Asus Striker II Formula 780i Socket 775 Motherboard Page: 1
Introduction & Specifications
 
Back in August 2006, Asus unleashed their "Republic of Gamers" range of motherboards to the market. Designed to appeal to gamers and overclockers alike, the Nvidia 590 and 680i based "Crosshair" and "Striker Extreme" motherboards came complete with features such as on-board power switches, high quality "SupremeFX" sound, heatpipe cooling and overclocker-orientated BIOS's. However, after the release of the 680i Nvidia went a bit quiet on the chipset front, allowing Intel to steal the limelight with their extremely respectable P35 and X38 chipsets. Of course, Asus made full use of Intel's offerings by bringing some of their most overclocker friendly motherboards to date (codenamed the "Maximus" and "Blitz") into the market.
 
Now, after almost 2 years of waiting, Nvidia are once again back on the scene with their latest chipset dubbed the 780i. With full support for Tripple-SLI and PCI-E 2.0, the 780i certainly seems to have the right stuff. However, with reports of the chipset being nothing more than a "re-hashed 680i with PCI-E 2.0" floating around the internet, will the latest ROG motherboard from Asus - the "Striker II" be able to assist Nvidia in winning back some of the overclocking crowd? Here's what Asus have to say:
 
The Ultimate Gaming/Overclocking Platform
The Republic of Gamers consists only the best of the best. We offer the best hardware engineering, the fastest performance, the most innovating ideas, and we welcome the best gamers to join in. In the Republic of Gamers, mercy rules are only for the weak, and bragging rights means everything. We believe in making statements and we excel in competitions. If your character matches our trait, then join the elite club, make your presence felt, in the Republic of Gamers.

- Intel® Core™2 Quad / Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Duo / Pentium® Extreme / Pentium® D / Pentium® 4 Processors
- Supports Intel® next generation 45nm Multi-core CPU
- NVIDIA nForce® 780i SLI chipset
- CPU Level Up
- Pin-Fin Thermal Module
- SupremeFX II 8-CH Audio
- Voltiminder LED
- LCD Poster
- Extreme Tweaker
- ASUS EPU (Energy Processing Unit)
 
Unlike the previously reviewed "Blitz" and "Maximus" boards here at Overclock3D, the Striker II doesn't at present have an SE (Special Edition) or Extreme counterpart. This essentially means that the board doesn't come complete with the Asus "Fusion" waterblock system for cooling the Northbridge, Southbridge and Mosfets. For a large portion of readers I imagine this won't be an issue, however those of us who have had any experience with Nvidia's previous 680i chipsets will know that watercooling was almost a requirement to get any kind of reasonable overclocking on the board. It'll certainly be interesting to see how well Asus' "Pin-Fin Thermal Module" does at keeping temperatures under control.
 
A fairly new feature to appear on some of Asus' very latest motherboards is Energy Processing Unit (or EPU for short). The EPU is an onboard, hardware-based power saving IC controller that digitally monitors and fine tunes your CPU's power supply in real-time, providing improved VRM efficiency under light and heavy loads. This allows the EPU to provide up to 58.6% CPU power savings when running low-intensity applications.
 
More information on the various features of the Striker II board can be found on Asus's website, but for the moment all we're interested in are the nitty gritty specs:
 
