Asus Crosshair III Formula AM3
Top-notch gaming performance
Review Asus sent us a Crosshair III Socket AM3 Phenom motherboard to use when we tested the Republic of Gamers OC Station. This seemed like a questionable idea as it meant we were testing a £125 accessory on a £137 motherboard.
To our mind, it made better sense to match the OC Station with the £299 Rampage II Extreme or a £190 Maximus II Formula, but the Crosshair III Formula turned out to be more interesting than we expected.
Asus' Crosshair III Formula AM3: more interesting than expected
The original Crosshair supported Socket AM2+ Phenoms with an Nvidia nForce 590 SLI chipset that supports two graphics slots. Crosshair II upped the graphics support to Tri-SLI, thanks to the use of the nForce 780a SLI chipset. It’s all change with Crosshair III: the new model uses an AMD 790FX chipset which supports Socket AM3, DDR 3 memory and CrossFire X graphics.
Switching from Nvidia to AMD has enabled Asus to drop the price of Crosshair from £195 to £137, which would seem to confirm the stories that Nvidia charges an eye-watering amount of money for its chipsets.
Asus has included every feature that you could reasonably want yet the layout of the board is very neat and tidy, with plenty of space around all of the major components. The AM3 CPU socket is pushed up towards the top of the board with the 8+2 power system down one side and four DDR 3 slots that support up to 16GB of 1600MHz memory on the other.
Annihilator (Annihilator? Really?)
If you're building a new PC it's much easier to plug the CPU, CPU cooler, memory and graphics card into your motherboard and then install the OS and drivers with the system flat on the bench. If you suffer a problem such as incompatible memory or something silly like a duff cable it is much easier to sort it out on the bench than it is inside the case. If you get into overclocking you'll find that some motherboards will reset the BIOS after a problem while others will lock solid and necessitate a reset. In the latter case micro buttons are a Godsend.
oh, that's so cool
I want a motherboard with a big red start button on it that I can't see in normal use.
Just knowing it's there will increase the stability of my experience.
Why on earth would you need to do a "dry build" outside of the case? What settings are you playing with that requires it to be outside the case? I generally configure the BIOS with a keyboard myself. On high end mobos the bios reset switch is usually conveniently located on the back plate for any screw-ups.
Have always managed just fine with a screwdriver to jumpstart it - or indeed, an actual jumper. I often find I have a screwdriver to hand when building a rig :-)
I could forgive the button, were it not big, red with "START!" emblazoned on it.
I'm going to take your question at face value, although I suspect there may be some deep sarcasm that escapes me. Micro buttons are quite common on high end motherboards for Power, Reset and Clear CMOS. They are dead handy if you do a dry build of your system before you plug the components into your PC case as they allow you to tinker with settings and configure the BIOS without connecting the case buttons to the front panel headers. Micro buttons also avoid the need to short the headers with the blade of a screwdriver to turn the system on.
whats the start button for ???