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More Than Just a 'Paper Launch': 680i Motherboard Comparison, Part 1

Overclocking

BIOS defaults to the proper 266.6 MHz with automatic overclocking (Ai NOS) turned off. AI Overclock options include 5%-20% easy settings, plus manual mode for more knowledgeable users. A wide range of memory ratios is a given for Nvidia's Intel chipsets, and this board also supports CPU multiplier adjustment.

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
FSB Frequency133 - 750 MHz (1 MHz)
Clock Multiplier AdjustmentYes
DRAM Frequency400-2600 MHz Data Rate
PCIe Clock100-200 MHz (1 MHz)
SPP-MCP HT Link Clock200-500 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.083125 - 1.9000V (0.00625V)
DRAM Voltage1.85 - 3.425V (0.025V)
Northbridge (SPP)1.20 - 2.75V (0.05V)
Southbridge (MCP)1.50 - 1.85V (0.05V)
CAS Latency Range
tCAS: 1-6; tRCD: 1-7; tRP: 1-7; tRAS: 1-31; Command Rate: 1T/2T

Our Take

Like so many boards that went before it, the Striker Extreme pushed our CPU to 3.46 GHz using its stock multiplier and 1.50V actual core voltage. BIOS misreported our manual 1.50V selection as producing only 1.40V, and a briefly-attempted 1.60V setting was reported as 1.50V. Our digital multi-meter proved that the settings were accurate and the BIOS voltage monitor was wrong. The result of believing those wrong readings and increasing VCore accordingly would likely be a much higher achievable clock speed at a much lower CPU lifespan.

Proving Nvidia's FSB overclocking aspirations are at least partially true, we reached a 458 MHz clockspeed (FSB1824) at a CPU multiplier of 6x and Nvidia's recommended BIOS settings, save for our mild 1.50V core. Of course, we were expecting more, since the P965-equiped P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP got us to a 461 MHz bus clock speed. While the difference of a few MHz either way isn't worth getting excited about, this appears to shoot holes in Nvidia's superiority claims.

Accessories
Documentation & SoftwareMotherboard ManualStriker Extreme Support DVDInterVideo Media Launcher OEM SuiteGame: Ghost Recon
Hardware1x SLI Bridge6x SATA Data Cable3x SATA Power Adapter (2-drive style)3x Thermal Sensor Leads1x USB Slot Panel (2-ports)1x IEEE-1394 FireWire Slot Panel (1-port)1x 80-conductor ATA cable1x Floppy Cable1x Cable Tie Pack (6 ties)1x I/O Panel Shield, Lighted1x Republic Of Gamers leather key fob1x Asus Case Badge1x Q-Connector Kit1x VRM Cooling Fan (with instructions)1x SupremeFX Audio Riser Card1x Array Microphone w/mounting tape

Special Features

Unique to the Striker Extreme are the lighted onboard switches, a back-panel diagnostics display that uses English language rather than code numbers and a lighted film embedded in the port shield to aid cable plugging in dark rooms.

Like other Asus motherboards, the Striker Extreme includes Kapersky Antivirus, InterVideo Media Launcher OEM Suite and the SoundMax SuperBeam array microphone. Like other nForce 680i SLI chipset motherboards, the Striker Extreme also includes the game Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.