashback operation. Check the USB drive for the the BIOS file in the root and make sure that the BIOS file is named correctly. BIOS Flashback looks for a specific filename and file format when attempting to replace the on-board BIOS. According to the user manual, the BIOS file in the root of the flash drive must be named M7F.CAP for the BIOS Flashback applet to successfully re-flash the board's BIOS.


The Maximus VII Formula motherboard has a total of six PCI-Express device ports – three PCI-Express x16 slots and three PCI-Express x1 slots. For the PCI-Express x16 slots, the board supports full x16 bandwidth with a single card, x8 bandwidth with cards in the primary and secondary slots with two cards populated, and x8 in the primary and secondary slots and x4 in the tertiary slot with three cards populated. Notice that ASUS designed the board's PCI-Express slot layout so with a PCI-Express x1 slot to the right of the primary x16 slot so that an x1 slot remain available under all circumstances Additionally, there is sufficient space between the primary PCI-Express x16 slot and the secondary PCI-Express x1 slot to accommodate a dual slot cooler. Note that the tertiary PCI-Express x16 slot shares bandwidth with ASMedia SATA-Express port (top SATA-Express port in the port block). With the slot running at x4 bandwidth, the ASMedia SATA-Express port is automatically disabled.

ASUS integrated the latest version of their SupremeFX audio subsystem into the Maximus VII Formula, placing the audio components on a physically separate PCB to minimize noise and crosstalk from other integrated components. The PCB separation line is located mostly underneath the upper part of the ROG Armor overlay. The front panel audio header is located just below the audio subsystem's capacitor bank in the upper left corner of the board.

In the upper left corner of the board are the the front panel audio header, a trusted platform module header, a thunderbolt header, and and the Sonic SoundStage button. The Thunderbolt header is used to connect to the optional ThunderboltEX II PCIe board using the included board adapter and USB extension cables. The Sonic SoundStage button activates preset sound profiles or user created sound profiles for headphones attached to the front panel audio header. The active profile momentarily displays on the debug LED when the button is pressed.

Along the lower left of the tertiary PCI-Express x16 slot are the multiple chassis fan headers, the removable BIOS chip, a USB 2.0 header, a temperature sensor header, and the OC Panel headers (labeled ROG_EXT). The lower header in the ROG_EXT group can be used for two additional USB 2.0 ports if the OC Panel is not connected to the system. The OC Panel cable connects to the ROG_EXT ports, allowing the optional ROG OC Panel device to interact with the board.

The USB 2.0 header, multiple temperature sensor headers, front panel header, KeyBot button are located in the lower left corner of the board. The KeyBot button activates KeyBot functionality for a keyboard attached to the upper USB 2.0 port in the rear panel. In conjunction with the KeyBot Windows software, teh user to program in-game macros based on programmed key combinations.

The Intel Z97 Express chipset is covered by a large aluminum, low profile heat sink just below the PCI-Express x16 slots, sitting just under the surface of the ROG Armor overlay. The heat sink is flat black in color with an ASUS logo prominently displayed.

ASUS includes a total of six on-board SATA 6Gb/s ports and two SATA-Express 10 Gb/s ports located just under the chipset cooler. The four right-most SATA ports and the lower SATA-Express port are tied to the Intel Z97 chipset controller. The two left-most SATA ports and the upper SATA-Express port are tied to the ASMedia controller. Note that the ASMedia SATA-Express port shares bandwidth with the tertiary PCI-Express x16 slot. With the PCIe x16 slot st to run at x4 bandwidth, the ASMedia SATA-Express port is automatically disabled.

The on-board DDR3 memory slots are located just below the CPU socket in the lower right section of the board. Dual Channel memory mode is enabled by seating memory modules in slots 1 and 3 or slots 2 and 4 with slots 2 and 4 (the red colored slots) being the primary memory slots. The board supports up to 32GB of memory running at a maximum speed of 3300MHz. Note that memory speeds above 1600MHz are considered overclocked speeds and are outside of the official Intel stock memory speed specifications. To the lower left of the memory slots are the Intel Z97 chipset controlled USB 3.0 header, and the 24-pin ATX power connector.

To the right of the DIMMM slots are a system fan header, the power, reset, and MemOK! buttons, the 2-digit diagnostic display, the Probelt voltage measurement points, the LN2 Mode jumper, and dual CPU fan headers. The 2-digit diagnostic display can be used for debugging system issues during system initialization. The displayed debug codes can be decoded using the table from the motherboard manual. The Probelt voltage measurement points allow for direct board voltage measurement using a volt meter. The MemOK! button can be used to reset memory-related BIOS settings to defaults, useful when the system doesn't boot because of memory options set over-aggressively. The LN2 Mode jumper (unmarked jumper just above the Probelt voltage measurement points) enables a cold bug fix that can be encountered when attempting to boot a CPU at sub-zero temperatures.

The CPU socket is clear of obstructions with the power circuitry and VRM hybrid cooler located above the socket. ASUS designed the area around the socket carefully to avoid unnecessary obstructions with lower profile components used for those in close proximity to the socket.

Courtesy of ASUS

ASUS redesigned the CrossChill hybrid cooler included with the Maximus VII Formula, using an all copper design for more optimal heat dissipation when using in a liquid cooling loop. The cooler covers the the CPU VRMs, to the top and upper right of the CPU socket. The unit can be used for air cooling the power circuitry or connected to a water cooling loop using the provide G1/4" threaded ports. The unit contains a sealed internal channel for liquid flow between the inlet and outlet ports.

ASUS designed the Maximus VII Formula with dual ATX12V power connectors, a 4-pin and an 8-pin connector, in the upper right quadrant of the board. Additionally, a system fan header and the mPCIe port are located in this board quadrant. The mPCIe port is used to seat the mPCIe Combo III card. In testing the board with an M.2 SSD, we found compatibility issues with using a full-sized M.2 card in the Combo III card. A full sized M.2 SSD does not fit because of the proximity and design of the CrossChill cooler. Keep that in mind if you decide to use an M.2 SSD card with this board.

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