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ASUS Striker II NSE nVidia nForce 790i SLI Motherboard Review
ASUS Striker II NSE nVidia nForce 790i SLI Motherboard Review  - PCSTATS
Abstract: 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. The ASUS Striker II NSE motherboard continues in this tradition.
 82% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: ASUS Mar 02 2009   J. Apong  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > ASUS Striker II NSE

Overclocking Test Report & Test System Specs

Overclocking Results:
stock max. oc
motherboard speed: 333 mhz

525 mhz

if you're new to Overclocking and not sure what to do, check out these two excellent Guides for some pointers:
Overclocking the CPU and Memory
Overclocking the Videocard

NVIDIA's nForce 790i SLI core logic is built to meet the performance demands of multi-videocard gamers, but that doesn't mean it's as overclocking friendly as the Intel X48 series... does it?

PCSTATS has seen great overclocking for ASUS' Republic of Gamers series motherboards in the past, so it will be interesting to find out how the ASUS Striker II NSE motherboard handles. ASUS have certainly packed the BIOS full of overclocking options and overvoltage controls... so if anything I think it will be hardware limited.

As usual, PCSTATS installed a 45nm 1333MHz FSB Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 processor and a 2GB set of Corsair's DOMINATOR Twin2X2048-8888C4DF memory, then powered the board up. The Core 2 Duo E8400 CPU replaces the Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 for our overclocking tests because PCSTATS burnt the E6750 chip out, as far as overclocking goes anyway.

The first step was to change the CPU clock multiplier from 9x to 6x, and then set the memory to the lowest possible divider (DDR3-800). Starting at 333MHz FSB (1333MHz QDR) the speed was increased in 15 MHz jumps. ASUS list the actual clock speed of the CPU in the Striker II NSE BIOS, so divide by four to get the FSB.

ASUS has LEDs that light up according to how high the FSB is pushed. One light indicates default speeds, while a 600MHz FSB overclock will cause all five lights to shine.

Overclocking progressed quite smoothly between 333/1333MHz FSB and 400/1600MHz, and after that it wasn't difficult to push the ASUS Striker II NSE motherboard to 450/1800, 480/1920, 515/2060, and finally 530MHz FSB/2120MHz QDR... which POST'd okay, but failed booting into Windows Vista. We tried increasing the CPU/Northbridge/Memory voltage to 1.5v/1.78v/1.54v respectively, but it didn't affect our overclocking luck.

In the end, PCSTATS was able to overclock the nForce 790i SLI based ASUS Striker II NSE motherboard to 525MHz FSB (2100MHz QDR) and boot into Windows Vista without any problems. Nice!

A quick peek into the BIOS:

The BIOS controls how the motherboard communicates with all the peripherals connected to it, and is a crucial component for any good well rounded motherboard. PCSTATS is only going to highlight the tweaking features so you'll know what to expect.

With the ASUS Striker II NSE motherboard it's possible to unlink the FSB from the memory clock, which makes it easy to overclock a processor without having to worry about memory ratios or dividers. This also allows overclockers to push the FSB and CPU faster even when using memory that isn't rated for higher transfer speeds.

The CPU Level Up and Memory Level Up are automatic overclocking options that will simply overclock compatible socket 775 processors to the next fastest member in their processor family. So in the case of the Intel E8400 Core 2 Duo processor, the CPU Level up feature would automatically overclock it to the same speed and settings as an E8500 processor. While dedicated overclockers could probably get still more performance out of their hardware, it is nice to see ASUS making overclocking into an automated, one-click practise so that even novices can benefit from it.

Instead of listing the base front side bus speed as you'd see with most motherboards based on Intel chipsets, ASUS' BIOS displays the NVIDIA 790i SLI chipset multiplied out into Quad Data Rate speeds, meaning they're four times higher than the base FSB. So to get the base FSB speed from the 1333MHZ FSB (QDR) listed above, divide by four, yielding 333MHz. To figure out the core clock of the CPU, multiply the base FSB by the CPU multiplier (in this case 9.0), to get the final CPU speed. 1333/4 = 333, 333 * 9.0 = 3000MHz.

