Asus Crosshair IV Extreme

The Heatsink

 

The Heatsink

The Crosshair IV Extreme's heatsink follows on from the previously reviewed Formula motherboard.

Asus Crosshair IV Extreme     Asus Crosshair IV Extreme

All major integrated components are cooled by this single heatsink module. A single heatpipe connects two cooling arrays; the Northbridge and VRMs are kept at bay by the chunkier unit, while the Southbridge and Lucid chip sit under a metal plate. Naturally the heatpipe spans the whole length of the cooler.

There is a little more to the heatsink however. Those with a keen eye will have noticed two wires coming out of the VRM + NB cooling side of the heatsink. "OH NO", you might have exclaimed. Sadly we can only confirm your fears in that it is indeed actively cooled. Nope, it's not passive - there's a little fan sitting above the Northbridge! Thankfully the second cable isn't for another fan, but rather to power the LED that pulsates underneath the Republic of Gamers logo. But seriously, whether it has one or two fans, it's still bad news.

Let me tell you readers a short story - if you know me and my boring tales, then kindly skip paragraph.

Back in 2004, when AMD's Athlon 64 range and nVidia's nForce 4 MCPs were the king of platforms, Asus' motherboards were well known for one thing - Noise.

I remember the first time I ever came across the Asus A8N SLI Deluxe motherboard. It was great. It would let you combine two GeForce 6800 Ultra's in SLI, overclock Athlon 64 3000's to the dizzy heights of 2.70GHz and onwards and even had SATA II. This was all brilliant, except for one thing. Asus saw fit to cool their nForce 4 SLI chipset with a basic aluminium cooler and then drop a 40mm fan on top that would spin in excess of 7000RPM. It didn't push an awful lot of air but seriously, you could hear it from another room! Asus finally put an end to this with the release of the A8N SLI Premium, which sported a passive heatpipe design. From here on, the saga of active motherboard coolers were over...until now.

Needless to say, we installed the Crosshair IV Extreme with high hopes that the fan would rarely switch itself on...Oh how wrong we were. By default, the fan spins at its maximum speed and believe me it can be heard over the loudest of Multi GPU configurations. The motor noise is high pitched and much like the dreaded A8N Ultra/SLI series coolers, it can be heard from adjacent rooms.

Having now spoken to Asus, we were made aware of the fact that the 40mm fan was a space saving measure that replaces the optional "bolt on" fan that previous ROG packages included. Apparently the fan is only of use under conditions of low case airflow, such as watercooled CPU/GPU.

Our opinion still stands however. A 40mm fan can only move so much air during a given rotation and so it comes to no surprise that it has to spin very quickly. We would guess that the fan pushes no more than 20CFM. Even if the board's components are under stress due to low airflow, there is only so much this fan can do to ease temperatures. The endgame is that anyone that is serious about overclocking would ensure that there is sufficient airflow inside their chassis or on their test bench in the first place. Even a set of low speed 120mm fans in the vicinity of the motherboard would suffice in our opinion.

There is simply no way of sugar coating this. Asus are right; the heatsink is capable of cooling the Crosshair IV Extreme passively under most, if not all scenarios. Simply unplug it and the board will operate normally and in silence. On the basis of this, we continue to wonder why the fan was necessary in the first place but dwelling on this is futile.

We're almost out of pictures but fear not, the review will stay interesting for a while longer.

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Most Recent Comments

29-09-2010, 19:00:12

tinytomlogan
At last, it's finally here. After four weeks of examining Asus' flagship AMD motherboard, what do we think of it?

Continue Reading

29-09-2010, 19:28:31

wraithien
Good review as usual though it did seem a little short. I had a bad feeling regarding the actively cooled heatsink when i first looked at the board a few weeks back, out of interest how hot does it get when the fan is unplugged? Hydra performance is thankfully better than i expected too. At 250 its not cheap especially with AMD's new none compatible CPU's coming quite soon. Never the less I will give this board some serious consideration for my new build.

29-09-2010, 19:34:47

AMDFTW
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinytomlogan View Post

At last, it's finally here. After four weeks of examining Asus' flagship AMD motherboard, what do we think of it?

Continue Reading
there is no graph for metro fella

man i realy wished this performed better its a shame tho

29-09-2010, 20:08:41

F-alienware
I must admit that I'm not a fan of the ROG motherboards. I liked the CHIV but this one goes too far with add on crap that's all a bit pointless.

I mean sure, if you are a gadget freak then it may appeal to you, but the bottom line on a board of this cost is function. Function should come over form as it does with the MSI.

Yet it wasn't even able to match the MSI's bottom line function.