CPU
Intel Socket 775 Core™2 Quad/Core™2 Extreme/Core™2 Duo/Pentium® Extreme/Pentium® D/Pentium® 4 Processors
Compatible with Intel® 05B/05A/06 processors
Support Intel® next generation 45nm CPU
* Refer to www.asus.com for Intel CPU support list
Chipset
NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI
Front Side Bus
1333/1066/800 MHz
Memory
4 x DIMM, Max. 8 GB, DDR2 1066/800/667 Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture
*Refer to www.asus.com or this user manual for the Memory QVL(Qualified Vendors Lidts).
Expansion Slots
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 , support NVIDIA® SLI™ technology, at full x16, x16 speed(blue)
1 x PCIe x16 , at x16 speed(middle)
2 x PCIe x1 ( the PCIEx1_1 (black) is compatible with audio slot)
2 x PCI 2.2
Scalable Link Interface (SLI™)
Support three identical NVIDIA SLI-Ready graphics cards (triple at x16 mode)
Storage
Southbridge
1 xUltraDMA 133/100/66/33
6 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports
NVIDIA MediaShield™ RAID Support RAID 0,1,0+1,5,JBOD span cross Serial ATA drives
LAN
Dual Gigabit LAN, both featuring AI NET2
Support Teaming Technology
Audio
SupremeFX II Audio Card
ADI 1988B 8 -Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O
ASUS Noise Filter
IEEE 1394
2 x 1394a ports (1 port at back I/O, 1 port onboard)
USB
10 USB 2.0 ports (4 ports at mid-board, 6 ports at back panel)
Overclocking Features
Extreme Tweaker
Loadline Calibration
2-Phase DDR 2
Intelligent overclocking tools
- CPU Level Up
- AI Gear 3
- AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner)
- ASUS AI Booster Utility
- ASUS O.C. Profile: overclocking configuration-sharing tool
Overclocking Protection
- COP EX (Component Overheat Protection - EX)
- Voltiminder LED
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Special Features
ASUS MyLogo 3
ASUS EZ Flash 2
ASUS CrashFree BIOS 2
ASUS Q-Connector
ASUS Q-Fan 2
LCD Poster
Onboard Switches: Power / Reset / Cls CMOS (at rear)
ASUS EPU (Energy Processing Unit)
BIOS Wallpaper
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x IEEE 1394a
2 x LAN(RJ45) port
6 x USB 2.0/1.1
1 x Clr CMOS switch
1 x Optical + 1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output
Internal I/O Connectors
3 x USB connectors support additional 6 USB 2.0 ports
1 x Floppy disk drive connector
1 x IDE connector
6 x SATA connectors
1 x IEEE 1394a connector
1 x CPU Fan connector
3 x Chassis Fan connector
1 x Power Fan connector
3 x Optional Fan connector
1 x S/PDIF Out connector
1 x8-pin ATX 12V Power connector
24 -pin ATX Power connector
1 x En/Dis-able Clr CMOS connector
3 x thermal sensor connectors
Chassis Intrusion connector
System Panel Connector
BIOS
8 Mb Flash ROM
DMI 2.0
AMI BIOS
PnP
WfM 2.0
SM BIOS 2.4
ACPI 2.0a
Multi-language BIOS
Manageability
WOL by PME,WOR by PME,Chasis Intrusion, PXE
Accessories
User's manual
Cable Ties
ASUS Optional Fan
I/O Shield
LCD Poster
ASUS Optional Fan
SupremeFX II Audio Card
3 in 1 ASUS Q-Connector Kit
UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
Floppy disk drive cable
3-way SLI bridge
ASUS SLI bridge
SATA cables
SATA power cables
2-port USB2.0 + IEEE 1394a module
Support Disc
The hottest 3D Game: Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
Support DVD:
- Drivers and applications
ASUS PC Probe II
ASUS Update
ASUS AI Suite
Futuremark ® 3DMark® 06 Advanced Edition
Kaspersky® Anti-Virus
Form Factor
ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.5 cm )
 
As we've come to expect from the "Republic of Gamers" series, the Striker II comes with all the usual bells and whistles including: OC Profile (for saving settings), Voltminder LED (for displaying voltage status), Asus C.P.R (for recovering after a bad overclock) and the LCD Poster (for displaying any error codes during the startup process). Asus haven't skimped on I/O ports either with a total of 12 USB ports, 2 Gigabit NIC's with teaming capabilities, 6x SATA ports and a SupremeFX II High Definition add-in sound card.
 
There's also plenty of accessories and free software in the box, but let's cover that in the packaging section over on the next page..


Asus Striker II Formula 780i Socket 775 Motherboard Page: 2
Packaging & Contents
 
Packaging has always been one of the strong points with Asus, especially where their Republic of Gamers motherboards are concerned. The Striker II certainly isn't any different and manages to look professional while also maintaining a "Gamer" feel.
 
Asus Striker II Formula Box Front
 
As you can see from above, the cardboard outer-box is printed with a grey gradient along with a bullet hole effect situated just above the large silver "Striker II" lettering. Very little information about the motherboard can be found on the front of the box, however Asus have made it blatantly obvious that a full version of "Company of Heroes - Opposing Fronts" is included as part of the package.
 
