Quad-Core Core 2 Extreme - GeForce 8800 GTX SLI NF680i Ultimate Gaming Rig
With what could be considered the "ultimate gaming motherboard" as our foundation, it's only fitting to configure our new beast with what is currently considered the ultimate 3D graphics setup -- a shiny new pair of NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX cards in SLI.
The Asus Striker Extreme has three full length X16 PCI Express slots at the ready and surprisingly enough, you can actually utilize a few of the other slots on the board, even with two double-slot GeForce 8800GTX coolers punched into two of its slots.
Since we didn't have a pair of one particular make of card, and also since NVIDIA's drivers allow mixing and matching of similar models between manufacturers, we decided to co-join Asus' GeForce 8800 GTX with Foxconn's version. As you can see, both cards are identical and since NVIDIA is literally building all boards at one contract manufacturing site currently, for virtually all board partners at the moment, there is really not much difference between them, with the exception of decals and the blue LED assembly that Foxconn stuffed inside the top casing of their cooler. As you'll note, there was manual patch-work done to get the LEDs wired up on the Foxconn board. This is not something we'd say is retail-ready product just yet from the folks at Foxconn.
For testing, we utilized the Striker Extreme's on-board integrated HD Audio, so finishing up our configuration was as simple as plugging in a couple GB of high-end memory, a top-notch PSU and a WD Raptor WD1500 hard drive. And of course we didn't settle for just any set of memory sticks or just any power supply.
Thermaltake ToughPower 850Watt PSU
Corsair's Dominator TWIN2X2048-9136C5D kit is about the fastest set of DDR2 memory modules money can buy currently. These sticks support a blistering 1142MHz (that's 1.141GHz) at latency settings of 5,5,5,15. You can also dial down the memory speed a bit of course and run the timings a bit tighter around the 4,4,4,12 mark if you so choose. Either way, you're going to get great memory bandwidth from these modules. We took a look at another lower-latency/lower-speed set of Corsair Dominator sticks right here, just for your reference.
Finally, Thermaltake's ToughPower 850 Watt power supply offers up an impressive 62 Amps across its four independent 12V rails. It's also Dual GeForce 8800 GTX certified, so we knew it could handle two of NVIDIA's GeForce 8800GTX cards under load. We were not disappointed either. This PSU also comes with a quiet 14cm (140mm) fan and modular cables for neat and tidy Monster-Rig cable management.