So all of the stick on tat does very little if it is being compared to what I would call a budget board.

It was the same with my CHII ROG. Loads of stupid tat (The LED poster for one) that was fun for about five minutes and then got old fast. The only thing I really liked on that board that explained away the premium price was the cmos reset on the IO shield - that was bloody marvellous. But the rest? I ended up disconnecting the LED poster after about six boots never to use it again.

And then I got my M3A32 deluxe wifi which was also a very expensive board, yet doesn't have any silly bits on and has far more to offer in the way of function.

Again I suppose Asus are going to cater to many people with this board, but what with this, the Ares, the Mars II (if it ever comes along) and that add in board previewed today I just worry sometimes that they are being a bit over indulgent and started to fritter away their successes on stupid stuff.

It's all starting to seem a little... How do you say it?... EVGA.

Sorry if I sound harsh or pessimistic, I am only thinking aloud. But I think this time MSI have shown that stuff like this and EVGA boards are all rather pointless.

Thanks ever so much as ever for the reviews guys.

30-09-2010, 01:11:52

Wendriel
hi, i wanted to know if any of you readers, or even tom could tell me if this mobo is able to boot from a PCI e slot. im looking to build a system and have been hoping this board comes out, but was set on getting the formula. the only thing holding me back was the fact that it couldnt boot from pcie. i was planning on an OCZ RevoDrive (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227597) but on the OCZ site, it states, "-Asus Crosshair IV Please check with motherboard manufacturer for BIOS update to enable boot over PCIe." basically, with the new board, has the bios been updated to allow pci e booting? or am i still SOL...

30-09-2010, 03:52:20

tinytomlogan
PCIE booting is not something we test for so Im affraid you will have to look on the Asus website for specifics dude sorry

30-09-2010, 05:07:08

silenthill
Looks like that M/B fan is designed so that the M/B can takeoff from Heathrow airport

30-09-2010, 05:26:15

Diablo
Just thinking of the excellent board marred by fan issues that was the A8N-SLI deluxe makes me wince. I still run it, with a slow running 60mm fan. This board though has a lot of bells and whistles, only two of which makes me really want it (the hydra chip and the remote post). Ultimately for this price I can't see people choosing i7 and a decent midrange board over this and a 1060T.

Great review, shame about the price. The formula looks like the best option for those needing multi GPU lanes or the MSI for rampant overclockers.

30-09-2010, 06:43:05

alexhull24
TTL, I enjoyed the video of your impressions, it certainly made a much better deal of explaining what the board is really about and why it's not the stonking performance beast we were perhaps expecting.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this board has taken a LONG time to come to market, and in the previews we've actually seen various heatsink designs fitted. Why oh why did they decide that this one was the best? Looking at how it's put together, I'm almost certain a better heatsink would deal with things much more effectively anyway. Perhaps they could have bundled an add-on fan for low airflow environments (read watercooling etc) that wasn't as small any whiny and above all, not necessary for most.

The performance also seems a bit of a let down for such an expensive piece of kit. You talk about it perhaps being good for extreme overclockers, but if you look at all the features on this board, perhaps it's not aimed at them, but more at the feature nuts who want to control their board with bluetooth and run mixed cards just because they can. Some of the sentiments in this thread seem to be that the RoG boards are almost gimmicky and don't have the performance to match, especially the AMD ones. There must be an element of truth in that.

Speaking of AMD, the only massive advantage this board has is SLI I would think. You could change to a hex core and run your 460 SLI etc if you wanted to. It does seem AMD have made some headway to Intel on the CPU front, but they're still not there yet. I think you may be right that they're not extracting everything from the multi-gpu setup, but the reason is unclear. Hopefully it is just drivers as you say. I guess we'll see as the Lucid chips mature. You can't ignore the major selling point for AMD kit though. You get most of the performance and all the high end features you want for a fraction of the price. It's nice to have a top end board to play with (I have the Crosshair III Forumula) rather than a run of the mill. Still, I understand that's not everybody's cup of tea, but it makes extreme overclocking with all the bells and whistles (and bluetooth overclocking!) a bit more accessible.

Disappointed that after a massive wait this board is a bit of a flop? Yes. Would I still like to play with it and clock the nuts off my AM3 chip with my phone? Almost certainly!

30-09-2010, 07:21:05

F-alienware
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexhull24 View Post

Speaking of AMD, the only massive advantage this board has is SLI I would think.
There's now a hack that allows you to run SLI on any ATI/AMD chipset.

I've not tried it (obviously) but there are videos doing the rounds on Youtube ETC.

Just in the process of watching your video Tom..

I think the difference with the results over the P55 and the AMD set is the bios. Well, not strictly the bioses but the drivers communicating with the ports.