Asus Striker II Formula Box Flap
 
Asus Striker II Formula Box Front Asus Striker II Formula Box Front
 
An easy feature to miss on the Striker II packaging is the flap that Asus have placed at the front of the box. Once opened you are presented with two plastic windows that show off the Pin-Fin Thermal Module cooling system along with the SupremeFX II soundcard. Also at the top of the flap is a wealth of information regarding the features of the board along with brief explanations on what they do.
 
Asus Striker II Formula Box Back Asus Striker II Formula Box Specs
 
Around the back of the box Asus have printed the technical specifications for the Striker II. As we saw on page 1, the board provides provides support for all LGA775 processors along with DDR2 memory (1066/800/667/533) and 3-way SLI with all cards in x16 mode.
 
Asus Striker II Formula Box Side Asus Striker II Formula Motherboard Box
 
To allow the motherboard to be seen from the top and side of the outer-box, Asus have placed the board inside a clear plastic moulded shell. This provides good protection against courier inflicted damage and keeps the board separate from other items that could possibly be responsible for damaging the fragile components on the board during transit.
 
Asus Striker II Formula Accessories Asus Striker II Formula Accessories
 
Asus Striker II Formula Accessories Asus Striker II Formula Manuals
 
As you'd expect from motherboard coming from Asus' "Repubic of Gamers" series, the Striker II is bundled with a whole host of goodies. We've already mentioned the inclusion of Relic Entertainment's latest RTS: "Company of Heroes - Opposing Fronts", so let's see what else is included:
 
• LCD Poster
• 2x Optional Fans
• 3 in 1 ASUS Q-Connector Kit
• 1x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
• 1x Floppy disk drive cable
• 6x SATA cables
• 2x SATA power cables
• 2-port USB2.0 module
• IEEE1394a module
• I/O Shield
• Cable Ties
• User's manual
• Futuremark ® 3DMark® 06 Advanced Edition
• Kaspersky® Anti-Virus
• SupremeFX II HD sound card 
 
Asus Striker II Formula LCD Poster Asus Striker II Formula Fan
 
Asus Striker II Formula Q-Connectors Asus Striker II Formula SLI Cables
  
Some of the more notable accessories are the items shown above. From top left to bottom right we have: the Asus LCD poster, Asus optional fans, 3-in-1 Q-Connector's and the Dual/Tripple SLI connectors.
 
Starting with the LCD Poster, this device displays information on the motherboard POST sequence. If at any point the board fails to boot or gets stuck during POST, a quick glance at the LCD Poster should identify what component in your system is malfunctioning.
 
Moving on to the optional fans...these coolers have been included with many of Asus' Premium, Deluxe and ROG motherboards for quite some time. Designed to clip on to the finned heatsink that covers the mosfets at the top of the board, the fans pull air up through the heatsink fins and expel the hot air out the back of your PC case. They are reasonably quiet and come complete with 3-Pin connectors so that they can easily be controlled using the BIOS or Asus software.
 
Next up are the 3-in-1 Q-Connectors. These three small blocks are quite simply a godsend for the enthusiast who regularly disconnects their motherboard and is then faced with the frustration of trying to place the power/reset/activity LED connectors back on the motherboard header. They are also very clearly labeled - so no need to refer to the manual while setting your new motherboard up ;)
 
Last but not least we have the Dual and Triple SLI bridges. Interestingly Asus have decided to use a ribbon cable for the Dual-SLI connector. I can only imagine that this will give users the flexability to install dual graphics cards in any of the three PCI-E x16 slots without encountering any of the problems associated with a fixed length rigid bridge.
 
Asus Striker II Formula SupremeFX II
 
Asus Striker II Formula SupremeFX II Asus Striker II Formula SupremeFX II
 
As with the rest of the ROG series, Asus have bundled their add-in SupremeFX II sound card in with the Striker II Formula. With so many decent after-market sound cards available, users of high-end motherboards are more than likely to already own a PCI based solution that will generally outperform any type of onboard sound.

However, in testing it has to be said that the ADI AD1988B based SupremeFX II PCIx card did offer well above average sound quality for a card of its type. Not quite on par with the likes of our Creative X-FI card, but certainly not abusive on the ears either.


