ASUS Crosshair II Formula Reviewajmatson - June 24, 2008
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To run the system correctly, not only do you need the hardware, but you also need the right software. ASUS includes an abundance of drivers and utilities to help maximize your computing experience. To start off, you need to insert the CD that came in the bundle with the M3N-HT. Once the CD is placed in the tray and closed, the autorun should pick up and present you with the ASUS installation program. The installer is a GUI, which makes installing the drivers and software as easy as possible.
Under the drivers tab there are several options. You can ASUS InstALL all of the drivers at once, or you can choose to install each one separately. Here, you have the option to install the NVIDIA Chipset Drivers and the SoundMAX ADI Audio Driver.
ASUS includes a wealth of software with its motherboard to help the user get the most use out of his/her system. You can install the programs one by one or all at one time with the InstALL option again. Some of the programs included with the M3N-HT are the ASUS utilities, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, 3DMark06 Professional, and Ulead Photo Impact.
As I mentioned above, ASUS includes several utilities to help tweak and tune your system to your liking. Some of these utilities include a BIOS updating GUI, ASUS PC Probe which lets you monitor system temperatures, voltages and fan speeds, ASUS Cool and Quiet which displays the C&Q speeds and voltages, and ASUS AI Suite.
The AI suite lets you manage power throttling to save on power consumption when the computer is idle or not needing a lot of juice, Q Fan to monitor and adjust the fans attached to the motherboard for maximum cooling, and AI Booster for overclocking. The overclocking feature is welcome to an enthusiast like myself because here you can overclock on the fly without having to go into the BIOS every time. You can overclock based on percentages to gain the best performance.
The last few sections of the installer are the drivers for RAID setups, the electronic manual, and the contact information for ASUS.