Its been a great year for AMD and their momentum has not slowed with Intel still struggling to provide competition, AMD has been on cloud nine with the Ryzen line and they continuing that trend with their 3rd-generation Ryzen CPUs based on the 2nd-generation Zen architecture. As a norm in the industry, AMD is also releasing a new chipset with the new CPUs to please motherboard vendors. This time around with X570 chipset which really doesn’t pack a lot of changes aside from PCIe Gen4 so it is up to the motherboard vendors to really dress up their release and attract buyers.
Today we take a look at the flagship ASUS motherboard for the X570 chipset with the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula. Featuring a balance of high-end features such as overclocking tools, heavy aesthetics and cooling as well as an integrated EKWB VRM block, this is ASUS’s top-end motherboard for both overclockers and watercoolers. ASUS currently has no hints of releasing an Extreme variant so as it stands, the Crosshair VIII Formula sits at the helm of the AM4 ship right now for ROG and we’ll take a look at how it performs in this review. Read on!
AMD AM4 socket: Ready for 2nd, and 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen™ processors and up to two M.2 drives, USB 3.2 Gen2, and AMD StoreMI to maximize connectivity and speed.
Comprehensive thermal design: Integrated Crosschill EK III, active chipset heatsink, M.2 aluminum heatsink, and ROG Cooling Zone.
Robust power delivery: Designed power solution with 14+2 IR3555 PowIRstages, ProCool II power connectors, microfine alloy chokes and 10K Japanese-made black metallic capacitors
High-performance networking: On-board Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with MU-MIMO support, 5G and Gigabit Ethernet courtesy of Aquantia and Intel, both with ASUS LANGuard protection and support for GameFirst V software.
5-Way Optimization: Automated system-wide tuning, providing overclocking and cooling profiles that are tailor made for your rig.
DIY Friendly Design: Pre-mounted I/O shield, ASUS SafeSlot, BIOS FlashBack™ and premium components for maximum endurance.
Unmatched personalization: ASUS-exclusive Aura Sync RGB lighting, including RGB headers and addressable Gen 2 RGB headers
Industry-leading ROG audio: SupremeFX S1220 and ESS® ES9023P for enthusiast-grade audio performance driven by Japanese capacitors.
ASUS packages the ROG Crosshair VIII is packaged in the new ROG-style box for processors feature a full color box with a flip-up cover. The new packaging uses a more defined black and red color. The front features the model name of the motherboard with marketing bullets at the bottom. Moving over to the back we see some details and highlights of this motherboard including quick specs and key features.
Inside the package, aside from the motherboard we have a curiously slim set for an ROG board. The package for the ROG Crosshair VIII Formula includes braided SATA cables and regular cables, RGB extension cables, ASUS Q-Connector (front panel header), a driver installation disc, an ROG coaster and a sticker sheet as well as the wifi/BT antenna.
ASUS has designed their FORMULA class boards to have a shroud with the new Crosshair VIII featuring a very high-quality shroud. M.2 slots as well port headers are now pushed to other areas that the shroud doesn’t cover making it a clean motherboard to build on.
The upper half of the board features the same AM4 socket from AMD. ASUS has made sure the socket is clean and that all components do not cause interference with cooling options.
ASUS implements a parallel configuration for their 14+2 VRM. ASUS has went in detail during their motherboard seminar how this new parallel technique works and states that it reduces VRM temperature as well as improve performance.
Like most recent Formula-class boards, the VRM heatsink includes an EKWB hybrid cooler allowing watercoolers to pass their loop through the VRM as well without spending extra for the cooling blocks. The VRM block uses standard G1/4 threaded holes.
Over to the side we have the DIMM slots as well as the On/Off and reset buttons. Most of the fan and RGB headers on this board is on the upper right.
ASUS has included a total of 8 fan headers on this motherboard, 4 of which is located at the upper right edge. This makes it accessible for use directly with 360mm rads with 3 fans and other uses.
This motherboards uses an ATX 8-pin + 4-pin connector.
AMD has implemented a new standard for their south bridge with most boards including a small fan blowing on top of the chip. This is due to PCIe Gen4 utilizing 3 times the power of Gen3 making it possible for the chip to heat up but from experience, its mostly precautionary.
The rest of the header connectors for this board is located at the lower edge. This motherboard supports ASUS Node which is a proprietary tech that allows other tech to interface with the motherboard allowing accessories such cases. fan controllers etc. to utilize board controls.
This motherboard uses an enhanced version of the ALC 1220 chip for audio utilizing an ESS ES9023P to improve audio quality.
The Crosshair VIII Formula features support for 8x SATA ports as well as 2x M.2 as well underneath the 2nd PCIe slot. Note that you may opt to use SSD’s with built-in heatsink but you will need to remove segment of Formula shroud.
At the back we have a rich assortment of connectivities including USB3.2, USB3.1, Type C connectors and two LAN ports. The one marked 5G is the Aquantia 5G LAN.
Once booted, the Crosshair VIII Formula features plenty of lighting areas and is fully AURA sync customizable.
The rear I/O shroud features the onboard display which shows us boot codes as well as motherboard info display and can be configured via software.