Asus Striker II Formula 780i Socket 775 Motherboard Page: 3
Board Layout & Features
 
Having tested several of Asus' boards from both their "Republic of Gamers" and "Lifestyle" ranges, one thing that has always impressed me is the layout. A quick glance at the Striker II certainly looks like it follows in its predecessors footsteps, but let's get in for a closer look...
 
Asus Striker II Formula Board Overview Asus Striker II Formula Board Overview
 
Thankfully Asus have kept the inoffensive blue, black and white colour scheme found on the rest of the ROG series. This not only looks much more professional than multi-coloured combinations used by some other manufacturers, but also ensures that the Striker II doesn't stand out in modified cases with windows.

In terms of general layout, the 8-Pin EPS-12v connector has been placed at the very top left of the board, keeping any cables trailing across the board to a minimum. Over on the right side of the board, the ATX connector sits just below the floppy disk connector and allows for easy routing of the PSU's ATX cable around the top of the motherboard without interfering with the CPU socket area.
 
Asus Striker II Formula CPU Area
 
Asus Striker II Formula CPU Area Asus Striker II Formula CPU Area
 
Asus have made some minor changes to the layout of the heatpipe cooling system since we last visited the ROG series in our Maximus review. Rather than using a single heatpipe to connect each of the mosfet heatsinks on the board, Asus have opted for two heatpipes. One makes a short journey around the left of the board to the heatsink closest to the I/O area, with the other heatpipe passing up the right-hand side of the motherboard in parallel with the memory slots.
 
This "fully enclosed" layout does certainly make the CPU socket area feel slightly claustrophobic, however water-cooling enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that we managed to fit both the D-Tek Fuzion and Swiftech Apogee blocks on the board without any clearance issues.
 
Asus Striker II Formula I/O Asus Striker II Formula I/O
 
The Striker II keeps thing fairly modern on the I/O panel, providing only one legacy port for a PS2 keyboard. This is a great idea considering I've often experience problems with my USB keyboard not working correctly when trying to enter the BIOS or after swapping a motherboard over. Unfortunately, due to the additional space taken up by the heatsink attached to the heatpipe cooling system, Asus have been forced to ditch any eSATA connectivity.

Asus have also answered the prayers of many overclockers by providing a CMOS clear button on the I/O panel. I personally can't count the number of times I've been forced to pull the side off my PC case and fumble around for the CMOS jumper after a bad overclock. This little button will undoubtedly prove to be a life (and time) saver for many enthusiasts!
 
Asus Striker II Formula NB Cooling Asus Striker II Formula NB Cooling
 
Asus Striker II Formula SB Cooling Asus Striker II Formula Retention
 
Cooling the Northbridge, Sothbridge, PCI-E 2.0 chip and Mosfets is Asus' "Pin-Fin Thermal Module". This large aluminium heatsink sits in the centre of the board and is attached directly to the 780i chip. Strangely, Asus have decided not to place any kind of active cooling directly on the "Pin-Fin", instead relying on the end-user to attach the Optional Fan's provided in the accessories box to the Mosfet heatsinks at the top of the board.
 
Asus Striker II Formula PCI/E
 
Asus seem to be relying heavily on GPU manufacturers making their latest cards with single slot coolers. Using the Striker II with a pair of 8800GTX's at present would leave you with a single PCI slot for other expansion cards. Of course this can be remedied by water cooling the graphics cards with low-profile water blocks, but this is certainly something worth thinking about before making any purchases.
 
Asus Striker II Formula SATA
 
As with the rest of the "Republic of Gamers" series, the Striker II features right-angled SATA and IDE connectors. These not only help to keep things looking a bit more tidy inside your PC case, but are also significantly more robust than the standard "upright" SATA connectors found on most other motherboards.
 
Asus Striker II Formula Connectors Asus Striker II Formula Switches
 
At the very bottom of the motherboard we can see where the Asus 3-in-1 Q-Connectors come in to play. Colour coded in red, blue and white for the IEEE1394, USB and Switch/LED headers respectively, these connectors are a boon for those of us who regularly install and remove our motherboards.

