Asus Striker II Formula 780i Socket 775 Motherboard

Board Layout & Features

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.
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Most Recent Comments

08-01-2008, 09:06:35

JN
"Armed with Nvidia's 780i chipset the latest addition to Asus' ROG series looks like it could well hit the spot. But can it keep up with the beastly Intel P35 and X38 chipsets?"

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...120538419s.jpg

Asus Striker II Formula Review

08-01-2008, 11:47:10

Brooksie
Ownage

Great review

mmm Triple SLI connector

08-01-2008, 16:19:45

ali_james
Nice review, shame it doesn't oc well. And the chipset coolers don't look pretty.. Kind of last minute job?

08-01-2008, 16:22:51

FarFarAway
Awesome review as usual Jim.

780i = a bit of a disappointment :S

08-01-2008, 16:31:16

JN
Cheers guys. Yeah the cooling isn't the best looking or performing tbh.

I hear there's an Extreme version on the way tho (DDR3). So it'll be interesting to see if anything changes.

08-01-2008, 16:37:33

!TIMMY!
oooohhh a pci-e 2.0 with ddr3, sounds good.

Great review Jim as always!

08-01-2008, 17:00:29

Bungral
Yeah quality review mate...

I'm pretty disappointed with this too to be honest. For 220 and to fall behind the Maximus I know which board I'd choose.

08-01-2008, 17:01:20

Toxcity
Most useful review ever read!

I have to have hats off to Jim because early monday morning the day I was going to order myself the Striker II he PMed me with a little infomation on the board.

I am thankful that he did because I nearly wasted 200quid.

My new fave motherboard is the Maximus and will be with me by the end of the week!

Amazing review and you're great guy, JImbo!

08-01-2008, 17:51:15

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Toxcity'
Most useful review ever read!

I have to have hats off to Jim because early monday morning the day I was going to order myself the Striker II he PMed me with a little infomation on the board.

I am thankful that he did because I nearly wasted 200quid.

My new fave motherboard is the Maximus and will be with me by the end of the week!

Amazing review and you're great guy, JImbo!
No worries fella I've been using the Maximus for a few weeks now and its a stellar board. I'm sure it'll make ya happy

09-01-2008, 06:56:02

mrapoc
Hell 200 is a lot of money for a mobo!

I thought my p5b dlx was expensive xD

21-01-2008, 21:42:07

chillinjim
I want to run this board with an intel E8400 insted of the quad and im thinking that it will do better accross the board with overclocking performance. Also will an intel x38 chipset board run two 8800GT's in SLI or Crossfire format.

Wanting to run

striker 2 board

E8400

4gig balistix ram

asus 8800GT TOP 512 vid maybe 2.

WD Raptor

please let me know what you think thanks.

24-01-2008, 16:13:29

dwarry
Hi mate, Asus 8800 Gt's (or any Nvidia cards for that matter) wont run in crossfire it is only ATI cards and I believe that is hit and miss from the research I have done (could be wrong though...!) If you want SLI then you have to use an Nvidia based MoBo. I have been told that SLI only benefits in resolutions over 1600 x 1050 but I used it at 1280 x 1024 and saw substantial benefits.....I think....!

Striker II Formula looks like a cool MoBo for SLI and is the latest technology at the moment, but it is hard to find (at the moment!)

I think SLI Rocks, but that is just my humble opinion...!

Cheers, DW

24-01-2008, 16:26:36

Hatman
SLI is indeed very good its just the people who buy it for low res and then moan about it that puts it down.

High res for SLI is the best

24-01-2008, 16:38:46

chillinjim
Hey thanks for the info decided to go with this mobo and a 8800 GTS from EVGA I think it will do the job for awhile since im building this system for a friend I dont know if he'll do SLI right now since you cant run dual monitors in SLI or so I've heard (Please let me know if this is correct).

Thanks again

I am interested in overclocking software other than what comes with the mobo to overclock vid card. I've read that you can do 4ghz on the 8400 easy with air cooling since Im running water cooling mabe I could push it even more let me know what you think thanks.

24-01-2008, 19:25:18

Mullet
Nice write up Jim.

Shame about the OC results...no shock tbh tho.

