Zoomin’ On Me Now
Functionally, there is little to differentiate one motherboard from another one running the same chipset. Only when one bothers to dig up the details do we see differences in implementation. Asus’s expertise at engineering motherboards, and their rosy track record is what will set the Striker II apart from just any run-of-the-mill reference NVIDIA 780i board.
I/O ports are pretty standard. No more legacy connectors, unless you count the lone P/S2 port. The CMOS can be reset with the flick of a button, very nifty for an enthusiast board that’s likely to go through a lot of tweaking, in, and out of the case.
The convenience extends to some very pretty power/reset switches. These switches are lighted and a boon to use when benchmarking in the open. Best of all, the HDD activity indicator LED is integrated onboard and dropped right beside the two switches. When you’re trying to break the clockspeed-limit and it all blanks out, you’d still have a pretty good idea of whether the machine’s still accessing the HDD.
SATA2 ports on the Striker II are the angled sort. Mighty useful when you’re going to be running long cards like the 8800GTX/Ultra. You get to route them discreetly into the rear of the motherboard tray too, if you happen to be a neat-freak on RAID.
The Marvell duo handles Gigabit network duties, allowing teaming on the Striker II.
FireWire 400 courtesy of VIA. 1394b would have been nice!
Triple SLI bridge card alongside the Analog Device based sound module known as the SupremeFX II. The SupremeFX II logo lights up cool blue on the module top, a “wow” factor for windowed cases. The AD1988 actually has a separate power regulation circuit, with low ESR, high temperature Nippon Chemicon KZE and Rubycon solid polymer capacitors lacing the PCB. Not too shabby!
8 phase power regulation for the CPU. 8 phases, 8 large inductors, and a whole bunch of low ESR Fujitsu aluminum cans.
2 phases of power is offered for Vmem regulation. Fill in all the RAM slots with no fears of the Vmem VRM conking out.