Asus Crosshair II AM2+ Motherboard

BIOS

BIOS Options

As always with Asus boards there are software applications that will do the majority of the work for you when overclocking but there are limits to using such software, and to get the best from an overclock the BIOS is where you should input your desired settings. Skipping through the most basic settings, here's a rundown of what to expect with the Crosshair II BIOS (ver.0401).
 
Upon booting up we are greeted with, yup you guessed it, another Republic of Gamers emblem that’s actually quite funky and yet another reminder that this is a performance board. This screen can be customised to whatever picture you like although there are inherent risks with doing so as you are programming the BIOS chip, which is always risky to a certain extent.
 
main tweaker

I was happy to see the Crosshair II uses a Phoenix AWARD BIOS which most overclockers will be familiar with. Skipping the usual screens of which are pretty straightforward, I’ll jump straight into the Extreme Tweaker section, which Asus correctly assumes will be the most used page and saves tabbing through the pages to get to the most important settings of the board.

Straight away we see a plethora of options, most of which seasoned overclockers will be familiar with. The usual Vcore, Vdimm, SB, and CPU multi’s are all there along with Nvidia's link width and voltage settings, but there are a few new additions such as VDDA Voltage, BR Voltage and DDR2 reference voltages. Each voltage brings up a new window in which you either scroll to the setting you want or directly type it in. Let’s have a deeper look at what settings are available.
 
fsb multi

CPU Frequency (FSB) ranges from 200mhz-600mhz and because it’s such a huge range, you can type in the exact value you require rather than scrolling through the multitude of values. The CPU multi on our Phenom CPU is unlocked allowing us to set the multi from 5x all the way up to 25x with half multi’s in between.
 
cpu volt vcore

A new one for me is the CPU Voltage setting. This is not CPU Vcore as I first thought and unfortunately there is no reference to this voltage in the manual. Settings range from 1.55v – 0.7750v. Vcore voltage is ‘exactly what it says on the tin’ and with adjustments ranging from a minuscule 0.7750v to a Chernobyl equalling 2.000v. This should satisfy even the most ardent of extreme cooling enthusiasts. 

vddnb vdimm

Here’s another voltage setting I am unfamiliar with - VDDNB. Apparently this setting is specific to Phenom CPU’s and controls the power supply to the Northbridge switching circuits. Values range from +100mv - +450mv. DDR2 Voltage has an astronomic top value of 3.4v, easily enough to kill your sticks so only the brave need apply. For the mere mortals among us settings begin at 1.8v and increase in increments of 0.02v.
 
sb vdda
 
SB voltage allows you to set the power to the 780a chip and values range from 1.10v to 2.36v in increments of 0.02v. With the reportedly high temps of the 780i chipset it will be interesting to see how hot the 780a gets, although I am not cruel enough to push 2.36v though it! Yet another new setting is the VDDA setting. Even the might of Google failed to bring up an explanation of this so it’s a question for Asus to answer I’m afraid. 

br reference

The BR Voltage controls the NF200 volts, which controls the PCIe bridge voltage. Settings range from 1.20v – 2.46v. Last of all we come to the DDR reference voltages whereby you can set the controller, Channel A and Channel B voltages independently. Values range from -30mv - +30mv. Which brings me neatly onto the DRAM configuration settings where the bread and butter memory settings are. There are however hidden treasures here!

mem basic advanced
 
Apart from the standard timings, opening up the advanced memory settings gives you plenty of scope for fine tuning your memory. But that’s not all! You can also tweak the memory further in the ‘Timing control’ area. But still that isn’t the end of the memory section...

timings drive strength
 
Every brand of memory, be it D9GSR or Elpida, has preferences for driving control and strengths so this is where you can tweak those settings to further your memory performance and stability. With the huge amount of options available in the memory section one could quite easily get lost in the sheer numbers involved, well done Asus! 

voltage temps

With the many voltage tweaks available it is important to see if the value you set is actually the value you get. You can view the voltage readouts as well as the temperature settings in the 'Power' section of the BIOS. I didn’t notice any serious drops in voltages although some settings were a little above/below what I had initially set that needed to be compensated for so it is worthwhile having a look in here after you have set the values you require. Due to the numerous (and sometimes excessive!) amounts of voltages options available it is imperative that you can monitor each component's temperature to keep it within a reasonable limit. Asus haven’t failed to deliver with the essential temps available which should also be transferable to Windows based monitors (with the correct config).

