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ASUS Striker Extreme - nForce 680i to the Max

By: Cameron Johnson | NVIDIA Chipset in Motherboards | Posted: Jan 16, 2007 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: ASUS




Since we have now covered all of the goodies, it's on to the real piece of work that ASUS has engineered. To look at the Striker Extreme is a thing of beauty with heatpipes, Mosfets heatsinks and a general clean layout feel to the board.


ASUS uses the full 24x30cm ATX layout on a black/dark brown PCB, the same coloured PCB that they use for their deluxe range of boards - definitely an eye catcher inside any modded case.


The placement of connectors has ASUS doing things right. The 24-pin ATX power connector is placed behind the DDR-2 memory slots along with the FDD and IDE port. This keeps all the large bulky cables away from the heat sensitive areas like the Northbridge and the CPU. The 4/8 pin CPU power plug is located behind the PS/2 towers at the top left of the board, well away from the CPU heatsinks area. Another great feature of the ASUS board is the 6 SATA ports which are powered by the MCP680 are on a 90 degree angle to the board, allowing you to route the cables easy and keeping them out of the way of long PCI Express cards like nVidia's GeForce 8800GTX.



The CPU area does look a little cramped, however, ASUS has done a good job to keep it as free of large components, as possible. We managed to install our Gigabyte 775 Neon cooler without any problems, larger heatsinks than ours won't present too much of a challenge, either. The CPU receives 8 phase voltage stabilisation system to keep the hungry processors fed with stable voltage and especially under extreme overclocked speeds, stable voltage is a must. The Mosfets are cooled by a series of heatsinks and heatpipes sitting directly on top. The heat pipes that cool the Mosfets also run through the Northbridge cooler and the Southbridge coolers, removing as much heat as physically possible.



The rear I/O ports on the Striker Extreme are a real work of art. ASUS has gone the extra mile to make this board look and feel something special. The LCD panel is a port 80 post screen when the system boots up, after Windows loads is displays temperatures, bus speeds, anything you want to see though the software on the ASUS CD. ASUS has also added in a couple of e.SATA ports rather than the single port we usually see. The switch on the back lights up certain areas of the board when the PSU is plugged in, helping you install components in low light situations, which is a great feature. You can also turn the system on and off by using the onboard switch which makes life much easier when overclocking and tweaking your system - hopefully we are seeing the end of days when it comes to having to short pins or use jumpers.



Now we come to the expansion possibilities of the board. First off you will notice there are 3 PCI Express x16 slots on the board, 2 blue and a white. The 2 blue slots are full x16 speeds slots for full-speed SLI. The top most slot operates from the Northbridge and the bottom most blue slot operates off the Southbridge. The white PCI Express x16 slot is eclectically only a x8 slot and it is powered by the Southbridge and is intended to be used for a third graphics card to handle physics later on. You don't have to use it for this purpose though; you can install an x4 or x8 RAID card into this slot if you want more storage capabilities. The PCI Express-like slot above the top blue PCI-E x16 slot is used for the add-in audio card. A single PCI Express x1 slot is located between the PCI Express x16 slots on the board along with 2 PCI legacy slots which is more than enough for your expansion requirements.



Lastly we come to the extra onboard features added by ASUS that the nVidia nForce 680i chipset doesn't offer. Silicon Image 3132 PCI Express SATA chip is added to the PCI Express bus to operate the external e.SATA ports and a VIA 2 port Firewire chip operates the onboard Firewire feature.

Intel Core™2 Extreme QX6700, 2.66 GHz (BX80562QX6700) Processor


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