Test Setup & Methodology
Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X Motherboard: ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VIII FORMULA Memory: G.Skill TridentZ RGB DDR4-3600 16GB Storage: WD Blue SSD 1TB SATA PSU: Seasonic Platinum 1050w Cooling: AMD Wraith Prism Monitor: Viewsonic VX2475smhl-4K VGA: NVIDIA GTX 2080 Ti FE
Note: Mid-way during this review AMD has released their AGESA update to fix boost clocks for their 3rd-gen Ryzen CPUs. We’ve included results for this motherboard specifically for comparison.
All tests are performed in an open bench with ambient room temperature kept at 30*C (welcome to the Philippines.)
Motherboards are updated to the latest BIOS during time of testing kept at their out-of-box settings aside from XMP frequencies when running stock benchmarks.
As many already know, most motherboards will have varying frequency multipliers and this may affect performance overall. As this is part of their out of the box configuration we see it fit to use them as is. All data presented here in are with the default motherboard settings for stock performance. Overclocked performance will be indicated where needed. For non-Z series motherboards, all benchmarks are performed on DDR4-2133 default settings.
As always, we’ll let the numbers do the talking.
Same thermal paste and same application method used on all cooler mounting. A pre-benchmark stress test is performed to let the TIM settle. We use Noctua NT-H1 for all our testing.
A fresh install of Windows 10 Pro is used for every sample testing. The OS image contains all benchmarks and games. Drivers are installed after image is installed.
An average of 3 benchmark runs is used for test sampling.
Maxon Cinebench R15 – Multi-threaded CPU benchmark
Blender 3D – BMW 2.7 CPU Render benchmark
POV-Ray 3.7.1 – Multi-threaded Render benchmark
Cinegy Cinescore 10 – Ultra HD 4K resolution CPU encoding benchmark
Flir One USB Thermal Camera via Thermal Imaging+ app
HP-9800 AC wattmeter with USB interface for app logging
Standard sound level meter
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 Router
Performance Test – Rendering/Encoding
Rendering tests are benchmarks designed to gauge performance during multimedia and professional workloads like 3D rendering or video encoding. This gives us a good idea on how a certain system will perform during a certain predefined workload.
MAXON Cinebench CPU Benchmark R15
Blender BMW Render Benchmark 2.7
POV Ray 3.7
Cinegy Cinescore 10 – Ultra HD
Performance Test – Arithmetic
Arithmetic benchmarks measure the performance of systems with regards to mathematical computations which some programs require. These benchmarks paint a good picture of how raw CPU performance is like.
Performance Test – System Benchmark
System benchmarks measure the performance of a system based on numerous tasks including a mix of rendering, arithmetic and other things. These benchmarks require the entire system to work together and components should compliment each other to achieve maximum performance.
GeekBench Pro 4.2 Multi-Core Benchmark
ASUS RealBench 2.56
Performance Test – Memory Benchmark
AIDA64 Memory Benchmark – Read/Write
AIDA64 Memory Benchmark -Latency
Temperature & Power Draw
In this test we’ll measure how much manufacturer-set BIOS settings affect temperature and power draw. As we’re dealing with pre-launch samples, more mature BIOS may change these over time.
We really don’t put too much stock on individual component temperatures as they will vary depending on usage and we do not benchmark using extreme loads anymore as they’re not reflective of real world applications. To stress the CPU, we use a 20-minute run of AIDA64 stress test. We recorded the peak CPU temps and cross-match HWINFO and AIDA64 readings. For power readings, we measure the peak system draw.
Value & Conclusion – ROG Crosshair VIII Formula
As mentioned, the AMD has not really implemented any new features for the X570 chipset aside from PCIe Gen4 and a new set of power standards for their new chips, perhaps to make room for the upcoming 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X. As it is though, X570 motherboards like the Crosshair VIII Formula will prove to be an excellent foundation should AMD support AM4 for at least 2 more generations. With the new parallel or teaming VRMs working efficiently to handle the higher power demands of the 12-core or more AMD processors, this board can be reliably used should AMD not change anything further for their socket or power requirements.
That said, benchmarks for the entire X570 lineup is more of a test of what could be wrong rather than whats right about a motherboard and as we can see, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula easily maintains its position as a flagship. The AGESA update only improved single-core performance by a bit so out of the box this motherboard should be able to deliver the best performance from your Ryzen CPUs.
With no Extreme-class motherboard in sight, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula serves as the big dog for the ROG X570 board brand, still it skips out on some of niceties that we see from other brands. Still, this is offset by an incredibly robust VRM and excellent board features to support many high-end build configurations.
ASUS has not had much chances to play around with the Crosshair series but the last 3 years have proven a haven in furthering the godfather of the ROG class motherboard. While the X570 by itself is, from a tech improvement perspective a totally weak release, motherboard makers have poured a lot into their new boards and the current flagships are a signs that we’ll get to see some of these tech eventually trickle down to the mainstream.
Still, at $650 the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula is a premium offer but the same goes for much of the X570 flagships as of this moment. From a value proposition, the motherboard offers a lot to consider from aesthetics to features and connectivity is looking ready to handle a lot of future tech coming in the next years.
If you want the top end ROG board for your 3rd-gen Ryzen 9 build, the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula is your boy and it offers a great foundation for a top end AMD build.
ASUS backs the ROG Crosshair VIII Formula with a 3-year warranty. We give it our B2G Gold Award!