Under the Hood
One of the main features of the Formula series the last few generations has been the built-in liquid cooling for the VRM stage.
The board’s backplate comes off easily with 8 screws that attach to the front armor directly through large holes in the board that is protected with plastic inserts.
We’ll pop the hood now and see what all is hidden under the Formula’s protective armor. The rear of the board is pretty clean with only a minimal number of components on this side.
The front cover is tethered slightly by a trio of cables for the LiveDash display and the rear I/O area lighting and lower area lighting.
All are plugged in and can be easily disconnected if needed.
Without the ROG armor, the Maximus XI Formula is pretty bland. The matte black PCB is only broken by a few great ports and the VRM water block.
The VRM block is actually pretty small and is comprised of an aluminum base with a copper insert and an acetal lid.
The bright copper cooling channel sits in stark contrast to the dark grey aluminum heatsink.
A wide gasket sits along the edge of the copper ensuring no coolant comes in contact with the aluminum base. The black top of the block has a few ridges around the inside to bite into the gasket, providing redundant sealing. The screws used to hold it all together were also covered in a thread locking compound ensuring a lifetime a worry-free service.
Under the water, block sits the 10-phase VRM.
The VRM cooling assembly also takes care of the 5-gigabit networking.
Aquantia provides the high speed wired networking and supports all standard speeds from 10Mb up to 5Gb.