Earlier this year, we tested the Asus M3A32-MVP Deluxe, a high-end motherboard with Phenom support and the AMD 790FX chipset. While gamers who want to use Crossfire technology will undoubtedly be very happy with this product, those who want to use multiple Nvidia-based graphics cards will have to look elsewhere.
Unfortunately, SLI support for AMD users has a price and a selection bonus. The Asus Crosshair II formula that we're going to test today includes the Nvidia nForce 780a SLI chipset, which is currently the most advanced SLI-enabled chipset available to AMD users. This new Asus motherboard is a member of the elite “Republic of Gamers” series, which means that it is geared towards games.
Given Intel's continued pressure in terms of price and overall value, AMD has come into a less comfortable situation. Already in January, when we tested the M3A32-MVP Deluxe, the Phenom pricing strategy was already in aggressive mode, but now AMD had to make further adjustments. Today, you can purchase a 2.5 GHz quad-core flagship, the Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition processor, for just $ 235. It's now also possible to purchase a triple-core phenom for just under $ 150, making these new AMD processors an attractive option for bargain hunters.
There is already a large selection of AM2 + motherboards, many of which cost less than $ 100. For those looking for something a little more equipped than a typical motherboard under $ 100, however, the Asus Crosshair II Formula is suitable for these requirements – or of course the M3A32-MVP Deluxe with the currently available 790FX chipset retail for around $ 220 .
In the past, motherboards with the Intel version of the Nvidia nForce 780 SLI chipset have not really impressed us because they tend to consume significantly more power and do not offer any additional performance to users. So it will be interesting to see how the nForce 780a SLI performs in terms of performance and power consumption compared to the 790FX.
There's a feature in the Crosshair II formula that's pretty unusual, a built-in GeForce 8 GPU. This is the first enthusiastic platform with Nvidia's HybridPower technology, which offers 3-way SLI for maximum graphics performance and HybridPower for quiet operation with low power consumption. Since not all users will be interested in this feature, it is important that the Crosshair II formula still perform well with a single graphics card. Before we take a closer look at the performance data, let's take a closer look at the board itself.