Maybe Intel should give up on making performance motherboards. You’d think an Intel chipset would stand the best chance in a board designed by Intel. That’s not the case. The desktop partner to Intel’s crazy-ass Skulltrail platform, the DX48BT2 board is code-named Bonetrail, and of the four boards here, it is the most disappointing.
If the EVGA nForce 790i board is a Shelby Cobra—a bristling big-block V8 with drum brakes and leaf springs—Asus’s Striker II Extreme is a high-tech, twin-turbo, all-wheel-steering Nissan Skyline GT-R R35. In other words, the Striker II Extreme is a spectacle of bells, whistles, and doohickeys. So much so that you actually won’t mind shelling out $450 for it. Read on to find what your dough'll getcha.
We weren’t impressed with Nvidia’s follow up to the popular 680i chipset. The 780i felt like a retread of the original and lacked support for Intel’s top proc: the 1,600MHz FSB Core 2 Extreme QX9770. Plus, PCI Express 2.0 was simply tacked on as an extra chip and DDR3 support was glaringly absent.
Nvidia heard our complaints and created the 790i chipset, represented here by EVGA’s Ultra SLI board. It has native PCI-E 2.0, 1,600MHz FSB support, and DDR3. This board even addresses another shortcoming of the 680i and 780i reference boards: lack of eSATA. Read on for the full review!
Gigabyte must have read our minds when we were thinking of our dream motherboard because the X48T-DQ6 has a feature we’ve been longing for: eight frigging USB ports! That’s just one of the things Gigabyte does right with this motherboard. Based on Intel’s DDR3, 1,600MHz FSB chipset, the X48T-DQ6 is a far better example of what a performance X48-based board should be than, well, Intel’s own implementation. It's fast and overclocker-friendly, with the safety net of an Intel chipset.
In the November 2007 issue, we took an in-depth look at RAID—short for Redundant Array of Inexpensive (or Independent) Disks—and broke down the pros, cons, and most importantly, speeds of the various RAID permutations you would find on a typical multidrive setup. Here we’ll examine the medium itself: the RAID controller, which tells the drives in a RAID setup how to interact. As you’ll see, there are RAID controllers of differing types, technologies, and price points, and we want to learn whether these variations translate into performance differences. After all, even the fastest RAID configuration ultimately depends on the performance capabilities of its physical host.
MSI’s new motherboard doesn’t have a mere heat pipe to wick heat from the chipset and voltage-regulator modules. It has a full-on loop de loop heat ride through the amusement park known as the P35 Platinum. Why include the crazy Circu-Pipe? We don’t really know, but it sure does look cool.
How much of a badass mother is Asus’s new motherboard? It’s so bad that it doesn’t even use numbers in its name. Yeah, there’s no R2-D2-like naming convention here. Just call it Striker Extreme, or El Extremerino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.