Asus continues to bring features to the computing world that make the customer very happy, yet frustrate the manufacturers that try to impose limitations on what is allowed. It began long ago with the BP6 motherboard, that allowed a pair of Celerons to be used together in a motherboard, when Intel had put logic in place to frustrate this sort of usage, forcing the purchase of the much more costly Pentium III chip to get multiprocessor performance.
This time around it is the inclusion of the Lucidlogix Hydra chip, to allow the use of either ATi or nVidia graphics cards in either Crossfire or SLI, or both. Along with that, built in are some of the other things we expect from top-of-the-line Asus boards, like the ability to unlock extra cores in certain AMD chips, though the latest standard BIOS measures don’t support it by means of ACC.
First seen in March, at CeBIT 2010, AMD’s Republic of Gamers series Crosshair IV Extreme motherboards, which is powered by AMD’s 890FX chipset, got cozy for a photographer and exposes one of main assets, the Lucidlogix Hydra SoC (System-on-a-chip).
Located above the SB850 southbridge, the Hydra chip enables Asus’ board to support multi-GPU configurations made up of only AMD cards, only Nvidia cards, or both AMD and Nvidia cards, breaking the shackles put in that prevent cross-vendor pairing.
The Crosshair IV Extreme includes five PCI-Express x16 slots ready to house new and old GPUs, it supports AM3 processors, and also features a core unlocking function, ROG Connect for overclocking via Bluetooth, four DDR3 memory slots, nine SATA ports (the red ones are definitely 6.0 Gbps), Gigabit Ethernet, and 7.1 channel audio. Asus didn’t put a price on this ROG beast (yet) but it’s probable it will cost over 200 Euro.
I’m not sure how many will want to overclock by Bluetooth, but it certainly shows the engineers at Asus are full of ideas. The amazing number of things built into these boards are what allows them to command such a price – as well as the rock solid operation over time. Asus is to the home user what Tyan is to the business user, the best performance money can buy, period.
Not only do the boards function beyond expectations, they look great, with quality layouts that rarely cause any problems when building, no matter the choice of chassis. The ROG board is using black PCB, with red PCI Express slots, and black PCI slots. The white touches set off the red/black scheme perfectly, and the board would go great in one of the CoolerMaster HAF 932 AMD Red cases (just a thought!). Check the jump for a couple of great pictures of the board, and see if you don’t get some ideas of your own.
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