See the full review at OC3D
See the full review at OC3D
|As we've come to expect from motherboards in Asus' "Republic of Gamers" series, the Striker II Formula has an excellent list of features combined with extreme yet uncomplicated looks. Right from the extensive range BIOS options and selectable voltages down to the Voltminder LED indicators on the motherboard, It's clear to see that Asus are committed to designing motherboards that cater for the needs of overclockers just as much as gamers.
Asus have also done a great job with the layout of the Striker II Formula. All connectors on the board are just where you'd expect to find them and there are no stray molex connectors or other anomalies that are often common on motherboards from other manufacturers. Obviously with the board supporting Triple-SLI, some cutbacks have needed to be made on the PCI slot front. Therefore, anybody wanting to run SLI along with PCI expansion cards should check for compatibility first.
As the benchmark results over the previous pages have shown, the 780i based Striker II can certainly hold it's own when placed head-to-head with with the Intel x38 and P35 based motherboards used in today's review. In most cases the Striker sat right in the middle of the results, with it occasionally taking the edge in memory bandwidth. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for the overclocking results, with the 780i chipset still showing a weakness when overclocking Quad-Core processors.
Due to hit the market at around £220, the Striker II Formula is actually one of the most expensive motherboards we've tested to date. With this kind of price tag, the board should only be considered by those who will definitely be using the new features introduced by the 780i chipset (Triple-SLI / PCI-E 2.0..etc) as other boards such as the Asus Maximus are much more reasonably priced and offer greater overclocking potential.
There's no denying that one of the biggest pitfalls with Nvidia's 680i chipset was it's inability to match the overclocking performance of Intel's P965, P35 and X38 chipsets when running a Quad-Core CPU. Given that Nvidia have had around 2 years to work on this issue, it will be extremely interesting to see how the 780i based Striker II compares to the other two boards being tested today.
To ensure that every motherboard was given an equal chance to show how far it could overclock our Intel Q6600 "G0" retail processor, a standard VCore of 1.5v was set on all three of the boards. In addition to this, the memory divider setting was also adjusted to ensure that the Cellshock kit used in today's review would not hinder the results in any way.
Unfortunately, the Striker II couldn't quite keep up with the rest of the pack, falling over 300mhz short of the maximum overclocks obtained on the Asus Maximus (X38) and DFI Lanparty (P35) motherboards. In desperation we even bumped the Vcore up to 1.55v and increased the default Northbridge voltage by 0.16v. This only seemed to make matters worse, with the Northbridge temperatures verging on 80°C and the Southbridge also getting pretty toasty at 64°C.
The maximum front-side bus speed for all three boards was obtained by dropping the CPU multiplier down to x6 and slowly increasing the FSB speed from within the BIOS. With each increment in speed, the PC was booted into Windows and tested for stability. As with the "Maximum Overclock" testing, the memory divider setting was also adjusted to ensure that memory stability did not factor in the results.
Under normal circumstances we would also include increasing the Northbridge voltage to add extra stability. Unfortunately, with the Northbridge temperature of the Striker II getting close to 70°c when under load, any increase in voltages would have been suicidal.
3D Game Results
Quake 4 is a game built on the Doom 3 engine. Benchmarking was performed using Quake4Bench and a custom timedemo recording along with 0xAA, 0xAF settings at a resolution of 1024x768.
F.E.A.R. is a game based on the Lithtech Jupiter EX engine. It has volumetric lighting, soft shadows, parallax mapping and particle effects. Included in the game is a benchmark facility that taxes the entire PC system. This benchmark was run 3 times to ensure uniformity of results.
Bioshock is a recent FPS shooter by 2K games. Based on the UT3 engine it has a large amount of advanced DirectX techniques including excellent water rendering and superb lighting and smoke techniques. All results were recorded using F.R.A.P.S with several identical runs through the same area of the game.
• Excellent range of voltage/overclocking options in BIOS.
• Good accessories package, including a full version of COH: Opposing Fronts.
• Sexy looking board with a great layout and nifty features such as Voltminder LED / LCD Poster.
• Decent quality add-in sound card.
• Triple-SLI and PCI-E 2.0 support.
• Reasonable overclocking on Quad-Core chips.
• Northbridge / Southbridge get extremely hot with any level of voltage increase.