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PCB Design

The first thought that comes to mind when we take ASUS Striker Extreme is that it is unusually heavy. Where the excessive weight comes from is pretty clear once you look at the PCB. It is the massive cooling system for the chipset and the CPU voltage regulator that is made of pure copper and is connected using two sophisticatedly shaped heatpipes.

Note that this cooling system is a very important component of this mainboard. Nvidia nForce 680i SLI chipset dissipates quite a lot of heat, which requires the mainboard based on it to feature pretty complex cooling solutions. Even though ASUS Striker Extreme uses three copper heatsinks to cool down the chipset, these heatsinks may heat up to 65-70o C during work (the actual chipset components get even hotter than that). Therefore, if you intend on performing some overclocking or would like to install a liquid cooling system on the CPU and hence there won’t adequate airflow around the processor socket, you’d better top these heatsinks with additional fans. Luckily, one fan like that is included with ASUS Striker Extreme mainboard.

The massive cooling system, which is a distinguishing feature of ASUS Striker Extreme mainboard hasn’t been curved around the processor socket in the best way. Although the heatsinks are quite far away from the LGA775, so that even the largest CPU coolers can fit there, the actual cooler installation and fastening may require certain sophisticated tricks from you.

However, we should give ASUS engineers proper credit for keeping the area around the CPU clear. There are almost no electronic components anywhere near the LGA775 socket.

The CPU voltage regulator circuitry layout is one of the reasons for that: it uses high-frequency MOSFET and small ceramic SMT capacitors. However, unlike the DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200-T2R/G mainboard we have reviewed earlier, ASUS Striker Extreme has not the digital feedback in the voltage regulator, but the anachronistic analogue feedback. The voltage regulator itself is designed using eight-phase circuitry.

Speaking of the microchips used on ASUS Striker Extreme PCB, we have to say that ASUS didn’t try to play cheap, which is not surprising at all for the premium-class product like Striker Extreme. All electrolytic capacitors are hard-bodies polymeric ones, with increased reliability.

The slots and connectors are very wisely spread out on the PCB, no comments here.

 
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