Memory timings are as customizable as you'd expect. The major controls, like Column Address Strobe latency timing (tCL), Row Address Strobe to Column Address Strobe Delay (tRCD), and Row Address Strobe Precharge (tRP) can be manually set with timings that range from 60 to 180 nanoseconds. Row Address Strobe to Precharge delay (tRAS) timings can range from 20 to 630 nanoseconds.

The voltages for the Striker II NSE motherboard can be fine tuned in order to tweak out the maximum overclocking potential of the processor and the NVIDIA nForce 790i SLI chipset. The CPU voltage can be increased from as low as 1.1V up to a maximum of 2.4V, in increments as fine as 0.00625V. The Northbridge core voltage can be increased from 1.3V up to 2.20V in steps of 0.02V at a time. Memory Voltage can also be increased for DDR3 memory modules that support voltage adjustment. Memory voltage ranges can be adjusted from 1.5V up to 3.10V, also in steps of 0.02V.

The Advanced BIOS menu controls some of the special features of the Striker II NSE motherboard, including the LCD PORT 80 display, as well as the on-board LEDs that indicate the motherboard's current status. You can flick them off if you're not particularly interested in having a motherboard that lights up like a Christmas tree.

Generally when overclocking it's nice to leave a few safety precautions on, like the ability to shut down the system if the processor core temperatures reach critical levels. This menu lists some of the advanced CPU settings for the ASUS Striker II NSE motherboard. The options here will vary slightly depending on your exact processor model.

It's also possible to save multiple overclocking profiles, a useful feature given just how many adjustable options the ASUS AI Tweaker BIOS has. These BIOS options can also be exported to USB drives for redistribution over the internet.

Benchmarks are up next!!

Prelude to Benchmarks

The details of how the ASUS Striker II NSE motherboard test system was configured for benchmarking, including the specific hardware, software drivers, operating system and benchmark versions are indicated below. In the second column are the general specs for the reference platforms this nVidia nForce 790i SLI based platform is to be compared against. Please take a moment to look over PCSTATS test system configurations before moving on to the individual benchmark results.

PCSTATS Test System Configurations
test system reference system #1
processor: intel Core 2 Duo E6750 (65nm)
OC tests with:
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 (45nm)
Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 (775)
Motherboard: ASUS Striker II NSE (NF 790i)

ASUS P5NT Deluxe (NF 780i)
MSI P6N Diamond (NF 680i)
Biostar TF7150V-M7 (GF 7150)
Asrock Penryn1600SLIX3 (NF 680i)
Gigabyte GA-P35-DQ6 (P35 Express)
MSI P35 Platinum (P35 Express)
Biostar TP35D3-A7 Deluxe (P35 Express)
ASUS BLITZ Formula (P35 Express)
Foxconn MARS (P35 Express)
Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 (X38 Express)
ASUS Maximus Extreme (X38 Express)
Biostar TPower I45 (P45 Express)
ECS P45T-A (P45 Express)
Gigabyte GA-EP45-DQ6 (P45 Express)
MSI X48 Platinum (X48 Express)
ASUS P5E3 Premium/Wifi (X48 Express)

Videocard: MSI NX8800GTS-T2D320E
Memory: 2GB Crucial Ballistix PC3-12800 (DDR3)

2GB Corsair Twin2X2048-8888C4D (DDR2)

Hard Drive: 74GB Western Digital Raptor WD740
CDROM: AOpen Combo 52x
Power Supply: PC Power & Cooling TurboCool 750W
Heatsink: Intel E6600 Reference
Software Setup:

Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate
Intel INF
nVIDIA Forceware 169.25


SYSMark 2007
SiSoft Sandra 2008
PCMark Vantage
3DMark Vantage

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Contents of Article: ASUS Striker II NSE
 Pg 1.  ASUS Striker II NSE nVidia nForce 790i SLI Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Motherboard Layout and features
 Pg 3.  Enthusiast Friendly Accessories
 Pg 4.  NVIDIA 790i SLI Chipset & Power Draw Tests
 Pg 5.  Motherboard Highlights Photo Gallery
 Pg 6.  — Overclocking Test Report & Test System Specs
 Pg 7.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sysmark 2007
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sandra 2008 Processor
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: Sandra 2008 Memory
 Pg 10.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PCMark Vantage
 Pg 11.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark06, FEAR
 Pg 12.  Striker II NSE Enough for Enthusiasts?

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