So, a very well laid out and comprehensive BIOS indeed. Whether you fancy a quick overclock or a more in-depth tweaking session this BIOS has it all and caters for novices with auto-overclocking or extreme enthusiasts alike with the huge amount of settings available. The BIOS contains profiles which allow you to store those precious settings be it for suicide runs or your 24/7 stability values and if all else fails you have the option of using EZ-Flash which is a pre-loaded utility allowing you to easily update the BIOS from a DOS based environment rather than the treacherous and risky Windows flash utilities.
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Most Recent Comments

16-06-2008, 05:49:18

JN
"The latest release from Asus see's the Crosshair II blessed with Nvidia's 780a chipset. We strip the board past its copper clothes to see if it's a worthy upgrade."

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...104556402s.jpg

Asus Crosshair II Review - By Rich Weatherstone

16-06-2008, 05:59:54

Toxcity
Very good review! Not really that good a board?

Only 11k on 3DMark06 with a 9800GX2?

16-06-2008, 07:10:20

FarFarAway
It's an AM2 board mate

That is some pricey board right there whoa

16-06-2008, 07:20:54

Azza
Hybrid SLI working yet chaps?

Good review as always, nice work Rich.

16-06-2008, 10:44:41

w3bbo
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Toxcity'
Very good review! Not really that good a board?

Only 11k on 3DMark06 with a 9800GX2?
Yeah m8, I was innitially dissappointed with the score but when you consider its AM2 the the scores can't really be compared to the performance of Core2.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kempez'
It's an AM2 board mate

That is some pricey board right there whoa
Yeah - dunno if I would pay that with AMD lagging behind like they are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Azza'
Hybrid SLI working yet chaps?

Good review as always, nice work Rich.
Cheers m8. Hybrid SLI does work....sometimes. Occassionally it would refuse to automatically come out of hybrid SLI and lag like hell as the 3d game was running of the onboard vga @ 2560x1600 which I'm sure you can imagine was a very WTF moment. Took me a while to realise it was the onboard VGA doing its thing lol. All it took was a quick restart and things were back to normal. Most of the time it was unoticable so must have been working fine. Maybe a driver issue?

I tested the on board VGA's capabilities more indepth in the 780a preview hence it's sparse inclusion in the actual motherboard review.

16-06-2008, 11:05:20

ionicle
nice looking board, and good review

nice to see AMD fans arnt left out of the current market, all this new tech spring up left, right, and center, its good to see Asus havent just left AMD behind..

16-06-2008, 11:23:23

Rastalovich
Great review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Toxcity'
Very good review! Not really that good a board?

Only 11k on 3DMark06 with a 9800GX2?
Futuremark`s benchies are flawed in this way. Just as u take a Q6600 cpu out of ur mobo and drop in a QX9650, ur score will change, but if u look at the performance of games.... I could steal ur QX9650, replacing it with a Q6600 and u`d be none-the-wizer

However, breaking their scores down, minus the CPU score would have been a good recording. Particularly in comparison with Intel mobos maybe.

Looking at the mobo as a whole, including the onboard stuff, input/outputs, I think it`s great. Price wize tho, it`s definately not a winner.

18-06-2008, 08:44:43

aGeoM
Hi

Nice Crosshair II Formula presentation.

I just want to point a small mistake made by Rich Weatherstone, on his review.

I'm sure he eared about TBL bug on Phenom B2's, and how it could be fixed.

Well, some board's have the ability to disable the patch from bios, however even when this patch are disabled in bios, Vista (x86/x64) SP1 overrides it, and apply it by it's self, meaning a poor CPU performance, only using a small software program can make this patch disabled, allowing full CPU performance.

Test Setup

...

A fresh copy of Windows Vista Ultimate 32bit with SP1 installed along with the most recent drivers then applied. No applications/programs apart from the ones used in benchmarking were installed to ensure a totally clean fair environment to which you can base your comparisons.



Since it have no reference to TBL bug, and from the 9800GX2 SLI 3DMark06, it's obvious that he didn't disabled the TBL patch, making all benchmarks suffer from CPU performance.

As you can see in my Sig I achieved with the same board, a Phenom 9500 (B2)@3000 and 8600GT SLI GPU's, 12589 in 3DMark06 in Vista.

http://img397.imageshack.us/img397/7...008600gad5.jpg

I hope Mr Rich Weatherstone correct his review, to be fair about real Phenom/nForce780a/9800GX2 SLI performance.

All the best...

Paulo

18-06-2008, 08:54:30

Rastalovich
That screenie shows 12k+ with an 8600gt! What the heck is all that about ?

Off the top of my head, replacing the gpu card will gain so many 1000 more points..

What I`m thinking is, with a x9650 and 8800gt, clocked air-wize, I get a biscuit under 15k.

