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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The board up close & BIOS Explored

The board up close

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Mosfets area with the big heatsink to cool them down. 8pin power plug and NEC chip behind. The latter is again responsible for the USB3.0 interface.

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Mosfets naked. Heatsinks are attached by a thick heatpipe. The latter is screwed down, providing optimal pressure on the NB/SB and Mosfet area.

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4DDR3 dimm slots in the new red and black theme. Asus deviated from the normal paired AMD setup to an Intel way of installing the Dimms. You can also spot the voltage measuring points.

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The GO Button is tied to the Go bios profile. It allows you to boot with preset safe settings.

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The TurboV chip is responsible to monitor if your CPU stays within TDP, checks unlocked cores etc...

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Instead of a LED display, the new ROG boards got 4 LEDs that light up one by one. This makes it still easy to debug.

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The backpanel, with still a PS2 port present. The CMOS reset button, 2 x USB 3.0.

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Close up of the NEC USB3.0 Chip

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ROG connect allows you to OC/monitor your PC from another PC/Notebook/iPhone/... Gamefirst technology keeps your online gaming pings low by giving your game's connection priority over the other internet apps running.

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The start and reset button are found at the bottom of the board. The OC button activates the Turbo unlock function and the Core Unlocker button, well yes, unlocks latent cores. Either you press this button to unlock or press 4 when the rig boots.

Exploring the BIOS

The Asus bios is, as usual, for a high end motherboard, not lacking any features the enthusiast requires. I'm pretty used to the Asus' biosses and still find them very clear and pretty easy to navigate through.

I'll let the screenshot speak for themselves.

Extreme Tweaker tab :

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Overvolt protection enabled and disabled screens :

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Dram timing en Drive strenghts screens :

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Main and Advanced tab

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ECC mode on a mainstram board ?

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Onboard Devices tab, Asus made it handy for the overclockers here with a preset Disabled page (only the LAN port works for submissions)

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More Advanced and hardware monitoring settings :

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Oc profiles and GO Button settings :

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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.