Asus Crosshair IV Extreme AMD 890FX Motherboard

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One of the unfortunate consequences of AMD's inability to match Intel's performance at the ultra high-end of the CPU market over the past few years is that there's been a substantial decline in the number of high-end AMD motherboards. NewEgg presently stocks just two AMD motherboards in the $200-$300 price range compared to 36 Intel products. That's not to imply that you have to pay $200 or more for a quality motherboard but it clearly implies that when motherboard manufacturers are thinking about enthusiasts, they're also thinking about Santa Clara.

With one exception.

Both of the $200+ AMD boards are built by Asus and the company recently sent us its top-end AMD offering. The motherboard's retail price point of $299 dwarfs anything else anyone offers in an AMD flavor these days, but Asus has packed the Crosshair IV Extreme with every goody you can think of.



Asus Crosshair IV Extreme
Specifications & Features
Processor Support 
AM3 Phenom II / Athlon II Processors
Supports 140W CPU
AMD Cool'n'Quiet

Chipset
 AMD 890FX/SB850

Memory 
4 x DIMM, Max. 16GB, DDR3 2000(OC) 1600/1333/ 1066MHz Non-ECC, Unbuffered RAM
Dual Channel
Asus Allows For DDR3-1333 Support
   
Expansion Slots 
5 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x16 speed) (total)
3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (x16 speed) or
4 x PCIe 2.0 x16 x16/x16 x8/x8)

 
Multi-GPU Support:
Supports Lucid HydraLogix Technology
Suports ATI Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology

Storage
SB850 Chipset
6 x SATA 6.0Gb/s ports
Supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 10

2 x JMicron 363 Controllers
2 x SATA 3Gb/ports (gray)
1 x Power External SATA 3Gb/s ports at rear
1 x External SATA 3Gb/s ports at rear

Audio
8-Channel High Definition Audio codec
Blu-ray audio layer, supports jack-detection, multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-Retasking

LAN
1 x Intel Gigabit LAN

IEEE-1394
1 x IEEE1394a Internal
1 x IEEE1394a External
USB
-x USB 3.0/2.0 ports at rear
2 x AMD SB850 chipset
-x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (6 ports at mid-board, 6 ports at rear, 1 port at rear also used for ROG connect).

Ports
1 x PS/2 keyboard port (purple)
2 x External SATA
1 x S/PDIF Out (Optical)
1 x IEEE 1394a
8-channel Audio I/O
1 x Clr CMOS
2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
1 x ROG Connect On/Off Switch
1 x RC Bluetooth Switch
 
Internal I/O Connectors
3 x USB Connectors support additional 6 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x IEEE 1394 connector
1 x S/PDIF Out connector
Front panel audio connector
System Panel connector
8 x SATA connectors
8 x Fan connectors
7 x Probelt measurement points
3 x Thermal sensor connectors
1 x 24-pin ATX power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power connector
2 x EZPlug Connectors (4-pin Molex)
1 x OC Station header
1 x Bluetooth Header
1 x Core Unlocker Switch
1 x power switch
1 x Reset switch
1 x Go Button
1 x BIOS switch button
1 x Fan connector for thermal module
1 x ROG light connector

Form Factor
E-ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 10.6 inch

The Crosshair IV Extreme isn't actually an E-ATX motherboard, but its width of 10.6" is one inch wider than the official ATX spec supports. To determine if the board will fit in your case, measure one inch from the last set of mount spacers on the right and add at least a few tenths of an inch for wiggle room. Most cases will support the board, but those with interiors that conform to the ATX spec with laser-cut precision are out-of-luck.

The Crosshair IV Extreme, like most high-end boards these days, is explicitly aimed at the ultra-high-end overclocking crowd and offers a number of OC-friendly features in an attempt to court this rare species of computer enthusiast. Because so few users actually push their systems as far as that group, we'll be explicitly evaluating the CIV-Extreme's features that might prove useful to the more typical user and thus help justify the higher purchase price to a broad audience.

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The Extreme is not worth it over the Crosshair IV. I have yet to see Lucid's crappy gimmick work, and I thought that since a page was dedicated to it, that it would have been tested on the a few of the games that it supports.

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Those are some impressive gains from swapping the motherboard.

I would like to have seen a comparison of an entry level board of the same chipset to this board, so we can get more of an apples to apples comparrison and see if the more expensive board is justified in the numbers.

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I'm with Sammy, though maybe not quite as harsh. Lucid still has a ways to go to get their drivers worked out, but their tech does actually work. The only problem is that it would work better on cheaper boards since those are the people most likely to need/use it.

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InfinityzeN1:
Lucid still has a ways to go to get their drivers worked out, but their tech does actually work. The only problem is that it would work better on cheaper boards since those are the people most likely to need/use it.

This. Anyone going out to buy a high end motherboard is going to have the money to put in exactly the graphics they want. Lucid would much better serve the low end were you can just pop in whatever is in your budget and add to the performance you already have.

 

In general I don't really see the market for this board. Don't get me wrong it is a killer board, but at the price it costs almost $100 more than any AMD CPU.

Also where are the killer EFI bios that some of the Asus boards are getting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-J4o3sqhB4

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This board is definitely for the high end overclocking crowd and priced accordingly.

If I had to consider building a custom rig for someone that insisted on an AMD with the best Asus mobo available  & * has 'da $$

bob_on_the_cob:

... Anyone going out to buy a high end motherboard is going to have the money to put in exactly the graphics they want. Lucid would much better serve the low end were you can just pop in whatever is in your budget and add to the performance you already have.

the Crosshair IV Extreme would be a contender for other reasons like >>save on an audio card and the one -inch bigger ATX size would definitely get them into a better higher end case and would likely to get pretty particular in selecting ram and cooler options.

not likely for me at this time  but good to consider all the same

thanks for the detailed review and insights

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Whoa!!! whats new with this motherboard?? my dream computer was to have the Asus Rampage III. I have to read up on this.

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Sammy,

Did you miss the list of titles we confirmed are functional?

The problem with trying to publish some "representative" Lucid benchmarks is that each test is more-or-less unique. There are some tests that scale by 5-10%, some that scale by 20-50%, some at 75%, some at 90%. It proved impossible to grab a select handful and claim they were a solid sample of what to expect.

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Ahh, I see, I guess I skipped a few paragraphs...I confused the " LucidLogix Hydra Officially Tested Titles" part as if it was submitted by lucid and not yourself.

As InfinityZ and Bob have stated, this would be more practical on a lower end board, but the problem is that adding that chip would lead to a higher price tag.

I remember reading( I think) that this will be a software solution in the Sandy Bridge environment.....Still I just don't think this is worth it...Just stick to Nvidia for Nvidia Solutions and Amd for Amd solutions.

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Sammy,

 

You're confusing Virtu (software-only, allows for Sandy Bridge-powered video transcoding) with Hydra (hardware-implemented multi-GPU processor).

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Ahh, I see Again...thanks..

In Total coincidence, There are reports on Virtu and the Z68 chipset now showing up on some websites. I look forward to reading it also on HH...I will be reading carefully to make sense in any judgment. I imagine you or Dave are working on it right now?

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