Sandwiched between these connectors are the illuminated Power and Reset switches. These make it extremely easy to use the motherboard outside of your PC case when benching (on a bench!) or testing other components.


Asus Striker II Formula 780i Socket 775 Motherboard Page: 4
The BIOS
 
Unlike most of Asus' Intel chipset based boards we've reviewed recently, the Striker II makes use of an American Megatrends (AMI) BIOS. Having had very little experience with this type of BIOS in the past it will certainly be interesting to see how it differs from the Phoenix and Award BIOS's used by most other motherboards.
 
Asus Striker II BIOS Asus Striker II BIOS
 
Asus Striker II BIOS Asus Striker II BIOS
 
Asus Striker II BIOS Asus Striker II BIOS
 
Asus Striker II BIOS Asus Striker II BIOS
 
The "Extreme Tweaker" section of the BIOS is where you'll find most of the overclocking related options. Settings such as CPU multiplier, FSB/NB Strap, FSB Frequency, Memory Frequency, Memory Timings and Transaction Booster can all be adjusted in the various subsections of this page.

Asus have also included a feature called "CPU Level Up" on the Striker II Formula. This essentially allows you to pick a new model of processor from the list and the BIOS will automatically adjust the frequency/multiplier settings to bring your existing processor up to the speed of the chosen one. This is certainly a good idea for people without previous overclocking experience, or those who are just after a quick bump in speed without getting their hands dirty.

The table below details the selections available from the most notable options in this section of the BIOS:
 
OptionAvailable Range
CPU Multiplier
x6 - x50
LTD Frequency
1x - 8x
FSB Frequency
200-800mhz (Keyable - 1mhz steps)
PCI-E Frequency
100-150mhz (1mhz steps)
 
Asus Striker II BIOS Asus Striker II BIOS
 
Asus Striker II BIOS Asus Striker II BIOS
 
Asus Striker II BIOS Asus Striker II BIOS
 
Asus Striker II BIOS Asus Striker II BIOS
 
OptionAvailable Range
CPU Voltage
1.1v-2.40v (0.02500v steps)
Memory Voltage
1.50v-3.40v (0.02v steps)
Northbridge Voltage
1.20v-3.00v (0.02v steps)
Southbridge Voltage
1.50-1.85v (0.05v steps)
PLL Voltage
1.05v-3.00v (0.02v steps)
1.2v HT Voltage
1.20-1.95v (0.05v steps)
 
With so many of these voltage options clearly being dangerous to the health of hardware, Asus have gone to the trouble of placing LED's at various points on the motherboard (CPU, Northbridge, Southbridge, DRAM Slots) that change from green to orange to red depending on how much voltage you are putting through the components.
 
Asus Striker II BIOS Asus Striker II BIOS
 
Having such an extensive range of options available in the BIOS the last thing you want to do is lose your configuration once you've found the sweet spot for your overclock. This is where the Asus O.C Profile comes in to play. Allowing you to save all of your BIOS settings to one of two available profiles in the CMOS or to an external storage device, your settings can then be restored easily at a later date.
 
Asus Striker II BIOS Asus Striker II BIOS
 
Asus Striker II BIOS Asus Striker II BIOS
 
As with the rest of the ROG lineup, Asus have furnished the Striker II with an excellent voltage, temperature and fan speed monitoring system.Fans can be switched on/off at user-defined temperatures or run at percentages of their full speed all from within the BIOS and without the need for any additional software.


Asus Striker II Formula 780i Socket 775 Motherboard Page: 5
Test Setup
 
To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configuration used in this review can be seen below:
 
 
Asus Maximus Formula (X38)
Asus Striker II Formula (780i)
DFI LANPARTY UT P35-T2R (P35)
ProcessorIntel Core 2 Quad Q6600 "G0" 2.4GHz 2x4MB
Memory Cellshock PC2-6400 DDR2-800 (4-4-4-12)
Graphics Card  Sapphire Ultimate X1950 Pro 256mb PCI-E
Hard Disk Hitachi Deskstar 80GB 7K80 SATA2 7200RPM 8mb
CPU Cooling Stock Intel Aluminium Cooler
Operating System Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate (Latest Updates)
Graphics Drivers ATI Catalyst 7.4.44981
Motherboard Drivers Motherboard CD versions.
 
