ASUS Crosshair IV Formula 890FX Chipset Motherboard Review

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ASUS Crosshair IV Formula Motherboard

ASUS Crosshair IV Formula Motherboard

Today we have the opportunity to take an in depth look at the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula. The ASUS Crosshair IV Formula is an AMD based motherboard that is based on AMD’s 890FX chipset. The ASUS Crosshair IV Formula motherboard is the cream of the crop when it comes to AMD based motherboards from ASUS. Though the price tag of $225 may cause some to shy away, for those that are willing to pay a premium for an enthusiast board, a premium board is what you will get! Though before we look at the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula, let’s take a look at the AMD 890FX chipset that is used on it. AMD officially announced the 890FX chipset back in April; this happened to concur with the release of the new Phenom II X6 processors. The 890 series and the Phenom II X6′s combined with the Radeon HD 5000 series graphics card make up the new Leo platform. One of the features of the AMD 890FX chipset that differs from the previous generations of chipsets is the memory configurations. When using the AMD 890FX chipset you will be limited to using DDR3, although the Phenom II X6′s are still able to be placed in AM2+ platforms that will take advantage of DDR2.

AMD 890FX Chipset

AMD’s 890FX chipset has a couple of significant differences when compared to the 890GX chipset. The first and most obvious on the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula is the lack of onboard graphics while the 890GX features the Radeon HD 4290 integrated graphics. The second and quite possibly the most important to the enthusiast looking for the best performance from the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula when running in CrossfireX is the number of PCI Express lanes. The 890GX chipset is limited to 16 lanes while the 890FX chipset has double that at 32 lanes. Most people will most likely never notice a difference unless of course you are one of the lucky ones that can afford a pair of ATI Radeon HD 5970′s or one of the insane ones who is lucky enough to pick up a pair of the ASUS ARES. Another significant difference is the IOMMU (input/output memory management unit). This is a feature that is typically available only on server boards, though is included in the 890FX chipset only when comparing the 8xx series chipsets. According to AMD: The IOMMU (input/output memory management unit) included with the 890FX chipset is a function of a chipset that enables enhancements to system-level software and that prevents illegal access of memory by I/O devices. By preventing illegal access of memory, the IOMMU can prevent problems with latency.
An IOMMU can map device memory addresses to physical memory addresses, but in a manner that is transparent to the device hardware. The IOMMU automates the translation between the physical address of the I/O device and the host system.

Though I digress, the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula is the fourth board in the ASUS Crosshair series. For those that are new to the enthusiast scene or that are beginning to realize that yes, AMD is pushing out products with some serious performance. The Crosshair series is the top of the line boards from ASUS. With features such as ROG Connect, GameFirst, Loadline Calibration, Extreme Tweaker and many more features offered by the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula we have a lot to cover. Below is a down and dirty specifications chart and on the next page we will start looking at the features much more in depth.

CPU AMD Socket AM3: Phenom II, Athlon II, Sempron 100 Series Processors
AMD 140W CPU Support
AMD Cool ‘n’ Quiet Technology
Supports 45nm CPU
Chipset AMD 890FX/SB850
System Bus Up to 5200 MT/s ; HyperTransport 3.0
Memory 4 x DIMM, Max. 16 GB, DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600(O.C.)/1333/1066
ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture
Expansion Slots 3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (dual @ x16, triple @x16 x8 x8)
1 x PCIe 2.0 x4
2 x PCI
2.2 
Multi-GPU Support Support ATI CrossFireX Technology graphics cards
Storage SB850 Chipset
6 xSATA 6.0 Gb/s ports Support RAID 0,1,5,10
JMicron JMB363 PATA and SATA controller
1 xSATA 3Gb/s
port (Black)
1 xExternal power SATA 3Gb/s port on rear (SATA On-the-Go)
LAN Marvell 8059 Gigabit LAN controller
Audio SupremeFX X-Fi built-in 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- EAX Advanced HD 4.0
- X-Fi CMSS-3D
- X-Fi Crystalizer 
- Creative
ALchemy
- Supports Blu-ray audio layer content protection
- Supports 1
Optical S/PDIF out port at back I/O
- Supports 1 x S/PDIF out header
-
Supports Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
IEEE 1394 2 x 1394a port(s) (1 port at back I/O, 1 port onboard)
USB NEC USB 3.0 controller
- 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (at back I/O)
AMD SB850
chipset
- 12 x USB 2.0 ports (5 ports at mid-board, 7 ports at back I/O, 1
port at back I/O is also for ROG connect)
Overclocking Features ROG Connect
GameFirst
Extreme Tweaker
Power Design:
- 8+2 phase
CPU power design
CPU Level Up
MemOK!
iROG
Loadline Calibration
Intelligent overclocking tools:
- ASUS TurboV Evo
- O.C Profile
Overclocking Protection:
- COP EX (Component Overheat Protection – EX)
- Voltiminder LED
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Special Features Turbo Unlocker
Turbo Key II
Core Unlocker
ASUS Q-Connector
ASUS
Q-Shield
ASUS Q-Fan 2
ASUS EZ Flash 2
ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
ASUS
MyLogo 3
Back Panel I/O Ports 1 x External SATA
1 x S/PDIF Out (Optical)
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x
LAN(RJ45) port
8 -Channel Audio I/O
1 x PS/2 Keyboard port(purple)
2
x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
7 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (1 port is also for ROG Connect)
1 x ROG Connect On/Off switch
1 x Clr CMOS switch
Internal I/O Connectors 3 x USB 2.0 connectors supports additional 5 USB 2.0 ports
6 x SATA 6Gb/s
connectors (Red)
1 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors (Black)
8 x Fan connectors: 1
x CPU / 1 x PWR / 3 x Chassis / 3 x Optional
7 x ProbeIt measurement points
3 x Thermal sensor connectors
1 x IEEE1394a connector
1 x SPDIF_out
connector
1 x 24-pin ATX power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V power
connector
1 x En/Dis-able Clr CMOS switch
1 x Core unlocker switch
1
x Turbo key II switch
1 x Power on switch
1 x Reset switch
1 x OC
Station Header
1 x Go Button
System panel connector 
BIOS 16 Mb Flash ROM AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI2.0a
Multi-Language BIOS 
Accessories User’s manual
1 x I/O Shield
1 x ROG Connect Cable
1 x 2-in-1 ASUS
Q-Connector Kit
1 x 2-in-1 SATA 6.0Gb/s Cables
2 x 2-in-1 SATA 3.0Gb/s
Signal Cables
1 x 2-port USB2.0 + ESATA Module
1 x Crossfire Cable
1
x Cable Ties Pack
1 x ROG Theme Label
1 x 12-in-1 ROG Cable Label
Support Disc Support DVD:
- Drivers and applications
* ASUS PC Probe II
* ASUS
Update
* ASUS AI Suite
* Sound Blaster X-Fi Utility
* Kaspersky Anti-Virus 1-year license 
Form Factor ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x24.5 cm )

Now that you know everything that there is to know about the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula 890FX motherboard, that concludes our review today. Okay, I’m kidding. Over the next couple of pages we are going to take a tour of the retail bundle and the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula board itself. While we are taking the tour, we will take a look at the key features and then we will look at the performance of the ASUS Crosshair IV Formula!

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