Package and Contents
There are few things that are certain in this world - tax, death, wet water, blue sky and when you buy an ASUS high-end motherboard, you're definitely not getting skimped on the extras! The colour scheme for the Striker Extreme board is identical to the Crosshair board we tested some months back, this is because they are both from the same family, the Republic of Gamers, to be exact. The front of the box has very little info apart from the brand name and the company logo.
The back of the box is a totally different story, ASUS has put all the info you will need to make your mind up if this really is the board for you as well as a full colour photo of the boards' layout for you to get a glimpse of.
Documentation is one of ASUS's strong points. The manual for the Striker Extreme is over 100 pages and comes with detailed setting for the boards BIOS as well as good illustrations on setting up the board. ASUS goes so far in their manuals to show what each slot is and how it should be used, a great deal of info and time goes into these manuals from ASUS. The driver CD that ASUS provides with the package has all the Windows XP and XP64 drivers you need to get started but as always, go online and download the most current drivers for best performance. The CD is bootable so you can create F6 RAID FDD's for whatever OS you plan to install.
With all of the ASUS high-end boards coming out, Intervideo and ASUS have teamed up and are including an OEM bundle pack which includes WinDVD and WinPVR. Ghost Recon is also included as the first game you get with the Republic of Gamers package. If that wasn't already enough, you also get a copy of 3DMark06 and Kaspersky Anti-Virus. ASUS are just showing off now with an extremely good package but they have to make you feel like you are getting a lot for over $400 USD.
For port expansion capabilities on the Striker Extreme, ASUS gives you two PCI backplane ports. One is a single port Firewire port that takes up the onboard red Firewire header. The second is a 2 port USB 2.0 port that uses one of the three available blue USB 2.0 headers.
ASUS provides a huge cable bundle that we just couldn't all fit into the photo. You get 6 SATA DATA cables, 3 Molex to 2x power splitters (supporting the 6 total drives), 1 IDE cable, 1 FDD cable as well as the SLI bridge. ASUS has been using a membrane SLI bridge for its boards now rather than using a PCB based one. This allows for a more sturdy connection as well as a more flexible setup if you happen to bump one of the cards, you won't crack the PCB.
Now we get to the little extras that make things that little bit easier. First off you have the rear I/O shield which has an EL I/O light - when you connect it to the onboard header (just behind the PS/2 towers) it lights up blue when the system is powered on. It provides basic system information and also makes it much easier to connect your devices to the rear I/O in the dark.
If you are planning to run water cooling, you need to install the included fan onto one of the Mosfet heatsink to keep them cool. When using conventional cooling, the extra heatsinks are cooled by the air coming from the CPU heatsink exhaust but when water cooling is installed, there is no air flow.
Lastly we come to the connector blocks. There are three of them - red, blue and white. The red one is if you have front Firewire header and need to wire up the wires individually, this can be a pain. The blue blocks are for the USB headers and the white one (Q-Connector) is for the front panel LED's and switches - it is another very nice feature ASUS has come up with to make installation easier, let's hope a few more companies follow suite.
Lastly on the extra items list is the break away audio board. We don't really know if this is to improve audio quality or if ASUS simply ran out of room on the rear I/O, however it's a good little feature. The card has all of the HD audio ports, CD input and front panel headers on the card as well as the ADI Azalia audio codec chip. This card plugs into a PCI Express x1-like port above the first PCI Express x16 slot. When connected, the system detects the onboard audio and enables it for use in Windows. If you remove the card, the board disables the sound so you can use a discrete audio card like a Sound Blaster X-Fi.
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- Page 1 [Introduction]
- Page 2 [Specifications]
- Page 3 [In The Box]
- Page 4 [Motherboard]
- Page 5 [BIOS and Overclocking]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup and Sandra]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - PCMark]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - WorldBench]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - Adobe Premiere Elements]
- Page 10 [Benchmarks - 3DMark06]
- Page 11 [Benchmarks - PREY]
- Page 12 [Benchmarks - Far Cry]
- Page 13 [Final Thoughts]
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