Next up is the Asus Blitz Formula. This is a board that is in the Republic of Gamers series from Asus, and is toughted to be not only a gamersmotherboard as far as performance is concerned, but is also marketed as a great overclocking board. Asus has positioned this board to be marketed to the hard core enthusiast, which is pretty easy to tell once you take your first look at the board. It has been a while since I felt “giddy” about a board, but this one did it to me, if nothing else for the looks alone! Now, it is still a P35 motherboard, so one would think you would still be limited in what can be accomplished with this board, but was that true? Let’s take a look at the specs…
Once again, just a quick look at the board says that this board is for the hard core crowd. It is elegant in its design and style, and has something we did see on any other P35 board that we have in this round up, it is set up for water cooling right off the bat. Asus calls this their Fusion Block System. The connectors for this are right on the northbridge heatsink. If a user utilizes this system, Asus says, “the user can enjoy exceptional thermal improvement to north bridge, south bridge, Crosslinx, and even VRM with a single connection.” The water only flows on to the northbridge, but certainly this will also help the cooling of the other parts as well as the heat flows through the heatpipe. This is a pretty cool thing that Asus has done, and certainly will inspire others to do the same.
The top right corner of the board reveals our DDRII slots. This board supports up to 8GB of DDRII memory at speeds of 667/800 and 1066. In reference to the ddrII 1066 support, Asus says that is has designed this board to support this speed. Their site says this about it:
The chipset officially supports the memory frequency up to DDR2 800 MHz. Due to the tuning by ASUS exclusive technology, this motherboard natively supports up to DDR2 1066MHz. Please refer to www.asus.com or user manual for Memory QVL
This part of the board is also where we find our northbridge, and gives you a closer look at the Fusion block. We can also see the 24-pin power and floppy connectors here.
The bottom right sports our IDE connector, which is powered by the JMicron JMB368 PATA controller. We have a multitude of USB and firewire headers here on this part of the board as well. There are six SATA connectors here, which are powered by the Intel ICH9R southbridge, and support RAID in 0/1/5/10 configurations. Like the Abit board, Asus has positioned the SATA ports on the board in a sideways configuration. Once again, i would point out that this could pose a problem with some cases. A closer look at the SATA ports…
The bottom right of the board is the location of the Crosslink chip, which in theory is suppose to remove the bottleneck that we see in other Crossfire boards, which limit you to running in 16×4 speeds with both cards. The Crosslink system removes that bottleneck and allows the cards to run in an 8×8 configuration, which Asus says will give better and smoother performance in gaming.
We also see our add-on card slots here. The Asus Blitz Formula supports Crossfire with its two x16 slots (8×8 in Crossfire), it also has two legacy PCI slots and three x1 PCI-E slots. Notice that one of the x1 slots is black in color. This x1 slot supports the add-on sond card that we will cover in just a moment.
At the bottom of the board we have the stylish power and reset buttons that I absolutely love when I am reviewing boards. This is not the forst time we have seen these, but Asus goes a step beyond other ones we have seen with this design.
Firewire is handled by the Via VT6308P chip, and dual gigabit lan is handles by a pair of Marvell 88E8001 chips.
The top left of the board is where we find our CPU socket. This board, as all the other P35 boards do, supports quad core and 1066fsb chips. The 4-pin power is located at the top of the board on the edge, a perfect positioning! You can see the black x1 PCI-E slot here, which is where our audio riser card goes. Take a look at it…
The SupremeFX II Audio card sports the ADI 1988B 8-channel High Definition Audio chip. A quick look at it when installed…
The back I/O ports include a keyboard PS/2 input, Coaxial, Optical S/PDIF outs, 6 USb 2.0 inputs, our two gigabit lan jacks, our firewire and a clr CMOS button.
On the Abit, we had a onboard LED setup that allows you to see how your rig is doing when posting, and gives you error codes as needed. Asus has included something similar, but does it as an add-on device called the LCD poster. This poster will give you the status of you boot, and when all is said and done, will display the time. Asus has also included some nice lighting and illumination for this Blitz Formula board. Once again, these extra details are not needed, but are nice and are the things that set Asus apart from others. Take a look at all the “special effects.”
Let’s look at the bundle and BIOS.