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ASUS Crosshair IV Formula AM3 890FX Motherboard Sneak Peak

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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ASUS Crosshair IV Formula AM3 890FX Motherboard Sneak Peak





If it seems to you that we have been concentrating a lot upon ASUS’ products in the last few days, that’s because we are. They have been kind enough to give us access to a mind-boggling amount of information about their upcoming products and while we can’t discuss all of it, we’re going to do our best to get you the inside track on a number of items.

In the last sneak peak we brought you a closer look at the upcoming HD 5870 Matrix 2GB and their new HD 5870 “V2” which are both set to take the market by storm. For this article, we’re going to stay with the Republic of Gamers theme but focus on an upcoming AMD-based motherboard: the Crosshair IV Formula. Yes, there have been three previous Crosshair boards which were based on NVIDIA’s 590 and 780i chipsets along with AMD’s own 790FX and ASUS’ fourth iteration continues down the AMD track. This time the Crosshair uses the upcoming 890FX chipset that is a slight step up from the 890GX version we looked at last week. Along with its 32 PCI-E lanes, the 890FX and the 850-series southbridge bring to the table native SATA 6Gbp/s support which is sure to appeal to the enthusiasts RoG boards are targeted towards.

As with all of ASUS’ Republic of Gamers series, the Crosshair IV Formula will likely retail for more than many of us are willing to pay but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. According to pricing information we have seen from other motherboard manufacturers, even their higher-end 890FX offerings won’t be priced above the $200 mark. As such, we don’t expect this board to retail for anywhere near the price of boards like the Rampage II Extreme and Maximus III Extreme. All in all, if we had to venture a guess we would probably peg the Crosshair as a $200 to $220 USD board.

Nearly a year has passed since ASUS introduced their last flagship motherboard that targeted AMD users so we are sure the new Crosshair couldn’t come soon enough for some people. Considering it is going to be available right around the time we start seeing Phenom X6 processors hitting the market, ASUS could help usher in a new renaissance for AMD products and their loyal followers.

This article may be a bit on the short side but we are aiming to give you a quick look at what little we know about the Crosshair IV and add in a slew of new pictures to even things out.

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SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
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12,840
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Montreal
A Quick Pictorial Overview of the Crosshair IV Formula

A Quick Pictorial Overview of the Crosshair IV Formula


We’re used to seeing Republic of Gamers board strike an imposing figure and the Crosshair IV is no different with its bold black and red colour scheme. The heatsinks themselves aren’t high enough to get in the way of CPU coolers and are supposedly modeled after the shape of crystals. Will the unique design help with actual cooling? We’ll check that out in our upcoming review.

Even though the other physical features of this board are pretty self-evident, it should be mentioned that all six red SATA connectors are SATA 6Gb/s compatible by virtue of the 890-series chipset.

The backplate connectors offer up the usual mix options but there are some interesting additions such as buttons for ASUS’ RoG Connect as well an external CMOS reset switch. PS/2 keyboard support also stays around for an encore performance along with two blue USB 3.0 headers.

Click on pictures to Enlarge
Images provided by ASUS

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SKYMTL

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A Much Closer Look at the Board

A Much Closer Look at the Board


The area directly around the CPU socket may look a bit cluttered but illusion is mostly due to the necessary plastic AMD mounting hardware. Otherwise, the vast expanses between the socket and the components should make insulating for extreme cooling quite easy.

Travelling a bit further south, we see a quartet of 16x mechanical PCI-E slots which make use of the chipset’s 32 lanes to either work at 16x / 16x mode with two cards installed or 8 / 8 / 8 / 8 when four GPUs are popped onto the board. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like SLI will be supported at this point but that could very well change depending on NVIDIA’s licensing agreement with ASUS. Interestingly enough, there aren’t any PCI-E 1x slots.

Naturally, the Crosshair will feature all of ASUS’ new RoG features such as RoG connect (monitoring and overclocking capability through a secondary computer connected via USB) and GameFirst which is basically packet priority software for optimization of network traffic and tcp/ip performance. The bottom portion of board has a number of buttons as well which consists of the usual Reset and Power buttons as well as an auto overclock switch and a core unlocker button. The Core Unlocker should be of particular interest to many of you since it allows for the automatic unlocking of lower-end AMD chips. Since this popular feature was effective cut out of the 800-series chipsets, it is good to see ASUS making an effort to keep it alive as well.

The Creative-based SupremeFX chip makes a comeback as well but not in the usual add-in card way. Instead, ASUS has implemented this audio chip directly into the board itself, next to the PCI-E slots.

All in all, the Crosshair looks to be the one of the most feature rich AMD motherboards coming to the market in the next few months. And it will be at a price that may make Intel users wonder why the heck they are paying $300 and more for a nearly comparable product.

 
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