ASUS Crosshair IV Formula AM3 AMD 890FX Motherboard Review

Motherboards/AMD AM3 by leeghoofd @ 2010-06-04

It is time to present the first 890FX motherboard that entered the Shrimps lab. And boy does it look stunning, ladies and gentlemen let me introduce you: The Asus Crosshair IV Formula. The previous Crosshair III was a master in efficiency, can the new 890FX chipset top the older generation? How does it pair with the new 6-Core Thuban CPU ? Let us go and explore this new addition to the Republic Of Gamer product line-up.

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Introduction & Specs


Madshrimps (c)

Asus has been renowned in the world of enthusiasts to bring flashy motherboards, stuffed with goodies and *bling* to satisfy the die hard gamer, hardware fanatic and enthusiast overclocker. Especially the ROG ( Republic of Gamer) series have been very popular. The Rampage Extreme and Commando board being the utmost popular boards ever. Time after time the Asus engineers seem to succeed in adding new features to make their latest creation stand out from the crowd. Today’s board is based on AMD's brand new Leo platform chip the 890FX.

The 890GX is a small evolution from the previous flagship, the 790FX. SATA 6Gbps is directly supported via the 850SB chipset; USB 3.0 still has to be controlled via a separate NEC chip. The new chipset also supports more USB ports, faster internal linkage. You know my reviews are not so technical based as most users just want to know how products looks and performs. So no profound technology discovery here, for more information in-depth info I refer to Massman’s launch 890 article.

Madshrimps (c)
The board in all it's glory, Asus new Crystal Clash colour scheme and heatpipe/sink design will be found on all new ROG boards.

Product Features

Madshrimps (c)

• ASUS Core Unlocker -Unlock extra cores for true core performance
• TurboV & Turbo Key for Easy O.C. -Simple and real-time O.C. tuning in OS environment; one button levels up the system performance
• GameFirst - Prioritize packets with an intuitive interface
• ROG Connect - Connect to a notebook and overclock!
• SupremeFX X-Fi audio card - Bring gaming to life with HD

Technical Details

• Hardware Platform: PC
• Processor Socket: Socket AM3
• Processor Maximum: 1
• Compatible Processors: Sempron, Phenom II X3, Phenom II X2, Athlon II, Phenom II X4
• System Bus Speed: 2600
• Chipset Type: AMD 890FX
• Ram Memory Maximum Size: 16 GB
• Video Output: None
• Networking Feature: Network adapter

Package Contents

Madshrimps (c)

• Manual and driver CD and IO shield
• 1 Multifunctional Module with 2 port USB2.0 and 1 port E-SATA
• 1 ROG Connect cable
• 1 Crossfire bridge
• 4 SATA 2.0 cables
• 2 SATA 3.0 cables
• Asus Q-Connector and some cable ties.

A closer look at the board & BIOS next ->
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Comment from leeghoofd @ 2010/06/04
New Beta bios is up for grabs here :

Gary Key confirmed me the final version will have some small updates. Not tested this bios myself.

image courtesy of ChriSch
Comment from Teemto @ 2010/07/05
Hi guys,

Just got myself a new CH IV board as well. Flashed it to Bios 0905 as the inital version it got shipped with displayed the Spinpoint F3 issue.

Spinpoint F3 can't be detected by the Bios. In the latest bios this is fixed as you can select the controller to work in SATA-300 mode.

What kind of voltages were you using to achieve the OC's?
I'm going for 20x200 @1,40-1,45V but I'm not sure about the NB/SB voltage.
Any tips would be welcome.
What kinds of temperatures should the NB and SB be able to handle (as measured in ASUS PC probe)?


PS. The 555 from Gamer is coming my way that'll be for a second bench setup
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2010/07/05
NB voltages were mostly not that high around 1.35ish. CPU NB is dependant on the CPU type itself. For Thuban I never needed above 1.35 for the CPU NB, 965 BE needs 1.4 at least to get anywhere close to 3000mhz NB speed. it all depends on the cooling you use. It's still better to go 1800ish speeds with tight timings then to show off at 2000mhz with C7 or worse...

Ha you bought the 555. You can grab some points with it at Hwbot

if any issues you can always pm me for MSN contact...
Comment from Teemto @ 2010/07/19
Been testing a bit. So far the Crosshair IV allows higher clocks than the Crosshair III. Have my 1090T (with VNB=1.3V) now tested at:
4GHz 20x200 1.45V
4.1GHz 20.5x200 1.50V
4.2GHz 21x200 1.50V
4.3GHz 21.5x200 1.50V
Stable in SuperPi1M, Wprime32M, 3DMark Vantage, 3DMark06, Cinebench 11.5, Orthos (1h run w/o problems)
4.4GHz 22x200 1.55V (1.50V crashed during WPrime1024M)
Stable in SuperPi1M, Wprime32M. Further tests need to be done.
In the meantime upgraded my 2xHD5850's with Gamer's 5870 Lightning (second 5870 planned for crossfire)

My question is related to the RAM: I currently have my Patriot's running at 1600MHz 7-7-7-20-36-1T 1.9V for all CPU voltages. CPU/NB is set to Auto and HT Link is set to Auto as well (should probably set the HT Link to 2000 or slightly less depending on RAM speed). Would 1800 RAM with 888 timings be better? The Patriot's won't do more than 1667 at 888.
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2010/07/19
nah mate, either keep ya current kit or upgrade to Hypers or PCS rams... 1800Mhz C6 is where the love is... for benchers at least...

I'll be testing the Corsair GTX2, Gskill Flare and some cheapo kits soon... This to see if it really all pays off or you can keep ya money safely in ya wallet...
Comment from Teemto @ 2010/07/20
Looking forward to your review then
Comment from Teemto @ 2010/08/16
Originally Posted by Teemto View Post
Looking forward to your review then
Where can I buy them? Didn't find any store in Belgium that had em.