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Asus BLITZ Extreme Intel P35 Express DDR3 Motherboard Review
Asus BLITZ Extreme Intel P35 Express DDR3 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
The Asus BLITZ Extreme motherboard is based around Intel's P35 Express Northbridge and ICH9R Southbridge chipsets. It supports up to 8GB of DDR3 1333/1066/800 MHz memory.
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Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ASUS Jan 30 2008   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ASUS BLITZ Extreme

Asus has released some really nice Intel motherboards in the last little while, and of those the enthusiast grade BLITZ line really stands out. The DDR3 powered Asus BLITZ Extreme motherboard PCSTATS is testing in this review is the sister-board to an identical DDR2-powered model called the Asus BLITZ Formula. The two motherboards are identical in all ways, except the BLITZ Extreme supports DDR3 RAM, while the BLITZ Formula is DDR2-only. Everything else, from accessories to innovative chipset cooling system remains identical between the two Extreme and Formula motherboards. If you've already read our review of Asus' Formula motherboard, you may want to skip right to the overclocking tests and benchmarks.

While both motherboards are based around the Intel P35 Express chipset, what we really want to know is if the BLITZ Extreme and DDR3 memory will allow it break out ahead!? Let's find out!

The Asus BLITZ Extreme motherboard is based around Intel's P35 Express Northbridge and ICH9R Southbridge chipsets. It supports up to 8GB of DDR3 1333/1066/800 MHz memory. The motherboard also has two integrated Gigabit network cards, two IEEE 1394a ports, 12 USB 2.0 slots, six Serial ATA II slots (RAID 0,1,5,10,JBOD), one IDE channel and supports AMD CrossFire technology too.

Asus bundle a mountain of accessories, including a stand alone SupremeFX 11 8-channel audio card, a full version of 3DMark06 (good for the benchmark freaks out there) and the game STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl! For dual videocard CrossFire goodness, Asus has a special chip that splits the PCI Express bus evenly between the two physical PCI Express x16 slots, so each videocard in a Crossfire setup receives 8 PCI Express lanes.

The Asus BLITZ Extreme motherboard supports 45nm Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors, and every other socket 775 Intel CPU that runs on a 800/1066/1333MHz Front Side Bus. The Asus BLITZ Extreme is a high end motherboard and as such comes with a high end price of $300 CDN ($296 USD, £145 GBP). Make no mistake about it, the BLITZ Extreme is only for those who want the absolute best.

Asus BLITZ Extreme Motherboard

Driver CD's, User Manual, Ultra/133 IDE Cable, Floppy Cable, 6x Serial ATA Cables, Molex to Serial ATA Power Cables, audio card, 2x MOSFET fans, front panel IO headers, rubber stands, LCD display, tubing connectors, USB/Firewire bracket, backlit I/O Shield, 3x thermistors.

The Asus BLITZ Extreme motherboard is certainly a looker! What stands out the most is the unique chipset cooling solution which is half passive heatpipe and half waterblock. While the Northbridge heatsink is watercooling compatible, it's not necessary to use watercooling with this motherboard.

The layout of the motherboard is great, all six Serial ATA ports are placed together at the bottom right hand corner of the motherboard. There you'll also find the Parallel IDE port, three USB headers, the second IEEE 1394a slot and the power/reset buttons. There's plenty of space between the expansion slots so you shouldn't have any problems installing peripherals.

Something enthusiast users may like, there are a total of six 3-pin fan headers on the Asus BLITZ Extreme motherboard. About the only thing the BLITZ Extreme is missing is a Port 80 diagnostics card.

Asus did a great job with the rear I/O of the BLITZ Extreme motherboard. There are six USB 2.0 slots, one IEEE 1394a and two eSATA ports. Lots of connectivity which is great considering all the external peripherals available. Just a quick note though, the BLITZ Extreme does not have a PS/2 port for the mouse, you must use a USB mouse with this platform. Tweakers will absolutely love how Asus places a Clear CMOS button on the rear I/O, talk about making overclocking easy!

Asus place a combination copper waterblock/heatpipe heatsink on the Intel P35 Express Northbridge. It's not just for looks, with your own watercooling system you can hook up the motherboard using the supplied tubing connectors. If you're not already using a watercooling loop then you can get by with just air.

If you are using watercooling though, connect up the Northbridge waterblock. Asus makes that easy with all the accessories that it includes. If you're going to be heavily overclocking the motherboard watercooling may help you reach those high speeds.

Asus bundles nine rubber pads with the BLITZ Extreme motherboard and before you ask, they're for propping up the motherboard on a desktop. At 1cm in height, the rubber pads are too thick to use when installing a motherboard into a case. For the enthusiast who runs their computer without a case, it's exactly what the doctor ordered.

The pads support the PCB, which makes configuring a motherboard on top of the table or motherboard box much easier. Asus have also placed Power and Rest buttons on the board. Both buttons light up when the motherboard receives power, so even in the dark you can find them.

Solid State Capacitors

Asus have opted to use low ESR solid state polymer capacitors on the BLITZ Extreme motherboard. This kind of solid capacitor has a longer lifespan than the electrolytic variety. As temperatures increase inside the computer case, the lifespan of electrolytic capacitors begins to decline. Compared to standard Electrolytic capacitors which use a fluid electrolyte, the 'all-solid' style polymer capacitor last longer under the same conditions.

A few years back there was a huge problem with motherboards suffering from burst and leaking electrolytic capacitors. This industry-wide event blossomed into a full blown epidemic, and single handily dragged ABIT's name through the mud. If you'd like to read up on the back story that led to the whole problem of burst and leaking caps, have a look at this PCSTATS article. It's a rather fascinating story of industry espionage gone awry.

The solid-state Low ESR conductive polymer capacitors are housed in very distinguishable aluminum cans. They won't dry out, leak, or suffer gas buildup and burst, or leak. Good capacitors will not make your computer faster, but they can ensure it runs reliably longer.

Next up, PCSTATS investigates the silent chipset and motherboard cooling solutions on the ASUS' BLITZ Extreme motherboard.

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Contents of Article: ASUS BLITZ Extreme
 Pg 1.  — Asus BLITZ Extreme Intel P35 Express DDR3 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Enthusiast Friendly Accessories
 Pg 3.  Asus Watercooled Chipset Heatsink
 Pg 4.  BLITZ Extreme Motherboard Highlights
 Pg 5.  The Intel P35 Express and ICH9 Chipsets
 Pg 6.  BLITZ Extreme Overclocking
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sysmark 2004
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sysmark 2004 Continued
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PC Worldbench (Graphics)
 Pg 10.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PC Worldbench (Office)
 Pg 11.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PC Worldbench (Data Crunching)
 Pg 12.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 13.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PCMark05
 Pg 14.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark05, 3DMark06
 Pg 15.  Motherboard Benchmarks: FarCry, Doom 3., Quake 4
 Pg 16.  PCSTATS Maximum Motherboard Overclocking Chart & Conclusions

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