Asus Striker II Extreme 790i DDR3 Motherboard

Introduction & Specifications

Introduction & Specifications
Having only reviewed the Asus Striker II Formula board a couple of months ago, the prospect of reviewing the same board yet again - just with DDR3 slots initially didn't spark much enthusiasm amongst the team here at Overclock3D. After all, the 780i chipset used on the "Formula" was really nothing more than aAsus Striker II Extreme re-hash of the ageing 680i chipset with a PCI Express 2.0 support stapled to it. Issues such as poor overclocking with Quad-core chips and an insanely hot northbridge still hadn't been resolved and overall we left the review feeling a little short changed. However, in much the same way as the recently reviewed Asus P5E3 Premium got a spangly new X48 chipset (much to the envy of it's elder P5E3 Deluxe brother), the Striker II Extreme has also undergone a chipset upgrade, and is now kitted out with the greatly anticipated 790i SLI Ultra.
While the difference in model numbers seem to imply that there was more of a jump in technology between the 680i and the 780i, this couldn't be further from the truth. Comprising of a C73 Northbridge and MCP55 Southbridge, the 790i SLI Ultra provides full support for DDR3, the latest Intel 45nm CPU's with 1600mhz FSB and PCI Express 2.0 on-chip. The "Ultra" suffix in the name also denotes support for "SLI" memory modules at speeds of DDR3-1600, DDR3-1800 and DDR3-2000. PR peeps will also be quick to tell you that the 790i produces a lot less heat than than its predecessors and should be able to give Intel's X38 and X48 chipsets a run for their money where overclocking is concerned.
Unfortunately the Asus website didn't have any information available for the Striker II Extreme board at the time of review, so for the moment we've bodged together our own unofficial specs list compiled from various sources around the web:
LGA775 socket for Intel Core 2 Quad / Core 2 Extreme / Core 2 Duo / Pentium Extreme / Pentium D / Pentium 4 processors
Supports Intel next-generation 45nm multi-core CPU's
Compatible with Intel 06/05B/05A processors
Striker II Extreme: NVIDIA nForce 790i Ultra SLI
Striker II NSE: NVIDIA nForce 790i SLI
System Bus
Dual-channel memory architecture supports NVIDIA SLI ready memory technology
- 4x 240-pin DIMM sockets support unbuffered non-ECC DDR3 2000 (O.C)/1800(O.C)/1600(O.C)/1333/1066/800 memory modules (Striker II Extreme)
- 4x 240-pin DIMM sockets support unbuffered non-ECC DDR3 1600(O.C)/1333/1066/800 memory modules (Striker II NSE)
- Supports up to 8gb system memory.
Expansion Slots
2x PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (support NVIDIA SLI technology: blue @ x16, x16 speed)
1x PCIe x16 slot (white @ x16 speed)
2x PCIe x1 slots (PCIEX1_1 (black) is compatible with the audio slot)
2x PCI 2.2 slots
Scalable Link Interface
Supports NVIDIA 3-way SLI graphics cards (triple at x16 mode)
Southbridge supports:
- 1x UltraDMA 133/100/66/33
- 6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s
- NVIDIA MediaShield RAID supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD configuration across SATA drives
JMIcron JMB363 SATA controller
- 2x External SATA 3.0 Gb/s port
Dual Gigabit LAN, both featuring AI NET 2
Supports Teaming Technology
High Definition Audio
SupremeFX II Audio Card
- ADI 1988B 8-channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Noise Filter
Coaxial / Optical SPDIF Out ports at back I/O
IEEE 1394
2x IEEE 1394a ports
10x USB 2.0 ports (4 ports at midboard, 6 ports at back panel)
ROG Exclusive Overclocking Features
Extreme Tweaker
2-Phase DDR3
Loadline Calibration
Intelligent overclocking tools:
- CPU Level Up
- AI Gear 3
- AI Overclocking
- AI Booster Utility
- OC Profile
Overclocking protection:
- COP EX (Component Overheat Protection)
- Voltminder LED
- Frequency LED
- Asus C.P.R
ROG Special Features
Fusion Block System
LCD Poster
Onboard Switches: Power, Reset, Clr CMOS
Asus Q-Connector
Asus Q-Fan Plus
Asus EX Flash 2
Asus CrashFree BIOS 2
ROG BIOS Wallpaper
Asus MyLogo 3
Being a motherboard from Asus' Republic of Gamers line-up, the Striker II Extreme is packed with more features than you can shake a very large stick (of RAM?) at. While we'll undoubtedly cover most of these features as we take a closer look at the board over the next few pages, let's have a quick look at some of the features that often get overlooked:
Asus EPUThe ASUS EPU is an on-board, hardware-based power saving IC controller that digitally monitors and fine tunes your CPU's power supply in real-time, providing improved VRM efficiency under light and heavy loads. According to Asus, this can provide up to 58.6% CPU power savings - but only when Intel's on-chip energy saving "C1E" technology is disabled.
Loadline CalibrationLoadline Calibration is a feature recently introduced on Asus motherboards which helps prevent CPU voltage droop when the system is under heavy load. While many enthusiasts often obsess over vdroop and hold it solely responsible for unstable overclocks, the truth of the matter is that vdroop was very much part of Intel processor specifications and can play an important role in the longevity of your CPU and Motherboard.
Voltminder LEDThe Voltminder LED provides enthusiasts with a quick and easy way to monitor how much voltage they are putting through components such as the CPU, Northbridge and Memory. Simply look at the area surrounding the component you are interested in, and you will find a series of LED's that change colour between Green, Orange and Red depending on the amount of voltage applied.
Now that we've got most of the specs out of the way, it's time to delve into what Asus have thrown in the box...
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Most Recent Comments

18-03-2008, 10:29:33

Feels like years I've been waiting for this NDA to drop and its not a disappointment!

Can't wait or somebody to give 790i some stick with a few 9800GTX's when they arrive. Assuming the GTX is as cheap as rumored, that will be a major temptation if it performs, assuming the price tag doesn't send you screamingQuote

18-03-2008, 10:46:26

As you may have already guessed, I'm really really impressed with the board/chipset.

Up until now I've avoided the nVidia boards like the plague, but I think you're going to be seeing people breaking some OC records on this board.Quote

18-03-2008, 10:52:03

Originally Posted by name='Jim'
As you may have already guessed, I'm really really impressed with the board/chipset.

Up until now I've avoided the nVidia boards like the plague, but I think you're going to be seeing people breaking some OC records on this board.
Jim mate, That is a blinding review. Exceptionally detailed and well presented!

As for the board, well, its got everything ya want apart from the price.. Its shocking to be honest. Almost twice as much as slightly lower performing boards.. Dunno that its justified. For those wanting best of the best though its very very good.

They gonna make DDR2 boards on the 790 chipset?Quote

18-03-2008, 11:07:18

that is one good board!!with one VERY heavy pricetag.that has restored my faith in ASUS+NvidiaQuote

18-03-2008, 11:07:49

Originally Posted by name='Bungral'

They gonna make DDR2 boards on the 790 chipset?
Good question tbh. As a guess I'd say that some mobo manufacturers might hack it on to the boards, but for the most part the 780i was "designed" to bring in support for the latest CPU's/PCI-E 2.0 while keeping DDR2.Quote

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