Asus Crosshair IV Extreme AMD 890FX Motherboard - HotHardware

Asus Crosshair IV Extreme AMD 890FX Motherboard

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Asus includes a USB 2.0/FireWire 1394a PCI bracket, six SATA cables (4x6G, two 2x3G), a Bluetooth receiver, S/PDIF cables, Crossfire/SLI bridges, Asus' handy Q-connector for the various front panel indicator lights/power switch, and multimeter cables for enthusiasts who want to check voltage outputs directly rather than relying on the BIOS reports. There's also a set of three thermal probes for monitoring specific hot spots (don't try to put these between the CPU and heatsink).

Most of the value-added components that ship with the Crosshair IV-E are hardware-based, but there are a few exceptions. The company's driver CD contains the usual suite of tools, anti-virus software, and various overclocking/system monitoring utilities; Asus noted to us that it's completely redesigned the way its tools interlock and function to streamline usage and make things less confusing. The disc also contains a pre-loaded Linux distro and a full licensed copy of 3DMark Vantage. 
 
Asus MemOk!

 
Asus' MemOk! button is the smallest button at the lower left. It doubles as the "Go Button," which can be used to automatically restore a preset BIOS profile after a firmware reset.  Note that the right-hand shot is from an earlier board revision; the button positions changed slightly in the final product.

The Crosshair IV Extreme isn't the first Asus board we've tested that featured the company's MemOk! compatibility technology, but we actually needed to use it at one point during this particular review. We are, therefore, able to verify that the function works (mostly)  as advertised; activating MemOk! allowed the system to successfully and stably boot a RAM configuration that otherwise refused to POST.


MemOk!'s status display after successfully booting our system

According to Asus, activating MemOk! is only supposed to change RAM timings. In our tests, using MemOk! also reset all BIOS settings. This was not an issue; we were able to re-set and save our other BIOS settings with no problem.

PCI-E On / Off Switches

The PCIe switches can be seen in the right-hand photograph above. Enthusiasts who want to conserve power or are trying to break overclocking records can manually disable each of the Crosshair IV's five auxiliary PCI-Express ports by flipping the appropriate switch(es).

Various Buttons And Status LEDs

The Crosshair IV Extreme's BIOS can be reset via an external button on the back plate. There are also three independent LEDs that shine green, yellow, or red depending on voltage settings. The Go, power, reset, and Asus core unlocker buttons located in the upper north quadrant of the board are extremely useful if you're fine-tuning certain settings or setting it up for the first time. The core unlock button only does something if your CPU has deactivated cores, but it's a useful way to make sure one's CPU cores remain unlocked even after a BIOS restore.

BIOS Protections


The BIOS swap button

BIOS protection is a major feature of the Crosshair IV. The board features two independent BIOSes on two different physical chips—if one becomes corrupted or physically damaged, switching to the second is as simple as pushing a button. The two are maintained completely independently, there's no way for problems with BIOS #1 to impact BIOS #2.

Profiles can be saved and titled on each BIOS—it's possible, for example, to save all overclocking settings to the first BIOS chip while customizing fail-safes for BIOS #2. Additionally, it's also possible to restore a proper BIOS even if neither of the installed images will POST.

The BIOS can be reflashed by inserting a USB flash drive with the appropriate image and holding down the iROG connector on the back of the motherboard until it flashes. If, by some quirk of fate, all of these options fail, the chips themselves are removable/replaceable.

ROG / RC Bluetooth



The Crosshair IV Extreme incorporates Asus' ROG (Republic of Gamers) processor; this chip enables several different overclocking-friendly options. Enthusiasts can either overclock the Crosshair IV Extreme via a second system over USB or alternately use Bluetooth and a mobile phone to perform the same tasks. Touch phones, including the iPhone, are not supported.

If overclocking isn't your cup of tea, the included BlueTooth radio is also compatible with standard BlueTooth devices—any BT device that works with your phone should theoretically be able to double up and function on the PC. 

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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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