ASUS Striker Extreme

ASUS brings their technological expertise in motherboard design to NVIDIA’s new 680i chipset for Intel processors. Listing an incredible set of features and official SLI support, does this board have it all? Or does the ASUS Striker strike out when the heat is on?

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ASUS Utilities

The ASUS P5B Deluxe comes with ASUSآ’ bundled utilities. There are several utilities that make up the suite. The utilities are; PC Probe II; My Logo; and AI Booster. PC Probe II hasn't changed since I started seeing it packaged with ASUS branded motherboards, and My Logo which again is unchanged. AI Booster hasn't really changed either since I began covering it with ASUS motherboard reviews. That utility is for overclocking through Windows and does little else. The utility is adequate for getting the job done, and I have used it many times during the review process on many ASUS motherboards over the last year or so.

As stated before, AI Booster is ASUSآ’ Windows based utility for real time monitoring of voltages, FSB values and memory settings, and CPU clock speeds for the purpose of overclocking. The utility has several settings. AI NOS for example is a dynamic overclocking feature that allows the system to decide the best and safest overclock based on current system demands and needs. You set the percentage of the overclock you desire from 3% to 20% and the system takes care of the rest. This reduces the likely hood of a crash due to improper overclock, as well as providing a cooler running system, in much the same way Intel's thermal management inside their CPU's does. The CPU clock speeds will remain at the default values, and then when demand is placed on the system, the clock speed increases past the default clock speed based on what the AI Booster thinks is safe. As a result, you will not find yourself achieving impressive overclocks this way. The AI N.O.S function is rather conservative to say the least. The application also shows CPU FSB, and voltage readings, as PC Probe II does. The difference is that these settings can be adjusted with AI Booster. One thing I have never liked about this utility is that it requires a reboot for almost any setting change, even a minor 5MHz FSB increase. Itآ’s kind of annoying, and to a degree, it defeats the purpose of a Windows based overclocking utility. It is something I really wish ASUS would change.

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The ASUS PC Probe II utility allows the user to monitor voltages, temperatures of the CPU and other monitored temperature zones. By default, power, chassis, and CPU fans are monitored. Voltage status for VCore, and all 3v, 5v, and 12v, voltage ranges are all monitored. CPU and motherboard temperature ranges are monitored within this utility just as you would expect. Voltages and thermal readings are displayed in rectangular boxes. They have tiny magnet icons in their corners and when clicked, they disconnect and the status displays can be re-arranged or moved around in any way you desire.

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The main part of the PC Probe application is displayed in a hexagonal window and when the green arrow tab is clicked, the hexagon expands to allow the configuration of the utility itself. Just to the right of that is where all the DMI, WMI, and PCI information is displayed. The usage information is displayed in the form of pie charts that are almost exactly like the Windows drive space usage pie charts. Under the ASUS logo is a reporting tool. This tool shows detailed system information for the purpose of assisting ASUS tech support should they need more information concerning your systems configuration. There is also log reporting as well as alerts that show any kind of errors reported by the motherboard such as abnormal thermal and fan control readings.

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ASUS Update, like most of the other utilities covered in this review hasn't changed in the last year to any significant degree. The utility is basic and offers several methods of performing a BIOS update. You can browse to it manually on your hard drive, you can connect to ASUSآ’ FTP site and download it. You can also update the BIOS via the web or browse to a downloaded file, and then update from that. One thing that really bothers me is that every time I have actually tried to use this tool to perform a BIOS update, it always gives me an error message saying that the FTP server is busy, or unavailable. Rarely has this ever changed. The Striker Extreme was no different.

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The ASUS My Logo utility really hasn't changed since its introduction. The only caveat to using this program is that you must download a copy of the BIOS you would like to use in advance in order for this utility to edit that BIOS file and output usable BIOS that you can flash your board with that contains the logo you have added to it. You can actually use ASUS Update to save a copy of your existing BIOS, and then use that BIOS for this utility if you desire. The logo gives the end user or OEM's the ability to customize the motherboards boot logo with any bitmap they choose, provided the images are formatted correctly. Only images no greater than 640x480 in 256 colors can be used. This utility is easy to use and novice and advanced users alike will find it simple and uncomplicated.