NVIDIA nForce 780a SLI Motherboard Round-Up
Asus CrossHair II Formula
The original nForce 590 SLI-based Asus CrossHair was one of our favorite socket AM2 motherboards. At the time of its release, the CrossHair sported a number of unique features, like an easy to read, external LCD POST code error reporter, a separate audio daughterboard, and a very complete BIOS, that set it apart from most other socket AM2 motherboards. And it's performance was top notch too.
The new nForce 780a SLI-based CrossHair II Formula has a few things in common with the original CrossHair in that they are both members of Asus' "Republic of Gamers", or R.O.G., series of motherboards and sport a similar color scheme. But the newer version of the board is superior in a number of ways.
Before we get to the specifics, let focus on the CrossHair II Formula's bundle for a moment. The board includes Asus' Supreme FX II audio daughterboard (ADI HD codec), an external LCD Poster POST code error reporter, an HDMI to DVI adapter, an optional fan, and an assortment of manuals, cables, and SLI bridge connectors. We should also point out that Asus throws in a copy of Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, which is a fairly good game if you're into real-time strategy games.
The CrossHair II Formula's layout was also good. Its slot configuration and connector placement can accommodate 3-way SLI configurations without a problem, and its cooling apparatus won't get in the way of large aftermarket CPU coolers. Like the M3N-HT Deluxe, the CrossHair II Formula has heatsinks on the chipset and VRM, and they are all linked via heat-pipes, but on the CrossHair they are made of copper and aluminum, not just copper.
The CrossHair II Formula has some handy on-board features like micro power and reset switches and an external clear CMOS switch, and its I/O backplane is loaded with six USB 2.0 ports, a single Firewire port, a PS/2 port, dual Gigabit LAN jacks, digital audio outputs, and VGA and HDMI video outputs.
Like the other members of the R.O.G. series of motherboards, the Asus CrossHair II Formula has an extensive set of BIOS options. This motherboard has no less than ten different voltage options, multiplier adjustments for the CPU and various HT / NB links, and individual frequency adjustments for the HT reference clock and PCI Express links. Like the older CrossHair, this new version has plenty of options for overclockers and performance enthusiasts.