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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Die Hard Software

Die Hard Tools

Asus' own TurboV is really a joy to work with. Some competitors’ software is either to scarce in settings, takes ages to load or is too darn buggy. TurboV is almost perfect. TurboV has 3 modes : Manual, Easy and AutoTuning mode. Most enthusiast users will only go for Manual mode (Some will not even consider to install this software, as they prefer to do everything straight from the bios). I must admit I was shy of software tools too, but to get the last drop of performance out of your setup or do a quick test with a volt or multi these software tools can be incredibly handy.

Let's take a look at the different modes :

First up is Manual mode : Giving access to all voltages. Core per core selection is possible, sadly all cores at once is not implemented yet ( update is demanded !)

Madshrimps (c)

Madshrimps (c)

Six CPU ratios for our Thuban CPU, imagine the pain it takes to up one multi when OC'ing, selecting 6 times a core , change the multi , press apply... we need a fix here to select all cores at once.

I skipped the screenshot for the easy Mode. Because it's in fact manual mode without the advanced or CPU ratio tab. Let's take a closer look at Autotuning :

Madshrimps (c)

3 different tuning modes selectable; Fast tuning, Extreme tuning and Custom tuning. Sadly I couldn't select the RAM frequency tab. Below is a combined screenshot of the results of the different modes. Coming close to 4ghz just after two reboots and about 4 minutes of testing. Pretty impressive stuff.

Madshrimps (c)

ROG Connect

Via ROG connect you can control most of the vital settings regarding voltages, multipliers...,from another PC, Laptop. This software also enables you to monitor your computer while “benching” it.

Madshrimps (c)

Every setting you need to look for them last Mhz. Too bad the CPU multiplier function is missing ( but was requested at the last Tech Conference )

Madshrimps (c)

Temperatures can be easily readout, without the need for aftermarket software.

Madshrimps (c)

Madshrimps (c)

Via the RC poster you can troubleshoot more easily. The Remote control panel allows you to power on/off, reset and even clear your CMOS.

Madshrimps (c)

For the purists monitoring and plotting all the data in a chart is possible too.

Asus Turbo Unlocker vs AMD Turbo Technology

Besides the normal implementation of the Turbo technology from AMD for the hexacore CPU's, ASUS went a bit further then that. Looking at Intel's Turboboost they added a chip (TurboV) on the motherboard that would give the user more freedom regarding easy overclocking.

Let's have a look how it looks in the bios : To enable the feature you have to enable the (normal) Turbo Core function. On top you can see the target Turbo core mode is 3600mhz for our 1090T Thuban sample (which is according AMD specs ).

Madshrimps (c)

Asus however included the Turbo ratio feature. Here you can select, the wanted multiplier to be used. In this case we selected 19 ratio, which leads to 3800mhz final turbo speed.

Madshrimps (c)

A note however, as you might wonder, hey I can do that manually too. Indeed you can, notice however that the normal CPU speed is only 3200mhz. The onboard chip automatically detects the load and will adjust the multiplier up or down to keep everything inside the TDP of the CPU. Voltages and co are also automatically adjusted. So it requires no extra manual intervention from the end user. It's a small free extra bonus from the folks at ASUS and best of all, it applies to non Thuban CPU's also :)

Here's the support list :

Madshrimps (c)

We did a few runs on the 1090T CPU with the software ( 19 ratio selected in the bios) compared to the normal AMD Turbo core Tech...

Madshrimps (c)

Madshrimps (c)

Madshrimps (c)

Madshrimps (c)

Don't think any of the graphs need an explanation, Asus' implementation is just faster, how much faster will depend on the ratio you select in the bios, how good your CPU cooling is and what application(s) you use...
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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.