During the testing of the boards above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used between switching boards, preventing any possible performance issues due to left-over drivers from the previous motherboard install.

To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities were used:
 
Synthetic CPU & Memory Subsystem
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c
• Lavalys Everest 4.0

File Compression & Encoding
• 7-Zip File Compression
• River Past ViMark

Disk I/O Performance
• HDTach 3.0.4.0
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c

3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• Cinebench 10
• 3DMark05
• 3DMark06

3D Games
• Quake 4
• Bioshock
• F.E.A.R
 
 
Overclocking
 
There's no denying that one of the biggest pitfalls with Nvidia's 680i chipset was it's inability to match the overclocking performance of Intel's P965, P35 and X38 chipsets when running a Quad-Core CPU. Given that Nvidia have had around 2 years to work on this issue, it will be extremely interesting to see how the 780i based Striker II compares to the other two boards being tested today.
 
Maximum Overclock
 
To ensure that every motherboard was given an equal chance to show how far it could overclock our Intel Q6600 "G0" retail processor, a standard VCore of 1.5v was set on all three of the boards. In addition to this, the memory divider setting was also adjusted to ensure that the Cellshock kit used in today's review would not hinder the results in any way.
 
Unfortunately, the Striker II couldn't quite keep up with the rest of the pack, falling over 300mhz short of the maximum overclocks obtained on the Asus Maximus (X38) and DFI Lanparty (P35) motherboards. In desperation we even bumped the Vcore up to 1.55v and increased the default Northbridge voltage by 0.16v. This only seemed to make matters worse, with the Northbridge temperatures verging on 80°C and the Southbridge also getting pretty toasty at 64°C.
 
 Maximum FSB Speed
 
The maximum front-side bus speed for all three boards was obtained by dropping the CPU multiplier down to x6 and slowly increasing the FSB speed from within the BIOS. With each increment in speed, the PC was booted into Windows and tested for stability. As with the "Maximum Overclock" testing, the memory divider setting was also adjusted to ensure that memory stability did not factor in the results.
 
Under normal circumstances we would also include increasing the Northbridge voltage to add extra stability. Unfortunately, with the Northbridge temperature of the Striker II getting close to 70°c when under load, any increase in voltages would have been suicidal.


Asus Striker II Formula 780i Socket 775 Motherboard Page: 6
Sisoft Sandra
 
Sisoft Sandra is a synthetic benchmark utility capable of reporting and benchmarking a wide range of system components. For the three motherboards we run both the CPU and Memory benchmarks three times to ensure accuracy of results.
 
 Sisoft Sandra CPU
 
Sisoft Sandra CPU
 
Sisoft Sandra CPU
 
Sisoft Sandra CPU
 
Sisoft Sandra Memory
 
Sisoft Sandra Memory
 
Sisoft Sandra Memory
 
 
Everest
 
Everest is in many ways similar to Sisoft Sandra. Focusing mainly on Software and Hardware information reporting, Everest also comes with a benchmark utility suitable for testing the read, write and latency performance of the memory subsystem.
 
Everest memory Read
 
Everest Memory Write
 
Everest Memory Latency


Asus Striker II Formula 780i Socket 775 Motherboard Page: 7
ViMark
 
ViMark is the latest addition to the OC3D motherboard testing process and a relatively new benchmarking application in general. Designed to take the inaccuracies and guesswork out of measuring the time taken to encode video files, ViMark produces easily comparable and consistent results for encoding Windows Media, Quicktime, AVI and Gif files.
 
 ViMark - Windows Media
 
ViMark - Apple Quicktime
 
ViMark - AVI
 
ViMark - GIF
 
 
7-Zip
 
7-Zip is an open source winzip-style file compression utility that has the ability to compress and decompress many file formats including it's own .7z compression scheme. 7-Zip also comes complete with its own benchmarking utility for gauging the compression and decompression speed of the system that it is installed on.
 
7-Zip Compression
 
7-Zip Decompression


Asus Striker II Formula 780i Socket 775 Motherboard Page: 8
HDTach
 
HDTach is a free hard disk benchmarking program from SimpliSoftware. This benchmark is not only capable of producing results on hard disk access times but also CPU usage required during disk access.
 
