Final Thoughts and Recommendations

NVIDIA's 790i has already proven itself a very capable platform for overclocking, something we did not expect to say considering this is the first (and last?) DDR3 memory controller from the green team. Performance is great, overclocking is easy, and NVIDIA has even managed to keep power consumption in check. By every account, the 790i is a real contender when placed side-by-side with Intel's X48 Express chipset.  However, there is a dark side to this chipset.  We are working with NVIDIA at this time to figure out our random data corruption problems.  We have lost several drive images during testing.  While we expect to corrupt drive images when pushing a system beyond its boundaries, this problem has occurred numerous times with fairly ordinary overclocks.  Typically, settings around 400FSB (QDR 1600) and memory set at DDR3-1600 with relaxed timings around 7-7-7-18 resulted in random, but not repeatable corrupted images in Vista.  NVIDIA is busily testing at this point and we will have an update shortly.

As we see it, the extra $100 premium beyond the cost of even the most obnoxiously priced Intel-based motherboard buys you the right to run your NVIDIA GPUs in SLI, assuming you can afford more than one after shelling out for the ASUS Striker II Extreme. Of course, once you have your hands on this board you might find you will stop at nothing to get SLI up and running. NVIDIA's second shot at Quad-SLI with a pair of GeForce 9800 GX2 cards could be very tempting if driver performance ever catches up with the hype. There is something special about running Crysis with "Very High Settings" in DX10 at 1920x1200.

I think this NVIDIA 790i Ultra SPP just winked at me.

DDR3 prices have also made the idea of moving to either X48 or 790i a whole lot less painful than it would have been just a few short months ago. Great clocking and relatively inexpensive 2GB kits of DDR3 are starting to show up at all our favorite online retailers. We were able to find 2GB kits like the Patriot Viper rated at DDR3-1600 with 7-7-7 timings for under $200 without too much trouble. To date, all of our experiences with DDR3 memory have shown the DDR3-1600 kits to be incredible performers when it comes to overclocking.

If you're still buying DDR2 and you're serious about overclocking, you're buying yesterday's technology. That might be fine for the price-conscious enthusiasts, but if you're considering the purchase of a $300+ motherboard and $1000 CPU we have to strongly recommend making the move to DDR3. It's also worth noting that once Intel's Nehalem architecture hits the market - which should occur later this year - you can kiss DDR2 compatibility on the latest Intel platforms goodbye. At that point, you'll need to purchase DDR3 memory if you want to keep up with the Joneses - though what sort of prices and performance we'll see for DDR3 by the time this occurs is anyone's guess. Our advice for enthusiasts is to send your DDR2 packing and never look back when it comes time to purchase a new high-end motherboard.

Frankly, some of us find all this talk about overly expensive products depressing. What happened to expecting to pay top dollar for premium components? True, there are those out there that are able to buy mainstream products and push them well beyond their rated capabilities for next to nothing. Shoot, that is the very definition of overclocking right there. However, when did we become entitled to low prices when it comes to picking up motherboards claiming to be ultimate overclockers? It is one thing to pay a lot and get a little, but when a product delivers everything it promises and more, complaining does not make sense. We will tell you straight up, the ASUS Striker II Extreme is a serious piece of hardware, and if you want to play with the big boys, you had better be prepared to throw the cash down!

Complete BIOS Tuning Guide - "Spread Spectrum Control"
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Rodriguez - Friday, June 20, 2008 - link

    Can anyone here indicate how to reach FSB 500 (2000) with Striker II Extreme & QX9770 C1, most I can get is 1900FSB.

    I've seen Kris reach this speed in this article & was eager to get to this speed as soon as I received my new CPU, but it has been more difficult than I thought, I was sure that if with my previous Q6600 G0 y could easily get 1900/1950FSB, now with QX9770 would be peanuts. The main reason I bought this CPU was to run 2000FSB linked & synced with Ballistix 2000 SLI.

