Asus Blitz Extreme Reviewccokeman -
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Once removed from its protective shell the Blitz can be seen. Asus has chosen to use a black PCB to match the dark look of the packaging. The Blitz Extreme is built around the Intel P35 and ICH9R chipsets. This allows for support of DDR3 memory up to 1333MHz. The Stack Cool method of cooling the heat generating components of the board by transferring the heat load through the specially designed PCB continues to be used on this Republic of Gamers board from Asus.
The I/O panel looks a little sparse when compared to the P5K3 Premium we recently reviewed. But this board is targeted at a different audience. Asus has moved away from supplying a PS/2 connection for the mouse but still features the connection for the keyboard. Additional connections include optical and coaxial S/PDIF sound outputs, 2x eSATA, 6x USB2.0, 1x 1394 Firewire, 2x RJ-45 LAN ports and finally a feature that some of Asus's competitors have had for a while now, the clear CMOS button on the I/O panel.
Instead of an integrated sound solution, Asus used an add-in 8 channel high definition sound card that mounts into the PCI-E 1x slot. This slot is dedicated for the Supreme FX II sound card and is marked by the black color of the slot. When powered up, the Supreme FX logo on the top of the card is lit up in blue and is visible through the case window. All you gamers have one to show off your hardware, don't you?
Expansion capabilities are available through the three PCI-E 1x slots (black is dedicated to the audio solution), two PCI 2.0 slots and two PCI-E 16x slots for the graphics solution. Crossfire is supported and the cards will run at 8x in each slot instead of the standard 16x/4x solution that is so commonly used today. This is accomplished via the Crosslinx technology Asus has employed on the Blitz. Much of the additional connectivity is along the bottom edge of the PCB. Additional USB2.0, Firewire, fan and thermal sensor headers, as well as the front panel connections, are made along this edge of the Blitz. Power and Reset switches are included if this board will be going into a tech station. No more shorting pins to start up the system. Sweet!
Disk drive connections are all on the right hand side of the PCB. Included on the Blitz Extreme are six SATA 3.0Gb/s ports controlled by the ICH9 chipset. A single PATA connection and floppy drive connection are also present. The Blitz Extreme supports up to 8 gigabytes of system memory if using a 64-bit operating system. Maximum module size is two gigabytes. Asus has used a two phase power design to allow overclockers just that little extra something to maximize clock speeds.
Room around the CPU socket looks more crowded than it really is. Asus uses an eight phase power design to provide a sound solution to managing the power load to the CPU when overclocking or providing a heavy load to the CPU.
With the maze of heatpipes on some boards out today, it is refreshing to see just a single pipe being used to manage the heatload on the Blitz. One thing that is different from the crowd is the use of the Fusion Block cooling system. The Fusion Block cooling system uses a D-Tek Fusion water block integrated into the heatpipe cooling solution on the board to remove the heat generated by the chipsets and power management circuits.