Asus Striker II Extreme 790i DDR3 Motherboard
Board Layout & Features
Board Layout & Features
For the most part, the Asus Striker II Extreme shares exactly the same motherboard layout and features as its "Formula" counterpart. However, for the benefit of those who haven't already read our Striker II Formula review, let's revisit board and find out if Asus have made any improvements.
(Left) Striker II Extreme - (Right) Striker II Formula
Starting with the basics, it's good to see that Asus have stuck with 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.
Comparing the Striker II Extreme (left) to the Striker II Formula (right) we can see that Asus have made a few subtle changes to the location of components on the board and have actually reversed the positioning of the floppy disk and ATX 24-pin connectors. This is certainly a wise move as it brings the ATX connector closer to the top of the motherboard, making it easier to hide that bulky ATX cable.
One area that remains unchanged is expansion slots; with both Striker II boards featuring two PCI slots, three PCI-E x16 slots and two PCI-E x1 slots. In most scenario's you will have access to at least two PCI slots and a PCI-E x1 slot for expansion cards. However when running an SLI or Triple SLI setup this will be reduced significantly.
With the on-board sound being offloaded to an add-in PCI-E card, Asus have managed to kit out the I/O area of the Striker II Extreme with a total of six USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA ports, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, one IEE1394 Firewire port, a legacy PS/2 keyboard port and Coaxial/Optical connectors. Also located to the left of the Firewire port is a switch for clearing CMOS should you run into trouble while overclocking.
The Striker II Extreme features the same 8-Phase VRM as most of Asus' latest high-end boards including the recently reviewed P5E3 Premium
. As we can see from the images above, the board features low RDS (on) MOSFETs, Yageo ferrite chokes and Japanese made conductive polymer capacitors. All of this should ensure extremely stable and clean voltage being provided to the CPU while also maintaining a high level of efficiency.
The DDR3 memory slots also get a similar treatment; and are fed by their own 2-Phase power circuits. While this may not be quite as impressive as the 3-phase DDR3 VRM used on the P5E3 Premium board, it is still a step up from a lot of other boards on the market that regulate memory power with only a single phase circuit.
Similarly, the Northbridge chipset is also fed by a 2-phase circuit located just above the Southbridge heatsink.
Improvements have been made to the cooling on the Striker II Extreme, with the Northbridge featuring the latest revision of Asus' Fusion waterblock system. Those with a keen eye may have also spotted that Asus have dumped the "push-pin" style retention of the mosfet heatsinks in favour of spring loaded screws. This should offer improved heat transfer as well as making the cooling system easier to remove if you want to swap it out for a 3rd party alternative.
At the bottom of the board we can see the obligatory power and reset switches found on all ROG series motherboards along with six SATA2 ports, one legacy PATA port and two USB 2.0 headers all connected to the nVidia 790i MCP. Support for IEE1394 Firewire is provided by a separate VIA VT6308P controller and also making an appearance in the photographs is ITE's IT8718F-S hardware monitoring chip.
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