Although the ASUS Striker II Extreme proved rock solid throughout our tests, we didn't see it standing out as we would have wanted, failing to make itself look as one of those “must have” products.
For the most part it was able to match the Intel X48 in terms of performance, while it was also marginally slower in a number of tests. If you were to slap a GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card, for example, on this new nForce 790i motherboard, or any of the pre-existing Intel X38 motherboards, picking a difference between them would be very difficult. While the Striker II Extreme appeared to have a slight edge when it came to memory bandwidth, this did not translate into better gaming performance.
Unquestionably the key advantage of this new chipset is its improved SLI support. With gains of up to 20%, we were impressed by how well Nvidia’s multi-GPU technology worked on the Striker II Extreme. The nForce 790i Ultra SLI has proven to be a lethal platform for those wanting to use SLI, and while I am not exactly what you would call pro SLI, it is nice to see this technology being better utilized.
Another impressive attribute of the nForce 790i Ultra SLI and therefore the Striker II Extreme is its overclocking ability. This way by far one of the most flexible and easy to work with motherboards we have come across yet (and that's a lot of boards!). Although we were unable to break any records with our Core 2 Duo E8400 processor, the Striker II Extreme had no problems matching our best overclock to date.
What we anticipate is going to be a major concern, at least for the foreseeable future, is the motherboard's exclusive support for DDR3 memory. Although this is more of an issue with the nForce chipset on a rather strange move from Nvidia. This will no doubt slow the sales of nForce 790i motherboards to a trickle, as very few users are prepared to spend three or even four times more for DDR3 memory.
Overall the ASUS Striker II Extreme is an excellent motherboard that ranks up high with other premium offerings both in terms of performance and price (~$300). This could easily become a platform of choice for those gamers looking to build a SLI enabled system. That said, for single card setups there is little to be gained by owning an nForce 790i Ultra SLI motherboard, even more so with the added cost of DDR3.
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