Asus Striker II Formula Reviewccokeman - March 4, 2008
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Well, after playing with the Striker II Formula, it turns out that the 780i SLI chipset has its own issues, albeit very similar to the 680i SLI chipset it replaces. The 780i chipset is hot, not as in hot chick hot, but in thermal characteristics. Implementing a non passive solution would be the top item to look at if using the Striker II. Even a fan is a large help in keeping this chipset cool. By actively cooling the heatsink, temperatures on the chipset did not reach the shutdown temperature of 90 Celcius. High frontside bus overclocking with a quad-core processor seems to be much more difficult than with the Intel chipset solutions. Add in four or eight gigabytes of RAM and the difficulty meter starts bouncing on the top of the scale. With that being said, once the correct combination of settings is reached the board comes around and starts playing nice. Performance in our benchmarking and testing suite was up and down. Memory bandwidth in the Sandra testing was higher than any of the other boards tested. Yet the WinRar testing showed the Striker II with sub par performance. In almost 60% of the game behnchmarks the Striker was the top performer. In 3DMark06 the performance of the Striker II was well above the comparison boards and never fell below 10,000 3DMarks. Running the memory unlinked from the CPU clock can open up new options for getting more performance from your memory, and not have you constrained by a specific divider. Even unlinked there are many dividers, ultimately providing for a better "fit" based on the maximum speed of the consumers memory. 1000MHz was achievable and stable with four gigabytes of memory. I chose to run at 900MHz, as at this speed the trade-off between speed and latency was better in this application.
The big selling point for switching to an Nvidia chipset has been, and probably will be for a while, the ability to run two or more Nvidia GPU's in an SLI (Scalable Link Interface) configuration. Something that can't be done with the Average Joe Intel chipset solutions....yet! Speaking of SLI, we will be using the Striker II Formula to test the SLI performance of several video cards in upcoming reviews. Stay tuned!
Two, much less three GPUs don't figure into the energy saving plan, but the Striker II uses a small energy management processor that works in conjunction with the included AI Gear software to manage the energy consumption of the package. Unfortunately, to use it you must be at stock settings and voltages, and have C1E and EIST enabled. This is not all bad for the person looking for the best of both worlds, a high end gaming solution that can help on the energy bills. For the enthusiast that overclocks their hardware, this feature is sadly a no go. If you need a replacement for the aging 680i motherboard so you can step up to some of the high clocking 45nm Wolfdale and Yorkfield processors, the Striker II Formula is not a bad choice. As a full-featured board, the Striker II Formula is capable of fulfilling performance, as well as "Green" goals.
- Ability to run memory unlinked
- Overcloking capabilities
- SLI capable
- Tri SLI capable (8800GTX and Ultra only)
- HD 8 Channel sound
- EPU processor for energy savings
- Accessory bundle
- Northbridge heat