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Maximus VI Formula: Will the nightmare ever end?

geekchannel
Level 7
Hi,

After having the M6F mobo be a 4 month litany of hell, I still manage to get it to limp along, but it's taking forever to get things setup properly, and it's costing thousands of dollars to try and make it work.

I have my suspicions that this board instance has been jinxed from the start. I do recall reading reviews that many people had bad experiences with ROG boards and needing to RMA {over many months of waiting} to get one that worked. bent pins, connectors delaminations of connectors, lots of stuff, not all with the formula or VI versions but more than a few complaints existed.

I still thought the Formula had a very good feature/performance mix and I very much liked the looks. After thousands of my spare man hours later, I am really getting sick of this board. I postulate that it has killed 2 x PNY GTX780 XLR8 OC cards, corrupted and forced re-installs of the OS 50-75 times in the past few months. I think it was extra flaky with the bad luck 4770k chip I had. I think that the bios I had used up until 2-3 weeks ago may have been having Cold-boot G.Skill problems similar to those back in 2013 (prior to my cursed unit arriving in my hands).

The store did not have any 2400 ram so I originally only had 2 sticks for 8GB of some patriot memory and it seemed to be ok, but I wanted faster, max size and exact parts that were on your approved/support list for this board.

I ordered online 32GB: as G.Skill RipJaws Z Part # F3-19200c10-8gbzhd and I bought them as a 4 pack matched set.
I ran memtest86 during some of the pain periods and it went ~15 hrs with all 4 sticks and no problems.
In order to rule out it was not something I did I went ahead and threw a lot more money at the problem.
The internal Intel HD4600 graphics are simply not enough.

I wanted a hot rod gaming machine, and by god I will get it, even if I have to have an ROG.ASUS bonfire in the street soon, and post it to the cloud.

I had the system working for a short time in 2-way SLI mode with the 2 PNY cards and in Surround mode, but it was always a little flaky, even if running at the factory 4770k defaults. I have 3 BenQ gaming monitors for the surround to run at 5760 x 1080.

But I digress, I bought the following to see if I could get something to perform better, and to shed light on what is the real root
cause behind the struggle could be:
1 Poseidon Platinum GTX780 in RED PCIe slot labeled as PCIE_x16/x8_1 {at the moment only air cooled to simplify setup}
1 RAIDR card in RED PCIe slot labeld PCIE_X4_3
1 Asus PB287 4k monitor via DisplayLink

Today it is running with 4.6 GHz as set by AI3 Suite, and with the 4k monitor as 1 and the others as a surround {what nvidia calls 3+1} and the RAIDR in legacy bios (not on purpose) I get the following data and I am about to have kittens. It is on a 4970k with Bios 1505.

The bios shows that it is in x8 lane mode and GPU-Z show the bus interface as PCI-E 3.0 x 16 @ x8 3.0.
I hit the little question mark on that line in GPU-Z to go render and drive the bus out of power save mode, but it never changes.
Technically if I had a dual SLI I would expect x8, and that there MAY or MAY NOT be conflicts with total lanes available for the 2 needed by the RAIDR if I had 2 GPU cards installed. However before I go buy a 5th video card (i bought 3 PNY's but missed the fine print at the beginning that only 2-way SLI works), I want some real information and/or help to determine why I am having so much difficulty. Hopefully I can get some aid through this forum.

There are lots of annoying things that I have been ignoring. Such as after AI3 Suite or by using the Auto in BIOS to jump to 4600 GHz, Winblows task manager reports the cpu at 800 MHz, and that is with full performance power plan in windows selected. Not a big deal as AI3 suite, CPU-z report the right clock speeds. I spotted the article yesterday about how convoluted setting up the RAIDR for UEFI boot can be, but that is on > 1 year old data and 1 or 2 generations prior motherboard/bios combinations, so not sure how relevant that data is. All I know for sure is that I have the RAIDR Win 8.1 boot disk in legacy mode for now. And that if I want to use the full power and features of fast boot and performance parameters, I should rebuild the RAIDR boot drive yet again. So the work of past 2 days to get things running has to be repeated again. And I do know you cannot back up from legacy and restore to UEFI, been down that problem path a couple of months ago during the "fun".

