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Computex 2007: Motherboard Mania

Asus Blitz Extreme: The Extreme Motherboard

This is probably the most sophisticated motherboard we've ever seen, and we expect it to be even more expensive than the gamer motherboards Striker and Commando. First of all, Asus wanted to have the motherboard "talk" to the user by providing a LCD display instead of a double-digit hexadecimal LED display. Hence you will be able to read about any problems during POST. The next feature is LEDs: there are five blue LEDs to indicate the current clock speed status; the higher you clock your systems, the more LEDs will light up. Finally, the main components are also accompanied by LEDs, which can light up green, yellow or red, depending on how much voltage you apply. Red is close to the component maximum, yellow is somewhat critical and green represents a safe level. Another feature called COP EX shuts down the northbridge or southbridge in the event that either overheats. The Crosslink feature allows Asus to distribute the 16 PCI Express lanes across two x8 PCIe slots rather than having to run two x16 slots at x16 and x4.

Enthusiasts might be happy to hear that the chipset cooling solution was designed for both liquid and air cooling. The heat pipe will conduct heat away from the core components, but the solution is supposed to give you a better overclocking margin if a liquid cooling solution is applied. Overclocking can now simply be selected by choosing an existing processor speed grade. Overclock your Core 2 Duo E6300 to E6700 speed by simply making the appropriate choice, and the Blitz Extreme will automatically increase voltages and clock speeds to reach it. Blitz is based on the P35 chipset and won't be available for at least another month, because Asus is still waiting for some parts. An even more advanced X38 version could be ready in August as well!

These are the voltage LEDs on the Blitz Extreme motherboard (P35 chipset). If they light up green, everything is running at safe levels.