Asus CrossHair NF590 SLI: Republic of Gamers
Intro, Specs, and Bundle
For almost as long as there have been PC enthusiasts, it seems that Asus has been there catering to them with feature laden, high-performance products. Nowhere is it more apparent that Asus caters to enthusiasts than with their motherboards. Yes, some of their notebooks and graphics cards are cutting edge as well, but the company has released literally hundreds of enthusiast-class motherboards in their history.
Over the years we have evaluated a myriad of Asus-built mobos here at HotHardware, and with the exception of only a couple of designs, they have all been stand-out products in their respective classes. In this article, we'll be shining the spotlight on yet another stand-out product from Asus, the CrossHair. The Asus CrossHair is the first member of the company's flagship "Republic of Gamers" series of desktop motherboards. It's based on NVIDIA's nForce 590 SLI chipset for AMD socket AM2 processors and sports a number of features an innovations that make it truly unique. There is a lot to cover in this article, so what do you say we get down to business and see what the CrossHair is really made of?
Back Panel I/O Ports
Internal I/O Connectors
There were a whole slew of accessories included in the CrossHair's bundle. Along with the motherboard itself, we found a very detailed user's manual, a driver / utility CD that contained copies of 3DMark06 and Kaspersky AV, and another CD dubbed Media Launcher that contained Intervideo's WinDVD Enhanced Suite. There were also floppy and IDE cables included, along with six SATA cables, and three 4-pin Molex to dual-SATA power adapters.
A custom I/O shield was in the box as well, but what makes this one really different is that it is illuminated. The port labels all light up, which facilitates plugging in cables in the dark recesses under your desk. In addition to the aforementioned items, Asus also includes a couple of USB and Firewire expansion brackets, some wire ties, a pack of Q-Connectors, an SLI bridge, and a three thermal probes with the CrossHair.
Finally, there is an optional fan included with the board, which should be used when the CPU is being water-cooled, along with a "Republic of Gamers" key chain, a SoundMax SupremeBeam microphone, and a SupremeFX audio riser card. The SupremeFX audio riser is powered by an ADI1988B 8-channel HD audio codec and gets installed into a proprietary slot near the I/O backplane on the CrossHair.