Asus Striker II Formula Reviewccokeman - March 4, 2008
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The Striker II Formula is an ATX form factor motherboard that uses the Nvidia 780i SLI northbridge, NF570SLI and NF 200 chipsets. This motherboard is part of the Republic of Gamers series of motherboards built with higher quality components to offer a more reliable platform for the extreme gamer. The Striker II uses a Pin Fin heatsink design to manage the dissipation of heat from the 780i SLI chipset, as well as being a part of the "Stack Cool 2" fanless cooling solution. The black PCB is specially designed to help manage the heat generated by critical components of the motherboard. Part of the cooling solution is the heatsink on the back side of the 780i chipset.
The I/O panel connectivity is less than many of the Intel based solutions I have seen lately, but includes the items necessary to get connected. The lone PS/2 connection is for the keyboard. Included are six USB 2.0 ports and two RJ-45 Gigabit LAN connections that support teaming to increase throughput. Sound connections include both optical and coaxial digital S/PDIf connections. One IEEE 1394 Firewire port, and a handy, clear CMOS button is included. Just above the I/O ports is a small plug that is used for the LCD poster assembly. It plugs into this port to power the display, as well as transfer the post code information to the display.
The expansion capabilities of the Striker II Formula include two PCI-e slots (one dedicated to the Supreme FX II audio solution identified by the color change), two PCI slots and, of course, the whole reason for going to an Nvidia platform, the three 16x PCI-e slots to allow for triple SLI if your system has the correct video cards (8800GTX and Ultra only). The bottom and right side of the PCB contain the balance of the connection options.
Starting from the left hand side of the PCB there is the IEEE 1394 Firewire and two of the onboard thermal sensor connections. Moving further right are the additional two USB 2.0 ports to bring the onboard total to ten. Built-in power and reset buttons are a nice things to have when you use the Striker II on a tech bench, or just need the flexibility of getting to the buttons when hooked up out side the case. Just to the right of the switchs is a fan connector and the onboard HDD LED. The front-panel connections are a snap to use with the included Q connectors.
On the righthand side is where all the drive connections are. Six SATA ports and the lone IDE connection. Moving further up are the floppy drive connection, as well as the ATX 24-pin main power supply connection. Behind these connections are the four DIMM slots that can hold up to eight gigabytes of system memory at DDR2 1066/800 speeds. Asus uses a two phase power design to give the memory modules the power needed to perform.
Cooling the components on the Striker II Formula is a large heatpipe and sink assembly that starts at the southbridge chipsets, and works it's way across the 780i SLI chipset, and around the heat generating power regulation circuits. The northbridge chipset is covered with Pin Fin technology heatsink. The performance is stated to be better than a stacked fin design.The box with the ROG logo lights up when the option is enabled in the BIOS.
If the real estate around the socket looks crowded, then your eyes do not deceive you. The heatsinks, capacitors and chokes make for a crowded house. Even this crowded I was able to install a Tuniq Tower heatsink without any clearance issues. Your mileage may vary depending on the heatsink or waterblock you choose for your cooling solution.