12k+ a 8800gt instead of a 8600gt has to pass 14k surely.

If that`s correct, that`s outstanding.

18-06-2008, 09:18:16

aGeoM
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Rastalovich'
That screenie shows 12k+ with an 8600gt! What the heck is all that about ?
Was to show my point about TBL patch not been disabled by the reviewer, giving him very low scores on benchmarks. 2 8600GT SLI btw.

Off the top of my head, replacing the gpu card will gain so many 1000 more points..

What I`m thinking is, with a x9650 and 8800gt, clocked air-wize, I get a biscuit under 15k.

12k+ a 8800gt instead of a 8600gt has to pass 14k surely.

If that`s correct, that`s outstanding.



I have tested one 8800GT on a different board (790FX) and the max achieved was 13k+.

http://img116.imageshack.us/img116/8...0613486dd9.jpg

But if you are planning to go SLI 15k+ are doable

18-06-2008, 10:24:15

Rastalovich
Ah yes SLI, ofc.

12k+, almost 13, with 2x8600 is still darn good in my book.

18-06-2008, 15:46:29

w3bbo
The only AM2 we have in our possession at OC3D towers is the 9600phenom and unforunately it's a very poor overclocker. So as the review shows, having quad sli makes very little difference when the clockspeed, and therefore the processing power is so poor.

I will however give the TBL patch a try even though it was disabled in the Bios and amend the review if needed.

18-06-2008, 18:49:56

aGeoM
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='webbo'
The only AM2 we have in our possession at OC3D towers is the 9600phenom and unforunately it's a very poor overclocker. So as the review shows, having quad sli makes very little difference when the clockspeed, and therefore the processing power is so poor.

I will however give the TBL patch a try even though it was disabled in the Bios and amend the review if needed.
Hi

Even if you disable TBL patch in BIOS, Vista SP1 will enable it after loaded.

You can read here, how to disable it with Sam2008 tool.

The best way to check if TBL is or isn't enable, is using Winrar benching tool, if your score is ~300 it's enable, normal score when disable is >1000.

You will notice a better 3D performance, even with low CPU clock.



Paulo

22-06-2008, 20:21:31

PP Mguire
Or better yet grab a Phenom 9850. This board was made for that CPU.

22-06-2008, 20:43:56

aGeoM
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='PP Mguire'
Or better yet grab a Phenom 9850. This board was made for that CPU.
Not exactly, the board is made for any AM2/AM2+ CPU's

Anyway a B3 CPU don't have the TBL bug, so it can be used with Vista's SP1 OS, avoiding the problem.

Be well

22-06-2008, 21:04:03

PP Mguire
The 9850s still perform alot better and an enthusiast board is made for the enthusiast cpu for that socket which happens to be the 9850 BE. The AMD Phenoms arent that bad, they just arent that good either. And Quad SLI is heavily CPU bottlenecked even with a QX9650 @ 4.0ghz (As well as SLI and Tri SLI 280s) then it will be moreso with a 9850 or 9600. (B3 and B2)

22-06-2008, 21:43:18

aGeoM
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='PP Mguire'
The 9850s still perform alot better and an enthusiast board is made for the enthusiast cpu for that socket which happens to be the 9850 BE. The AMD Phenoms arent that bad, they just arent that good either. And Quad SLI is heavily CPU bottlenecked even with a QX9650 @ 4.0ghz (As well as SLI and Tri SLI 280s) then it will be moreso with a 9850 or 9600. (B3 and B2)
True, very true.

My B2 9500 goes at +3000 and my 3rd B3 9850BE only goes at 2800, on this board. 1st did 3100(not stable) and the 2nd 2600 on DFI 790FX board.

23-06-2008, 05:24:58

PP Mguire
Thats odd cause most all 9850s are getting around 3.0ghz standard.

24-06-2008, 07:21:23

w3bbo
We will try and get a better 'bug free' AM2 chip for future reviews and the crosshair II will hopefully be benched again before comparisons are drawn.

24-06-2008, 09:30:25

PP Mguire
Im sure there will be some performance increase but i dont expect alot. Its sorta like these other sites doing reviews of monster video cards with crap CPUs and then say the GPU sucks when its clearly being bottlenecked by the CPU.

04-07-2008, 10:32:08

aGeoM
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='webbo'
We will try and get a better 'bug free' AM2 chip for future reviews and the crosshair II will hopefully be benched again before comparisons are drawn.
Hi

You dont need, but if you will, you can take the new 9950BE and kill 2 rabbits with 1 stroke, hehehe

Be well
Reply
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