24-01-2008, 20:03:02

ali_james
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='chillinjim'

I am interested in overclocking software other than what comes with the mobo to overclock vid card. I've read that you can do 4ghz on the 8400 easy with air cooling since Im running water cooling mabe I could push it even more let me know what you think thanks.
For the graphics card I would suggest:

Rivatuner

and

ATI Tool

For the cpu, no overclock is guaranteed so you just have to try it and see. From what I've seen, people are getting 4ghz on that chip, as you've got a 9 times multiplier it seems pretty obtainable.

Hope thats some help.

Cheers!

05-02-2008, 13:42:02

sinephase
I like the reviews, but I'm just curious: why would you benchmark an nvidia chipset using an ATI card? I can think of arguments which make sense for using the same card for every test, but it also makes sense to me to use an Nvidia card with similar specs to the ATI one. Also, because it's a PCIe 2.0 supporting board, why not use a GeForce with the same specs but with 2.0 enabled, so we can see what the actual difference is?

Anyway, just my two cents.

07-02-2008, 14:07:10

chillinjim
Well i got everything put together and started her up and the north bridge fried its self before i could instal an OS anyone else have this problem because I've read reviews that it's been happening on 1 out of 6 boards. Should get new board tomorrow guess I'll have to get all of my 7 fans running before I start up.

Let me know if anyones had the same problems.

should of waited for the 790I oh well its only money.

thanks

07-02-2008, 15:01:05

Hatman
If it fried itself you can RMA, just contact your retailer.

07-02-2008, 17:54:37

chillinjim
Yeah I sent it back I guess I was wondering if I should check anything before I start it up for the first time. A buddy of mine said that the heat sink could have poped off the chipset. Who knows.

17-02-2008, 22:56:58

chillinjim
Well got the second one back from zipzoom and it ran for awhile but then it basicly craped out. SO BACK IT WENT. I got the evga 780i board and it runs fine. GO FIGURE!!!.

Please dont by this board its crap!!! you'll be lucky if it works wait for the 790i to come out this summer sound like a big improvment.

18-02-2008, 01:12:39

PV5150
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='chillinjim'
...wait for the 790i to come out this summer sound like a big improvment.
Bad luck on your run with the motherboard mate, that would be frustrating.

I just pity the people who bought the 780i or 790i (when it comes) to have it made somewhat obsolete by Intel's next offering for Nehalem (on-die memory controller). I think the 790i will only be offering a slight increase in speed over the 780i and the emergence of DDR3 support which is nothing revolutionary. I may be wrong however.

I think a 780i motherboard, a 45nm proc, some fast DDR2 1066Mhz RAM or faster and a couple of decent gfx cards (if you have to have SLI); your system will hang right in there with the 790i systems of the near future.

06-02-2010, 03:32:16

ceolwynn
hey cillinjim.. you still here? I know it was a long time ago when you asked if anyone else had experienced a NorthBridge frying before they got windows installed and it happened to me last thursday 02-04-2010 with a MSI X58 Eclipse. the board started rebooting before windows got 50% installed... on about the third reboot I went into bios and saw a 89 Deg C Temp on the N Bridge. so, I bought two active coolers for the N and S bridge at frys electronics the next day and it was too late.. the only thing the board will do now is a continuous reboot without even getting into POST.

I had assembled another MSI X58 Pro for my chiropractor pal for his office barely a week earlier and he had complained last tuesday that it seemed even slower than the 4 year old machine I replaced... so I went over there yesterday and did a reboot into the bios hardware monitor and it displayed a 76 deg C temp on the northbridge after 15 minutes idling on the bios page. I am sure it is higher than that when it is processing a digital xray ... answering a fax, communicating with the patient files on the server, and printing a report all at the same time. I am surprisd it is not fried yet too. tomorrow I am going toput artic silver under the stock chipset sinks until the active onesshow up in the mail about wed I hope.

when I took the N Bridge cooler off of the fried one here at my house it had zero paste betwen the cooler and the chip, as it was all squished outside the periphery of the flip chip core, and the paste was so dried and hard that when I chiseled it off with a razor knife it made powder...

MSI gtold me there is no known problems with their heat sinks installs but when I searched I found many pages explaining the exact same issue with MIS X58 boards and sveral with pics. I also took pics and will be putting the whole story on my youtube page in a few days.

one thing I hoped toget fromyou chillin jim was a url to any of the reports youfound describing the high N Bridge failure rates ?? if I show enough of this to my chiropractor pal I might get to do the systems for his other machines still

regards... Tom in dallas
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