For enthusiasts seeking the highest performance, most
fully featured motherboards that any Taiwanese motherboard
manufacturer is able to produce, one need look no further than ASUS' Republic
of Gamers brand. It also tends the most
expensive motherboard series on the retail market, typically reserved for hardcore enthusiasts who won't settle
for anything less than building the fastest possible system that money can
buy... along with the best memory, videocards, memory and processors to
get the most out of their investment.
Striker II NSE motherboard continues in this tradition, with a heavy dose of
the fastest NVIDIA-based platform for Intel socket 775 processors out there, some serious
kick ass, and a healthy pinch of Take-that! To make this
all possible ASUS has selected NVIDIA's DDR3-exclusive nForce 90i SLI chipset and taken advantage
of its three-way SLI capabilities, so that a trio of NVIDIA graphics cards
can be used together during gaming.
The nVidia nForce 790i SLI chipset is ideal for Intel's QX9770 processor,
thanks to its 1600MHz Front Side Bus support. Additionally, not-quite-as-extreme
800/1066/1333MHz FSB socket 775 processors are supported. The ASUS Striker II
NSE motherboard can be installed with up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, at speeds of
800/1066/1333/1600MHz (when overclocked, and taking advantage of EPP 2.0
Storage capabilities are controlled by the NVIDIA 790i MCP, with support
for a legacy IDE controller as well as six SATA II hard drives in RAID 0, 1, 5,
10 and JBOD. A JMicron chip adds two 3GB/s eSATA ports.
||ASUS Striker II NSE Motherboard
|User's Manual, IDE Cables, Floppy Cable,
(6) SATA cables, (2) SATA power cables, thermal sensor cables,
Fusion Block & watercooling accessories, EL
I/O Shield, 3-way SLI bridge,
2-way SLI bridge, optional fan, LCD poster, USB and Firewire
bracket, DIY Pedestal, Cable ties, Supreme Audio FX
card, Q-connectors, ROG support CD, Company of Heroes CD
Of course, ASUS do a little
more than just put slap together core logic with a processor socket for the Republic of
Gamers line. The ASUS Striker II NSE motherboard justifies its prestigious branding born of
the blood of a million virtual zombies with the kinds of options and extras that
overclockers, enthusiasts and gamers dream about.
Overclocking options abound, starting with a BIOS that allows for quick and
automated performance boosts via the CPU Level Up tool, but also gives a
comprehensive suite of tweaking options for the advanced overclocker. To
ensure that your high quality system components don't get fried from
being pushed too hard, ASUS has an extensive system of LEDs that display
information about the Striker II NSE's voltage conditions for the CPU, memory,
northbridge and southbridge, as well as a bank of LEDs that display the current
Should the worst happen and a component goes
bad, a small LCD display wired directly into the motherboard displays PORT
80 information to help you figure out exactly what part of your system might
have gotten cooked. I'd bet $10 you burn the RAM before anything else.
Enthusiasts and cooling
go together like keyboards and mice, so you can bet the ASUS Striker
II NSE motherboard has that funky watercooled chipset heatsink system pre-plumbed.
It's called the 'Fusionblock' and
if you're so inclined it can be hooked up to an existing watercooling
system so the northbridge is water cooled too. If not, heatpipes ensure both chipsets
and the MOSFETS are suitably cooled by an active air CPU cooler.
Need more airflow? There are eight fan headers available, seven of which
can be adjusted through ASUS' Q-fan utility. ASUS also includes its own
auxiliary fan that mounts on the MOSFET heatsink. Three kapton
thermocouples let you monitor the temperatures you want to monitor. Attache them
to your videocard, hard drive or whatever other components you want to
Peripheral options are similarly
extensive - in addition to the dual eSATA ports there's one 1394a
firewire port, six USB ports available on the I/O panel and another firewire port and
two more USB 2.0 headers via bracket.
network jacks are available, and can be teamed together to
prevent packet loss and improve network performance. Instead of the usual stereo
output mounted on the rear I/O panel, ASUS have a separate sound card called the SupremeFX
II that offers eight-channel surround sound output.
a kick ass speaker system? Great, you'll find coaxial and optical S/PDIF outputs
mounted directly on the motherboard, in case the ASUS Striker II NSE needs to be
hooked up to a home theatre system.
So how much do all of these features add up to? About $320 CDN ($274 USD, £198 GBP) , which is about what
you would expect for an enthusiast motherboard that uses the nForce 790i chipset. This is premium hardware folks,
and priced in line with the other motherboards from ASUS's Republic of Gamers brand.
Is it worth it? That's what your buddies at PCSTATS are here
for, we'll give you the lowdown on the ASUS Striker II NSE motherboard.