Dec 8, 2008

Multi-GPU monster

Multi-GPU monster

Asus pushes the limits. What a motherboard. MSI’s motherboards short on showbiz moves but supports CrossFire.

Asus Striker II Extreme

Some of NVIDIA's recent motherboard chipsets haven't been that clever. The nForce 780i is a case in point. Despite the 7 Series moniker, it was little more than a rehash of the 680i chipset with PCI Express 2.0 unconvincingly glued on.

The 780i also carried over the 680i's hot-running silicon. The result was pants overclocking, particularly for a high-end chipset. But that's all history with the 790i. Its C73 northbridge packs native PCI-e 2.0, runs much cooler, while overclocking headroom is much improved.

As for Asus' take on the 790i, it's the total solution, complete with triple-way SLI support, exceptionally high-quality digital audio and a northbridge heatsink that comes pre-plumbed for water cooling. Nice, but just look at the price.

MSI X48 Platinum

Intel has a nasty habit of killing off relatively new chipsets and leaving buyers in the lurch. So it was with the X48 chipset, which appeared within months of the X38. Given that the X48 is largely the same silicon, we can't quite fathom why Intel didn't make a single release that combined the features of both.

Nevertheless, the X48 certainly offers comprehensive support for the very latest Intel 45nm chips. That includes the near-mythical Core 2 Extreme QX9770 and its currently unique 1,600MHz front side bus.

Of course, the X48 also supports Intel's CrossFire multi-GPU graphics technology, making it the obvious foil to NVIDIA's latest 790i SLI motherboards. In general performance terms and overclocking prowessPsychology Articles, there is little to choose between the two.