Conclusions and Final Thoughts
Did I mention that testing individual motherboards on the merits of performance is pretty useless? Well, that’s not completely true, but when you browse through our test results (or in my case run the tests!) and you see the same three systems all coming within a single percent of each other in score, it can sure seem like it! How many times can you say “about the same” in one article??
All negativity aside, the Asus Striker Extreme 680i motherboard did perform very well, competing against NVIDIA’s reference design used on the EVGA motherboard. NVIDIA’s previous Intel-platform chipset didn’t fare as well against Intel’s own 975X chipset, but the nForce 680i is having no problems at all keeping up with the performance levels of it. In fact, NVIDIA’s memory controller and external connectivity options are actually faster more often than not. Since we have seen countless chipsets from other vendors unable to beat Intel at their own game for years, NVIDIA’s success here is notable.
This is another area that NVIDIA’s nForce 680i SLI chipset has done very well in; both with the EVGA board and this Asus design. Asus is no stranger to overclocking BIOS’ and adding advanced features for gamers and enthusiasts to use. The Striker Extreme motherboard takes almost all of the features the NVIDIA reference BIOS had to offer, included them and added slightly. Some of the features like SLI memory could use a little tweaking: explanations of what exactly each option is doing and what the end result should be in memory speeds and timings.
But all of the overclocking options are there for hardcore enthusiasts to tweak and play with; if anyone hits that 3000 MHz FSB, send me a screen shot! The added function of the BIOS profiles and the integrated flashing application really round out a great BIOS from Asus on the Striker Extreme.
The Republic of Gamers series from Asus has a pretty standard feature set now that extends well past what every other board on the market offers. Based on some new technology from the company, the Crosshair motherboard offers up a lot of options and little features that really help the board stand out. The on-board power, reset and CMOS clearing buttons are really nice and add to the appeal of the board to tweakers and overclockers. The LED lights around the expansion components might seem gimmicky at first, but could be useful for frequent LAN gamers and those that are often inside their cases moving things around or just doing general tweaking.
The LCD post display on the motherboard is a nice touch as well, and was handy to have and fun to play around with. I question the usefulness of it along the back of the motherboard as when its in the case you won’t be seeing it very easily. The EL-lighted back panel though is a nice touch, making it easier to see the connections when you are poking your head around the back to install that new USB device so you don’t plug it into the secondary ethernet port instead.
The other features like the silent chipset cooling with the heatpipe technology, capless power design and included software round out the features on the Asus Striker Extreme board and present a very good package for any user.
Pricing and Availability
This definitely a sore spot for the Asus Striker Extreme motherboard: doing a search for Asus Striker on our pricing engine brings up absolutely nothing. (Edit: it does now show up at one retailer for $375.) It was on there earlier, but I didn’t catch it in time! Heading over to our favorite reseller, Newegg.com, I find the Asus Striker Extreme out of stock — and priced at $419! Looking elsewhere didn’t turn up any better results and that is definitely unfortunate. Competing against the EVGA 680i motherboard that is going for around $250 is going to be difficult and more so because of the price and even MORE so because, well….I can’t find it!
If Asus can get the Striker Extreme in some more e-tailers and drop the price to around $300, I’d have no problems recommending it to gamers building a new system based on the Core 2 platform.
The Asus Striker Extreme is a great motherboard that just had too many problems early on in its life to catch on in the enthusiast crowd. If Asus wants some of the 680i market (and I think they do) they’ll need to drop the price a bit. All of the kinks seem to be worked out now in our testing, making the Striker Extreme a great motherboard for Intel’s Core 2 platform.
If you have any questions or comments on this review, stop into this thread at our Asus motherboard forum to drop me a line or just see other’s comments on the board!
Be sure to use our price checking engine to find the best prices on the Asus Striker Extreme, and anything else you may want to buy!