Asus Crosshair IV Extreme AMD 890FX Motherboard

Introduction & Specifications

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

 AMD 890FX/SB850

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

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

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

1 x Intel Gigabit LAN

1 x IEEE1394a Internal
1 x IEEE1394a External
-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).

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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