Nvidia 780a Chipset Preview
Asus Crosshair II
The board we will be conducting our preliminary tests with is the Asus Crosshair II. While this is not a full review of the board (full in-depth review to come later) it should be enough to give us a little insight into the new offering from NVIDIA.
The mainboard is part of the ROG (Republic Of Gamers) series and as such represents the high end release from Asus. The traditional white and blue slots on a black PCB are carried over from other ROG boards and as you can see the 780a chip immediately below the CPU socket has a large heatsink which is possibly an indication of the heat output of Nvidia's MCP. With 3 PCIe 16x ports it is clear that this board is aimed squarely at gamers who wish to make use of SLI configurations. What is interesting is the heatsink covering the mosfet area. Rather than surround the CPU socket with restrictive copper sinks Asus have crammed them all to one side providing a cleaner socket area for those who wish to use larger CPU heatsinks. A key feature of the Crosshair II is the implementation of 10 (8 for the CPU, 2 for the memory and HT controller) phase power regulation which should provide a more stable power delivery and filtering setup.
Sound is delivered using a riser card, the SupremeFX II which is now commonplace among the ROG range of motherboards and while not exactly on par with Asus's own Xonar cards or indeed Creative's X-FI it its more than adequate should you not have or desire to use your own audio card.
Contents are as per usual Asus standards, providing everything needed to get you up and running in no time at all. The LCD Poster (above right) is a handy little gadget that allows you to troubleshoot booting problems should they occur.