Asus Striker II Extreme Reviewccokeman -
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Performance chipsets have been flying out fast and furious in the first half of 2008 - Intel's X48 and Nvidia's 780i, 790i SLI and 790i Ultra SLI motherboards have arrived already. So what does this mean to the average person? Not a whole lot! But, to enthusiasts and gamers, the 790i Ultra SLI chipset offers the promise of incredible overclocking capabilities, built-in support for DDR3 2000MHz memory, Tri-SLI or Quad SLI with qualifying video cards, an all new chipset, full support for 45nm Penryn and Wolfdale processors, and more. After somewhat disappointing results from the 780i chipset (which was just a 680i chipset with PCI-E 2.0 added on for good measure), expectations are that the 790i Ultra chipset will actually perform better than its earlier sibling. Since the 790i chipset uses only DDR3 memory, running 4GB of high performance memory does require a substantial financial commitment to the new memory standard, as 4GB of performance DDR3 will claim $350+ from the budget.
As part of the Republic of Gamers lineup, the Asus Striker II Extreme comes to the table with all the tools necessary to generate excellent performance numbers, as well as incredible gaming performance. Let's see if it can challenge the performance of the latest chipset from Intel, the X48.
As part of Asus' Republic of Gamers (ROG) lineup, the Striker II Extreme sports the familiar charcoal and grey themed packaging. Barbed wire and bullet holes say "FPS" all the way. The box's front panel highlights the inclusion of the full version of Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, and the Fusion Block cooling system and 790i chipset are mentioned. The back panel lists the motherboard's specifications, and mentions some of the prominent features of the board - the Easy DIY Voltminder LEDs, the Supreme FX II sound card, and overclocking capabilities that are enhanced by the Fusion Block cooling system. One side panel has an access hole in it to show off the I/O panel. Image is everything!
Continuing the see-through theme, the front panel lifts up to display in greater detail some of the features that enhance the overclocking capabilities of the Striker II Extreme. Some of these features are the Extreme Tweaker BIOS, 2-phase DDR3 power supply, Loadline Calibration, the external POST display, and the Asus Energy Processing Unit (EPU). Displayed through the window are the Fusion Block System and the Supreme FX II HD sound card, which has some gaming-specific qualities.
Once you pull the board from the enclosure, you are left with the Striker II Extreme, as well as the box that houses the bundled accessories. If history is any indication, the bundle should be expansive. The artwork on the accessory box mirrors that of the exterior package.
Let's see what comes with the Striker II Extreme, to see if the bundle measures up.