Asus Crosshair IV Extreme review

Can this excellent flagship Republic of Gamers board revive hardcore interest in HydraLogix technology?

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Unlike MSI's AMD AM3-based board offering HydraLogix support, the 890A Fuzion, Asus's Crosshair IV Extreme uses the full-fat version of AMD's 890 chipset: the 890FX. So even without Lucid's chip, you get full x16 dual and triple CrossfireX support, while the SB850 Southbridge provides native SATA6 and USB 3.0 support.

The 890FX Northbridge, Lucid chip and the voltage regulators all sit under what at first glance looks like a large passive heatsink, but which actually has small cooling fans underneath. The Southbridge sits under a heatsink too, with a hefty heatpipe connecting both cooling plates.

There are five x16 PCIe slots. Take care to use the ones that suit whatever graphics setup you're running. Slots one and three are the ones for straightforward dual-card Crossfire use – these are taken care of by the 890FX, which eliminates the latency within the HydraLogix controller.

The 890FX will also support four cards in a Quad CrossfireX setup, but not at full x16 speed. The HydraLogix chip takes care of slots two, four and five, and can be used in only in dual- or triple-card setups presently, although Quad GPU Hydra support will follow later in Q4 2010.

Nine SATA ports are provided; six SATA 6GB/s ports (coloured red) and two SATA 3GB/s (black) ports are edge mounted at 90 degrees, while the third SATA 3GB/s port is vertically mounted next to them. The SB850 provides RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 support for the SATA6 ports. There's also integrated Gigabit Ethernet and eight-channel audio.

Since it's a RoG board, Crosshair IV Extreme comes with a RoG Connect module, which enables you to tweak and overclock the board either from another PC (via the supplied cable) or from the comfort of your armchair via Bluetooth using a laptop.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Chipset Model890FX
Multi GPU SupportedCrossFireX
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots5
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Processor SocketSocket AM3 PGA-941
Brand NameAsus
Form FactorExtended ATX
Processor SupportedAthlon II X4, Athlon II X3, Athlon II X2, Phenom II X6, Phenom II X4, Phenom II X3, Phenom II X2, Phenom II, Athlon II, Sempron
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory16 GB
Green CompliantYes
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots4
Number of PCI Slots1
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces10
HyperTransport Speed2600 MHz
RAID SupportedYes
Number of Total Expansion Slots6
eSATAYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports9
Number of USB 3.0 Ports9
Total Number of FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports3
Total Number of Onboard FireWire/i.LINK Ports1
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots5
Processor TechnologyHyperTransport Technology, Cool'n'Quiet Technology
Width304.8 mm
Depth243.8 mm
ManufacturerASUS Computer International
Product ModelCrosshair IV Extreme
Product NameCrosshair IV Extreme Desktop Motherboard
Controller TypeSerial ATA/600, Serial ATA/300
Manufacturer Part NumberCROSSHAIR IV EXTREME
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.asus.com
Marketing Information

The Republic of Gamers consists only the best of the best. We offer the best hardware engineering, the fastest performance, the most innovating ideas, and we welcome the best gamers to join in. In the Republic of Gamers, mercy rules are only for the weak, and bragging rights means everything. We believe in making statements and we excel in competitions. If your character matches our trait, then join the elite club, make your presence felt, in the Republic of Gamers.