Asus Crosshair Motherboard ReviewFormer staff writer -
: GF City Computers
Price: $229.99 USD
That time has come again. The urge to upgrade to gain the best performance that I can from what I have on hand. I have been running a fairly low-end ASRock motherboard that has on-board video and a relatively low-end chipset. I chose to upgrade to arguably one of the biggest and most robust AM2 chipsets, the 590 SLi. There are a few manufacturers who make motherboards that utilize this chipset, but out of all the candidates that I looked at, I thought that the Asus Crosshair best fit the bill.
Asus is a very mainstream company, making everything from motherboards, to video cards, cases, and everything in between. The Crosshair is part of a new ROG series of products by Asus. ROG stands for Republic of Gamers, which means beefed up features, some fancier extras and, in this case, even some bundled software. Founded back 1989, Asus has long since been a major name when it comes to computers, When I was researching the company, I came across a very educational quote in their "About" section. “In 2005, ASUS shipped 52 million motherboards, which means one out of every 3 desktop PCs sold last year was powered by an ASUS motherboard. If we line them up side by side, the length will be longer than the distance from New York to San Francisco.” This motherboard really seems to be a looker when it comes to performance, and it was one of the primary reasons for my interest in it. I am sure that it will live up to name of Asus.
Upon receiving the motherboard, I was a little bit surprised by how fancy the box was. The front of the box has a flip-up cover that shows some of the key features of the motherboard, as well as some information relating to its performance.
On one side of the box there is a cutout which shows off the I/O section of the motherboard, as well as the small LCD screen that is mounted there. The back of the box also has information clips that describe some of the bigger features of the board, as well as some of the bundled software. The front of the box also flips up to showcase some of the motherboard, which is secured inside in a clear plastic housing. The box has some pictures and a feature list of their Do It Yourself styling, and the cutout in the box shows off the included microphone along with the sound module.
Opening up the top of the box, there is a black accessory box. I took it out first and dumped out its contents to get a look at all the goodies that this motherboard actually ships with. There is the user manual, some media software, and 3 SATA cables with SATA-molex power adaptors. The usual IDE cables, USB, as well as Firewire I/O adaptors, the SLI Bridge, a keychain, and a fan for chipset/heatpipe cooling. Also included are 3 thermal probes, some zip ties, and an EL lit rear I/O plate. I was surprised when I saw the 3 thermal probes, as this is an addition that ALL motherboards should come with, in my opinion.
Moving on past the accessory box, I removed the plastic housing that held onto the motherboard as well as the microphone and soundcard. The sound card is very small and is designed to interface with one of the PCI-E 4x slots located at the top of the motherboard. The reasoning behind this was that they were able to free up more space on the motherboard for other goodies. Asus also bundles with this motherboard a microphone designed to mount on top of your monitor.
Next is the motherboard!