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Asus Crosshair Motherboard Review

Former staff writer    -   February 26, 2007


Specifications:

CPU
Support AMD® Socket AM2 Athlon 64 X2 / Athlon 64 FX / Athlon 64/ Sempron
AMD Cool 'n' Quiet™ Technology
AMD64 architecture enables simultaneous 32-bit and 64-bit computing
AMD Live!™ Ready
Chipset
NVIDIA nForce® 590 SLI™ MCP
NVIDIA LinkBoost™ Technology
Front Side Bus
2000 / 1600 MT/s
Memory
Dual channel memory architecture
4 x DIMM, max. 8GB, DDR2-800/667/533, ECC and non-ECC, un-buffered memory
Expansion Slots
2 x PCI Express x16 slot with NVIDIA® SLI™ technology support, at full x16, x16 speed
1 x PCI Express x4
3 x PCI 2.2
SLI
Support two identical NVIDIA SLI-Ready graphics cards (both at x16 mode)
ASUS two-slot thermal design
ASUS PEG Link
Storage
NVIDIA nForce® 590 SLI™ MCP supports:
 * 1 x Ultra DMA 133 / 100 / 66 / 33
 * 6 x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s
 * NVIDIA MediaShield™ RAID supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD span cross Serial ATA drives
Silicon Image® 3132 SATA controller supports
 * 2 x External Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s port on back I/O (SATA On-the-Go)
 * Support RAID 0, 1, and JBOD
LAN
Dual Gigabit LAN controllers support NVIDIA DualNet® technology
NVIDIA nForce® 590 SLI™ MCP built-in dual Gigabit MAC with external Marvell PHY
 * Support Teaming and fail-over functions
 * Support TCP/IP Acceleration
Audio
SupremeFX Audio Card
featuring ADI 1988B 8-channel High Definition Audio CODEC
Support Jack-Sensing, Enumeration, Multi-streaming and Jack-Retasking
8 channel audio ports
Coaxial, Optical S/PDIF out on back I/O port
 * ASUS Array Mic
 * Noise Filter
IEEE 1394a
TI 1394 controller supports 2 x 1394a ports
USB
10 USB2.0/1.1 Ports Maximum
Overclocking Features
 * ASUS AI NOS™ (Non-delay Overclocking System)
 * AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner)
 * AI Clock Skew
 * ASUS PEG Link - automatically performance tuning for graphics cards
 * ASUS O.C. Profile: overclocking configuration-sharing tool
 * ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
 * Extreme Tweaker
ASUS AI Booster Utility
Adjustable FSB/DDR2 ratio. Fixed PCI/PCIe frequencies.
Special Features
LCD Poster
EL I/O
Onboard LED
Onboard switches: Power / Reset / Clr CMOS
Q-Connector
Q-Fan Plus
ASUS CrashFree BIOS3
ASUS EZ Flash2
ASUS Music Alarm
ASUS MyLogo3
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 Keyboard port
1 x PS/2 Mouses
1 x Optical + 1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output
2 x External SATA
2 x LAN (RJ45) port
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
1 x IEEE 1394a port
1 x onboard LED switch
1 x LCD Poster
Internal I/O Connectors
3 x USB 2.0 connectors supports additional 6 USB 2.0 ports
1 x Floppy disk drive connector
1 x IDE connector for two devices
6 x SATA connectors
1 x CPU / 7 x option Fan
3 x thermal sensor connector
1 x IEEE1394a connector
1 x S/PDIF output connector
Chassis Intrusion connector
Front Panel Audio connector
24-pin ATX Power connector
8-pin ATX 12V Power connector
System panel connector
1 x EL I/O Shield Connector
BIOS
8Mb AWARD BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.3
Manageability
WOL by PME, WOR by PME, Chasis Intrusion, PXE
Accessories
1 x SLI bridge
1 x ASUS Array Mic
1 x ASUS Optional Fan
1 x ASUS Q-Connector Kit (system panel; Retail version only)
3 x thermal sensor cables
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
1 x Floppy disk drive cable
6 x SATA cables
7 x Cable Ties
3 x SATA power cable for 6 devices
1 x 2-port USB2.0 module
1 x IEEE1394a module
1 x EL I/O Shield
InterVideo® Media Launcher (OEM version only)
User's manual
Support CD
Drivers
ASUS PC Probe II
ASUS Update
ASUS AI Booster
Futuremark ® 3DMark® 06 Advanced Edition
NVIDIA MediaShield™ RAID
Kaspersky®  Anti-Virus
Form Factor
ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6" (30.5cm x 24.5cm)

 

Installation:

    Installation of this motherboard is really not that different from installing any other board. If anything, it is a bit easier as Asus has added a few things to make our lives all easier.  You will obviously have to remove your old motherboard, as well as unhook everything so that you can remove it.  After you have removed the old motherboard, you will need to remove the old or stock I/O plate; usually it will just pop out, or you may be required to remove a screw, depending on the case.  You will need to adjust the standoffs in your case to accept the new motherboard configuration, as well as install the I/O plate that ships with the board. 

After the board is all mounted in the chassis, the first step that I took was to install the CPU, which is standard fair. Unlock the ZIF lever, drop the new CPU in, lock down the ZIF lever, and away we go.  Next was to install the RAM and then all the expansion cards.  This motherboard comes with a low rise Audio card so that there is more room on the board for other things; this is achieved by mounting the audio as an actual card on the motherboard.  I also installed the basic test video card, in this case a 6600GT. After all the cards were installed, it was time to make all the other hookups.  These include the front panel hookups, which was made very easy as Asus has included a quick hookup unit. Next was power and then all the IDE/SATA hookups for the drives.  There is also a connector from the motherboard to the rear I/O plate that powers the EL lighting.  Lastly, I had to install the CPU Heatsink. After I had double-checked all my hookups, it was time to fire this baby up and have a look at how she handles.




  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look Continued
  3. Closer Look Continued
  4. Specifications & Installation
  5. Testing (Setup, Apophysis & Science Mark)
  6. Testing Continued (Cinebench, Specview & HDTach)
  7. Testing Continued (SiSoft Sandra)
  8. Testing Continued (PCMark05)
  9. Testing Continued (Quake 4 & Far Cry)
  10. Testing Continued (F.E.A.R & Doom 3)
  11. Testing Continued (Call of Duty 2, NFS:MW)
  12. Testing Continued & Conclusion
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