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Motherboard: Asus Striker II Extreme

System Builder Marathon: Sub-$4000 PC
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We’d previously used the Striker II Formula, but its DDR2 supporting 780i chipset didn’t appear to be much of a step up from the previous 680i, and the board itself had fewer features than the 680i part it had replaced. We still needed an SLI-supporting solution, and nVidia’s release of its 790i finally brought us up to date.

Striker II Extreme

Other than support for DDR3 memory and the eSATA ports sorely lacking from the earlier motherboard, the Striker II Extreme’s 790i promised better overclocking capability and Northbridge-integrated support for PCI-Express 2.0, rather than relying on a PCIe 1.0 to 2.0 bridge. Also found on the new product is a Northbridge water block, which could aid in cooling but might also restrict the flow of our water cooling system.

Asus S2E Top

Though our motherboard arrived in a retail box full of components, a few key items were missing due to the fact that this was a used test board. Asus’ marketing department simply used up its allocation of review samples while supplying early reviewers, and was only able to supply one of the company’s own in-house test samples in time for today’s article.

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