Asus Crosshair II AM2+ Motherboard

Introduction & Specifications

Introduction
 
ASUSAMD have been having quite a hard time of it lately with Intel being the CPU of choice for most enthusiasts, overclockers and gamers alike. Even the introduction of AMD’s much anticipated native quad-core ‘Phenom’ CPU could not bring back its once loyal fan base. Intel not only dominates the CPU market but also have a stunning lineup of chipsets to make full use of their Core2 range. It was then, with some surprise, that Asus are about to unleash what they claim to be "The Ultimate Gaming/Overclocking Platform" in the form of the Crosshair II Formula motherboard.

Tier 1 manufacturer Asus are the producers of some of the most revered boards available for both AMD and Intel and as it also carrying the ‘ROG’ moniker (Republic Of Gamers), which as Asus claim is the best hardware engineering and the fastest performance along with the most innovating ideas you can possess in a motherboard – a bold claim indeed. Rest assured then that this is a premium product aimed squarely at today’s high end AMD users.

A highly anticipated feature of this board is the inclusion of the Nvidia 780a chipset and rightly so. It not only allows the use of hybrid SLI, with up to three GPU’s operating together, but perhaps more importantly improved stability, power delivery and performance when overclocking. The previous Crosshair based on the 570 chipset promised a lot, but some users felt let down by the chipset. Is this simply a rinse and repeat or the return of the king? Let's check out the specs...
 
Crosshair II Specs
 
As the spec above shows, this is a feature-packed board. With 3 x PCIe 16 speed slots, up to 12 USB ports, Firewire, eSATA, Dual Gigabit Lan controllers and perhaps most unusually for one of today's boards, on-board VGA! Everything is there for today’s multimedia connectivity apart from the now seemingly obsolete serial port. Let's see how these specifications translate to the main features of the board...
 
PCIe 2.0
The Crosshair II features the latest PCIe 2.0 standard, which allows double the bandwidth of the previous 8x incarnation. Not only that, but there are 3 available PCIe 2.0 ports!

NVIDIA nForce 780a SLI Chipset
Nvidia’s latest AMD chipset supports Scalable Link Interface (SLI) technology that allows up to three (yes THREE) GPU’s in a single system. The 780a chipset is also designed from the ground up to provide extreme overclocking along with the provision of 6 x SATA II 3GB/s devices and 12 USB 2.0 ports.

Memory
Native DDR2 1066 support (depending on CPU model) providing faster data transfer rates and increased bandwidth.

Hybrid SLI
For those with older, underwhelming GPU’s (Nvidia only), rejoice as you can now receive a GeForce boost from the on-board GPU by combining the power of both dedicated and on-board GPU’s. Hybrid SLI also allows ‘Hybrid power’, which is a power saving feature for when 3D power is not required.

NVIDIA 3-way SLI

Link up to 3 GPU’s to take advantage of the increased bandwidth. The PCIe 2.0 standard should give a significant boost in 3D applications.

HDMI/DVI Support
High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) delivers multi channel audio and uncompressed digital video for full HD 1080p content through a single cable.

Quite an impressive list of features I'm sure you'll agree. So without further ado, let's have a look at what you get for your money.
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Most Recent Comments

16-06-2008, 05:59:54

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

Only 11k on 3DMark06 with a 9800GX2?Quote

16-06-2008, 07:10:20

FarFarAway
It's an AM2 board mate

That is some pricey board right there whoaQuote

16-06-2008, 07:20:54

Azza
Hybrid SLI working yet chaps?

Good review as always, nice work Rich. Quote

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.Quote

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..Quote
Reply
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