Asus Crosshair IV Extreme sports 890FX and Hydra

The folks at Gigabyte don't have a monopoly on AMD 890FX motherboards with entirely too many PCI Express x16 slots. Asus is about to prove that. We've gotten hold of several images that depict Asus' upcoming Crosshair IV Extreme, an enthusiast mobo whose five PCIe x16 slots coexist with only a single 32-bit PCI slot—plus some special sauce for multi-GPU operation.

That special sauce, as it happens, is none other than Lucid's Hydra GPU load balancer. We looked at the Hydra a few months back on an MSI motherboard. We found that the chip did indeed allow users to mix and match different GPUs, be they from the same or different vendors, but performance scaling still had a lot of room for improvement. Lucid has no doubt been fine-tuning its product since then, though.

Hydra chip aside, the Crosshair IV Extreme has a plain AM3 socket surrounded by an impressive number of capacitors, chokes, and MOSFETs, likely signaling an eye-popping number of power phases. We can also spot at least nine Serial ATA ports, a Bluetooth header, and some control buttons on the circuit board for tweakers and overclockers (or anyone else who might happen to be running an open test bench).

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