The P55 (IIRC) already allows SLI and Crossfire.. Let me check that... Yes it would seem it does. And maybe this has made it easier to integrate the Lucid chip into those boards?

Moving onto your MSI comment about how it was faster? Well, MSI have more experience with the Lucid IMO. Thus they know how to integrate it better and how to work their bios possibly? Where as Asus have never tried it before?

Things could well improve with bios updates....

I do really appreciate your honesty over it all. Most would get all excited and say how wonderful it was, but this is very misleading and can cause people to waste money. What I really respect from you guys is the fact that Asus are good to OC3D and supply us with some of the most droolworthy items, yet, there is no favoritism when reviewing their products.

I also really appreciate how you have demonstrated just how much bum that fan sucks. Most wouldn't give a crap about that noise, but times are a changing and that noise is just not acceptable any more. I know a good few people who bought the EVGA 790i board and that too had a woefully loud and obnoxious northbridge fan. The workaround was to cable tie a 92mm fan on to quieten it down, yet, not a single review mentioned this. It seems that some people think that just because a product is expensive and top of the range that it can be loud and no one should care. Olbocks !

*Hi Emma !*

Once again I appreciate your videos, your honesty and this site's integrity on being truthful and honest !

I mean, it is obviously down to the drivers, as it could be that the drivers need to be completely and utterly different to do what they do on an ATI/AMD set. Communciation between the lanes is handled by the bios at a low level IIRC via the northbridge so it may take Lucid/Hydra time to sort this out. Or, it could even be the actual bios itself?

But yes, those scores look utterly cack.

30-09-2010, 08:01:29

El Gappo
Sli on amd? http://www.xdevs.com/eplugins/content/content.php?content.30 Problem solved. Enough of this board, NEXT!

30-09-2010, 11:08:41

wraithien
Hi Tom I've just got round to watching the review video on youtube you mention your issue with running the 5870 and a 480 together while i agree with you on that. I think this board will appeal to those who wish to have the benefits of nvidia cards such as physX. So for example I'm thinking of having a 5870 as the main card and then something like a 450 purely for PhysX. After watching your video though that fan is beyond irritating. And also given the price difference between this and the IV Formula I'm struggling to justify the very significant price difference.

30-09-2010, 11:29:04

Diablo
wraithien, as it stands, there is an unofficial hack that allows a physx card to be run with an ATI card, the patch is free, so it wouldn't make sense just to buy this board when the same effect can be enabled for free. That and there are very few instances when physx is actually worth it.

I don't see the difference in price between the formula and extreme though. With all the extras I could understand 50, but 100 is excessive really.

30-09-2010, 11:47:54

AMD_PBz
I officially feel cheated and let down greatly by ASUS

It greatly leaves me questioning the worthiness of even the Formula as it has overheating problems on the north bridge. With all the hype everything has now come to a grinding halt and fallen flat on it's face.

Why on earth did they not stick with some of the early passive heatsinKS which looked far better and were dead silent to boot.

Oh The decisions!

30-09-2010, 16:17:51

barkaway
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMD_PBz View Post

I officially feel cheated and let down greatly by ASUS

It greatly leaves me questioning the worthiness of even the Formula as it has overheating problems on the north bridge. With all the hype everything has now come to a grinding halt and fallen flat on it's face.

Why on earth did they not stick with some of the early passive heatsinKS which looked far better and were dead silent to boot.

Oh The decisions!
God i so know what you talk about,i mean come on asus..

And what the heck is the deal with lucid working better with intel, jesus...

30-09-2010, 17:21:35

AMD_PBz
Iphone App is available and free to download in the app store have had in on my phone for about a week for anyone with an iphone it's version 1.00.05

02-10-2010, 13:28:31

wraithien
Does anyone know when this is going to be avaliable in the UK? Its readily avaliable in America already and though I'm probably going to go with the Crosshair iv Formula would be nice to see what the cheapest price these are going to go for.

03-10-2010, 08:37:22

Mul.
Asus recently got in touch with us to discuss the heatsink's fan. Our article has been updated (along with a few other things) to reflect this.

Long story short, the fan is not a necessity. While previous ROG packages offered an optional bolt on fan, the Extreme has one prefitted on the grounds of space saving. The fan is orientated towards those who run their systems under conditions with minimal case airflow (i.e.- open test bench and/or watercooled). It is only fair that we mention the reasoning behind the fan implementation, but our personal opinions remain unchanged.

05-10-2010, 17:03:55

Wendriel
Hey, in case anyone was wondering, asus got back to me and they do now support booting from a pci-e device. So very happy 8-)
Reply
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