Asus' P5N-E SLI and Striker Extreme motherboards
Mid-range marvel vs. high-end wonder
ASUS' STRIKER EXTREME MOTHERBOARD
is a perfect example of why high-end products garner so much attention. The name alone screams "look at me," and in a pleasant surprise, there's actually plenty to see. You get a top-of-the-line nForce 680i SLI chipset, incredibly intricate heatpipe cooling, enough blue LEDs to be seen from space, more BIOS tweaking and overclocking options than any sane person could ever need, an LCD display right in the port cluster, and a stack of unique extras in the box. The board is also a member of Asus' Republic of Gamers series, so it's your ticket to gaining access to those ultra-secret Sealand LAN parties. Or something.
The Striker Extreme's array of innovative features and decadent extras is enough to make any enthusiast swoon, but with street prices drifting well over $300, it costs more than what most enthusiasts can affordor at least more than most of us are willing to pay. We enthusiasts tend to be reluctant to shell out for high-end products when the market is peppered with mid-range gems that cost less than half as much as the opulent Striker.
One of those mid-range gems might just be Asus' own P5N-E SLI. The P5N-E lacks many of the extras that come with the Striker—including the fancy heatpipes, flashy lights, and LCD display—but you still get nForce 650i core logic, passive chipset cooling, SLI support, and enough BIOS-level overclocking options to exploit the full potential of a Core 2 Duo. With motherboards doing little to affect overall system performance, especially when it comes to applications and games, the P5N-E SLI should be every bit as fast as the Striker.
Clearly, we had to put these boards to the test to see how a mid-range mobo like P5N-E SLI stacks up against the flagship Striker Extreme.