There are only a few motherboard makers today who don't design boards with the enthusiast in mind. It's been proven that the enthusiast market, as small as it is, gets the most press coverage of any segment of motherboards. Thus, enthusiast markets do have the ability to influence purchases of an entire company's range of motherboards. Unfortunately, motherboards which are truly designed for the enthusiast are few and far between. Sure, it's easy to put some flashy heatsinks and some basic overclocking controls in to try to lure the casual gamer to their brand - but the true enthusiast demands more. Near unlimited access to timing controls, efficient cooling systems, flexible expansion configurations, and most of all, a cleanly designed motherboard which is easy to work with and can handle almost anything you can throw at it.
Few companies have the R&D power which Asus has, being one of the elite tier one motherboard makers out there who is designing boards for the enthusiast. While most of Asus's high-end board releases over the past year have been well received by the overclocking and tweaking communities, for the most part they still have been targeted at multiple markets. Recently though, Asus has decided to go all out and produce a line of boards dedicated to the ultra high-end enthusiast, cost be damned. These boards go above and beyond what most expect to see in a high-end board, and boast some unique features. Integrated LCD screens, LED backlighting, triple PCI Express x16 slots, complex swerving lanes of heatpipes - these boards are really getting into a class by themselves.
There are only three products in this lineup of ultra high-end Asus motherboards thus far, which can be noticed as they don't follow any of the conventional naming schemas applied to Asus' typical motherboard lineup. The other two motherboards are based on the nForce 590 SLI chipset for Socket-AM2 (the Asus Crosshair) and another based on the Intel P965 chipset for Socket-775 (the Asus Commando). However, neither of these boards are as coveted as the latest release in their "Gaming" series, the "Striker Extreme".
Let's just run down some of the core features here to get your appetite wet. Nvidia's latest nForce 680i chipset for Core 2 dual/quad-core processors. Support for up to 1333 MHz front side bus speeds with DDR2-1200 memory. Triple PCI Express x16 sized slots. Six Serial ATA-II/300 ports with RAID-5. Integated LCD screen and backlit I/O panel, silent copper heatpipe chipset cooling, and the most luxurious set of BIOS controls (yes, BIOS controls can be luxurious) to date. The Striker Extreme is a board for the high-end enthusiast who wants everything and will pay any price for it.
Shipping Box - Top
Shipping Box - Bottom
Front Side Bus
Scalable Link Interface (SLI)
High Definition Audio
Back Panel I/O Ports
Internal I/O Connectors