The ASUS Striker II NSE motherboard has the potential to
be everything an enthusiast dreams about for the foundation of their next gaming
The board supports highly overclockable Intel Socket 775
processors at 800/1066/1333/1600MHz FSB, it's natively configured to use fastest
DDR3 memory, and it uses the nForce 790i SLI chipset. The nForce 790i SLI
chipset has enough PCI Express bandwidth to run three Geforce videocards in SLI
mode. Finally, it's also got the Republic of Gamers branding, which means it's
loaded up with extras and highly configured.
It's a bit of a
let-down, then, to discover that the ASUS Striker II NSE does have a fly in its
ointment: it just didn't perform all that well in our benchmarks.
Most of PCSTATS benchmarks has the Striker II NSE coming
in either the middle of the pack or lower amongst the other Intel Socket 775
motherboards we've tested.
The difference become even more pronounced when compared
to other motherboards in the same price range, like the Gigabyte GA-X48-DS5, which is based on Intel's X48
The Striker II NSE was slower across the board, and
while the differences are limited to only a few percentage points, it does mean
that this isn't the fastest possible motherboard for Intel processors.
Performance issues aside, there's still a lot to love
about the Striker II NSE motherboard. It's got lots of room for expansion, with
a pair of PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots available as well as another PCI Express 1.0
x16 slot, and even that slower slot is fast enough to handle any videocard on
the market right now. There are also another pair of PCI Express x1 slots, and a
pair of legacy PCI slots. Really, there's enough here to handle every internal
card and peripheral you could think of, or to grab three compatible Geforce
videocards and go crazy with SLI.
Memory is also a strong point for the ASUS Striker II
NSE motherboard. It's got four slots available for DDR3 memory, supporting a
broad range of 800/1066/1333MHz memory, with overclocking options for DDR3
1600MHz memory to boot. This motherboard's overclocking features aren't limited
to just the memory, however. They extend to pretty much every facet of the
Striker II NSE.
Take the cooling options, for example. ASUS has included
the Fusionblock, a hybrid watercooling/copper heatpipe solution that makes it
easy to cool the nForce 790i SLI SPP with either liquid cooling or by heat
dissipation. StackCool multi-layering system on the back of the motherboard
further helps to dissipate excess heat on the Striker II NSE. Eight fan headers
and an auxiliary fan are included for additional airflow, and there are even
thermal sensors to make it easier to monitor the temperatures of individual
components. All of these little features really come together when overclocking
ASUS' Striker II NSE.
experience for the ASUS Striker II NSE lives up to the hype.
The nForce 790i SLI chipset proved to be a very good
overclocker, climbing from 333MHz to a respectable 525MHz in PCSTATS tests, but
the real star of the show was how easy it was to make the Striker II NSE
motherboard raise its operating frequencies.
ASUS made sure this motherboard gave a lot of feedback,
with on-board LEDs that gauge both overall FSB speeds and individual voltage
ranges for motherboard components. The PORT 80 display is handy for diagnostic
information, the hard power, reset and clear-BIOS buttons that make it easy to
test out different chipset configurations and tweak performance options for
The ASUS Striker II NSE motherboard is priced at around
$320 CDN ($274 USD, £198 GBP), and it
does a very good job of justifying its premium pricing.
The nForce 790i SLI chipset is the fastest way to run
multiple Geforce cards for Socket 775 processors in either two or three-way
configurations, and on its own could make this motherboard a must-buy for NVIDIA
enthusiasts. Couple that with the many possibilities for expansion, the ease of
overclocking and cooling options along with the wealth of information and
feedback that the ASUS Striker II NSE motherboard provides, and you get a
motherboard that's an easy recommendation. Gamers with serious hardware and a
thrist for overclocking will find a solid foundation in the ASUS Striker II NSE
motherboard. However, if you want a killer gaming PC and don't plan on
overclocking it like crazy with top notch hardware, set your sights a little
lower and save a $100.
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