ASUS Striker Extreme mainboard based on a relatively new Nvidia nForce 680i SLI chipset for Intel processors arrived into our lab last year already. However, it is only now that we decided to write about it, despite the huge interest to this product from hardware enthusiasts. And I have to say that we delayed our review for a reason. The thing is that this mainboard priced enormously high – at over $300 – could be regarded as a great disappointment until recently, because its pretty raw BIOS caused numerous frustrating problems. However, ASUS engineers didn’t waste their time and since the launch of ASUS Striker Extreme its BIOS has matured quite significantly. At least, our today’s review will not be dedicated to discussion of BIOS flaws and mainboard issues. Moreover, now we have every right to claim that ASUS Striker Extreme mainboard based on Nvidia nForce 680i SLI chipset offers at least the same stability and overclocking-friendly options as the reference mainboards supplied to the market by EVGA, BFG, ECS and other manufacturers.
Moreover, the users didn’t pin that many hopes on the new Nvidia chipset for Intel Core 2 processors designed for high-end systems. Namely, the Nvidia nForce 680i SLI based products built using the reference design features a very unpleasant defect resulting into SATA controller operation issues, which in the end could lead to system crash and even data loss. Although Nvidia is currently offering a certain solution to the problem, sometimes things still cannot be improved completely. ASUS Striker Extreme mainboard based on the company’s own unique design didn’t suffer from this defect from the very beginning. However, the users have quickly discovered a number of other problems, some of which have been backed up by the results we obtained in our test lab later on. For instance, ASUS Striker Extreme produced very bad sound quality in SLI mode, which remained the case on a number of sound cards we checked out. We were also upset about its poor compatibility with different memory modules, and pretty low overclocking results.
Luckily, the things have changed today and you can forget about most of these issues. The new BIOS versions 701 and 803 for ASUS Striker Extreme solve many of the old problems. Therefore, if before we could only recommend ASUS Striker Extreme (like any other Nvidia nForce 680i SLI based solution) to brave enthusiasts eager to experiment, then today it definitely deserves the attention of all other “normal” users.
ASUS Striker Extreme is extremely interesting to us not only because it is one of the few products that allow building SLI systems on Core 2 Duo processors. This board is also unique because it belongs to the Republic of Gamers series – a special mainboard family from ASUS targeted for hardcore gamers, the kind of users who would go for the highest performance at any rate. However, besides the unbelievably high price, ASUS Striker Extreme can only boast special accessories bundle and sophisticated PCB design, which has more to do with the exterior rather than performance. However, even though we feel pretty skeptical about the solutions born by joint marketing and engineering effort like that, ASUS Striker Extreme definitely deserves our attention. So today we are going to take a real close look at it and discuss everything in detail.