Asus Striker II Extreme Reviewccokeman -
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Usually, the Asus ROG series' bundle of accessories contains everything you need to get the Striker II Extreme into the action, and this board is no exception. From the amount of SATA cables all the way down to the liquid cooling connections, it's all there. Throw in one of the latest DX 10 releases in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts and this is one decent bundle. The documentation included with the 790i-based Striker II Extreme includes the manual and driver disk. The driver disk also contains additional manuals that can be viewed electronically or printed out.
Temperature probes are included so you can monitor three additional temperatures via Asus Probe; these are great for pulling in additional data on what areas need cooling when in operation. The probes aren't very long, but the mounting points are spread across the board to get a fair shot at monitoring just about any temperature.
For those of you that prefer to use an Nvidia-based multi GPU graphics solution, the bridge connections are included for both SLI and Tri-SLI. The Tri-SLI Bridge is for use only with video cards that support Tri-SLI, namely the 8800 GTX, 8800 Ultra, and 9800 GTX.
One nice thing about the I/O shield is the fact that scripting on the shield lights up when the attached cable is plugged into a receptacle on the board. This makes plugging in the peripherals an easier task in the dark or at a LAN party. Another thing you will notice is that there are no little tabs to break off or get hung on a port during installation - not to mention the nasty cuts they can provide! The inclusion of a liquid cooled chipset solution is a step forward; integrating the block into an existing liquid loop or building one from scratch requires the use of an adapter if one is using 1/2" inside diameter tubing. Adapters are provided to drop down from 1/2" to 3/8"; screw clamps and some short lengths of 3/8" ID tubing are also part of the package.
Asus has included two blower fans that mount over the power management circuits to keep them cool when you're using a passive cooling solution. Air cooling the CPU will make the use of these fans unnecessary - or impossible - depending on the style of heatsink you choose. The enthusiast crowd has a tendency to go with large HSF's, but the blowers are still usable with the stock Intel solution. The "Q" connectors make life much easier when installing the motherboard into the chassis. Connect the front panel wiring to the "Q" connectors then insert the whole assembly onto the motherboard header, and Shazam! - it's done! (I know, you have to be older to get it).
The onboard sound is an 8-channel, high definition design delivered by the Supreme FX II PCI-E sound card. This device fits into a dedicated slot on the Striker II Extreme, and provides enhancements for gamers, as well as a tool specifically designed to enhance dialogue in games. Instead of a diagnostic debug LED on the motherboard, Asus has included the LCD Poster. This gives the user the actual problem code instead of a series of letters or numbers, making diagnostics easier for all users.
The items included in the bundle provide everything you will need to get started. Now, let's take a more in-depth look at the motherboard!