I also took some precautions: I put my games all onto a different drive physically (call it E:) and then mounted it as C:\games.
It works fine for Origin (EA), Steam, UBIPlay, and others. But once Windows blows chunks and has to be reinstalled or refreshed, all the registry and install data is missing, and all of those services require a full install from scratch, and NONE will recover the already intact and ready to go images stored on that unaffected drive. Even with very high speed internet it takes 3 days to get all of that replaced each time I have had to recover trashed boot disk issues. Granted I learned to only spot check 1 or two games, but that still takes 1-3 hours per game since it forces a new download. Even TitanFall where I have the DVD's in my hand still resorts to online redownload.

So to recap, the things I have swapped out to get the system to work at the base feature set for this class of product is CPU, RAM, SSD(s), and 3 graphics cards.

I have never tried to tweak the GPU partly because GPU-Tweak disappeared from the internet this spring for a long time, but mostly because I have never had the system run for more than 1 week without some grief.

I don't have a logic probe or ICE handy to get down to timing diagram analysis, and I have no plans to need a DMM to get simple 2-way SLI with SSD boot disk, and running at simplistic OC settings. I have built many custom rigs since the '80's but none of them has ever been so painful to get the basics + using well known settings to boost it just a little bit.

I really don't think it is due to sun spots. I was half thinking of buying a VII Formula to try and cure the problem, but there is no guarantee that the problems will simply be different..... and of course I have made a very non-trivial investment in this rig.

Perhaps the ROG glowing core of unobtainum may have gone bad and that could be rare, but I really suspect the mobo is a significant factor in the equation, more so than the air between my ears. Yes I was stubborn and thought I could fix it, and did not ask for help, but I am out of ideas that seem worth pursuing.

Thanks in advance for the consideration and patience to read this long plea and offer suggestions, condolences, or even references to youtube or other venues to prove that my struggle is uncharacteristic of customer experience and satisfaction. I am prepared to try things, and can follow instructions.

Signed,

Dimwit
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4 REPLIES 4

Praz
Level 13
geekchannel wrote:
The bios shows that it is in x8 lane mode and GPU-Z show the bus interface as PCI-E 3.0 x 16 @ x8 3.0.
I hit the little question mark on that line in GPU-Z to go render and drive the bus out of power save mode, but it never changes.
Technically if I had a dual SLI I would expect x8, and that there MAY or MAY NOT be conflicts with total lanes available for the 2 needed by the RAIDR if I had 2 GPU cards installed.

Hello

Nothing wrong there. Due to the limitation of the CPU in regards to available PCIe lanes adding a second card of any type to one of the other two PCIe x16 slots will result in the first PCIe x16 slot dropping to x8 speed. This info can also be found in the motherboard manual and under specifications of the product page at ASUS.com.

Nate152
Moderator
Hello geekchannel,

You won't be able to run SLI with the raidr as sli with the raidr would be x8 x4 x4. Nvidia needs x8 to work. You could do AMD crossfire and the raidr as AMD cards only need x4 to work. If you have a sata 6GB/s SSD you could use that and sli or you could go with the maximus vi extreme board. You could do 3 way sli plus use your raidr.

Are you gaming at 4k resolution with one gtx 780? If so performance is not going to be good, even with sli 780's performance is iffy at 4k resolution. Here are some benchmarks to check out:

http://www.tweaktown.com/tweakipedia/38/nvidia-geforce-gtx-780-sli-benchmarked-at-4k/index.html


It's always best to do your overclocking in the bios rather than use ai suite. I see you also used the preset (cpu level up) to overclock. That is not such a good idea. While it is convenient, the presets will usually overvolt your cpu which is not a bad thing if you have good cooling. Try overclocking manually in the bios.

First apologies for the bad grammar, I was interrupted multiple times and did not notice some bad phrasing 🙂

Thanks for the suggestions. I re-read the user manual more closely after I posted and could tell that 16 lanes is all you get, therefore I did understand that trade off. However my internet went out, and I was unable to post that clarification prior to now. Yes I totally agree with both of the posted comments, it's far clearer to me now. It looks like the VII Formula might fix the x16 limit in this respect, I will post my questions about the VII Formula in another thread soon.