    Please give all detailed BIOS setup options for this CPU if possible

    Nobody in Asus forum using this setup has been able to reach 2000FSB, but I have seen a few reviews (like Anandtech's) & posts showing it's possible

    By the way, memory has been tested unlinked at 2000Mhz 9-8-8-24, 1.9v P1/P2 Enabled & works great


    QX9770 rev. C1 3.2Ghz (watercooled)
    Asus Striker II Extreme BIOS 801, ver 1.02G (watercooled)
    PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 1200W
    4 x 1GB Crucial Ballistix PC16000 SLI EPP2 , 2000Mhz 1800 8-7-7-24- 1T - 1.9v
    SLI Leadtek PX8800 Ultra Leviathan (factory watercooled)
    SLI Leadtek PX8800 Ultra
    Asus Physx card (removed)
    Dlink DWA556 PCIx Xtreme N Wireless card
    2x WD Raptor 150GB Raid 0 300GB
    1x Seagate 400GB Sata
    X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion
    24' Benq FP241VW Gamer
    Innovatek XXD Rev 2 + G-Flow water cooling
    CoolerMaster Cosmos 1000 case
    Saitek X52 Flight system
    TrackIR 4 + Trackclip Pro
    Windows Vista Home Premium 32bit
  • parkerdw - Tuesday, June 3, 2008 - link

    I used the same motherboard and cpu, but I liquid cooled it using the gigantic Kandalf Liquid Cooled case. My memory is different as well since I use 4 GB of Patriot Viper memory (2 x 2GB). Other than the memory settings in the BIOS, I set everything to match this guide. My system runs at 4.0Ghz and the cpu runs at no more than 88 degrees fahrenheit even while playing something like Crysis with everything set to Very High. Crysis runs between 35 and 60 fps on Very High on my system using a single 9800 GX2 at 1280 x 720. It's a HTPC connected to my older 56 inch DLP set via DVI, so I can't go any higher than that, but I fully expect to run great at 1080p when I get my new large screen set later this year. I don't have my bios settings in front of me, but setting everything to Auto for the memory works PERECTLY at 4.0 ghz. Pretty cool. I think it's running at 8,8,18 or so and 1.9v.

    Also, Asus just released a patch to the bios that fixes the data corruption issue mentioned in this artcle. Released on 5/29/08 I think.
  • hardist - Monday, April 21, 2008 - link

    The water block seems to have leaking issues , I am wondering why it was not covered in this review since it is a major feature of this board ......
  • Heatlesssun - Sunday, April 20, 2008 - link

    This is a sweet motherbaord! Now I've not overclocked the FSB, just bumped up the multiplier of my QX9650 from the default of 9.5 to 10, and I'm not running RAID. We shall see but I feel good. To get this up and running with Vista x64 in a day so smoothly was pretty good I thought.
  • electricx - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    So this board is going for the aforementioned amount on newegg... The EVGA and the XFX 790i boards are going for $350... The ROG name carries that much of a premium? I mean, come on?! I'm sure ASUS will fix this data corruption issue and you typically do pay more for the privilege(?) of being a beta tester for high end hardware but $1000 over competing products seems a bit much... The EVGA board is looking to be a clear winner here to me. Time will tell I suppose.
  • FightingEagle - Friday, April 18, 2008 - link

    After the second EVGA 790i and full of bugs I just sent it back. I was interested in the ASUS X48 and the 790i, but the 790i over $400 is hard to grasp. EVGA has good looking heat sink but not very good at cooling. I may wait for all the bugs to leave but as now im sitting on $320 dollars worth of DDR3 and a E8400.
  • electricx - Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - link

    Edit: That should have been $100 not $1000
  • UK1Man - Sunday, April 13, 2008 - link

    Help please!!
    I'm currently in the process of building a computer but can only afford to buy a couple of parts a month, I have already purchased some DDR2 (1066) memory for an FXF 780 motherboard (not yet purchased) but am now considering the Asus striker II extreme.
    Will my DDR 2 memory work with this?
  • seamusmc - Monday, April 14, 2008 - link

    This board/chipset, 790i, only supports DDR3.
  • ianken - Saturday, April 12, 2008 - link

    Can it go into S3 suspend and come back out and have the NICs still work? The Striker 2 Formula cannot.

    Can the SATA controller handle hot swap? The Stiker 2 Formula and the previous 680i boards could not. The 680i bios even had an esata setting that did NOTHING.

    The latest crop of Asus boards, particularly the NV chipset rigs, have been pretty buggy and basic functionality has been borked.

    But hey, who cares of the basics don't work right? it's got a water block for X-TREME OVERCLOXORS! YO! VTEC!

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now