Memory & Cooling
There are four DDR2 memory slots on the board - these are coloured blue and white according to memory channel. The sockets are high enough not to interfere with long graphics cards, and all four slots get a dual-phase PWM treatment (just like the Extreme) - over the usual single phase, for better power regulation on overclocking and overvolting.
A huge heatsink dominates the central part of the board, and it spreads up into the Asus branded aluminium heatsink over the rear I/O. A separate heatsink and heatpipe for the CPU power regulation components is then included underneath.
The Fusion block is very similar to the Blitz in style, and is "older" looking than the polished block on the Maximus Extreme two pages over. Both blocks are properly screwed down to cement a contact with the northbridge, but we can't tell you exactly how they differ internally, unfortunately, since they are welded shut.
Power Sockets and Connectivity
The power sockets are both easy to get to so there's no conflict with internal components. Virtually all the pin-outs are positioned towards the edges of the board apart from the pair of USB ports we previously mentioned. The board comes with eight fan headers (I think, I keep finding more every time I count) which should be more than enough for everyone.
Included by the southbridge is a clear CMOS switch that enables/disables the corresponding rear I/O button - this is there because if you're trying to find a plug socket blind around the back of the case, the possibility of accidentally pressing the button and clearing your CMOS is quite high, so when you're not needing it you can now switch it off. It's little attention to details like this that makes the RoG boards really superb.
The board has two Marvell PCI-Express x1 chipsets that offer dual Gigabit Ethernet with teaming function. There is no additional wireless network connectivity included, which is understandable for a "gamer" board when you consider that WiFi is often considered to be not good enough for a serious gamer.
The SupremeFX daughter board plugs into the black slot just below the northbridge heatsinks. It comes complete with an EMI shield to help keep out the nasty electromagnetic waves from your audio, although how much this actually works or if it's just blue-glow marketing, we can't really say.
As is usual with Asus products, the ADI SoundMAX 1988B High-Definition audio codec has been used on the daughter board. This supports 7.1 channel audio as well as separate microphone and line inputs and DTS connect
. The Sound and Ethernet arrangement is exactly the same on both the Formula and the Extreme.