I was running the games initially on the Surround, not on the 3840x2160 (close to 4k) monitor.
With the current video card, the Poseidon, I was getting 48fps in Guild Wars 2 at max settings on the 5760 x 1080 resolution. That was far lower than I had seen with previous setups, aka prior to RAIDR. GW2 is nowhere near as intensive as some of the other games, but I was familiar with it, since I did not have to redownload it every time the OS puked.

While offline, I did try AC:IV on the new 4k'ish monitor alone, and it was just so so, but I am less familiar with how to judge the frame rate from within that app. I was also playing offline for the first time ever; therefore I did not have a baseline on what to expect without full connection, even though I have only ever played single player mode. When I go to redo the build again, I will leave this new monitor off to reduce load on GPU for a while.

My thinking was that I would remove the RAIDR card and see that the video card went back to x16 lane mode, and try and see if I could tell a difference. While I was waiting for my internet to be fixed this morning, I pulled the RAIDR card, but it is interlinked in the boot sector somehow and would not boot without it.

Thanks for the suggestions on overclocking. Once again, I did the OC the worst way. I will go back to Manual. The goal was to go back and do that, but only after I got a lot of other things sorted out first. However, given the OS boot sector sensitivities, I will go back to a naked SSD on sata bus direct, minimal app installs, and work the OC magic first with Realbench process I learned from my posts back in March when I was struggling with similar issue on the 4770k variant.

Sidebar: Is the presence of the AI3 Suite of software OK, or is there a real gain by removing it with the fact that I will do all the OC stuff manually?
On the last 2 OS rebuilds, I did NOT use the CDROM images, I downloaded everything in latest versions from ASUS site, and did the unzip and manually install each module. I thought that I remembered a stand alone bios editing tool from within Windows, other than the AI3 suite UI. However, I have not spotted that yet, perhaps it was simply a tool to flash, and reboot similar to the DirectKey function.

As regards Crossfire vs SLI. any tips/links for great comparisons (without rhetoric/religion) should I go that direction instead? I do want Ultra settings play-ability with lots of screen real estate. Of course now finding cards that have 6 Gb VRAM is the new goal....

At this point, looks like I will wind up with 2 machines of pretty high end stuff. There are enough leftovers that I will only have to buy a new mobo, psu, and cpu water block & radiator to round out another system. After I fix up the troubles as they sit now, I may have to reconsider whether my use is actually more extreme than formula and whether to move ahead or wait for Broadwell and/or Z99. I will not wait 6 months, but I may wait 2. Any word on when VII Extreme might be available?

And by the way, I do have other tools that I would like to be taking advantage of during my tweaking.
I have the USB special cable and a laptop to do the ROG Connect method.
I also did get the OC panel for tweaking. Perhaps using either or both of these tools would be better/worse to achieve my OC objectives?
The thing that hurt most was the "grief hit" to reloading the OS so many times when manually tuning. I welcome feedback.

Last tangent for today: is there a newer bios manual PDF listing to cover version 1505. I cannot be sure without a before and after image side by side, but it does seem like there are numerous menu changes in the v.1505 image. I did not find one in the combined 4th gen patch + 1505 archive that I downloaded.

Again, apologies for the length of post, hope others may find this interest @least. I do appreciate the feedback on any/all of the topics I noted.

Nate152
Moderator
The maximus VII formula will have the same pci express configuration as your maximus VI formula. If I were you I would go with the maximus VI extreme. There will be no maximus VII extreme. Check to see that it will fit in your case as the extreme boards are E-ATX.

You will need a psu in the 1200w - 1500w range for 3-way SLI. Make sure your psu says haswell ready and has a single +12v rail. The experts here recommend seasonic psu's.

You won't be able to tell the difference going from pcie x8 to x16.

I personally do not use AI sute. Some people use it just to control their case fans.
Most people would recommend uninstalling it. If you do uninstall it, follow this link after you do.

http://rog.asus.com/forum/showthread.php?39704-6-AI-Suite-III-Tips-That-Will-Save-Your-Life!

There are probably some subtle changes in bios 1505. I can't answer that with 100% certainty as I don't have a Devil's Canyon cpu.

For the smoothest gameplay you want your frames per second to be at your monitors refresh rate. So 4k at 60 hertz means you will want 60 frames per second. If you get more than 60 frames per second, you will want to enable v-sync to stop the screen tearing, unless of course you have a G-sync module installed in your 4k monitor.