HDTach Burst Speed
 
 HDTach Avg. Read Speed
 
HDTach Random Access
 
HDTach CPU Util
 
 
 
Sisoft Sandra
 
Sisoft Sandra is a synthetic benchmark utility capable of reporting and benchmarking a wide range of system components. For the three motherboards we run the Disk Read & Access benchmarks three times to ensure accuracy of results.
 
Sisoft Sandra Read Index
 
Sisoft Sandra Read Access 


Asus Striker II Formula 780i Socket 775 Motherboard Page: 9
Cinebench
 
Cinebench 10 is a benchmarking tool based on the powerful 3D software Cinema 4D. Consequently, the results of tests conducted using Cinebench carry significant weight when analysing a computer’s performance in everyday use.
 
Cinebench Rendering
 
Cinebench Rendering
 
Cinebench OpenGL
 
 
 
3DMark053DMark06
 
3DMark is a popular synthetic gaming benchmark used by many gamers and overclockers to gauge the performance of their PC's. All 3DMark runs were performed 3 times with averages being calculated from each of the results.
 
3DMark05
 
3DMark06


Asus Striker II Formula 780i Socket 775 Motherboard Page: 10
Quake 4
 
Quake 4 is a game built on the Doom 3 engine. Benchmarking was performed using Quake4Bench and a custom timedemo recording along with 0xAA, 0xAF settings at a resolution of 1024x768.
 
Quake 4
 
 
F.E.A.R
 
F.E.A.R. is a game based on the Lithtech Jupiter EX engine. It has volumetric lighting, soft shadows, parallax mapping and particle effects. Included in the game is a benchmark facility that taxes the entire PC system. This benchmark was run 3 times to ensure uniformity of results.
 
F.E.A.R
 
 
Bioshock
 
Bioshock is a recent FPS shooter by 2K games. Based on the UT3 engine it has a large amount of advanced DirectX techniques including excellent water rendering and superb lighting and smoke techniques. All results were recorded using F.R.A.P.S with several identical runs through the same area of the game.
 
Bioshock


Asus Striker II Formula 780i Socket 775 Motherboard Page: 11
Conclusion
 
As we've come to expect from motherboards in Asus' "Republic of Gamers" series, the Striker II Formula has an excellent list of features combined with extreme yet uncomplicated looks. Right from the extensive range BIOS options and selectable voltages down to the Voltminder LED indicators on the motherboard, It's clear to see that Asus are committed to designing motherboards that cater for the needs of overclockers just as much as gamers.
 
Asus have also done a great job with the layout of the Striker II Formula. All connectors on the board are just where you'd expect to find them and there are no stray molex connectors or other anomalies that are often common on motherboards from other manufacturers. Obviously with the board supporting Triple-SLI, some cutbacks have needed to be made on the PCI slot front. Therefore, anybody wanting to run SLI along with PCI expansion cards should check for compatibility first.
 
As the benchmark results over the previous pages have shown, the 780i based Striker II can certainly hold it's own when placed head-to-head with with the Intel x38 and P35 based motherboards used in today's review. In most cases the Striker sat right in the middle of the results, with it occasionally taking the edge in memory bandwidth. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for the overclocking results, with the 780i chipset still showing a weakness when overclocking Quad-Core processors.
 
Due to hit the market at around £220, the Striker II Formula is actually one of the most expensive motherboards we've tested to date. With this kind of price tag, the board should only be considered by those who will definitely be using the new features introduced by the 780i chipset (Triple-SLI / PCI-E 2.0..etc) as other boards such as the Asus Maximus are much more reasonably priced and offer greater overclocking potential.
 
 
The Good
• Excellent range of voltage/overclocking options in BIOS.
• Good accessories package, including a full version of COH: Opposing Fronts.
• Sexy looking board with a great layout and nifty features such as Voltminder LED / LCD Poster.
• Decent quality add-in sound card.
• Triple-SLI and PCI-E 2.0 support.
 
The Mediocre
• Reasonable overclocking on Quad-Core chips.
 
The Bad
• Northbridge / Southbridge get extremely hot with any level of voltage increase.
• Expensive.
 
 
Gamers Choice Award
 
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