Onboard and Included Features
The I/O panel is always an interesting part of the motherboard as it dictates what connectivity options will be available and how different ASUS motherboards can be from one SKU to another. Starting at the left we have two CMOS related buttons. The top button is for clearing the CMOS, a common then when overclocking while the other allows for an automatic BIOS flash for when the system is no longer operational.
Everything else is pretty much USB, network, audio. There are a few callouts that should be mentioned. For instance this motherboard features as combined PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse port. You’ll need to use a discrete graphics card on the Maximus XII Formula as there is no onboard HDMI.
Network is divided into three options. For gamers on the go we have the new Intel Wi-Fi 6 supporting up to 802.11 ax and Bluetooth V5.1. Wired Ethernet is the standard Intel I225V 2.5Gb or the Marvell AQtion 10Gb. Finally we have the 8-channel audio with a digital connection over optical. Audio connections are also gold plated for the extra bling.
The new trend in motherboard features is to include the I/O shield on the motherboard instead of making it a separate part. I understand the reason behind and while I still think it is a pretty dumb idea but can save you from even dumber online slackers selling these boards online who cannot seem to remember that the I/O shield is an important part.
Onboard audio is based on the ASUS SupremeFX S1220 controller which can be found on ALL Maximus XII motherboards. As with most motherboards the audio occupies a separated section of the motherboard that is electrically separated from the rest of the main PCB.
You can see this separation on a previous photo showing the back of the PCB with the backplate removed.
One of the benefits to upgrading to a specialized motherboard is that not only do you get more features onboard but also in-box. The ASUS Maximus XII Formula comes with a number of nice accessories including what you see below.
You also get some RGB LED accessory cables, SATA cables, wifi antenna and really good manual. Despite the VRM cooler being a waterblock you won’t get any fittings to hook it into your loop.